Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Joe's Article

My Uncle Bob who fought in the Ia Drang Valley and is good friends with Joe Galloway emailed this article from Joe. I thought I would pass it on to you:

effective june 1 i am gone....
Legendary War Reporter Quitting KR Military Beat
Joe Galloway
By Joe Strupp
Published: March 16, 2006 11:45 AM ETWASHINGTON, D.C.
After 41 years on the military beat, covering stories from Fort Riley, Kan. to Vietnam and Iraq, Joe Galloway says he is taking a permanent leave. Come June 1, the 64-year-old scribe will give up his desk at Knight Ridder’s D.C. bureau and settle permanently in the bayfront cottage he owns just north of Corpus Christi, Tex.“I consider myself the luckiest guy in the world to have survived against the odds, to have had the experiences, the stories, the people that this profession has given me,” Galloway said this week during an interview in the Knight Ridder bureau. “And I got paid to do it, admittedly not much.”Galloway stressed that his retirement is unrelated to the pending purchase of Knight Ridder by McClatchy, which will include a merger of the two chains’ D.C. outposts. “My plans had nothing to do with that, nothing whatsoever,” he said, adding that he considers McClatchy’s takeover the best outcome that could be expected. “You didn’t want to end up in the hands of some Wall Street pirates.”But don’t think the legendary battlefield writer is retiring completely. He’ll continue to pen his weekly column and plans to write another book with Gen. Hal Moore, with whom he co-authored “We Were Soldiers Once&hellipAnd Young” in 1992.“That is a hellacious writing job and has to get done by the end of the year,” he said of the new book, which will be published by Harper Collins. (The previous book was made into a Hollywood movie starring Mel Gibson.) He also said he has three or four books planned after that. “I have a plan, but I will keep my hold cards down for now,” he added with a grin. “There is a memoir somewhere down the line.”After the project with Moore, Galloway also plans to finish a book for the late Iris Chang on the history of a Naval Guard unit that fought on Bataan in World War II. After Chang’s tragic suicide in 2004, her family asked Galloway to complete her work. “She had done a good deal of reporting and I agreed to take it over,” said Gallloway, who spoke in between sips of coffee in an empty bureau office. “They asked me to take it over and I agreed.”Still, even with his side projects, Galloway’s life will change dramatically with the retirement from beat coverage, he said. For someone whose combat reporting began in Vietnam with UPI, Galloway has had his hand in the trenches for nearly every major conflict since, including two stints in Iraq – the most recent ending just two months ago.He has turned increasingly critical of the Iraq war and Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld's handling of it. A few months ago, he was invited to lunch with the Pentagon chief, but when they parted, Galloway informed Rumsfeld, “I want you to know that I'm going to keep kicking your butt, to keep you focused.”What drives Galloway? "It is always the soldiers, the Marines, the people you march with,” he said of his memories from four decades of G.I. tales. “They’ve always welcomed me and all other reporters for the most part. We’re pretty much the only people they see on the battlefield that don’t come from the big green machine.”In that time, Galloway has gotten his share of scoops and awards, and several years ago had an award named for him – the Joseph L. Galloway Award for Distinguished Journalism, given by Military Reporters and Editors, a group he helped found.He says the military’s relationship with the press has always been a seesaw battle, but fears it is on a downtrend because of this administration’s approach. “Military/media relations are like a pendulum on a clock. They swing from really good to really bad and back again,” he said in his trademark deep voice. “It is probably swinging back the wrong way.”But Galloway sees some hope for improvement, particularly with the embedding program that he contends was a success. “The ideal is free and open coverage,” he said of combat reporting. “But in this modern wartime, embedding is the next best thing.”Twice married and the father of two grown sons, Galloway will be relocating not far from where he first worked a reporting beat at the Victoria (Texas) Advocate. In between writing projects, he plans to continue his local hobbies of hunting and fishing.“It is a town of about 300, if you count the yellow yard dogs,” he said of Bayside, Texas, where his cottage is located. “I’ll probably do five books in 10 to 15 years, by then I’ll be decrepit.”

***Greg Mitchell, E&P's editor, wrote a Nov. 3, 2005, "Pressing Issues" column about Galloway's luncheon with Donald Rumsfeld. It follows:***
It started Tuesday with ordering a tuna fish sandwich and ended more than an hour later with the guest/reporter telling the Secretary of Defense, “I'm going to keep kicking your butt.” And in between? Let Joe Galloway tell you.For at least two years, Knight Ridder military editor and columnist Joe Galloway has been one of the most persistent and harshest critics of Pentagon chief Donald Rumsfeld's handling of the Iraq war, and other military issues, from an informed position. Galloway is one of the celebrated war correspondents of our time, winner of a Bronze Star for valor during the Vietnam conflict, and co-author of the book “We Were Soldiers Once ... and Young.”About six weeks ago, perhaps recognizing Galloway's credibility and the growing chorus of criticism from others, Rumsfeld's office invited the correspondent to what it called “a private lunch” at the Pentagon. No one told Galloway why, but he didn't have to guess. “I knew they weren't planning to give me some kind of ribbon,” Galloway told me today.Asked if he spiffed up for the meeting, Galloway acknowledged that he did “put on a tie,” then took the metro to the Pentagon from his apartment on the Potomac in nearby Arlington, Va.Well, as it turned out, the lunch wasn't quite private, as the two men were joined by the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, two other brass, and a Pentagon spokesman. “Five to one, they had me surrounded,” Galloway said. “I've been doing this for 47 years and it was the first time I had a command performance with an audience like that.”How did it go? “I had a fun time,” Galloway revealed. “I don't know about the rest of them.”They met in Rumsfeld's “huge” office around a conference table. Galloway had ordered a tuna sandwich on the way in and found that Rummy was also eating tuna, but salad style. When Rumsfeld noticed that Joe had eaten the tuna but left the bread he ribbed him about that -- imagine, waste at the Pentagon!Rumsfeld, Galloway related (in our interview and in a column he wrote about the episode today), was cordial and smiling throughout, but quickly demanded to know why he himself wasn't hearing all the negative stuff about the lack of progress in Iraq and the military grumblings that the writer was picking up on. Galloway reminded him that someone in Rumsfeld's position was not likely to get much bad news passed up the chain of command.Then Rummy questioned his sources, suggesting they were perhaps all retired generals far from the scene. Galloway replied that about half were active duty and many of them “not only active duty, but also work in the Pentagon.” Some might even be on Rumsfeld's staff.As the discussion went on, Galloway continued to raise issues about the state of our military, as the generals argued that “the Army was not broken and things were not going so badly in Iraq.” Rumsfeld occasionally took notes on a yellow pad. He “seemed to be enjoying it when I got into it with one of the other guys,” Galloway told me. “He would lean back in his chair with a grin and watch us go at it. I had the impression he was listening very carefully to everything and here and there he heard something that might need follow up. I suspect he will shower a few snowflakes [memos] down on them, maybe starting today. “The Knight Ridder columnist asked whether the U.S. could figure out a better way of fighting the war than sending our troops down the same road only to be blown up by IEDs. Rumsfeld claimed he agreed and had ordered that our emphasis shift even more to training Iraqis.Galloway also pressed him on one of his pet issues -- military “bill collectors” going after ex-soldiers who maybe had lost a limb or two in Iraq. Rumsfeld blamed it on the Pentagon computer system but said steps were being taken to address that.When Rumsfeld took issue with Joe's most recent column, in which he charged that the Pentagon, a la Vietnam, was pushing “body counts,” Galloway stood his ground, saying, “If you don't want to do body counts then stop doing them.”After more than an hour, the Pentagon spokesman told his boss, “sir, we are way out of time,” but Galloway thought the meeting could have gone on for another hour or more. As he headed for the door, Rumsfeld guided him to an anteroom to show him a framed letter he found in his late father's belongings. It was written by Defense Secretary James Forrestal to the elder Rumsfeld, thanking him for his service in the Navy during the Pacific War. Rumsfeld, of course, has never served in combat himself.On the way out, the defense secretary said, in parting: "I want you to know that I love soldiers and I care about soldiers. All of us here do." Well, one would hope so.In parting, Galloway told me, he informed Rumsfeld, “I want you to know that I'm going to keep kicking your butt, to keep you focused.”Rumsfeld replied, “That's okay, I can take it.”Two days later now, I asked Joe about Rumsfeld's central belief -- that he was getting the true story on Iraq and the state of the military and Galloway was not.“Besides talking to people, I get a tremendous amount of e-mail from people in the military and in the Pentagon who read my column and react to it,” he replied. “They are concerned. What I'm hearing is that 99% of these readers are 100% in favor of what I am writing, and ask me to keep at it. Unfortunately, if I am right, the military is in a lot of trouble.”Anything else you left out of today's column, I wondered? “I got a peek at the bathroom in his office,” Galloway said, deadpan, “and he has a bank of cartoons posted there.”

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