Morning Report: July 2, 2004

American volunteer owes life to Iraqi heroes. 22-year-old Scott Erwin, an American civilian volunteer in Iraq, credits a spare battery and Iraqi courage with saving his life. The battery, hanging in a pouch around Erwin's neck, stopped a bullet during an ambush. Also during the hail of bullets, the Iraqi translator, a friend of Erwin's, "was able to kind of pull me down and pull me from the car, until I was actually pulled to the opposite side outside of the car, so the car itself was almost blocking myself and him from the fire." The ambush killed an Iraqi officer and his driver.

Iraqi police put him and the others into the back of a pickup truck and sped off to the Green Zone. Erwin recalled that on the way to the hospital he tried to talk to his close friend, Col. Mohammed.

"I realized he wasn't answering, and then the translator, who saved my life, I believe, said that he had passed away."

Gunfire shattered some of the windows of the ambushed vehicle.

While in a state of shock, Erwin said he remembered feeling deep disappointment and sadness for the loss of Col. Mohammed's life, because he had a family -- a wife and two children.

He said he thought about how Col. Mohammed "would never get to see a prosperous Iraq, which he always talked about and he always dreamed about."

Read the whole story at the link.