TV Reporter Covers War From Brother’s Ship
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) _ On his 16th day broadcasting from aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln, television reporter Pat Dooris felt the sour tang of fear spread from the back of his mouth to the pit of his stomach.
His older brother, Cmdr. Bill Dooris, a fighter pilot stationed on the aircraft carrier, was somewhere over Iraq, and CNN was reporting a pilot missing.
Suddenly, the story Pat Dooris was covering was closer than ever.
``He was out flying very late in some very dangerous weather, thunder, lightning and horrible rain,″ Pat Dooris said. ``I was forcing myself to have faith that he was going to be OK, going to be protected, going to be fine.″
Bill Dooris, 41, did land safely after a longer-than-expected mission. He said it never occurred to him his brother would be worried.
``It caught me totally by surprise,″ he said. ``I had no idea how concerned he was until I read about it in an article he had written online.″
The brothers know it could be different next time, or the time after that. And if the what-if happens, Pat Dooris, 40, also knows he’ll become part of his brother’s wartime story.
The Dooris brothers are the Iraqi war’s only known sibling reporter/military combination, according to Department of Defense spokesman Lt. Cmdr. John Bernard.
After securing one of 30 media spots aboard the ship, Pat Dooris snagged a cot in a room with three junior pilots, thanks to his brother.
``I can’t imagine getting any closer to the pilots than I am right now,″ he said.
Also thanks to his brother, Pat Dooris said he thinks notoriously media-shy Navy pilots are more open to trusting him.
``They are always worried that someone is going to portray them as warmongers and that sort of thing, and they knew I wasn’t going to do something like that,″ Pat Dooris said.
Bill Dooris agreed.
``In the past, the press and the military haven’t always gotten along, and that leads to bad reporting,″ he said. ``I know I can tell Pat stuff, and if I say, ‘Please don’t report it,’ he won’t, but it helps him understand the mood and climate of how we live. That in turn has created a lot of trust with the folks in my squadron toward Pat and his crew.″
Pat Dooris said his brother cannot and does not tell him everything, but cuts through the public relations palaver.
``We talk about what it would be like if he got shot down, how the guys are handling the threats, and how he handles his fear of the unknown,″ Pat Dooris said.
There’s also time for family news. The brothers haven’t seen much of each other in recent years.
``When Pat was coming out here, he told his kids he was going to see their Uncle Bill, and they said, ’Who?‴ said Bill Dooris. ``I was like, ‘What do you mean, who?’ We just don’t get together enough. We always say, we’ve got to start.″
If something does happen to him in combat, Bill Dooris said he believes his brother would do him proud.
``I think he’d be a family member foremost, but he would also stand up and report like a pro,″ he said. ``It would be a really moving story. Then, of course, the next day I would get rescued.″