The war waged by the United States and our allies in Iraq was historic for many reasons. One was the unprecedented access to live war coverage. Two Savannah journalists, reporter Noelle Phillips and photographer John Carrington, were embedded with Fort Stewart's Third Infantry Division. They covered the war for the Savannah Morning News and WTOC, and it's an event they'll never forget.
"We've worked with the military a lot over the years, mostly been on training missions or peacekeeping with the Army, but this was nothing like that," said Carrington. "It was an actual war."
"It's a lot different when something's going to be shooting back at you," said Phillips.
"If you don't have a little fear, something is wrong," noted Carrington.
"We both looked at each other and admitted that this time, we were scared about going and got that out of the way," said Phillips. "This time we were both very nervous."
Reporting for WTOC along the way, living just like the soldiers, these two kept all of us informed as to what our troops were doing, which wasn't easy.
"One minute I had an Iraqi little girl blowing me kisses, the next mortar rounds were blowing up all around us," said Phillips. "Emotions were all over the place."
While Phillips chronicled the invasion, Carrington's pictures visually recorded this historic events, showing all of us, among other things, that the Iraqi people are not all that different from us. Some are youngsters just living their everyday lives, like herding sheep. Others showing the horrors of war, their pain evident, a family caught in a crossfire, the American troops saving their lives, and a medical corpsman giving the children coloring books to pass the time.
"It shows you the horrors of war, an innocent family caught in crossfire," said Phillips. "The medical corpsmen really gave them good treatment."
both Phillips and Carrington have lived through a gripping chapter in world history. Their impressions?
"It was rewarding, the adventure of a lifetime," said Carrington.
"It was definitely a life-changing experience, just to be a part of it," said Phillips.
You can hear more of their incredible tale this Saturday at 7:30pm as WTOC presents A Celebration of America: Images from the Front, right after THE News at 7.