Ollie North and Newsweek must honor sacrifice of Maj. Megan McClung

Oliver North
Oliver North

On Dec. 6 Marine Maj. and Public Affairs Officer (PAO) Megan McClung, along with Operation Anaconda hero Army Cpt. Travis Patriquin and Spec. Vincent Pomante piled into a Humvee at Camp Ramadi, located outside of the city. They accompanied Lt. Col. Oliver North and his Fox crew plus at least one journalist from Newsweek downtown. This was a special favor to them as most journalists, self included, go into that treacherous area without PAO escort. Every single trip into Ramadi is a major risk. Indeed, shortly after dropping off North and crew, an enormous IED ripped apart McClung’s Humvee. The journalists all escaped harm; all those in McClung’s vehicle died. I had been embedded twice in Ramadi under McClung and attended her funeral at Arlington Cemetery. She was, as they say, “A Marine’s Marine” and a vital asset to journalists seeking to embed in al Anbar province.

You might think North would want to honor the sacrifice of a fellow Marine; that Newsweek would surely write about McClung not just given the circumstances but because she was the highest-ranking American woman to die in the war. You’d be wrong on both counts.

Newsweek has yet to print her name. As to North, in a syndicated column of Dec. 8 he did mention McClung although he couldn’t use her name yet pending notification of kin. Remarkably, he made no mention that she was killed accompanying him and his crew.

Maj. Megan McClung

“A proffered hot cup of coffee was gratefully accepted as the Major helped us load our backpacks, camera gear and satellite broadcast equipment aboard a dust-encrusted Humvee,” he wrote. “Just hours later, this widely respected and much admired Marine officer and two brave U.S. Army soldiers were dead, killed by an IED — an improvised explosive device — the insidious weapon of choice for terrorists in Iraq.”

That’s it. He’s never even written her name nor that of those who died with her.

In my case, when a soldier risked his life in Ramadi to help me because he thought I was hurt even though I had just hit the ground to avoid machine fire, I gave him full credit.

One brave soul, who proved to be Sgt. Falk, risks his hide by jumping from his relatively safe position along the wall to pull me in. “I’m just taking cover!” I yell. But he’s determined to rescue me, even as my rolling [to a protective wall] and the lack of a handle on my body armor makes it impossible for him to grab me. That I wasn’t actually hurt makes him no less a hero in my book.

That’s the way it should be done. In this case, somebody did die trying to help these journalists and that should be acknowledged. Maybe you don’t expect anything more from Newsweek, but we should expect more from Marine Lt. Col. Oliver North.

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