Dozier Heading Back To U.S.

Kimberly Dozier being transported back to the United States, Wednesday, June 7, 2006.
CBS
CBS News correspondent Kimberly Dozier, seriously wounded in Iraq by a car bomb that killed four other people, is on her way back to the United States Wednesday. Dozier, who is flying out of Germany, will be heading for Washington, D.C., and still faces a long road to full recovery.

Dozier will fly into Andrews Air Force Base near Washington, D.C. and will be admitted into Bethesda Naval Hospital in Maryland.

Linda Mason, Senior Vice President, Standards and Special Projects, CBS News, who has been with Dozier since her arrival at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, reports the swelling of Kimberly's face has decreased significantly, she had the first physical therapy session on her legs Tuesday, and she had her hair washed.

Dozier is in good spirits, says Mason.

Dozier, 39, was critically wounded May 29 while reporting a story last week in Iraq. The attack killed her camera crew — Britons Paul Douglas and James Brolan — as well as a U.S. soldier and an Iraqi translator.

She underwent two emergency surgeries in Iraq before being flown the next day to the U.S. military's Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in southern Germany. She suffered head and lower body injuries, and her family said she would need rods in her legs.

She was initially scheduled to be flown home Sunday, but the plane expected to carry her was full.

On Saturday, Dozier was able to eat solid food for the first time since the blast. Her father fed her cream soup, orange juice and chocolate pudding.

When Dozier first arrived in Germany she could not talk or breathe and was immobile. Now she is sitting up, talking with her family, cracking jokes with her boyfriend and eating.

"She's sharp as a tack. Really," Dozier's father, Benjamin, told CBS News correspondent Sheila MacVicar last Thursday. "She knows where she is. She knows the questions to ask."

Her first question then was: "What (happened to the) crew?" Her family and doctors agreed, if she asked, that she should be told what happened — that Brolan and Douglas died in the attack.

When Dozier heard the news, "You could tell it upset her. She kind of closed her eyes," Dozier's mother, Dorothy, told MacVicar. "I know how deeply she feels, and when she can voice her feelings it will be much easier for her."

The three journalists, who were embedded with the 4th Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, were doing a Memorial Day story about what life is like for the troops in Baghdad when an explosives-packed car blew up nearby.

Dozier, Douglas and Brolan had been riding in an armored Humvee. But at the time of the blast in the Karada section of Baghdad, they were outside on the street, accompanying troops who had stopped to inspect a checkpoint manned by the Iraqi Army. They were wearing helmets, flak jackets and protective eyeglasses when the bomb went off.

Douglas, 48, and Brolan, 42, died at the scene of the explosion, which also killed a U.S. soldier and an Iraqi interpreter and wounded six U.S. soldiers. The soldier has been identified as Army Capt. James Funkhouser, 35, who had been in Iraq only a few months, and leaves behind a wife, Jennifer, and two daughters, Caitlyn and Allison.

Douglas leaves a wife, Linda; two daughters, Kelly, 29, and Joanne, 26; and three grandchildren. Brolan leaves a wife, Geraldine; and two children, Sam, 18, and Agatha, 12.

Douglas had worked for CBS News in many countries since the early 1990s, including Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Rwanda and Bosnia

Brolan was a freelancer who had worked with CBS News in Baghdad and Afghanistan during the past year. He was part of the CBS News team that had received a 2006 Overseas Press Club Award for its reporting on the Pakistan earthquake.

Dozier has been a CBS News correspondent reporting from Iraq for the past three years. Her previous assignments include the post of London bureau chief and chief European correspondent for CBS Radio News from 1996-2002, and chief correspondent for WCBS-TV's Middle East bureau. She has won three American Women in Radio and Television (AWRT) Gracie Awards for her radio reports on Mideast violence, Kosovo and the Afghan war.

Scores of journalists — nearly 75 percent of them Iraqis — have been injured, killed or kidnapped in Iraq since the 2003 U.S.-led invasion that ousted the government of Iraqi president Saddam Hussein.

The suburban Baltimore high school from which Dozier graduated more than 20 years ago honored her Sunday at its graduation.

"Kim provides an incredible example for us of an ordinary person just like you doing the extraordinary," said St. Timothy's headmaster Randy Stevens.