Fallen staff sergeant honored among slain journalists

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Staff Sgt. James P. Hunter’s job was to report from the war zone, to provide a connection between the soldiers of the 101st Airborne and their families back home. And Hunter took his job seriously.

This week, Hunter was honored at the Newseum in Washington, DC, alongside 76 journalists memorialized in the rededication ceremony of the Journalist’s Memorial. Of those, 59 journalists died in 2010.

On June 18, 2010, Hunter, 25,of South Amherst, Ohio, was accompanying a foot patrol in Kandahar  when he was killed in a roadside bomb attack.

“I’ll always remember [Hunter] as the guy who always volunteered for the tough assignments,” Lt. Col. J. Frank Garcia, an Army public affairs officer who worked closely with Hunter at Fort Campbell, Ky., told the Armed Forces Press Service. “He was the kind of guy who wanted to be up front with the troops, living with them and experiencing their experiences and making sure the world knew their stories.”

According to an Associated Press article that reported Hunter’s death last year, he was the first killed in combat since Sept. 11, 2001. However, his was not the first since the war began; Maj. Megan McClung, a Marine public affairs officer, was killed in 2006 in Iraq.

Hunter’s reports from Iraq included how soldiers worked with the Sons of Iraq movement and about life returning to normal in a Baghdad neighborhood in 2008, the AP reported. His photographs captured curious Iraqi children following troops on patrols, and Iraqi doctors and Army medics treating Iraqis.

“No family wants to be left in the dark and they want to know what their soldier is doing,” Kimberly Warren, editor of the Fort Cambell Courier, told the AP. “That’s our job.”

[via Armed Forces Press Service]

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