Well, I'm currently packing up the mound of gear you see at right (plus some), and will be on my way out the door in about 24 hours -- ultimate destination: Iraq. I'll have another two days in the states and then head out for Israel, where I'll be taking part in a 6-day media trip with some other bloggers. I plan to update from there.
I'll be heading out from Tel Aviv to Kuwait at the end of next week (a week from Friday), and then will begin the marathon that is the trip into Baghdad (expressed well - and more recently - here).
My first embed is scheduled to take place in Anbar, about four days after I reach Kuwait -- so I'm counting on the military transit system getting me up north in time :-)
After that, I'll be embedding with a Special Operations task force for a little while, then heading north to Diyala and to Kurdistan. I'll wrap up my embed back out at FOB Falcon, working with the 1-4 CAV (and will still be willing to make good on my offer to TNR).
It takes a lot of gear and a lot of cash to make these embed assignments happen; very few (if any) established media outlets will sponsor real front line embedded reporting, due to the enormous liability. I've been lucky enough this go-round to have several donors chip in significant amounts of their personal worth (and gear) and of my budget, and I really cannot thank them enough.
Expenses are tough to gauge while on a mission of this type; emergencies occur, gear inevitably needs fixing or replacing, etc., etc. So, if you (or someone you know) are interested in chipping in after I depart, feel free to do so (link on the right sidebar). Your donations are the only way that I can keep the lights on, so to speak; in order to do this, I (like my colleagues in this vocation) have to leave my job and basically forgo any steady source of income for the nearly three months of the journey.
That matter aside, I hope and plan to provide the best front line reporting possible, both written and photographically, with HD Video* thrown in for good measure. I will transmit back everything that I can -- good, bad, etc. -- and hope that you and many, many other Americans will take advantage of the availability of such information as you go about your daily lives and your decision-making process.
Updates can be seen here, and I will post at RedState as often as possible, as well. Further, I will be contributing some dispatches to Vets for Freedom's website, so please pop on by over there, as well.
Again, thanks so much for your support. I would appreciate it if you would keep Iraq in your thoughts and prayers, at least for the next few weeks, though I ask that you pray, like I do, for the men that I will be working with, rather than for myself.
With a little luck, and a whole lot of sweat and elbow grease, I hope to provide information to all of you that few (if any) else can. I thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for your interest and support.
I will see you all again soon.
*My good friend JD Johannes continues to remind me that I am shooting in what he calls "fake" HD. I'm filming 1080i/720p, which was HD, until the newfangled filmpersons like him came around and raised the bar to 1080p. Jeez.
By the way, catch the sequel to his original documentary, "Outside the Wire," on the History Channel this August. He is one heck of an embed and one heck of a filmmaker (along with being one heck of a guy :-)