Early on you'll find yourself charging down an alley in Mosul on the heels of Lieutenant Colonel Erik Kurilla, a leader in every sense of the word: "LTC Kurilla began running in the direction of the shooting. He passed by me, and I chased, Kurilla leading the way. There was a quick and heavy volume of fire. And then LTC Kurilla was shot. Kurilla was running when he was hit - in three places, including his femur, which was shattered.
"The commander didn't seem to miss a stride. He did a crazy judo roll and came up shooting from a sitting position," Yon reports.
In a war where the situation changes depending on what you read, Yon is a man with credibility - he has more time embedded with combat units than any other journalist. Early in 2005, when I'd completed my first tour of duty in Iraq, I was searching the Internet for news when I found Yon's page. I was hooked. Yon was simultaneously one of us - the guys in the war - and not one of us. While we knew of Iraq in our corner of the battlespace, he could move throughout the country - and did so. That freedom of movement afforded him opportunities that few would take, and that he initially took reluctantly.
I've found Yon's updates from Iraq powerful and informative, and I'm looking forward to seeing how he brings those dispatches together in the book.