Fallen Army Journalist Honored at Newseum

WASHINGTON, May 16, 2011 — Army Staff Sgt. James Hunter is remem­bered for lots of things. His fel­low sol­diers will tell you he was a hard work­er, self­less and ded­i­cat­ed to his sol­diers and their mis­sion. His fam­i­ly will tell you that he loved Ken­tucky bas­ket­ball and, above all else, he loved his coun­try.

2011 Journalists Memorial Rededication ceremony at the Newseum in Washington, D.C.
Krish­na Bharat, Google News founder, deliv­ers the keynote address for the 2011 Jour­nal­ists Memo­r­i­al Reded­i­ca­tion cer­e­mo­ny at the New­se­um in Wash­ing­ton, D.C., May 16, 2011. The cer­e­mo­ny hon­ored 77 fall­en jour­nal­ists whose names were added to the memo­r­i­al, includ­ing Army Staff Sgt. James Hunter, an Army jour­nal­ist killed by a road­side bomb in Afghanistan.
DOD pho­to by Army Sgt. 1st Class Michael J. Car­den
Click to enlarge

Today, Hunter was hon­ored for his work as a jour­nal­ist. He was an Army pub­lic affairs non­com­mis­sioned offi­cer who was killed by a road­side bomb in June dur­ing a foot patrol in Afghanistan. His rifle was slung across his chest, but clutched in his right hand was his cam­era.

“He was an out­stand­ing NCO and leader,” Army Lt. Col. Lar­ry Porter, pub­lic affairs offi­cer for the 101st Air­borne Division’s 2nd Brigade Com­bat Team, said. Porter was Hunter’s boss at the time of his death. “He was very ded­i­cat­ed to telling the sol­diers’ sto­ry.”

He and 76 oth­er fall­en jour­nal­ists were memo­ri­al­ized at the New­se­um here today in the 2011 reded­i­ca­tion cer­e­mo­ny of the Journalist’s Memo­r­i­al. The memo­r­i­al hon­ors 2,084 reporters, pho­tog­ra­phers, edi­tors and broad­cast­ers who died cov­er­ing the news between 1837 and 2010. Their names are inscribed on the glass pan­els of the memo­r­i­al, adja­cent to a wall filled with pho­tographs of their faces, some with a short biog­ra­phy. Of those reporters hon­ored today, 59 died in 2010.

Krish­na Bharat, founder of Google News, deliv­ered the ceremony’s keynote address, prais­ing the char­ac­ter and dri­ve of jour­nal­ists for the risks they take to inform the oth­er­wise unin­formed pub­lic.

“In most cas­es, [jour­nal­ists] made the con­scious choice … to walk a path that was not paved with gold, but dan­ger, to serve a high­er human cost,” Bharat said. “As we look back on the lives lost in the ser­vice of jour­nal­ism, it’s worth remem­ber­ing that while we can­not pre­dict how and when we die, we can cer­tain­ly choose how we live.

“The jour­nal­ists we remem­ber and hon­or today chose lives full of mean­ing and pur­pose,” he added. “They chose to bring news that mat­tered to peo­ple who care to make the world a bet­ter place.”

The fact that Hunter was part of the cer­e­mo­ny is a hum­bling hon­or, said Army Lt. Col. J. Frank Gar­cia, an Army pub­lic affairs offi­cer who worked close­ly with Hunter at Fort Camp­bell, Ky.

“It real­ly is great to see the New­se­um hon­or a sol­dier jour­nal­ist,” Gar­cia said. “[Hunter] was some­one who vol­un­teered not only to be a sol­dier, but to put him­self in dan­ger repeat­ed­ly just to tell the sol­diers’ sto­ry [and] to ensure the sto­ry of what [sol­diers] do all over the world is being told.”

Hunter grew up in South Amherst, Ohio, and enlist­ed in the Army in Sep­tem­ber 2003. He served in the 82nd Air­borne Division’s 49th Pub­lic Affairs Detach­ment on Fort Bragg, N.C., and deployed with the unit to Iraq in 2006. Fol­low­ing his tour at Fort Bragg, Hunter report­ed to the 10st Air­borne Division’s 2nd Brigade Com­bat Team on Fort Camp­bell, Ky. He deployed to Iraq a sec­ond time in 2008. He was only two months into his Afghanistan deploy­ment when he was killed. He was 25.

“I’ll always remem­ber [Hunter] as the guy who always vol­un­teered for the tough assign­ments,” Gar­cia said. “He was the kind of guy who want­ed to be up front with the troops, liv­ing with them and expe­ri­enc­ing their expe­ri­ences and mak­ing sure the world knew their sto­ries.”

U.S. Depart­ment of Defense
Office of the Assis­tant Sec­re­tary of Defense (Pub­lic Affairs)

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