CURRENTLY...I've had a lot of people ask me where I'm at and what I'm doing ever since the war started, so I figure since I'm about to head out I would send everyone a message and let you know that indeed, I'm headed for the war.
Myself and another Army Sergeant are flying into the Central Command area of Operation to conduct news gathering for the American Forces Network Europe. The exact length and location of our stay there isn't known.I'll keep you updated as I can.
That said, life in Europe over the last several months has been extremely interesting and rewarding for me.In October, I spent two weeks in Rome and Naples producing several installments of our weekly travel and lifestyle magazine "Destinations" from Rome, Naples, and the Vatican, where we got to meet the Pope at the Papal Audience.A trip to Kuwait, Bahrain, the USS Abraham Lincoln in the North Arabian Gulf and Dubai as well as a brief trek into Oman was the highlight for November and December. There we covered the buildup to war and the operations over Iraq's southern no-fly zone, as well as a little vacation spot in Dubai for some rest and relaxation, courtesy of the USO in Dubai. All of the work we (SSG Dan Millbauer and I) did tranlsated into several documentaries and an installment of "Destinations."
I spent Christmas with my family and took a brief rest stop in Ottawa, I got to hang out with friends from High School. I spent New Years in Columbus with some old buddies from Charleston, WV.
January, we said goodybye to a good friend here at the network. Broadcast Services Director Herb Glover reired after 43 years with us at AFN.
At the end of January myself and AFN Public Affairs Officer Roger Williams flew to New York to attend the Mercury Communications Awards Banquet where we walked away with the best of videos award for our Afghanistan documentary "4th on the Front." We also got a chance to take a tour of the Fox News Channel and got an intimate look at what goes on behind the scenes. I'm a big Fox News fan, so it was cool to see that.
In late February I had the pleasure of hosting "Destinations" from Carnivale in Venice, Italy, and it was a great time. One of the best shows to date, SSG Gina Gray was a fabulous co-host and it was neat to see another side of life in Italy. I also spent a week on the island of Sicily producing "Destinations."
Just a few weeks ago, I was reunited with Herb Glover to travel all over the state of Florida to interview former AFN'ers for our 60th anniversary. We're planning on producing a landmark documentary about our organization, and just opened our museum exhibit here in Frankfurt two nights ago at the Frankfurt Historical Musuem.
Life keeps me pretty busy, as you can see, but I love every minute of it.If I'm back in time, I'm hoping to attend the Midwestern Regional Emmy Awards at the Air Force Museum in Dayton, Ohio on April 26th. We're up for an Emmy Award for our documentary "4th on the Front."
I've got a lot of e-mails from people on both sides of the fence with this war issue, and I have to ultimately say that I really have no firm belief either way about what is happening. One thing I've come to understand is there are a lot of people out there who have an opinion about it, though.Living in Germany you get a different perspective on things when the general population you live with is fiercly anti-war. But it hasn't influenced my beliefs either way.When word of our travel surfaced, the one thing that many people want us to let the soldiers down there know is that "They have our support." This has been said to me by both Germans and Americans, and it's the message we're taking with us.
I thought I would leave you all with this link... an on-line photo essay that sums up a lot.
It was sent to me by a Marine friend of mine, and was produced by a Navy Journalist. Hope you enjoy, and I hope to hear from many of you.
Take care of yourselves, and I'll write when I'm back from the sandbox.