NBC Nightly News Profiles Female Sergeant Fulfilling 'Dream' of Serving in Iraq

Thursday's NBC Nightly News combined the usual with the unusual for an evening newscast story: A breast cancer survivor story which would appeal to woman and a look at an Army Sergeant who has now fulfilled her 'dream' of getting to serve in Iraq, hardly a view expressed very often on network news. Anchor Brian Williams introduced the profile: “Tonight we have a story of a woman who is serving her country and serving as an example, in her bravery, to the rest of us.” Checking in on the state-side training being undergone by Army Sergeant Elizabeth Cowie, reporter Jennifer London explained how “it's been her dream to serve in Iraq.” Cowie, however, was sidelined by breast cancer. But now that she successfully treated it, her dream has been “realized,” London related, as “this was Sergeant Cowie's final training mission before deployment.” Cowie expressed her idealism and commitment: “We have a lot of liberties, we have a lot of freedoms that other people around the world don't have, and so for me that's important, so I'm willing to do what I have to do and put my own life at risk.”

After London's piece, Williams followed up with how Cowie arrived in Iraq and sent an e-mail to NBC News “with the following request, quote: 'Keep our soldiers in your prayers. They are the best of America.'”

A transcript of the July 26 NBC Nightly News story for which I corrected the closed-captioning against the video:
BRIAN WILLIAMS: Tonight we have a story of a woman who is serving her country and serving as an example, in her bravery, to the rest of us. Tonight she's on the job in Iraq as part of the U.S. armed forces there. Before going there, she had to wage another battle. NBC's Jennifer London has her story from Indiana.

JENNIFER LONDON: Behind the wheel of her Humvee, Sergeant Elizabeth Cowie is focused on her mission. She's training to guide her convoy through an Iraqi village under attack from roadside bombs. She's been in the military for 16 years, but has never seen combat. It's been her dream to serve in Iraq.

SERGEANT ELIZABETH COWIE: It's something I truly believe in with my heart.

LONDON: But then, devastating news. In April, Sergeant Cowie's military career was seriously jeopardized after an Army-mandated mammogram revealed she had breast cancer. Her treatment? She had the tumor removed and underwent targeted radiation. The aggressive treatment worked and Sergeant Cowie was declared cancer-free last month.

SERGEANT COWIE: It was an ecstatic moment both on the medical side and personal, but also that I could stay with my team. I made a commitment to this group and I'm going to stick by that commitment.

LONDON: A commitment her family understands.

KRISTINA COWIE, DAUGHTER, READING FROM COMPUTER SCREEN: Please keep all the soldiers in your prayers, take care and keep in touch.

KRISTINA COWIE: I never would make her set aside like a dream for me because I know this is what she really wants.

LONDON: Mama Cowie, as she's fondly called, is also a mother to her military family. Sergeant Jerry Faulkner says she has inspired her entire unit.

SERGEANT FAULKNER: Words can't describe her. She's just outstanding. An outstanding soldier, mother and a lady.

LONDON: And now, a dream realized. This was Sergeant Cowie's final training mission before deployment.

SERGEANT COWIE: We have a lot of liberties, we have a lot of freedoms that other people around the world don't have, and so for me that's important, so I'm willing to do what I have to do and put my own life at risk.

LONDON: And despite all she's been through and all that lies ahead, Sergeant Cowie says she's nothing special -- just a soldier going off to war. Jennifer London, NBC News, Camp Atterbury, Indiana.

WILLIAMS: One final note here: We received an e-mail from Sergeant Cowie. After two long days of traveling, she told us, she had finally arrived in Iraq, was reunited with her unit and was doing just fine. She signed off with the following request, quote: “Keep our soldiers in your prayers. They are the best of America.”

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