Covering Conflict: Journalists Share Stories Of Mo. National Guard Soldiers | St. Louis Public Radio

Covering Conflict: Journalists Share Stories Of Mo. National Guard Soldiers

Feb 20, 2013

Military men and women who serve overseas encounter dangerous situations and often struggle with separation from family and friends.

The same is true of journalists who embed themselves with soldiers.

St. Louis Post-Dispatch chief photographer J.B. Forbes, who has worked at the newspaper since 1975, and reporter Jesse Bogan recently returned from Afghanistan.  They were embedded with about 100 members of the Missouri National Guard’s 1138th Engineer Company, covering and sharing the stories of soldiers who have temporarily left their civilian jobs.  

The 1138th, which performs their mission in southern Afghanistan departed in July 2012 and are scheduled to return this May.

Part of the Company’s mission is to find and dismantle buried roadside bombs along supply and infantry routes.

“As they drive over certain roads, (some soldiers) say, ‘please don’t blow up, please don’t blow up, please don’t blow up,” Forbes told host Don Marsh.

“They’re going out there and creeping along these roads at two miles per hour…It can be tedious and boring…It takes patience,” Bogan said.

Marsh talked with Forbes and Bogan about their most recent special coverage of Afghanistan and work covering other conflicts and disasters.


While President Barack Obama has announced that the United States plans to withdraw most troops from Afghanistan by the end of 2014, thousands remain.

Journalistic Commitment

Post-Dispatch editor Gilbert Bailon points out the sacrifice and commitment of soldiers doesn’t “garner headlines unless tragedy strikes… It is important to remind readers about their risks and contributions that make a distant war closer to home and more human.”

Follow St. Louis on the Air on Twitter - @STLonAir