On Monday, the Department of Defense announced that Maj. Megan McClung, a Marine public affairs officer, had been killed in Iraq.
I first heard the news a day after it was announced. I wanted to write about it, but I didn’t know what to say.
The media has been abuzz about the death of Maj. McClung because it meets some of the established (and sometimes artificial) criteria for what makes news “newsworthy.” She was a woman. She was an officer. She was the highest ranking female Marine to be killed in Iraq to date.
To me, however, it feels different. This time it feels more personal.
To be clear, I did not know Maj. McClung. During my time as a military public affairs specialist, our paths had not crossed, though I wish they had. From the coverage of her death, she sounded like an incredible woman, one who I am sure that — on many levels — fellow public affairs officers would be proud to hold up as a representative of the career field and the military.
She was a public affairs officer. She wasn’t infantry. It wasn’t her daily job to find IEDs or conduct raids. Her duty was to tell a story. It was her job to help reporters to theirs and to help the American people know about the service and sacrifice of the men and women of the US Marine Corps.
I feel like I am rambling. I feel like I am not focused. I can’t tell you why, but this time it feels different. Not for any of the reasons that reporters and pundits have decided that this news is “newsworthy.”
I never met Maj. McClung, but for some reason, this one hurts more.