Ian Fisher: American Soldier

Ian Fisher: American Soldier, a multimedia project by the Denver Post, is remarkable in its scope. It is precisely this type of storytelling that will breath life into journalism and facilitate its evolution in the age of Web 2.0.

June 1, 2007. 2:03 p.m. Ian returns a phone call to Sgt. 1st Class Gavino Barron, the commander at Ian’s Army recruiting office. Barron was making sure Ian was on track for enlistment. When he was 17, Ian had joined the Army’s Future Soldier Training Program, which prepares recruits for the enlistment process. Barron recalls his initial impression of Ian: “He wasn’t in it for the money. He was only in it for God and country. That’s the reason most infantrymen join.

June 17, 2007. 8:27 p.m. Ian embraces “Buddha,” left, and Shane as he prepare to leave home with Army recruiter Sgt. 1st Class Nancy Alessandri, who speaks with his dad in the driveway. Alessandri took Ian to a hotel where he would spend the night before being bused to the Denver Military Entrance Processing Station.

June 19, 2007. 8:10 a.m. Tom Abner, who says he’s shaved millions of heads in his 42 years on the job, adds Ian to that list with a shave that took just under a minute and a half.

Sept. 13, 2007. 9:28 a.m. It’s near the end of basic training, and the troops are deep into their week-long Field Training Exercise, or FTX, where they put all their newly learned skills to the test. Ian takes cover in the woods as his squad offers security for other platoon members raiding a trench.

Sept. 3, 2008. 12:55 p.m. Ian makes his way to the plane and, ultimately, Iraq, as the troops depart for their year-long deployment. Ian calls his mom that night. The next morning, she says: “When I spoke with Ian last night, he sounded excited and happy to be finally doing something. It lifted my heart.”

Nov. 28, 2008. 9:30 p.m. Ian slowly tears up a picture of Kirsten while sitting in his room. “If I was back home, I would probably be raising hell,” he says.

Dec. 14, 2008. 4:49 p.m. Smoke rises from trash being burned at Camp Echo. The past three days have brought many complaints from Ian: shoveling dirt, sitting in the maintenance bay, picking up garbage.

Aug. 21, 2009. 11:11 p.m. It’s been five months since Ian went back to Iraq, and now family and friends gather in a gymnasium at Fort Carson to welcome troops from the 2nd Brigade Combat Team back home from their tour.

Aug. 24, 2009. 7:29 a.m. Ian’s squad leader put him in for an Army Commendation Medal to recognize Ian’s efforts in Iraq, primarily his duties with the Quick Reaction Force.

© Craig F. Walker/The Denver Post

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