In a first for local stations, FOX41/WDRB has sent reporter/anchor Lindsay Allen and chief photographer Ken Bradley to Afghanistan on a three-four week trip. The two landed at Bagram Air Base on Sunday evening.
According to a press release, the two will be embedded with the Air National Guard’s Agri Business Development Team. The team consists of 60 members teaching Afghanis agricultural techniques to improve their economy and self-reliance.
From the release:
Allen, a native of Hagerstown, Md., said she’s enthused about the project.
“What we’re about to do is a very important story in both of our minds,” she told Fox41.com before leaving on Friday. “These men and women are sacrificing a year of their lives – birthdays, Christmases, 4th of July – to serve our country. If we can share their stories for just three short weeks — that’s the mission that I’d like to accomplish.”
Both Allen and Bradley went through extensive cultural, language and weapons training as a precaution before the trip. They also received shots and are currently taking malaria pills.
Bradley described what it was like to undergo weapons training.
“It was an experience,” he said. “We did training on M4 automatic rifles and 9mm pistols…but we’re hoping that all of the shooting we do over there will be in true HD — with our cameras.”
Both Allen and Bradley joked that they are taking along a couple of items for good luck: Allen said she is taking along specially-made dog tags, while Bradley said he was taking a “lucky coin” given to him by a colleague.
Are they nervous?
“Of course there’s an element of fear and an element of the unknown as, of course, we’re going to a war zone,” Allen said. “I’m very aware of that. But beyond any fear that I feel, I feel that I’m able to do this, for lack of a better word, because of my journalistic duty.”
She quickly added that she appreciates the concern and well-wishes of viewers, friends and colleagues.
“Thoughts and prayers – keep them with you,” she said. “As you guys lay down at night, be thinking of us.”
Shortly after landing at Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan Sunday night, Bradley told Fox 41 News that the military there was preparing for a possible insurgent attack. That attack never came.
I think this is pretty cool. And I have to admit I’ll be watching more of 41′s broadcasts to catch the stories from Afghanistan.
For those of you who want to keep up-to-date on the mission, click here to dig in to the Facebook page created for Allen and Bradley.