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David Wood
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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

Should General Dempsey Resign?

(33) Comments | Posted November 22, 2014 | 9:39 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 | 7:28 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

(20) Comments | Posted October 23, 2014 | 9:19 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

(24) Comments | Posted October 16, 2014 | 1:52 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'

(64) Comments | Posted October 16, 2014 | 8:28 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

(63) Comments | Posted October 10, 2014 | 3:02 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.

Lawyer.

When the U.S. military goes...

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Paratroopers and Politicians

(61) Comments | Posted September 30, 2014 | 2:04 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

(68) Comments | Posted September 18, 2014 | 10:35 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 | 2:50 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

"Only...

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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 | 2:19 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)

Looking...

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For Civilian Airliners, Shoulder-Fired Missiles Still a Global Threat

(3) Comments | Posted July 23, 2014 | 5:07 PM

WASHINGTON -- The horrifying deaths of 298 passengers of a jetliner shot down over Ukraine have focused the world's attention on a previously unrecognized threat: the proliferation of surface-to-air missiles in the hands of rogue, non-state actors.

Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 was brought down by a BUK-17, a high-tech Russian-built...

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As The VA Flounders, Community Nonprofits Step In For Veterans

(6) Comments | Posted July 21, 2014 | 11:57 AM

The custom-designed Gordon Mansfield housing complex at Soldier On, a nonprofit veteran center in Pittsfield, Massachusetts. The complex has 39 studio or one-bedroom units for veterans partly powered by rooftop solar collectors. Each unit has its own entrance, a porch or deck, and is...
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Scandal-Plagued VA Is Overpaying Workers By Millions Of Dollars, Internal Audits Find

(240) Comments | Posted July 10, 2014 | 10:11 AM

WASHINGTON -- The scandal-plagued Department of Veterans Affairs is systematically overpaying clerks, administrators and other support staff, according to internal audits, draining tens of millions of dollars that could be used instead to ease the VA's acute shortage of doctors and nurses.

The jobs of some 13,000 VA support staff...

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Eric Shinseki, The Man Who Trusted Too Much

(2358) Comments | Posted May 30, 2014 | 12:17 PM

Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki re-enters the hearing room after testifying before the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee to examine the state of veteran health care. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)

WASHINGTON -- In the 38 years that he served in the United States Army,...

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VA Mental Health Care Delays, Staff Shortages, Plague Veterans

(2200) Comments | Posted May 24, 2014 | 9:00 AM

WASHINGTON -- The problems veterans experience getting Veterans Affairs medical care also exist with VA mental health care, where veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder and even those at high risk of suicide face long waits, according to VA staffers and internal investigations.

At some VA medical centers, qualified mental health...

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Eric Shinseki, Battered By Allegations Of VA Abuses, Vows To Stay On

(122) Comments | Posted May 15, 2014 | 5:11 PM

WASHINGTON -- Congressional critics are blasting Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki for new allegations of abuse in the VA system, but many of these same abuses are detailed in an 6-year-old internal VA memo that might as well be called, "How We're Cheating Veterans."

The memo, written...

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Fort Hood Shooting Highlights How Little Is Known About Military Trauma And Homicide

(108) Comments | Posted April 3, 2014 | 7:05 PM

WASHINGTON -- The deadly shooting at Fort Hood, Texas, on Wednesday comes amid widening awareness of the deep and enduring war trauma that exists within the military after 12 years of war. Army Spc. Ivan Lopez, 34, who was struggling with depression, anxiety and insomnia, killed three people and injured...

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In Afghanistan, A U.S. Special Forces Major's Meteoric Rise And Humiliating Fall

(119) Comments | Posted March 24, 2014 | 8:28 AM

A once-promising strategy for stability in Afghanistan ended badly two years ago, along with the career of its author and chief proponent, Army Special Forces Maj. Jim Gant. His gripping story is detailed in a new book, American Spartan, by Ann Scott Tyson, the former Washington Post war correspondent who...

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Can We Treat Moral Wounds?

(0) Comments | Posted March 20, 2014 | 11:03 AM

Billie Grimes-Watson was a medic in Iraq in 2003 and 2004. As the initial U.S. invasion turned into bloody chaos, she would sprint through the smoke and fire of blasts from improvised explosive devices and gunfire to save lives, struggling with the maimed and broken bodies of soldiers she knew...

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Moral Injury: The Recruits - The Huffington Post

(0) Comments | Posted March 19, 2014 | 11:38 AM

The recruits came at a trot down the Boulevard de France at the storied Marine Corps boot camp at Parris Island, S.C., shouting cadence from their precise parade ranks. Parents gathered on the sidewalks pressed forward, brandishing cameras and flags, yelling the names of the sons and daughters they hadn’t...

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