THE PLANK DECEMBER 10, 2006
Major Megan McClung is my guardian angel today. McClung, a Marine officer, Naval Academy graduate, and most recently, the public affairs officer for the 1st Armored Divison's First Brigade Combat Team, choreographed my present journey through Iraq. As every journalist who has spent time in the American military universe here knows, public affairs officers in Iraq can make your life a mess or they can make it bearable. Whether securing me a seat on a flight that no one else knew existed, scoring an interview for me with a Sunni sheikh in Ramadi, or responding quickly and indulgently to the most inane questions a writer could think to ask, McClung did a difficult job cheerfully and she did it well. This is why First Brigade's Colonel Sean MacFarland stole her away from the Marines and why he could justifiably boast that he had one of the finest PAO's in Iraq. It is why reporters admired her. And it is why this sharp and talented young woman, who was killed by a roadside bomb a few days ago in Ramadi, can never be replaced.
--Lawrence F. Kaplan