Tim Hetherington's Courage Under Fire

VIDEO: ABCs Brian Ross remembers the award-winning war photographer killed in Libya.

Award-winning war photographer Tim Hetherington was killed today in the Libyan city of Misrata, where rebels have been trying to hold off a brutal assault by the Libyan army. A statement from his family said he was killed by a rocket-propelled grenade. A second photographer, Chris Hondros of Getty Images, has also died of wounds sustained in Misrata today.

In a message sent from his Twitter account yesterday, his first tweet in months, Hetherington wrote: "In besieged Libyan city of Misrata. Indiscriminate shelling by Qaddafi forces. No sign of NATO."

Hetherington went wherever there was conflict and danger, mindful of the risks, but determined to capture the truth of what he saw.

Our investigative unit was honored to have the chance to work with him. Hetherington's most memorable work was in Afghanistan in 2007 and 2008, on assignment for ABC News' "Nightline" and "Vanity Fair" magazine, along with reporter Sebastian Junger. Neither flinched under fire.

U.S. Army Major Dan Kearney, who was prominently featured in Hetherington and Junger's Afghanistan coverage, said that in his time with the troops, Hetherington became family.

"Tim wasn't just a friend," an emotional Kearney told ABC News after learning of Hetherington's death. "He was a brother to me."

On and off over 15 months, Junger and Hetherington followed one U.S. Army unit, Battle Company, in the dangerous Korengal Valley.

"There was certainly tension in the air," Hetherington said in 2007 of the experience. "One of the questions I asked everybody is an obvious question but I wanted to hear what they said -- 'Are you scared to go in there?'"

If he was scared, Hetherington never showed it.

On one mission, Battle Company got word that the Taliban was tracking them as they pulled back to their base.

Said Hetherington, "It was a sense that we were now going to be hunted. I think we were hunting and being hunted and that was not a great feeling."

There was chaos that day as the shooting began, and the adrenaline flowed, but Hetherington kept rolling on the soldiers, steady as always.

Hetherington filmed one of the soldiers as he described the feeling: "I'm the wrong one to play with," the soldier said. "I just miss the firefights, it's been awhile for me. I'm like a little kid right now. It's just a good time. This is what we get paid to do right here."

But then came word that the advance scouts had been hit.

Follow ABCNewsBlotter on Facebook

  • 1
  • |
  • 2
Join the Discussion
blog comments powered by Disqus
You Might Also Like...