St. Petersburg Times
Reports from a  region in conflict
This visit to the Middle East was one of many foreign trips Senior correspondent Susan Taylor Martin and Times photographer Jamie Francis have taken as a team. See the photo galleries.

photoTimes staff writer Wes Allison was attached to the 101st Airborne Division. He lived and traveled with the troops as they were deployed abroad.

Times staff photographer John Pendygraft was attached to the HMM 365, Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron, from New River North Carolina. Read his online journal from Kuwait, see the photo galleries and listen to his audio dispatches.

photoFormer Times staff writer Chuck Murphy was embedded among U.S. troops at Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan. Read his online journal.

Related graphics
Chemical and Biological warfare graphic [4/3/03]

Urban warfare graphic [3/23/03]

New gear for U.S. soldiers graphic [3/9/03]

U.S. bombers [3/21/03]

FOCUS ON: Prisoners of War [4/12/03]

Maps of Iraq
Graphic: Situation in Baghdad [4/5/03]
Graphic map [3/21/03]
Flash map [3/21/03]

Target Hussein graphic with map [8/18/02]

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 June 28, 2003
HMM 365, Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron reunion
Times staff photographer John Pendygraft and Photo Technology Director Jack Rowland were in New River, N.C., where Saturday morning the Marines from HMM 365 were reunited with the people they love. With audio and video

May 12, 2003
At their mercy
A 6-year-old girl suffers without care at an Iraqi hospital after being hurt in a car crash with her mother. Her struggle is typical in a country with poor medical equipment, underpaid staff and corrupt workers.

May 8, 2003
Susan Taylor Martin: Aid fails to reach those who need it most
Hospitals desperately need medicine, yet boxes remain piled up in an Iraqi warehouse.

May 6, 2003
Susan Taylor Martin: Unearthing brutal history
Thousands of people have set out to find family members who disappeared under Saddam Hussein's regime. For many, the search ends at a cemetary.

April 29, 2003
Susan Taylor Martin: In Baghdad, 3 weeks of heartache, and counting
A worried Najat Sleem asked her husband not to go to work. He went - but he did not return.

April 26, 2003
Susan Taylor Martin:
In Baghdad, lap of luxury isn't all that comfortable

BAGHDAD, Iraq - The war in Iraq pushed the Israeli-Palestinian conflict into the background, but it has made a media star of the Palestine Hotel.

April 25, 2003
Susan Taylor Martin:
Baghdad museum now image of destruction

BAGHDAD, Iraq - He was a museum guide on the most pathetic of tours.

April 24, 2003
Susan Taylor Martin:
Road grim testament to war
AL QADIAAIYA, Iraq -- Last chance for gas.

April 23, 2003
Susan Taylor Martin:
Iraqis thrilled to see police
BAGHDAD, Iraq -- Here's something you don't often see -- a motorist kissing a traffic cop.

Loaves for the multitudes
Working over a stone-lined pit oven for 17 hours a day, Afghan bakers provide flat bread for soldiers and civilians at a military base.

April 21, 2003
Soldiers on the hunt where terror hides
In Afghanistan near the Pakistan border, U.S. troops are targeted by the prey they seek.

April 16, 2003
Dangerous, yes, but Kabul has changed
KABUL, Afghanistan -- They gathered on the roof of the Mustafa Hotel here Sunday night to celebrate the birthday of one of the hotel's longtime guests. As 11 p.m. approached, about 25 people were dining on lamb kebabs, downing Australian lager and admiring the view of the mountains surrounding Kabul.

April 15, 2003
Susan Taylor Martin
Arab world looks to Syria
Now that Saddam Hussein is gone, Syrian President Bashar Assad may be the Bush administration's least favorite Arab ruler. But that's making him all the more popular on the Arab street.

For six kids in Kabul, a chance
Six children living in an alley will get help -- money -- and attention, but only if they go to school.

April 14, 2003
Boredom quickly replaces battlefield's excitement
HILLAH, Iraq -- They gave their Humvees names like Apocalypse and No Mercy and Death On Call, and kept their long knives shaving-sharp. They blew into Iraq three weeks ago during a driving rainstorm, bristling with guns and an intent to kill.

Soldiers grapple with war, peace
HILLAH, Iraq -- Thursday afternoon, American forces here were simultaneously directing a helicopter attack against enemy fighters, meeting with local tribal leaders, and planning to distribute food to a hungry and war-weary citizenry.

It's like camping, only a lot louder
A reporter tells what it's like to travel with U.S. troops and cover the war in Iraq. Editor's note: St. Petersburg Times reporter Wes Allison went from covering the governor's race in Florida to covering the front lines of the war in Iraq. For more than a month, he has been sending dispatches from the Middle East. Today, he sends a special dispatch to Xpress.

April 13, 2003
Winning the peace in Afghanistan
Rebuilding efforts in this nation indicate what is ahead for U.S. troops in Iraq: battles, persuasion and frustration.

April 11, 2003
Franks: Afghan fight informs new war
BAGRAM AIR BASE, Afghanistan -- With the war in Iraq winding down, Gen. Tommy Franks came to Afghanistan on Friday to tend to a little unfinished business.

April 11, 2003

John Pendygraft
Photo gallery:
In Iraq

April 10, 2003
Susan Taylor Martin: Fight ahead is for a stable Iraq
Despite the joyous scenes in Baghdad on Wednesday, American and British forces face a dangerous, critical period.

Dispatch from the 101st: With the lights on, troops feel at home
HILLAH, Iraq -- After weeks in the desert, soldiers of the 2nd Battalion, 327th Infantry of the 101st Airborne Division on Tuesday scored their sweetest digs since they left home: the University of Babylon.

April 9, 2003
Susan Taylor Martin
The puzzle of Iraq: Who will govern?
Who will run postwar Iraq?

April 8, 2003
Dispatch from the 101st: Iraq saturated with hidden weapons
AN NAJAF, Iraq -- Almost every night, Sgt. 1st Class Daniel Kumm and his men trundle out to the desert with a truckload of that day's haul. The explosion that follows invariably scares the stripes off the men back at camp. Then the engineers return and wait for the next load of enemy munitions to destroy.

April 7, 2003
Dispatch from the 101st: In machine gun accident, 3 wounded, 1 devastated
NAJAF, Iraq -- The burst lasted just three seconds, but it was long enough to catch the ear of every U.S. soldier on this captured Iraqi army post, sending some scrambling for their rifles and others scrambling for cover.

April 6, 2003
U.S. troops still on hunt in Afghanistan
BAGRAM AIR BASE, Afghanistan -- In the past two weeks, U.S. troops have died in helicopter crashes and ambushes. They've bombed targets, dodged rocket and mortar fire and ducked friendly fire. And they have gained a little ground against the enemy.

April 5, 2003
Dispatch from the 101st: Today's mission: Wash these dogs
NAJAF, Iraq -- The battalion commander's order to Capt. Aaron Luck was short and simple: Find showers so the soldiers can bathe. I don't want to discuss it, I don't care how you do it, he said. Just find me some showers.

Combat very real for cameramen
NAJAF, Iraq -- Staff Sgt. Luis Lazzara and his driver were tailing the brigade commander when their convoy took a short blast of fire from the roadside.

April 4, 2003
Dispatch from the 101st: March to mosque provokes worst fears
NAJAF, Iraq -- In a region where religion often means the difference between peace and war, life and death, faith was as calming as oil on roiling waters Thursday. Then the oil ignited.

April 3, 2003
Susan Taylor Martin: Where you stand depends on what you watch
AMMAN, Jordan -- After a Baghdad market was destroyed March 28, purportedly by a U.S. missile strike, viewers of CNN saw nothing more jarring than a man lying on a gurney with a bandage around his arm.

Dispatch from the 101st: Baghdad's bravado vanishes in fire and smoke
BAGHDAD, Iraq -- The passengers on the upper deck of bus No. 4 turned their heads in unison to look at the wreckage left by the missile attack on the Bab al-Moazam telephone exchange. Many shook their heads in disbelief, and some stared with their mouths agape. But no one said a word.

April 2, 2003
Dispatch from the 101st: Smiles, waves greet march into holy city
NAJAF, Iraq -- They left at dawn, marching into smoke from fires still burning from the pre-emptive strike the day before, and by noon had become the first U.S. soldiers to occupy a major Iraqi city since the war started two weeks ago.

John Pendygraft

Photo gallery:
With the troops

Tears to mourn, laughter to remember
There was another memorial service today. Two memorials in about a week's time would provide a different perspective if put in the context of the entire war, or even in relation to a small town.

April 1, 2003
Dispatch from the 101st
Mission: Take the city, preserve the mosque

NAJAF, Iraq -- The order was simply stated, but not necessarily simple to follow: Destroy enemy bunkers, weapons and personnel to hasten the fall of this ancient holy city.

March 31, 2003
Dispatch from the 101st: Villagers wave, smile but fear retribution
DASIM, Iraq -- This dusty town is typical of the villages around Najaf, a cluster of crumbling, flat-roofed adobe buildings and palm trees hugging the stream coursing through the center of town.

March 30, 2003
Susan Taylor Martin: Arabs, pro-U.S. in 1990, seethe
AMMAN, Jordan -- In another war, at another time, Dr. Jacob Zayadin supported an American-led strike against Iraq.

Dispatch from the 101st: GIs primed to fight to guard supply line
NAJAF, Iraq -- Their rifles ready, the soldiers of Charlie Company spread out across the brown-gray desert sand, crossed a farmer's brilliant green field and irrigation ditch, then disappeared against a distant oasis of palms on an all-night march to their attack position.

March 29, 2003
Dispatch from the 101st: Near firefight is no place for car repairs
WITH U.S. FORCES NEAR NAJAF, Iraq -- Chief Warrant Officer 2 Alfred G. Bermea had news, and it wasn't good: A ball joint on the back tire of a Humvee packed with ammo had blown.

March 28, 2003
Susan Taylor Martin: No chance to make it home
HAKAMAH, Jordan -- In military parlance, it's "collateral damage."

From John Pendygraft:
Audio dispatches: Flags for home

Photo gallery: Exile in Jordan

March 27, 2003
Dispatch from the 101st: Quiet ahead of the unknown
WITH U.S. FORCES IN SOUTHERN IRAQ -- So this is how it is. Night is falling in the desert Wednesday, and the wind is still, and the dust has stopped swirling, and the air is finally free and cool. The soldiers are trying to rest, and trying to finish the tasks, as best they know how, that make them ready for the chaos to come.

A strum that brings people together
In the past year and a half, Lance Cpl. Daniel Hartzog's 30-year-old guitar has been to Afghanistan, Crete, Malta, Spain, the United Arab Emirates and in an airtight room on the USS Bataan (which had great acoustics) and it's now being used in an empty recreation tent in Kuwait to piece together a song about war.

March 26, 2003
Audio dispatches: The music of war
Lance Cpl. Daniel Hartzog plays guitar and sings a song titled "Revolution" he wrote while in Kuwait.

Susan Taylor Martin: Iraqis in Jordan look toward home
AMMAN, Jordan -- At the Iraqi consulate here, the air is thick with cigarette smoke and patriotic fervor.

March 25, 2003
Susan Taylor Martin: Jordanians feel pain from war next door
PETRA, Jordan -- Life is anything but rosy here in the "rose-red city half as old as time."

March 24, 2003
Susan Taylor Martin: Exiles yearn for Hussein's doom
AMMAN, Jordan -- In Iraq, Jamal Albostani wrote books. They were works of fiction that clearly were also indictments of Saddam Hussein's regime.

Dispatch from the 101st: Soldiers feel shock, anger at one of their own
CAMP PENNSYLVANIA, Kuwait -- The soldiers muttered and swore and stomped, some spitting mad and others simply sorrowful or bewildered. We're supposed to be fighting the Iraqi army, they said, not standing guard against each other.

From John Pendygraft in Kuwait:
Audio dispatches: After the memorial service
An interview with Capt. Dominic Harris, a pilot from HMM 268, who knew the crew that died in the helicopter crash last week. He talks about they deal with downed and lost pilots, on a personal level.
Online journal: Lessons in gambling

March 23, 2003
Soldier held in attack on his own camp in Kuwait
CAMP PENNSYLVANIA, Kuwait -- A U.S. soldier was being held early today in connection with a grenade attack on the 101st Airborne Division's infantry brigade. The attack killed one and injured about 15 soldiers.

Iraqi cartoonist skewers Hussein
AMMAN, Jordan -- While most editorial cartoonists in the Arab world are busy skewering President Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair, one has aimed his pen at a different target: Saddam Hussein.

Quick, new Apaches can shoot, hunt and escort
UDAIRI AIRFIELD, Kuwait -- They call them Longbows, after the English archers in the Middle Ages who launched their arrows deep into the enemy's formation, thinning their ranks before the infantry attacked.

Dispatch from the 101st: Infantrymen thrive in the thick of things
CAMP PENNSYLVANIA, Kuwait -- Others in the Army call them grunts, or trigger pullers, or crunchies, for the sound of a tank rolling over a dead soldier.

Dispatch from the 101st: From the Front
NORTHERN KUWAIT -- As the 3rd Infantry Division and the U.S. Marines race toward Baghdad, many soldiers in the 101st Airborne Division are going stir crazy.

March 22, 2003
Dispatch from the 365th: Coming face to face with risks of war
It's amazing how long a day can last. I've had days when I looked at my watch and thought "Where did the day go?" Yesterday seemed like at least a week.

March 21, 2003
Dispatch from the 101st: When siren wails, everybody runs
At Camp Pennsylvania in northern Kuwait, home to the 101st Airborne Division's 1st Brigade Combat Team, the first missile alarm sounded about 12:25 p.m.

Susan Taylor Martin: Winds tear at refugee effort in Jordan
Strong winds made savage with sand delay preparations for as many as 50,000 Iraqi refugees.

March 20, 2003
Invasion planners race scorching heat, storms
CAMP UDAIRI, Kuwait -- Already the climb toward triple-digit heat has begun. Already the blinding dust storms have started to swirl.

March 19, 2003
Susan Taylor Martin: Turks are tea'd off over drink shortage
CIZRE, Turkey -- Call it liquid comfort food.

Forced reunions
Foreigners jam the roads out of Baghdad, and few have anything nice to say about the United States

Dispatch from the 101st: Silence may be Hussein's first clue
When the 101st Airborne tears into Iraq, any resistance may be wiped out before it can relay the news to Baghdad.

Between a rock and a ham steak
Military meals have evolved from canned rations to MREs (Meals, Ready to Eat), which have evolved from dehydrated mystery meat to hot meals requiring an unusual cooking method.

March 18, 2003

photo   Photo gallery from Syria
You will need the free Flash player to see the gallery.

Dispatch from the 101st: For American troops, darkness will be an ally
Soldiers will be equipped with infrared night-vision goggles and newer devices that show thermal images.

March 17, 2003
Dispatch from the 101st: At work: When duty calls women
A rocky road is leading to greater acceptance for and larger numbers of women in the military.

March 15, 2003
Susan Taylor Martin: American radio wins fans in Syria
SYRIAN-IRAQI BORDER -- Now playing on your 1260 AM dial -- it's Radio Sawa!

March 14, 2003
Fear in Syria: After Iraq, who's next?
A pro-American regime in Iraq would leave Syria stranded, and the strain is fueling fundamentalism.

John Pendygraft's Online jounal:
Choir practice and
call signs

To visualize the HMM 365 helicopter squad, think MASH meets JAG, with helicopter pilots and without the romance.

March 13, 2003
Dispatch from the 101st: Mask, gun: check. Bullets: not so fast.
CAMP UDAIRI, Kuwait -- This may surprise the folks back home, but the U.S. Army forces massing across the Iraqi border are largely unarmed.

March 12, 2003

From Times staff photographer John Pendygraft in Kuwait Audio dispatches
Audio interviews with HMM 365 Marine Helicopter Squad from New River, N.C.
You will need the free Flash player to hear the audio.

Dispatch from the 101st: Masks can't conceal concern
Bullets are always a worry in war, but soldiers must prepare to be hit by the chemical weapons that are why they are there in the first place.

Dispatch from the 101st: There's plenty to learn as war approaches
CAMP UDAIRI, Kuwait -- Preparing for war isn't all target practice, obstacle courses and standing in long lines. The 19,000 soldiers of the 101st Airborne Division who deployed to the Middle East in the past two weeks also got some classroom schooling about the cultural situations they may face.

photo   Photo gallery from Kuwait with audio
You will need the free Flash player to see the gallery.

March 11, 2003
Dispatch from the 101st: Foreign citizens help shoulder military duty
CAMP UDAIRI, Kuwait -- If U.S. forces attack Iraq, Americans won't be the only ones on the front lines. Citizens of Romania, Mexico, Germany, Vietnam and even Kuwait will be fighting right alongside them.

March 9, 2003
Iraq: Kuwait, a nation on war's edge
KUWAIT CITY -- The 2.2-million residents of Kuwait City are feeling jittery these days, and who could blame them?

Dispatch from the 101st: Desert life's better this time around
CAMP UDAIRI, Kuwait -- Bring plenty to read. The sand storms may kill your watch, so bring an extra. It does rain in the desert. And never, ever play with the wildlife.

March 8, 2003
Dispatch from the 101st: Over the desert, through the sand
It was near midnight Thursday and the road was drowning under an ocean of sand. The bus was following its U.S. Army Humvee escort, whose taillights became barely visible from 10 yards away. That's when the Kuwaiti driver hit the brakes and slapped his hands together, as if to wash them of something distasteful.

March 7, 2003

photo   Photo gallery from Turkey
You will need the free Flash player to see the gallery.

March 5, 2003
Dispatch from the 101st:
In Kuwait at long last: 'I'm in heaven'

The dayslong trip from Kentucky is the old Army story: Hurry up. Then wait for hours. Then hurry up. Then wait some more.

From Times staff photographer John Pendygraft in Kuwait Audio dispatches
An audio report on what it is like to be in Kuwait as the people prepare for war.
You will need the free Flash player to hear the audio.

March 4, 2003
Susan Taylor Martin: Vote a loss for U.S. and Turkey
CIZRE, Turkey -- And Turkey was supposed to be the easy part.

March 3, 2003
This time, there's nowhere to go
If war was launched on Iraq, most residents of the nearby town of Silopi, Turkey, would want to make a repeat of 1991, and flee. Now few could afford that.

March 2, 2003
Susan Taylor Martin:
Business of war rolls on in Turkey, opposition or no

DIYARBAKIR, Turkey -- Although Turkey's parliament has yet to agree to let U.S. troops attack Iraq from Turkish bases, most Turks think it's only a matter of days before war begins.

March 1, 2003
Dispatch from the 101st:
Infantry unit ready to go, and get back
For two months the 101st Airborne Division has been ready to leave the next day. The wait is over.

Febuary 25, 2003
Turkey's tightrope: Public vs. the U.S.
ANKARA, Turkey -- It might have been the weather -- 28 degrees and snowing -- that kept patrons from Onur Yilmaz's outdoor lottery stand Monday. But Yilmaz had another explanation.

Febuary 20, 2003
Turkey and Israel thrive as allies
The two countries have economic and military dealings. And Jewish residents say there are no problems living in mostly Muslim Turkey.

Febuary 9, 2003
It's not just a job, it's an adventure
Journalists preparing to cover the war start with military training.

January 5, 2003
Everything but a gun
Today's war correspondents go into battle with thousands of dollars' worth of equipment to help them get the story without getting killed.


Related links
Online journal

War with Iraq

World & Nation