When producers of the “CBS Evening News” arrived in the newsroom Monday morning, there was an e-mail waiting from correspondent Kimberly Dozier.
In a note written Sunday night, she detailed a Memorial Day story she planned to do about a U.S. soldier wounded in Iraq who insisted on going back to the battlefield, a piece about “fighting on in memory of those who have fallen.”
Her words now haunt her colleagues.
“That’s what we’re doing now,” said Rome Hartman, the newscast’s executive producer.
Dozier, cameraman Paul Douglas and soundman James Brolan were traveling with the 4th Brigade Combat Team of the Army’s 4th Infantry Division in central Baghdad for just a few hours early Monday to get material for the story when a car bomb exploded nearby, killing Douglas and Brolan and seriously wounding Dozier. A U.S. soldier and Iraqi interpreter were also killed, and six soldiers were hurt.
On Tuesday, Dozier remained in critical but stable condition at the Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany, to which she was airlifted after undergoing two surgeries in Iraq. She is being treated for shrapnel wounds to her head and extensive injuries to her legs and is expected to remain there for several days.
Army Col. W. Bryan Gamble, commander of the American military hospital, told CBS that the 39-year-old correspondent was doing “as well as can be expected,” noting that she was moving her toes and was responsive to commands.
“The doctors seem pleased with the progress that she’s made and the outcome of the surgeries she had,” Hartman said Tuesday, while noting that Dozier “has a long ways to go.”
Back in New York, the CBS News staff struggled to absorb the blow of losing two colleagues amid fear for the health of a third.
“It’s been a very painful experience, obviously,” Hartman said. “I have to say I’ve been inspired by the way in which the organization has responded. The instinct that I witnessed yesterday was to just do everything we can to care for the families of our colleagues.”
On Tuesday, employees shared memories of Douglas, Brolan and Dozier in postings on the CBS News website, noting their dedication to covering the story, no matter the risks.
“Paul, James and Kimberly were not thrill seekers, ‘cowboys’ or war junkies,” wrote Rome-based correspondent Allen Pizzey. “They were two good men and a good woman doing a job they liked, and which they believed served a higher purpose. None of us who cover wars are so vain as to think we can change the world. But we believe we can make a difference.”
Dozier joined CBS as a correspondent in 2003 and spent the bulk of her time reporting from Iraq after an extensive journalism career that took her to some of the world’s most dangerous regions.
Former anchor Dan Rather said that Dozier was “as close to fearless as anyone, man or woman, that I know.”
“She would jump a buzz saw if she thought it would get her a story,” Rather wrote on CBSNews.com.
“Besides her courage, her work ethic has become a rightful legend. She works harder than a lumberjack or oilfield roughneck. This is one strong woman. People rarely think of a woman as pretty as Kimberly as being strong. She is. Strong of body and spirit.”
Cameraman Douglas, 48, had worked for CBS News for more than a decade in hot spots such as Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Rwanda and Bosnia-Herzegovina. Brolan, 42, was a freelancer who had worked for the network for a year, in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The bodies of both men, who were British, are being flown to Kuwait, where they will be met by their families.