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Experiences in Iraq exposed

Evan Wright accompanied a marine unit “tearing through the country side shooting at anything that moved.”

Wright, from Rolling Stone, was sent to Afghanistan and Iraq in the weeks following 9/11 to report on the War on Terror.

He said since nothing happened in the war in Afghanistan he was sent to Iraq to tell the story of the soldiers upon liberation of Baghdad.

Wright was brought to the University by the Florence and Jesse Currier Lecture Series.

The Curriers came to the University in 1940. Jesse Currier established the University’s journalism program and Florence Currier served as a dean of women.

The annual Currier speaker is selected by the Currier Speaker Committee that consists of four professors.

Nancy Brendlinger, who is on the committee said Wright was the group’s first choice.

“We work with several speaker organizations,” Brendlinger said. “But we know who we are interested in bringing.”

Oliver Boyd-Barrett, director of school of communication, has read several of Wright’s pieces.

He said Wright’s book was filled with interesting stories.

“This book has a great deal to offer,” Boyd-Barrett said.

Many people, including Marine Josh Ramirez, were also interested in hearing Wright’s speech after reading his book.

“I was sitting in a Humvee reading this book and I saw so many parallels that I could relate to,” Ramirez said. “He hit it like a nail right on the head.”

Wright spoke and wrote about his experiences with the first Recon Battalion, which was one of the first units of Marines to enter into enemy territory in Iraq.

Wright’s Humvee was the only one with windows. At first Wright said he felt safe but then he realized that his Humvee was the first car in the brigade.

Brandon McGraw, who attended the Currier Lecture and also read Generation Kill, had the same job as the Marines that Wright accompanied.

“He tells it how it is,” McGraw said.

Wright said he wants to share the lives of soldiers and give them a name and face.

He was offered the opportunity to go on television and talk about elections in Afghanistan, but he declined.

“I didn’t have my book coming out at the time, other wise I might have gone on television and talked about my experience with elections in Afghanistan,” Wright said. “So many journalists with books coming out have the tendency to think they are an expert in what they are talking about.”

Though Wright wrote about the war, he never claimed to be an expert.

“I don’t have any predictions on the war’s outcome, that’s not my level of expertise,” he said.

But several readers have gained a better understanding of the war as a result of “Generation Kill.”

“I told the story of extraordinary killers,” Wright said. “No officer wants his platoon to be the one that gets wiped out because they didn’t let their men be aggressive enough.”

When Wright graduated from Vassar College with a Medieval History degree he said he never would have imagined himself as a reporter for Rolling Stone. Wright was drinking heavily, taking odd jobs and eventually ended up in Los Angeles after college. While in L.A. he got a job at a law firm in Beverly Hill.

“My job was so boring at the law firm that I was smoking bales of chronic,” he said.

Wright became desperate for a job and found an opening at Hustler and got it by surprise.

“A couple of days in the office I started to wonder why I got this job,” he said.

While working for Hustler, Wright freelanced for Rolling Stone and three years later became a full-time reporter when he left Hustler. He is currently writing a memoir about a Cleveland program named SEED that deals with troubled children.

“Basically, these bad kids were me when I was younger,” Wright said ” I have been drawn to these dramatic stories because of this.”

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