It was a typically hot and dusty day in Baghdad — Monday, May 29, 2006, Memorial Day in the United States. CBS News correspondent Kimberly Dozier, cameraman Paul Douglas and soundman James Brolan were embedded with the U.S. Army's Fourth Infantry Division to produce a report on the fact that it was "just another day at work" for the troops in Iraq — no hot dogs, no burgers and no family outings.
In a war that has claimed the lives of 104 journalists and more than 3,300 American soldiers, the Karradah neighborhood was chosen for the trip because it was thought to be relatively safe, although a bomb had exploded there just the day before.
The device used in the Memorial Day bombing weighed approximately 300 to 500 pounds, was packed into a yellow taxi and was detonated remotely, a scenario all but commonplace in Iraq. The explosion of this car bomb shortly after 10 a.m. that morning was an occurrence seen virtually every day in cities and towns throughout Iraq; its consequences, too, would, sadly, be considered almost routine.
This blast, however, hit home for CBS News, as it killed Douglas and Brolan, as well as Army Capt. James Alex Funkhouser and his Iraqi translator and severely injured Dozier and several members of the Fourth I.D.
"Flashpoint," a CBS News primetime special anchored by Katie Couric, traces the scores of lives forever changed by this single bomb and, in so doing, tells the story of the war in Iraq — the loss, heroism, pain, guilt, luck and, eventually for some, recovery that thousands of people experience. It will be broadcast one year to the day of the attack, Tuesday, May 29, at 10 p.m. ET/PT.
Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) are responsible for roughly half of the American combat casualties in Iraq. Dozier, who has covered the war in Iraq since 2003, says, "That was one small bomb …You think how many lives, day after day after day, are being torn apart, how many sacrifices are being made. I thought I understood that … I didn't really understand it until I lived through it."
Dozier suffered multiple critical wounds, including shredded upper legs, severe burns to her legs, shrapnel in her head and a blown-out eardrum. She lost a tremendous amount of blood and her heart stopped twice.
Dr. David Steinbruner, who attended to Dozier at the 10th Surgical Hospital in Baghdad just a few hours after the attack, said, "… She was as white as a sheet … Her legs were clearly badly injured and she … seemed to me unconscious … [I] came up to the bedside … just to see if she could breath, if she was alive … And she said to me with closed eyes, with the mask on, 'My name is Kim.' "
Despite that utterance, Dozier was in very bad shape. Dr. Steinbruner recalls the day. "We lose the pulse … so we slam home blood as fast as we can. I get a pulse back. By definition, she died for a moment … I … think of that as being on the edge of a precipice between life and death, and she's … rocking back and forth. She's still alive, but I don't know how much longer."
Dozier's memory of the blast is limited. "I couldn't feel anything, I couldn't see anything, I couldn't hear anything," she says. "I do remember somewhere in all of that … I said, 'Where are my guys? How are my guys?' "
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