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CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL

101st Airborne Soldier's Diary

Aired April 5, 2003 - 06:43   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: Now the war from a soldier's perspective. Elements of the Army's 101st Airborne Division are working to secure the airport outside of Baghdad. We've been telling you about that. Well, you get to meet some soldiers from the 101st.
One of our correspondents in Iraq gave a camera to Chris Fleischman (ph) of the 101st. His diary dates back to the start of the war.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's the guys breaking out for a little while. We need to get as much as rec (ph) as possible, so that when we go on our ops, which could be three or four days long continuously with no sleep at all, we can maintain and keep going.

This is the least favored job of infantrymen, digging a fighting position. We can differences in the -- so come over here to the side and kneel down. You get on his level, you can barely see (UNINTELLIGIBLE) of his head.

Out there is Duncan (ph). He's our comic relief.

(LAUGHTER)

That's our comic relief.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And it's good!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's (UNINTELLIGIBLE).

Just waiting for some news. I imagine a lot more will be happening tomorrow as we're going to cross the border. I might talk to you again tonight (UNINTELLIGIBLE) if we hear anything or see anything out of the ordinary.

(UNINTELLIGIBLE). It's 2:00 in the morning, we're still at our staging area.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let's go! Let's get it done!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Move!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's time!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Time to go!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are 25 minutes from the Iraq border. Lock the door.

Miguel (ph), how does it feel to be in Iraq?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It feels all right.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You ready?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm ready.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just in case they didn't think we were coming in (UNINTELLIGIBLE), and this is my (UNINTELLIGIBLE).

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, this gives you a little different view of how much we don't have.

It's funny how quickly, you know, this vehicle becomes your home. (UNINTELLIGIBLE) just trying to bring something that reminds us of home or I guess ease the burden of being away.

We're coming up on what looks like used to be a little town. It's probably been abandoned for a while.

(UNINTELLIGIBLE). Six guys (UNINTELLIGIBLE), trying to defend their area, (UNINTELLIGIBLE).

We're on our way. Go bye-bye. (UNINTELLIGIBLE).

The locals really only want that (UNINTELLIGIBLE).

Don't hit anybody. Come up (UNINTELLIGIBLE). We're right behind them. Over here to the right, pull up around the truck. Pull in front of the truck.

All right, there's our truck getting beat to death. God dang it!

The dashboard is gone, everything, tires popped, they tore this truck up.

Dawn is coming up over the horizon there. We moved farther ahead than we were last night to a refueling (UNINTELLIGIBLE). So just (UNINTELLIGIBLE) and see how far we can get today.

The topography has changed a little bit, a little rockier, hillier.

(UNINTELLIGIBLE).

I'm sorry, (UNINTELLIGIBLE) and part of what we're doing here. I want to say hi to all my loved ones back home.

Hey, mom. Hey, dad. I hope you guys are doing good. Tell my little brother and sister I said hi. Sorry I haven't called or wrote, but I've been busy.

Just knowing that we're safe out here, and I'm with a great group of guys. I feel very confident about what we're doing. Don't forget we're here.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (UNINTELLIGIBLE).

(END VIDEOTAPE)

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