Who is Michael Yon?
American combat soldiers don't want pity. Yon says, they're ready to fight to the end; they just don't want it to be for naught. They have been fighting for two nations, one of which didn't seem to notice. The Iraqis noticed. (emphasis mine)
I believe now as I did then: The government of the United States has no right to send our people off to war and keep secret that which it has no plausible military reason to keep secret. After all, American blood and treasure is being spent. Americans should know how our soldiers are doing, and what they are doing while wearing our flag. The government has no right to withhold information or to deny access to our combat forces just because that information might anger, frighten, or disturb us.
In a counterinsurgency, the media battlespace is critical. When it comes to mustering public opinion, rallying support, and forcing opponents to shift tactics and timetables to better suit the home team, our terrorist enemies are destroying us. Al Qaeda's media arm is called al Sahab: the cloud.
Michael Yon was born in 1964 and grew up in Winter Haven in central Florida, where he was always looking for a way out of his dismal home life.
He was very independent as a child and a youth and frequently got in trouble for being a prankster and making homemade bombs. Yon's mother died when he was only seven, and that irreparable loss, combined with the neglect that he later suffered at the hands of his father and the refuge he found with his grandparents and his friends, created an emotional anchor for him. He was taught stories of life lessons from his grandfather whom he deeply respected. He gives much credit to his mother and to his grandparents for his current beliefs and values, plus a woman named Viola who had helped in his growing up.
In his book, Danger Close, he describes the death of his mother. It's painful and difficult to read, however his entire story is both inspiring and an open challenge to every young person today that is the product of disadvantage and hardship, a broken home or a dysfunctional home. The message he makes in Danger Close is, "Yes, you can make it! You will succeed if you'll only reach down deep enough. Never quit!"
High School/College/Dreams of Future
Mike could have become yet another statistic, as a child he was put through hell in countless ways, he witnessed the behavior of a stepmother that was sadistic. In 1982, one month after graduating from high school, Mike Yon joined the United States Army to earn tuition money for college. He went to a local community college and did not express any interest in journalism. He did not become a burden to anyone; he became an asset for us all.
But what spurred me to drop what I was doing, get on a plane and fly halfway around the world, to a war zone, was a growing sense that what I was seeing reported on television, as well as in newspapers and magazines, was inconsistent with the reality my friends were describing. I wanted to see the truth, first hand, for myself.
I saw American and Coalition soldiers putting everything on the line to accomplish their mission.
So that Iraqi children can have the chance to grow up in freedom and fulfill their potential.