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David Wood
David Wood is the senior military correspondent for The Huffington Post. His series on severely wounded veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan won the 2012 Pulitzer Prize for national reporting.

He has been a journalist since 1970, a staff correspondent successively for Time Magazine, the Los Angeles Times, Newhouse News Service, The Baltimore Sun and AOL's Politics Daily. A birthright Quaker and former conscientious objector, he covered guerrilla wars in Africa as Time Magazine's Nairobi bureau chief (1977-1980). As a Washington-based correspondent since 1980, Mr. Wood has reported on national security issues at the White House, Pentagon and State Department, and has covered conflicts in Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Central America.

During the Cold War he reported from Russia and China, patrolled the inter-German border with American troops and visited a Soviet motorized rifle regiment across the border in East Germany. He reported from Nicaragua during the Sandinista-Contra conflict, from the Philippines during the 1986 overthrow of President Marcos, and from Bosnia before and during the U.S. military intervention in 1995. He has written extensively about international conflict resolution, peacekeeping and the post-war rebuilding of civil societies.

He has accompanied U.S. military units in the field many times, both on domestic and overseas training maneuvers and in Desert Storm, the Persian Gulf tanker war, the interventions in Panama, Somalia and Haiti, peacekeeping missions in the Balkans and combat operations in Afghanistan and Iraq. He was embedded with the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit in Somalia, and the 10th Mountain and 101st Airborne Division units in Afghanistan in early 2002. In four trips to Iraq he has embedded with numerous units including the 2d Armored Cavalry Regiment's 2nd Squadron in East Baghdad, the 1st Battalion, 2nd Marines in al-Anbar and the 386th Air Expeditionary Wing flying resupply missions across Iraq.

In five trips to Afghanistan, he has lived and worked with the 10th Mountain and 101st Airborne Divisions, the 1st Battalion, 6th Marines, the 82nd Airborne Division’s special troops battalion, the 4th Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry, in RC-East and, most recently, with the 10th Mountain Division’s 1st Brigade in Kunduz, Faryab, Kabul and Kandahar provinces.

He has flown on B-52 and B-1 bombers, slogged through Army Ranger School, accompanied Rangers on night airborne maneuvers and Marines on amphibious and air assault operations, flown off aircraft carriers and sailed on battleships, cruisers, minesweepers and amphibs, and has submerged aboard attack and strategic missile submarines.

He has been scared much of his professional life.

Wood has written widely across the span of national security issues, from nuclear deterrence theory to combat stress, domestic terrorism, military technology and doctrine, and scarce resources and demographic shifts as causes of instability.

In 1992-1993 he spent a year with the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit, including three months of ground operations in Somalia. His account of that experience, A Sense of Values, was published by Andrews & McMeel in 1994.

A Pulitzer Prize finalist in 1998, he has won the Gerald R. Ford Prize for Distinguished Defense Reporting and other national awards. He has appeared on CNN, CSPAN, the PBS News Hour, MSNBC and the BBC, and on National Public Radio’s Diane Rehm Show. He has lectured at the U.S. Army Eisenhower Fellows Conference , the Marine Staff College, the Joint Forces Staff College and Temple University.

Mr. Wood was raised as a pacifist and in 1968 completed two years of civilian service in lieu of military duty. He has three grown children and two stepchildren and lives outside Washington DC. He bicycles for sport and goes to climb high mountains whenever possible.

Entries by David Wood

NATO’s Uneasy New Reality: Could It Still Stop Russia?

(0) Comments | Posted July 1, 2016 | 1:47 PM

One Monday afternoon in June, several hundred American, British and Polish troops parachuted into central Poland. Last month's jump was just practice, part of an extended NATO rehearsal for a defense of northern Europe against Russia.

But in a real...

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Hurtling To The Ground Is The Easy Part For These Paratroopers

(0) Comments | Posted June 14, 2016 | 2:40 PM

Senior Military Correspondent David Wood recently flew to Europe with paratroopers of the 82nd Airborne Division’s 1st Brigade Combat Team for a massive military exercise involving 5,000...

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Uncle Sam Needs Coders. Here's How The Military Could Draft Them.

(0) Comments | Posted May 6, 2016 | 2:09 PM

Could Uncle Sam track down and draft a dozen 30-something computer programmers if the Army suddenly needed them?

Not yet. But the idea’s out there.

The Selective Service System should be drastically redesigned to meet the demands of modern war,...

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These Elite Troops Spent 15 Years At War. This Program Tries To Prepare Their Minds And Bodies For The Next 15.

(0) Comments | Posted April 14, 2016 | 6:22 PM

NAVAL SPECIAL WARFARE COMMAND, Coronado, Calif. -- With no fanfare, U.S. special operations commandos head out on long, dangerous and secretive missions to snatch or kill militants or to advise allies in combat. They shoot it out with ISIS extremists in Syria or spend months tracking...

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VA Secretary Robert McDonald Falsely Claimed He Served In 'Special Forces'

(392) Comments | Posted February 23, 2015 | 6:02 PM

WASHINGTON -- Robert McDonald, the secretary of veterans affairs, wrongly claimed in a videotaped comment earlier this year that he served in the Army's elite special forces, when his military service of five years was in fact spent almost entirely with the 82nd Airborne Division during the late 1970s.


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Veterans Find Comfort In Meditation Therapy

(14) Comments | Posted February 20, 2015 | 10:23 AM

It’s a cloudy, cold day in Washington, and it takes a group of vets, all from the Vietnam War era, a few minutes to unpack coats and mufflers and settle into comfortable arm chairs in a semi-circle.

The hard lives they’ve led are etched on their faces: long military...

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When Giving Up 'Wounded Warrior' Status Helps Vets Heal

(15) Comments | Posted January 13, 2015 | 10:54 AM

The 52,300 Americans wounded during the Iraq and Afghan wars are almost all home now. And while some are fully recovered, others will bear physical and mental scars forever.

Each one has faced a difficult question: When does one stop being a wounded warrior?

When they come home, service...

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Winning the Battle, Losing the War

(33) Comments | Posted January 12, 2015 | 4:30 PM

Every few days, the headquarters of the U.S.-led war against the Islamic State militias issues a communique on how the war is going. Monday's report said 27 coalition air attacks on Sunday and Monday struck nine vehicles, 12 troop units, 10 fighting positions (foxholes), 10 buildings, an...

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Uh-oh in Afghanistan

(14) Comments | Posted December 27, 2014 | 9:17 AM

Apparently it wasn't Napoleon who said an army travels on its stomach. But surely the necessity of providing appropriate gear, food, water and other basics to troops was clear after his troops, freezing and dropping from starvation, staggered in retreat after the disastrous 1812 invasion of Russia. Of the 680,000...

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But What's the War Strategy?

(41) Comments | Posted November 24, 2014 | 3:50 PM

The abrupt change of command at the Pentagon, with Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel resigning under pressure Monday, is more than a change of faces. It marks the final disillusionment with the two war-fighting strategies the United States has relied on for 13 years in Iraq and Afghanistan: the "hearts and...

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Should General Dempsey Resign?

(34) Comments | Posted November 22, 2014 | 8:39 AM

Listening to Martin Dempsey speak over the past months, one might conclude that the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff is uncomfortable waging war in Iraq under the White House banner of 'No Boots on the Ground.'

Time and again this fall, Dempsey has said U.S. ground troops may...

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Some Veterans Need Help -- That's Our Job

(31) Comments | Posted November 11, 2014 | 6:28 AM

It's been five years since Jacob Sexton, a soldier with the Indiana National Guard, came home with nightmares after two combat deployments, and on a Monday evening in a movie theater with family and friends, killed himself with a pistol shot. He was 21-years-old.

The story is horrifying, and sadly...

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Footprints in the Sand

(18) Comments | Posted October 23, 2014 | 8:19 AM

Fifty-one thousand American troops have come home from Iraq or Afghanistan diagnosed with brain injury. What's become of them?

Many have worked with military or VA specialists to learn to overcome or compensate for deficits in memory, speech, organizational skills, reading, finger dexterity -- everyday skills we take for granted....

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Combat Casualties and War Talk

(16) Comments | Posted October 16, 2014 | 12:52 PM

The crowds of summertime tourists are mostly gone from Arlington National Cemetery now, and on a rainy weekday morning the yellowing leaves drift down silently to the manicured grass, and the rows of glistening white headstones wind over rolling hills into the distance and the silence seems immense and respectful....

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Paratroopers Train To Fight ISIS, Even As U.S. Pledges 'No Boots On The Ground'

(63) Comments | Posted October 16, 2014 | 7:28 AM

FORT POLK, La. -- Moments after landing in the blackness of a warm night and securing his parachute, Col. Joseph A. Ryan huddled on the drop zone with several of his officers. Radio messages crackled in his earpiece. Red flashlights illuminated a folded map. Above him, a thousand paratroopers were...

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ISIS, the Laws of War, and Combat Lawyers

(54) Comments | Posted October 10, 2014 | 2:02 PM

A thousand combat-loaded paratroopers leapt into the night in a recent exercise jump over Fort Polk, Louisiana, and among them was a slight, 37-year-old woman with a dark brown ponytail and black frame glasses.

Megan Wakefield. Major, United States Army. Paratrooper, 82nd Airborne Division.


When the U.S. military goes...

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Paratroopers and Politicians

(61) Comments | Posted September 30, 2014 | 1:04 PM

Well after midnight on a recent hot night, John Cvikota, a lean, 26-year-old Chicagoan, strapped on a hundred pounds of gear (helmet, body armor, weapons, ammunition, rations and water, parachute, safety chute, radio, combat first aid kit, gas mask), waddled out onto the runway with 64 other paratroopers, clambered up...

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The Air War Gets Harder, and Harder

(65) Comments | Posted September 18, 2014 | 9:35 AM

I once watched U.S. F-16s in Afghanistan try to kill an SUV scurrying down a dirt road, carrying suspected terrorist leaders. It was the first months of the war and in the U.S. operations center, where I was an embedded journalist, it was believed that one of the eight men...

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As Obama Promises 'No Boots on the Ground,' U.S. Military Trains for Just That Scenario

(53) Comments | Posted September 9, 2014 | 1:50 PM

"Once a conflict starts, the statesmen lose control." ~ Former Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates

"No matter how a war starts, it ends in mud. It has to be slugged out -- there are no trick solutions or cheap shortcuts." ~ Attributed to Gen. "Vinegar Joe" Stillwell, WWII Commander


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'Isn't Losing An Eye Enough?' Battered Veterans Struggle To Restart Their Lives After War

(7) Comments | Posted August 21, 2014 | 1:19 PM

Veterans Brian McPherson, Adele Loar and David Inbody (left to right) are part of a team training to climb Mount Whitney in September. (McPherson and Loar photos: Mike Herbener for Soldiers to Summits; Inbody photo: Didrik Johnck for Soldiers to Summits)


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