Five years ago on Memorial Day, former CBS News correspondent Kimberly Dozier and her team were reporting in Baghdad when a car bomb exploded, killing four people, including her cameraman, Paul Douglas, and her sound man, James Brolan.
Dozier was critically wounded, but after several surgeries and a long rehabilitation, she returned to work in the war-torn area. She writes about the experience in her 2008 memoir "Breathing the Fire," which was recently updated and reissued in paperback. (Read an excerpt of the book.)
Dozier, who is now with Associated Press Intelligence and Special Operations, said she returned to Iraq to finish her mission there. She said, "I know a lot of troops who feel the same way. ... It's not the adrenaline rush of being in a war zone. It is being with your team, whether it's reporters or diplomats or troops -- the people to your left and your right that you rely on in a situation like that."
Dozier said it was a return to normalcy for her and a statement that her life didn't stop when the bomb went off.
"The car bomb didn't stop my way of life," she said. "It didn't stop what I'd spent years building. I have been back. I go back regularly now. It was hairy the first couple times I went. ... When you drove down Baghdad's airport road or when I was in Kabul when General Petraeus, who was commander, then flew me around, it was a little bit like, 'Alright, we're back in the Red Zone. Something could happen.' But after I got past the initial surge of fear, I was back home, and the people there were like, 'Hey, welcome back. What took you so long?"'
Dozier said she wrote the book and returned to the field, in part, because she wanted to pay it forward to the people who died in the attack.
She said, "I'm here for a reason. I want to set an example. I know a lot of troops come back to the States and find we in the media have done a great job telling the story of troops who need help and not a great job telling the story of troops who come back with more resilience, more strength, more wisdom because they were tested by fire in the field. I'm a loudmouth. I can stand up and talk about that. Yes, I have been through trauma, through war. I'm a better reporter for it. I hope I'm a better person for it. This is why I keep trying to tell the story."
These days, Dozier is trying to change public perception of veterans.
"People are a little fearful of (veterans)," she said. "They wonder, 'Do you have Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder?' Not, 'Hey, you've got Post[Traumatic Growth,' as it's called. People who were tested in the field -- they have been through things other Americans can't imagine. These are the people you want on your team. Instead, we find veteran unemployment is higher than regular rates; it's up to 30 percent in some states. I really want to get the message out: This should not be what you think of when you see a veteran. You should think, 'Wow, this person knows more than anybody else I could hire."'
She added, "Fewer than one percent of (people in) this country serve in uniform. It's an alien culture. People will thank a veteran, but won't hire a veteran. That's also why I brought the book out. Profits go to Wounded Warrior charities to try to bridge the gap between the public and the people who have been fighting for them in the field."