Thursday, May 05, 2005

Col. David Hackworth (1930-2005)

Yesterday, I lost a friend.

Col. David H. Hackworth passed away from cancer, at the age of 75. A legend within the U.S. military for his combat exploits, and later among the media for his intrepid reporting on every field of battle the U.S. troops saw since Vietnam, "Hack" journeyed to Bosnia in the winter of 1995, which is where we met.

I worked as his translator for several weeks, as NATO troops deployed to police the Dayton Peace Accords. He taught me many things about journalism, and not a few about life in general. And when I was leaving Sarajevo, it was Hack's military and press connections that got me safely out aboard a plane. That may have well saved my life.

I've kept in touch sporadically over the past nine years. I've read many of his columns, and I remember seeing him during the Kosovo War on Fox News, wearing a helmet in the studio after the bombing of Serbian Television. He was making a point: if NATO bombed the RTS because it challenged its propaganda, then Fox News could be a legitimate target as well.

And though later he endorsed the presidential candidacy of Wesley Clark, the Bomber of Belgrade, I chalked it up to a honest mistake of a man who has always cared for the well-being of his country and the honor of his troops.

My condolences go out to his family - but also to the American troops, for they have lost a great friend. There will never be another like him.

Goodbye, Hack. And thank you.

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