Embedded Journalists Bringing War Into Vet's Home
Posted April 7, 2003 7:01 a.m. EDT
FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. — Americans are becoming used to daily war headlines.
Embedded journalists and modern technology are bringing viewers the latest developments straight from the front lines.
It's been nearly 60 years since Jimmy Gilbert went to war as a member of the 3rd Infantry Division. But by watching reports from embedded journalists, the World War II rifleman said it feels like he deployed with the soldiers all over again.
"I know what they are feeling, and I know how scared they are," Gilbert said. "If you are not scared in war, you are not human."
In World War II, the 3rd Infantry Division was the most decorated division. In Operation Iraqi Freedom, the same division has stayed busy, too. It's been seen on TV seizing the international airport and Saddam Hussein's palace in Baghdad.
The 77-year-old Gilbert said there's one big difference between then and now:
"Years ago, it would have taken several days for embedded reporters to pass on the accomplishments we now hear in a matter of minutes," he said. "Back then, it was hard to get an across-the-ocean telephone call."
Gilbert said the most detailed report from his day about the 3rd Infantry Division was in Redbook magazine, four months after the war ended.
He said today's technology is good for the soldiers and for America. But that doesn't necessarily mean the coverage is good for veterans.
"It took me five years to stop jumping up in the middle of the night screaming after the war," he said.
So Gilbert limits his TV viewing to an hour a day. It's his way of watching his beloved division while trying to keep clear of combat.