Going where the news is

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When WRAL's Fayetteville bureau reporter Bryan Mims headed to Fort Bragg Thursday morning, he knew he'd be talking to members of the 82nd Airborne bound for a humanitarian assignment in Haiti. Three hours later, he found himself on a cargo plane with the soldiers, headed to see what devastation a 7.0-magnitude earthquake wrought.

Mims, whose wife recently gave birth to a son, jumped at the chance to join the soldiers. In a phone call Thursday from Puerto Rico -- where the plane stopped to refuel -- he told us he was excited, anxious and nervous.

The new dad did not know what to expect, or when he'd see his family again. Soldiers told him they were prepared for a mission that lasted anywhere from a week to 45 days.

He'll be joined by WRAL colleagues Tom Normanly, a photographer, and Tony Gupton, an engineer, on Friday. Together the trio will report the personal stories of tragedy and triumph as one of the world's poorest nations tries to recover from this natural disaster.

They'll feed back text, photos and video as much as Internet and satellite connections allow and we'll bring you their first-hand experiences.

Normanly will also post to his Twitter account. You can follow his (sometimes offbeat) take here: http://twitter.com/Runaway__Jim.

Just getting our crew to Haiti took a team effort. Managers dealt with the military while the men rushed home to pack for a trip of indeterminate length. None of them knows what conditions will be once they arrive.

"I guess I'll be winging it," Mims said.

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