Saturday, April 14, 2007

Combat Correspondent

It finally happened. Radio/Television Broadcast Journalists in the Air Force are now called:

COMBAT CORRESPONDENTS

With the help of my boss, I crafted a proposal to change our name to Combat Correspondent...and it was approved. I can't take all the credit...I'd like to, but there were others who had a say. I was the only one who brought in the dictionary and a grammar book.

So what does this mean? Am I now equal to my Marine buddy Troy? Although this picture doesn't prove it...he is a true Combat Correspondent.


Troy and I went on a dismounted patrol in Nov 2003, through the town of Beji Iraq. It was about two weeks before they found Saddam...just a few miles away. Armed with our camera, tripod, 9-mil, and this HUGE SFC...we walked the streets. Troy set up to grab the footage of the patrol storming into a house where suspected terrorists were. He was BRAVE! He had his camera and head exposed to possible danger. Me! I was about ten fellas back...with the tripod. Does this make a Combat Correspondent? Troy is...me...well maybe!

Here is a picture of Brent Skeen from our trip to Iraq in 2003.
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Here is a picture of me and Bobby Herron from the third radio show ever on Freedom Radio...By the way, we won a Thomas Jefferson award for this very show....
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

And here is a picture of your future Combat Correspondents:

25 comments:

Anonymous said...

Its good to see that you are now called "Combat Correspondents", its also good to see some of the good that is going on there instead of all the negative we see. I truly am proud of everyone there.

Aunt Donna

Anonymous said...
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Sandra Brown said...

I enjoyed this latest blog until the very last picture. Way to make us "combat correspondents" look like a bunch of idiots. Chris, you wanted to spark interaction. Be careful what you wish for.

I guess in your haste to make music videos of your family (although it was very nice), rant about American Idol, tout the merits of "being Chris Eder" and enjoy the tantalizing taste of salsa verde, you haven't watched the "real news" lately.

I received a phone call from an Army combat correspondent yesterday. This twenty-something Soldier still has a positive outlook even though he's awaiting a decision as to whether his one-year stay in Iraq will be turned into a 15-month event. He didn't even mention his fear at feeling the reverberations of Thursday's attack on the Iraqi Parliament building. You remember that place don't you, Chris? I do. I worked in that pit for six months, before being forced out to a much less desirable location.

Bully for you, Chris. You won an award! Like the broadcasters, excuse me, combat corresondents currently perched as sitting ducks in what the media calls the green zone (I hate that term, there is nothing safe about it, call it what it is...the "IZ, International Zone) I was too busy taking care of my troops, avoiding car bombs, mortars, and small arms fire to worry about such complete bull**** as American Idol, putting my mug on webcams and the nomenclature du jour of my job.

I concentrated my efforts on telling the story of the thousands of heroes getting much closer to life and death than me...the American military women harrased by Iraqi men because their interpretation of American pop culture says, "we lay down for anyone..." the young baby-faced Marines at the outer-most check-points of the IZ protecting my ass during a dust storm so intense you couldn't see the front of your humvee...the Iraqi women who stopped me in the street to hug me and gesture the story of thanks for the US presence despite the fact their husbands, sons, and fathers were killed by IEDs... the proud Iraqi worker changing light bulbs in my office; the one we gave pair of tennis shoes, the gentle soul blasted into dust the very next day while standing in line at the pedestrian gate just outside our building.

To Aunt Donna, Mom and the others who've dared to send blogs in response to Combat Correspondent Eder's request for interaction, I applaud your interest. Hopefully when Chris actually gets to Iraq, he'll remember why we choose to do what we do, "tell the Air Force story." Your personal war stories are best ingested with a cold beer and group of friends who've "been there, done that."

Chris, Godspeed for a quick, safe return and an eye-opening, life-changing experience. It was for me, but only my closest friends and family members are privy to that side of my story.

MSgt (ret) Sandra Brown

AFN Broadcaster said...

OUCH! Sandra...I have but a few days left before I will be the person you were in Iraq. Right now, yes, my head is full of 'foot-loose and fancy-free.' That will end once I get there. You more than most should know that I do and will take care of those I work with. I will tell the story of those who brave the area outside the wire. I'm already in contact with five major market morning shows thanks to Tom Taylor of Inside Radio, and several news orgs. They all want to set up live radio/TV inteviews of the folks you mentioned.
But regardless to all of that...I'm an entertainer. My #1 job as the morning show host is to provide command information disguised as entertainment. I will be the conduit that allows the men and women who are outside the wire to 'escape' if even for a moment.

pbohall said...

Sweet Candy! Awesome you played a major part in changing the job title. Not knowing the details of your relationship...Sandra was a little harsh, but kudos 2 you both 4 discussing the heart of the matter. I thought your picture was hilarious from an entertainment perspective. Question: Was 1 reason involving the title change involving the photo journalism side of your job? Broadcast Journalist = a journalist who broadcasts on radio or television (per wordnet.princeton.edu) versus Combat Correspondent = an on-the-scene reporter or commentator who contributes reports to a newspaper, or radio or television news, from a remote, often distant, location (per Wikipedia.) Does a correspondent always writes the story or always takes the photos? Do Airman ever get the opportunity to photograph a combat scene from the air? Awesome Chris...the title is well deserved!

pbohall said...

Got to thinking about your experience with Troy in Iraq. Makes sense the Marine Correspondent is a natural on the ground. Seems the Airman Correspondent might best cover the story from above. What do you think?

AFN Broadcaster said...

The name really stems from what our number one priority should be...combat. We're not really needed stateside and with satelite technology, we'll soon be replaced throughout Europe. Where we get the most bang for the buck is in combat. That could be just doing radio, or embeded with a unit. We have the technology to tell a news story anywhere...anytime...we should and soon will capitilize on it.
A Combat Correspondent can/will do it all. Write, shoot, edit, voice, anchor, everything.

Sandra Brown said...

BTW, Chris will all AF broadcast journalists now be classified as Combat Correspondents or just those who have actually engaged in combat? What about those who've never deployed or had to endure the hardships of designated combat zone, you know like Kuwait or Qatar? Do they also wear the mantle?

Additionally, will people in other AF jobs get to add the fancy title, like Combat Finance Technician, Combat Admin Journeyman. I wonder what Combat Controllers think of the change?Just curious.

AFN Broadcaster said...

OH! BTW...The American Forces Idol is not a direct representation of what a Combat Correspondent is...rather what we do in our spare time. We're not robots, nor non-human. We like to eat, drink, and be merry just like everyone else...regardless of duty location!

chissey2a said...

Well Chris ( Mr Combat Correspondant)you sure opened a can of worms with Ms Brown.
Talking as a civillian in the UK, It's good to see or hear the news all good things and bad. It gives a real insight on what's going on in the world.
I know if I was a military person doing whatever job in Iraq, I would welcome the light hearted banter from the TV or radio.
Keep it up Chris, I enjoy your blogs and will look foward to the web cam.
Narissa x

pbohall said...

Thanks for sharing the info about satelite. I could see the necessity for a Correspondent to cover & relate to all Airman (pilot or ground support) in a combat zone. I suppose you could change the Correspondent title depending on peace or war time assignment (air combat, training, material, space, mobility, special ops, reserve, etc.) [Drink a Beer 4 me in your spare time!] Isn't Langley the headquarters for Air Combat Command? Are you a rep for Langley or USAF in general? I wish you a safe return from Iraq.

AFN Broadcaster said...

BTW, Chris will all AF broadcast journalists now be classified as Combat Correspondents or just those who have actually engaged in combat?

Everyone is now a Combat Correspondent. Its also a way to notifiy folks on Air Staff...what we bring (or at least can bring) to the fight.

Additionally, will people in other AF jobs get to add the fancy title, like Combat Finance Technician, Combat Admin Journeyman. I wonder what Combat Controllers think of the change?Just curious.

I hope Finance doesn't jump in the game and I really hope the Combat Controllers don't get pissed! You know there were some folks at SAF/PA talking about send some folks to jump school. Have us jump in with first responders. Yep, a PAO, Combat Correspondent (broadcaster) and the 101 Airborne, or TACPs.

AFN Broadcaster said...

Keep it up Chris, I enjoy your blogs and will look foward to the web cam.

Thanks Narissa!

Melissa Allan said...

Sandra,

As someone in the “idiotic” picture Chris produced. I
thought it was pretty funny. The picture of mine he
used, I was at the top of the Great Wall of
China….maybe only Chris and I knew that when he used
it, but to me that makes it even funnier. Oh and I
make myself look like an idiot everyday, so I don’t
mind if Chris helps every once in a while. I thought
it was creative and funny.

I think your response to Chris, although perhaps true,
was a little self-righteous. Chris knows what he’s
getting into, all of us who have been there do. Chris
was there before up-armor was in every vehicle, he was
there in the beginning, I don’t think he needs
reminded of how dangerous it is.

And what by chance do you mean by real news? Because
I don’t remember any news accurately portraying Iraq,
not while I was there…so the perspective you have
based on CNN, Fox, The Pentagon Channel or NBC is
probably not the real news either.

You wrote, “I was too busy taking care of my troops,
avoiding car bombs, mortars, and small arms fire to
worry about such complete bull**** as American Idol,
putting my mug on webcams and the nomenclature du jour
of my job.” Shame on you Sandra….for not letting
Chris enjoy the few days he has left with his family,
but worse yet trying to make him feel guilty about it.
Reminding him of the danger he’s about to embark
on….smugly, like he doesn’t already know and needs
your help. Shame on you.

There is not doubt in my mind that Chris’s tour to
Iraq will be life-changing, aren’t they always….it was
for me and it sounds like it was for you as well.

My only hope is that you take a moment to realize that
perhaps he makes jokes and touts his accomplishments
because he is trying to keep a positive attitude…or
maybe just because he’s Chris…either way, I’m not sure
he needs a good scolding right now.

Melissa Allan

Krislynn said...

Sandra,
I agree wholeheartedly with Melissa. Chris is a fantastic PA/broadcaster with energy, drive, creativity and heart. Looks like you've lost a lot of that. Maybe you were disheartened by the war...

Chris is working extremely hard to make this career field a better one. He meets obstacles every step of the way, from cynical folks who don't agree with change, to people who are just scared of change.

It's like he stated the other day, "our career field is under attack." It's absolutely true. We've got less folks and too much to report on, whether it's at home or abroad. Most of us have deployed and you are not the only one to have been to Iraq. Chris has and I'm sure he has not forgotton. That is not an easy thing to get out of your head, as you obviously still haven't forgot.

Chris has made more strides than you will know and he continues to work on better ways to get the message out. Chris may tout his name more often than not, but you know what, it's because he can. He actually wants to make a difference.

Chris, good on you. I'm proud of all you've accomplished and all you're reaching toward. Be safe over there and please don't ever stop being lighthearted and fun. That is what makes people want to listen to you. That being said, you also know how to be serious and I think you do a great job balancing both. Keep it up!!!!

Anonymous said...

I am appalled at Sandra's lashing. I speak from a mothers point of view. Chris has been an entertainer almost all of his life. Mostly on the funny end of things. He made the change to broadcasting news while in the military. If I must applaud anyone it would be my son for his loyality to mankind. He has helped make it possible for all of us to know what has been happening in Iraq. This will be his second tour there. If he is compelled to make light of situations then more power to him. There are thousands of us women and men alike who are scared to death about losing a son or daughter in war. Sometimes the lighter the stories the better we are. Sometimes it is hard to hear truths no matter how small when our children are in war zones.
Chris, I love you with all my heart and keep us the good work. Call me before you leave.
Mom

mom said...

Chris, Is the Aunt Donna that has posted here your dad's sister? If so, hello Donna. it's been years.

AFN Broadcaster said...

Mom-

Yes! That is Donna, my Dad's sister.

EVERYONE Else! Thank you very much for the interaction. I enjoy all of the praise and believe it or not appreciate the constructive criticism. I'd like for future posts not to attack individuals, rather the idea(s). More great posts to come!

mom said...

Chris,
I don't think that anyone was actually attacking anyone. We all have a right to our opinions and that is exactly was was given here. I don't believe that attacks were meant. You just keep up the good work.
Glad to see you are in contact with Donna but what about Mark. I would love to hear from both of them.
Mom

mom said...

Hope you don't mind but I gave this site address out to friends.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Sandra said...

Chris,
Assuming you are the blog administrator, please don't remove anything on my account. This is the very essence of blogging...sparking healthy debate. I am way too evolved to take it personally. You and I both know I have no question of your talent. And if the photo were just among friends, no problem. My whole intention is just a reminder of your audience in this forum. Kind of like you don't tell inside jokes on the air.
Remember, the MNF-I YouTube sight you referenced for me even says it will not post any messages derogatory to the military.
Stay safe. I'm off to seek PTSD therapy, hormone replacement treatment and some anti-beeoch medication.
Sandra

Anonymous said...

Oh yes, the 'ol AFN crowd! I was wondering what everyone was up to these days? My 'ol boss SSgt Eder has done a great job on creating this blog. Kudos to you Chris! How is Iraq? I might be joining you soon...that is after my training is done. I just earned my commission in the Army.

2LT Guy Gregory

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
AFN Broadcaster said...

FYI...This blog is a place to attack ideas, not people.