Medic Whose Bravado Was Captured in Brilliant Profile By C.J. Chivers Now Tends To His Own Wounds; a Happy Ending Of Sorts
His official title is Petty Officer Third Class, but everyone simply called Dustin Kirby "Doc." He was a medic assigned to the Second Mobile Assault Platoon of Weapons Company, Second Battalion, Eighth Marines, which meant too often he was attending to wounds inflicted by snipers.
Kirby's balance of triage, fragile emotions, outrage and fear were expertly captured in a Nov. 2 article by C.J. Chivers in The New York Times. Sadly, but not tragically, Chivers had to report on Dec. 29 about Kirby being wounded badly by another sniper's bullet.
As is not often the case, though, Chivers had some good news to report yesterday about Kirby's recovery which is gradual, but is expected to be complete after another series of operations this year.
A more uncertain path is being traveled by Marine Lance Cpl. Colin Smith, a friend of Kirby. The first article described how Kirby had attended to Smith on the battlefield after a bullet tore through his skull and destroyed the top frontal lobes of his brain.
Smith is said by his family to be in good spirits, though his progress is uncertain.
Sometimes as a reporter you start out telling a story and you have no idea how it will end. Fortunately, this is one still being written. And with Chivers' brilliant and sensitive reportage, it will be well worth reading.
UPDATE 11:00 A.M./2/26: Glad to see others felt the same way about Chivers, who the American Society of Newspaper Editors awarded its top prize for deadline reporting. The winning entries in all categories show that, despite increasingly daunting odds, there are still plenty of newspaper reporters fighting the good fight in a medium that's diminished but just as indispensable as it ever was.