Blogging the Milblogs Conference

Mary Katharine Ham
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Posted: May 05, 2007 10:25 AM

I'm in Arlington, Va. at the Milblog Conference, and I just now got online. A few technical problems.

The big surprise of the morning was an opening video-greeting from President Bush, who thanked the milblog community for  telling the stories of Iraq and motivating people to support the troops while they're overseas.

Gateway Pundit is photo- and video-blogging up a storm, and has photographic evidence that I'm actually here.

We heard a live teleconference call from Admiral Fox, on the ground in Iraq, and then went into a great panel on blogging "From the Front," which featured two citizen journalist embeds and two active duty combat bloggers. More on that in just a bit.

The new Army reg on blogging is obviously a hot topic, as is MSM bias, and people are getting pretty fiesty. I'll clean up my quotes and throw them up in just a few.

Here's Bush's statement, courtesy of Jim Hoft of Gateway Pundit:
Last night was a cocktail hour/baby shower for injured soldier D.J. Emery, whose wife just gave birth to their daughter Carlee. Background on D.J.'s plight, here.

Lorie Byrd is blogging, here.

I had the privilege of meeting J.R. Salzman last night, a milblogger at Lumberjack in a Desert, who lost his right arm below the elbow to an IED in Iraq. I saw his nametag when I checked in yesterday, and wondered if he'd show. After all, he'd been severely injured in December of 2006. It was inspiring to see him walk in.

He's at the conference this weekend with a flame-painted mechanical prosthetic on one arm and his lovely wife, Josie on his other. When I talked to him last night, he told the story of the attack on his life without blinking an eye. He's visibly amazed he lived, and openly thankful that he was able to keep his legs.

Salzman was 2005 ESPN Outdoor Sportsman of the year for log-rolling. When he left for Iraq, he thought to himself he'd be all right as long as he didn't lose his legs. When an IED rammed into his vehicle, and left the bones of his right forearm exposed, he covered his wound with his left-hand glove, asked for a tourniquet, and told the medics he'd be fine as long as he could still log-roll, at which point they pegged him as delirious, he recounts with a smile.

Jim Hoft has video of the Salzman's story (must-see!). He's determined to catch up with his sister, who has something like 10 championships, while he's only topped the outdoor championships "5 or 6 times." So, back to lumberjacking for this veteran.

Update: Here are the rest of the panel topics. Right now, I'm listening to a very moving panel about family-support blogging--two soldier wives and two soldier moms who have blogged through deployments, homecoming, hateful commenters, and even post-traumatic stress disorder.