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“We first met in the back of a Stryker [armored vehicle] when he told me his theory of what was wrong with the media — but he said it without rancor or judgment. I teased him about preferring to watch Anna Nicole Smith over the news or History channel; we both laughed and we got along fine after that.

“He was a great interview, honest and upfront, and I quoted him in several of my articles. But SSG Long and I also talked a lot off the record.

“He told me about his wife and his children, about growing up, about hunting and fishing, about high school and his decision to join the Army. I shared thoughts about my family and work-related travels.

“We both laughed and enjoyed a temporary escape from the war that he — like all your men — fought so stalwartly in the streets every day.

“Those moments were some of the best of my time with the Strykers, and while I mourn the death of Staff Sgt. Long, I am truly grateful that I was given the chance to meet, get to know and enjoy the company of Brian. I look forward to meeting him again on the other side.

Sincerely,

Sharon Behn

{bullet} David W. Jones is the foreign editor of The Washington Times. His e-mail address is djones@washingtontimes.com.