21 October 2010

Des Moines Register Covers Fort Irwin, Calif.

The Des Moines (Iowa) Register also embedded a reporter-photographer team with soldiers of the Iowa National Guard's 2nd Brigade Combat Team (B.C.T.), 34th Infantry Division earlier this month. More than 3,000 Iowa and Nebraska soldiers were participating in large-scale wargames at the National Training Center, Fort Irwin, Calif. prior to moving out to Afghanistan.

Editorial comment: While I wasn't born here, I grew up and graduated high school in Iowa. (Full-disclosure: In my school daze, I technically once worked for the Gannett Corp., the newspaper's current owner.) I remember when The Des Moines Register ran an editorial cartoon on its front page, and printed its Sunday edition on peach-color newsprint, and featured homegrown and corn-fed wordsmiths such as Donald Kaul, Chuck Offenburger, John Carlson, and Ken Fuson.

As I've mentioned before in this blog, I've been extremely impressed with the quantity and quality of The Register's coverage of the Red Bull's upcoming deployment to Afghanistan. (In fact, I think the newspaper is generally improved, despite repeated budget- and staff-cuts in recent years.) No doubt that's due to someone higher-up in the newsroom--I'm sorry, that's now called an "information center"--committing precious Gannett dollars. But it's also due to hardworking craftspeople such as Register reporters Tony Leys and Reid Forgrave, and photographer Rodney White.

Look for their bylines, and buy their newspaper. Support the First Amendment by supporting the Fourth Estate. Do it, or I'll use this soapbox on you again.

As always, you can keep up with most of The Des Moines Register's coverage of the Red Bull via the newspaper's "Iowa National Guard" blog.

What follows is a quick summary The Register's coverage of the Red Bull at the National Training Center, Fort Irwin, Calif. Meanwhile, a special shout-out in praise of White's photographic work (to see slide-show gallery, click here). I've taken the liberty of posting one example above. Even this mil-blogger has to admit: A professional shooter is worth a thousand blog posts.


  1. My brother, SSg Benjamin Sonksen is also on his 4th tour in only 7 years. He has a wife and two little boys at home in Iowa. Almost same story - he dropped down to National Guard from full-service Army, and has been deployed twice since doing so.

  2. @ Heather: Thank you for your family's service! One of the reasons I started the Red Bull Rising blog was to educate people on the services and sacrifices we have asked of our National Guard friends and neighbors!

    Some people, after all, still don't realize that today's National Guard is a full partner in U.S. military efforts. As you know, there's no such thing as "one weekend a month." We ask an awful lot of our citizen-soldiers ... and their families.

  3. My son joined less than 2 years ago and is going to Afghanistan. I was a bit surprised because he is 39 years old with a wife and 4 children. He really loves our country. It is quite a sacrifice on his part as well as his family. His 13 year old son has become very quiet, the older ones stay very busy with school and work and when his little 8 year old daughter starts to cry because she is missing him, I have to do all I can to keep the tears away myself. I hope and pray their mission is a success. God bless our troops.

  4. I was actually following this while you were out there. The Des Moines Register? You mean the Pulitzer Prize winning Des Moines Register? I know it well. I'm glad to see the "information center" embedding a reporter to Ft. Irwin. Let's hope they decide to keep them, and send them to Afghanistan and other parts East.


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