Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Into the Flames

While I slog through ribbon-cuttings here in the States, Chris Jackson is rushing headlong into peril far from home. The Fox News Channel freelance cameraman was on patrol with Marines in Afghanistan Sunday night, when a roadside bomb ripped through their Humvee. Oliver North of all people was traveling in the same convoy and witnessed the veteran photog's reaction to the fireball. He “walked right back into the flames [and] rescued one of the wounded Marines.” Jackson didn't have much time; ammunition inside the burning vehicle began firing off before he and others could extricate the wounded. Jackson and the two Marines riding with him were treated for leg injuries. The camera did not survive.

Lately, Afghanistan has been in the news for all the wrong reasons. With many Americans bogged down in the political trappings of the Iraqi morass, the struggle to control the Taliban stronghold has become a forgotten front. That changed last month with one of the most ferocious attacks in that theater's history - one that took the life of local boy Pruitt Rainey. These tragedies, along with the upcoming film release of Marcus Luttrell's excellent book Lone Survivor, will no doubt place the Afghanistan front back into the American imagination. But thanks to embedded photojournalists like Chris Jackson we have more than our imaginations to go on when trying to envision what it's like over there. RUH-spect.

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