Attacked in Iraq: 'Am I Alive?'

ByABC News
February 23, 2007, 1:31 PM

Feb. 27, 2007 — -- It was January 2006, a little more than a year ago. Bob Woodruff had just been named co-anchor, with Elizabeth Vargas, of ABC News' "World News Tonight." It was an exciting time for a broadcast and network that was still healing from the death of Peter Jennings.

With President Bush's State of the Union address approaching, and because the speech was expected to focus extensively on Iraq, ABC News executives wanted to use the opportunity to highlight the strength of the new two-anchor format.

It was decided that Vargas would anchor from Washington while Woodruff reported from the front lines in Iraq.

"We wanted Bob on the ground, first and foremost, because this was the biggest story in the world, frankly, not just in the United States, but in the world at the time," recalled ABC News President David Westin. "At the same time, we recognized there were risks, as there are for all of our people as they go to Iraq to cover this war."

The "A-team" was assembled to complement Bob's reporting.

Vinnie Malhotra was Bob's producer for the assignment.

"There's a sense of great responsibility that comes with being there, with covering this war, and that in and of itself is exciting," said Malhotra.

Doug Vogt, a cameraman who has covered all kinds of previous conflicts for ABC News and has spent hundreds of days working in Iraq over the past four years, was also chosen to accompany Bob, as was Magnus Macedo, Vogt's longtime friend and colleague, who went along as the sound man.

"We were very excited," said Macedo. "But we just wanted to basically do our job and get out of there, because we knew that things were really bad, and getting worse by the day there."

"I know it's going to be another day in a war zone. And I kind of like to say a little prayer to myself that it's going to be good and the day's going to end fast," said Vogt.

Bob wanted to embed during the weekend leading up to the State of the Union so he could report about the situation on the ground for U.S. troops serving there. He wanted to see up close the areas where Iraqi troops were taking a lead role in security and where U.S. troops were taking a supportive role.