Martha Raddatz on Bob Woodruff

ByABC News

Jan. 29, 2006 — -- This morning, senior White House correspondent Martha Raddatz briefed George Stephanopoulos on what happened to "World News Tonight" co-anchor Bob Woodruff and cameraman Doug Vogt in Iraq earlier today.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Good morning, everyone. We have to begin todaywith some news that has hit close to home for all of us here atABC. Our "World News Tonight" co-anchor Bob Woodruff and hiscameraman Doug Vogt were reporting today from Taji, Iraq, whentheir convoy was hit by an IED.

Both are in serious condition, and they've been medevaced to aU.S. military hospital in Iraq, where they are now receivingtreatment. I'm now joined here in the studio by our White Housecorrespondent, Martha Raddatz, who, of course, has also covered thePentagon for years. And you've been talking to the military thismorning. What more do we know?

RADDATZ: Bob and Doug were in a convoy, and they were with U.S.military as well from the 4th Infantry Division, but they were withIraqi security forces. As you know, the U.S. military is trainingIraqi security forces. Bob and Doug were apparently with the 4thInfantry Division in an up-armored humvee and wanted instead to goin a vehicle with the Iraqi military forces.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Much softer target.

RADDATZ: Much softer target. It was a mechanized vehicle. Atleast it wasn't one of the pickup trucks which they usually drivearound in. They were in the lead vehicle and they were up in thehatch, so they were exposed. They did have all of their body armoron. They had helmets on. They had eye protection. But the IED wentoff, the improvised explosive device.

They were both immediately injured, taken away. They haveshrapnel wounds. Both apparently have shrapnel wounds to the head.They were first transferred to the green zone, the internationalzone. Their medical condition -- they were stabilized. Then theywere flown by helicopter to Balad. Balad is north of Baghdad.

STEPHANOPOULOS: And that is the best military hospital in Iraq.

RADDATZ: That's a very good military hospital in Iraq, and Bobis currently undergoing surgery. This happened several hours ago.Immediately medevaced, again, both stabilized. Bob is in surgery.I'm not sure Doug is in surgery at this point.

STEPHANOPOULOS: And the initial reports, at least this morning,were that after the IED went off, there was also some gunfire.

RADDATZ: Again, some of the reports I've gotten from people overthere, as you know, these things change. Initial reports aresometimes wrong. But the initial reports were that they hit animprovised explosive device, and then that was followed up by smallarms fire. This is very common over there now. These attacks areplanned, and this is a secondary attack. Sometimes when medicalpersonnel come in, they'll have small arms fire following up onthat.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Training these Iraqi forces is the heart of theU.S. strategy right now, so there's really no way to cover thisstory without going out there.

RADDATZ: There's no way. And I've been, in fact, with Doug andothers when we have to go with the Iraqi military forces. If you'regoing to cover the Iraqi military forces, you have to be with them.You have to see how they live. I will tell you one thing, a fewmonths ago when I was there and we wanted to get into an Iraqipickup truck, one of the American soldiers said, you can't do that.It's way too dangerous.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Because -- and we've actually seen. Theinsurgents know this as well, so in recent weeks and in recentmonths, that's been their target.

RADDATZ: It's become a primary target. It's a softer target, asyou know, but it is a primary target to attack these forces. Therehave been hundreds and hundreds -- thousands, probably -- of Iraqisecurity forces killed. Sometimes they're attacked by suicidebombers, but they have become a primary target. It is verydangerous business, training these troops for that reason alone.

STEPHANOPOULOS: And both Bob and Doug understood this. And asyou pointed out, they're not being hot dogs here. They were wearingheavy...

RADDATZ: Not in any way. I have worked with Doug Vogt so manytimes. He is no hot dog. Bob Woodruff would not take risks thatwere -- without his body armor or anything else. They are both verycareful. Doug, as a matter of fact, when he was with Terry Moran afew months ago, they hit a very small IED, and one of the Iraqiforces was killed. Doug was also in that convoy, but he was in anarmored humvee at that time.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Martha, I know you'll be following this allmorning. Obviously, this is very tough news for all of us here atABC. It gives us a taste of what so many military families aregoing through every day. Our hearts and our prayers go to Bob, hiswife, Lee, and their four kids, Doug's wife, Vivian, and theirthree daughters. We're going to be praying for them. We hope youwill too. We'll be right back.

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