Two broadcast journalists from the Valley will become the first news team embedded with Arizona National Guard’s 285th Aviation Unit in Afghanistan, ABC 15 News announced Friday.
ABC 15 News reporter Karen Schaler and photojournalist Filip Kapsa will board a commercial flight today to the Persian Gulf. They will then meet Arizona troops at two locations in eastern Afghanistan.
The Apache helicopter unit from Arizona includes 450 men and women who have been training since May.
“I’ve always wanted to experience coverage in a war zone,” Kapsa said.
Coverage on the battlefield will be nothing new for Schaler. She was the first reporter embedded with troops in Bosnia in 1996, where she earned an Emmy after spending a month with troops.
“Afghanistan is the home of Osama bin Laden, the Taliban and al-Qaeda,” said Schaler.
“It’s the heart of our war against terrorism. This is where our Arizona soldiers are. I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.”
Schaler and Kapsa said their biggest goal will be to highlight the changing role of the National Guard and the sacrifice these men and woman make.
Not only will they be eating and sleeping with the troops 24 hours a day, they’ll also be traveling with them.
“Part of the power of television is to take viewers places they’ve never gone before,” said Joe Hengemuehler, ABC 15 News director. “And that is in part, what this coverage is all about.”
Schaler and Kapsa will not only be sharing their stories in newscasts, but Schaler will also write a blog on www.abc15. com.