July 17, 2007 -- After "World News With Charles Gibson" aired exclusive footage of the troop surge in Iraq from British photographer Sean Smith, we received an extraordinary response on this Web site.
The footage provided an unfiltered look at the front lines of the surge.
In one instance, troops are seen watching a Bradley armored vehicle blown up by an improvised explosive device as six American soldiers died inside.
Members of Apache Company were called to help. There was nothing they could do. (Click on the video player in the right hand side of this page to watch the report.)
Apache Company was sent to Iraq in June 2006 for a 12-month rotation, which has since been extended to a 15-month tour. The soldiers are seen speaking openly about the effects of the endless combat and the grueling daily routine.
"We got grenades going off, we've got an IED blowing up your vehicle … and then, you are expected to go back in those four to six, four to five hours … and relax!" said Cpl. Joshua Lake, 2nd Infantry Division. "You just don't have time to do it. Your body never gets to come down. You're always on that heightened sense of alertness."
Until Monday night's report, Lake's mother had not heard her son's voice in a month.
"He's up for hours at a time. He can't sleep because his body is so tense when he comes back, and you know there's no way of laying down," Debbie Lake-McMahon told ABC News. "He said that he lays there and his body just trembles."
We also received hundreds of e-mails from viewers, including one who said the report was "so disturbing that I had nightmares after what I saw."
For another, the nightmare is real.
"I am the mother of the driver of the Bradley you see upside down and burning," she wrote. "He was 19 years old and could see the futility of Iraq invasion and occupation."
Another relative of a fallen soldier wrote, "For one moment, we captured the sense of fear, hate, anxiety, stress, depression that befell our beloved one. We miss him. I am so angry, because after all of this — the sacrifice — Bush and his supporters have not moved forward on this."
Many of you criticized ABC News and said we were focusing only on the negative, and called it "irresponsible and cowardly reporting."
While many others were glad to hear the soldiers' point of view, as with this comment, which simply stated, "Thank you for finally doing a story from their perspective."