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Bob Woodruff Back In Iraq

DAVID BAUDER   07/13/09 06:48 PM ET   AP

Bob Woodruff

NEW YORK — ABC News correspondent Bob Woodruff returned to Iraq on Monday for the first time since he was nearly killed there by a roadside bomb more than three years ago.

Woodruff is on a reporting trip that left Washington with Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The ABC newsman is staying on U.S. military bases while he is in Iraq.

Woodruff suffered a serious brain injury from the Jan. 29, 2006, bomb that exploded while he was riding in an Iraqi army tank, his upper body exposed as he stood in the hatch. He returned to ABC News after an arduous 13-month recovery, and he's done extensive reporting on the plight of people who were severely injured in the war.

"I have wanted to `get back on the horse again' since my recovery," Woodruff said in a blog post. "This will be a different horse, probably not as big, not as fast ..."

He said he owed it to his family and colleagues and the injured "brothers and sisters" he's been reporting about not to venture into battle zones.

It wasn't an easy decision to return, he said. Woodruff and his wife, Lee, wrote the book "In an Instant: A Family's Journey of Love and Healing," about his progression from not even remembering his twin daughters to being able to report again.

He said he wanted to get a picture of how the war is going and also interview medical personnel.

Bad weather foiled his first report, scheduled to air on "World News" Monday. A sandstorm in Kirkuk, where Woodruff and Mullen were, disrupted ABC's satellite capabilities and made them unable to transmit the story, the network said.

ABC News President David Westin, who said when Woodruff returned to work in 2007 that it would be the "height of recklessness" to send him back to Iraq, said the opportunity to travel with Mullen presented the right set of circumstances.

"My concern has always been Bob's health and safety," he wrote in a memo to ABC News staff members Monday. "I was assured he would be on American bases throughout his trip there, but still be able to report firsthand on the important stories of Iraq."

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Filed by Danny Shea  |