The battle-tested practice of embedding reporters is all the rage these days in the war reporter business. Never mind that the concept predates Ernie PyIe, or that its execution during Operation Iraqi Freedom was less than perfect. A win is a win—and the American public benefited from a troops' eye view of Operation Iraqi Freedom in the spring of 2003.
But as with any operational success, those with their finger on the pulse must take care not to draw the wrong lessons from the program's rave reviews. Specifically, joint combat leaders at every level must be certain not to cavalierly or unknowingly jettison a critical piece of the public affairs arsenal already in place: the enlisted combat correspondent.1