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Soldiers visit class, speak on media, war

Jan. 28, 2004

By Aline Defreitas, reporter

'The media reports the absolute worst that happens every day,' Sgt. Luis Lazzara, a U.S. Army soldier previously stationed in Iraq, told a group of Baylor journalism students and ROTC members Tuesday. 'It doesn't show the hospitals that are being opened with qualified doctors that these people did not have.'

At the seminar, Lazzara and Sgt. 1st Class William Charles Armstrong showed video footage of their work and spoke about the the media's biased reporting of the Iraqi war and their own work with combat camera documentation.

Both Lazzara and Armstrong were stationed in Iraq last year as members of the 101st Airborne Division, where they took digital-still photographs and produced, shot and edited video footage

Armstrong, who has 14 years of experience with combat documentation, said it is important to show the different aspects of war.

'We need to show the whole spectrum of what we do,' Armstrong said. 'Not just the guys in the field.'

Cpt. Dennis Wille, company commander of the Waco recruiting company, said said the media's reporting of the number of deaths in Iraq may seem immense to the general population, but 'it is rare in the [soldiers'] frame of mind.'

Wille recruited Lazzara and Armstrong to come speak in Waco.

According to Lazzara, 90 percent of the Iraqi population is happy and thankful for the soldiers' help. He said soldiers receive gratitude and cheers from the Iraqi people on a daily basis.

In addition to talking about restructuring, Armstrong gave students advice on how to find the perfect camera shot.

He said 'the money shot' is found only in the middle of the action.

'If a soldier is kicking in a door, I want to be there,' Armstrong said. 'You can't find the best shots if you're not willing to be present during the action.'

Lazzara and Armstrong each have a Bronze Star medal, awarded for acts of merit or service, while serving with the 101st Airborne Division. Additionally, Lazzara received the Purple Heart for injuries he sustained when his infantry was ambushed while doing humanitarian work in Iraq.