Friday, April 23, 2010

Michael Yon and Mess Deck Therapy

Michael Yon has done our country, cause and troops a great service as an embedded reporter in the Sandbox. I've relied on his reporting heavily to inform my views of the war in Iraq and A'stan.

For quite a while there he was one of the only sources that was reporting first hand while the pool journalists hunkered down in the Green Zone. He still gets out there in front more than anyone else I've found reporting. He's become more than just a reporter for many of his readers -- he's a patriot and a brother veteran.

All that's to call attention to his recent de-embedding by our military. I picked up on it soon as he posted on Facebook.

Since then there's been plenty of words in the mil blogosphere about his status.
There's even been a song parody about him (based on Carly Simon's "You're So Vain").

The mil blogger's almost universally think Yon's getting what he deserves for tone of some posts and needs some R&R. Maj Z's take on it is that he's "Gone Nanners."

From Yon's Facebook posts it sounds like continue reporting unembedded but is not getting any R&R.

I wrote my Congressman, Duncan D. Hunter, Capt USMC, himself a 2 time vet of the sandbox and asked him to check into Yon's de-embed.

Here's the response I received from Congressman Hunter,

April 23, 2010

Dear "recovering sailor":

Thank you for contacting me with your thoughts on the situation with embedded reporter Michael Yon. It is good to hear from you and I welcome the opportunity to respond to you on this matter.

As you know, according to Mr. Yon he had been directed to end his embed with coalition forces serving in Afghanistan because of an attempt to filter the coverage of the counter-insurgency campaign in Afghanistan. According to a recent statement made by military officials, "As his (Michael Yon) agreed-upon time in Afghanistan began to wind down, he let it be known that he intended to remain embedded through August of this year. Given a finite ability to host embedded reporters, this decision amounted to a choice to deny some of his colleagues an opportunity that he had enjoyed from more than two months, and which he can always request to repeat. The ripple effects of that choice in one way or another would have impacted 26 journalists currently scheduled to embed later this month (who are still waiting to be matched with available slots), 76 who have been wait-listed because of a lack of slots, and hundreds more who are hoping to embed in Kandahar later this summer. The responsible PAOs therefore decided to disembed Yon against his wishes."

As a veteran of both the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan I understand full well the importance of making certain that the courageous stories of our troops fighting in harm's way are made available to the public. As well as the stories that expose poor judgment and government waste and fraud. Rest assured I will be following this story very closely with your thoughts firmly in mind.

Again, thank you for contacting me. If you have any further questions or concerns please do not hesitate to contact me.


Duncan Hunter
Member of Congress

In case anyone cares here's my take on it...

Lately Michael’s tone has reminded me a bit of a guy who’s been on WesPac too long without a beer day.

Michael is prior enlisted and therefore no officer and gentleman. I don’t expect the tone of his reporting to sound like he's a politically correct ring knocker. In fact, that's much of his appeal. As as a former enlisted guy an old Navy NCO I expect (and enjoy) his blue collar perspective and language.

Truth is there’s critical talk that’s normal, expected and even healthy in berthing or the shop when the Chief and Div O aren’t around. Ya gotta keep it in bounds though.

The purpose of that "mess deck" therapy is to vent and recalibrate among mates, not to go back up on deck with a sour grapes attitude. That does the individual or the group effort no good at all.

A little leaven, leavens the whole lump.

Like I said at the top, I've relied on his reporting heavily to inform my views of the war in Iraq and A'stan. I'll continue to follow his reports and facebook posts.

I'd encourage others to continue following his posts. Just be sure to "Eat the chicken. Leave the bones."

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