The Lonely Mile

E-mail Steve

Oct. 6,  2004

I went to meet Col. Oliver North at Camp Victory near the airport in Baghdad. The road to the airport is called Route Irish. It is considered by many to be the most dangerous strip of highway in Iraq. One security guy calls it "the lonely mile." On our way in, a car ten minutes ahead of us got shot up. The passengers, from a private security firm, were killed.

Col. North advised me on how to embed with U.S. Marines. During our talks throughout the day he was asked at least 100 times to pose for photographs with soldiers or Marines. Each time he did it with grace, stopping to talk to everyone.

I managed to make a quick stop at the military PX to buy eye protection. Most of the soldiers wear wrap-around Wiley X sunglasses. They have small pads behind the lenses to cushion the blow if you are hit with anything. They also have clear lenses that you can pop in for night trips. I bought two pairs, leaving one in day mode and one in night mode so I won't have to worry about popping out lenses, and will also be okay if I lose one pair.

Two engineers, Griz and Andy Roberts took me through the gear. First Griz put the night vision lens on the camera, then took it off, then had me do it. This is the best way, to do everything yourself once instead of trying it out in the field, since there are often surprises.

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Steve Harrigan currently serves as a Miami-based correspondent for Fox News Channel (FNC). He joined the network in 2001 as a Moscow-based correspondent.