By Tech. Sgt. Phyllis Hanson, Air Force Public Affairs Agency
Deployed to Afghanistan since October 2009, Tech. Sgts. Ken Raimondi and Nathan Gallahan came up with what they called a “pipe dream” which turned out to be an innovative way for an Air Force photojournalist and a broadcaster to share “big picture” Afghanistan first hand with readers and listeners, with immediacy, emotion and truth.
With a surprisingly quick approval from leadership, a thought in January became reality by February as the two Airmen, assigned to NATO’s International Security Assistance Force Joint Command Public Affairs, set off on their mission “to travel Afghanistan for 30 days to share the stories, meet the people and experience firsthand the counter insurgency.” Their cyber journalism journey, “30 Days through Afghanistan” had begun.
During a long-distance interview, March 26, for DoD Live Bloggers Roundtable the two Airmen shared their perspective of that journey and the difficulties, challenges and rewarding satisfaction they felt.
Over the course of what turned out be to 35 days, the Airmen vlogged (video broadcast) and blogged daily, covering the human perspective of what they encountered while covering all of ISAF’s five regional commands in Afghanistan.
What impressed me the most was that they did this day after day, camp after camp, making sure the communication kept rolling even if it took them into the wee hours of the night, to find a place to prepare and then tell their stories of that day’s adventure. Imagine the difficulties of getting an Internet connection there!
I thoroughly enjoyed the virtual travel with them. Although there were quite a few were “heart tugging” stories, they were able to mix in a little humor, too. It is also a good reminder that America isn’t fighting this battle alone as many of the stories focus on what American and Allied forces (NATO) see and do each day over in Afghanistan.
I look forward to seeing more of this type of reporting from our Air Force journalists and broadcasters in the future.