I'm an award-winning journalist who has focused on health issues,
from the Affordable Care Act to veterans' issues to military health.
That has meant embedding both in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as
the White House.
I've worked for USA TODAY, Military Times, The Oregonian, The
Chicago Tribune, The Salt Lake Tribune and the Ogden
Standard-Examiner, with stints freelancing for The Denver Post, The
AP, NASA, Reader's Digest and The Daily Beast.
I'm also the best-selling author of "They Fought for Each Other: The
Triumph and Tragedy of the Hardest Hit Unit in Iraq," published by St.
Martin's Press in 2008.
I embedded with Charlie Co, 1-26 Infantry, in Adhamiya, Iraq, in June
2007, and was with them for one of their worst days--but they had a
lot of them.
In December 2006, 19-year-old Ross McGinnis threw himself on a
grenade to save four friends. He received the Medal of Honor. A
Humvee rolled over a roadside bomb, killing two soldiers and severely
burning the others. In June, a Bradley hit another bomb, and it killed
five soldiers and an Iraqi interpreter. Soon after, a well-loved first
sergeant in the battalion, 1SG Jeff McKinney, killed himself in front of
his men after not sleeping, eating or drinking for several days. Then,
a second Bradley hit a bomb, instantly killing four soldiers. The
platoon I embedded with was accused of mutiny after they refused to
go out after the second Bradley was hit. They said they feared they
would kill everyone they saw because they were so full of rage.
Charlie Company lost 14 men, and Second Platoon came home
without nine of their friends.
The book also details their good days, as well as some of the silly
things they did, such as setting up rat traps in the middle of the night
to scare other soldiers or wearing purple wigs out on patrol. I wrote
about the guys for a series in Army Times called Blood Brothers.
I finished my graduate degree in journalism in the advanced
professional program at the University of Colorado in 2007. I also
taught editing and page design, and newswriting at the University of
Northern Colorado, as well as critical thinking and writing at CU. I
earned my bachelor's in journalism at Colorado State University