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Bagram II

by Geraldo Rivera | Dec 04, 2007

We're about to accompany the Bagram-based Provincial Reconstruction Team up to the Salang tunnel that once monumental wreck destroyed in one of the many different Afghan wars, whose rebuilding is said to symbolize a new Afghanistan. Before we leave, let me tell you a little about the team I travel with, veterans all of my various adventures.

There's my younger, taller, better looking brother Craig, the senior producer/reporter who's worked with me in the news business since he was 17. Except for the thirteen years he was on his own as a reporter for Bill O'Reilly's alma mater 'Inside Edition' Craig's been at my side through thick and thin for virtually his entire adult life. A terrific journalist with balls of steel, incredibly (to me), Craig's 53 now. He's married to the much younger Cordelia Bowe Rivera, a beautiful woman who is also a talented tv producer and the mother of their two kids, Austin 13, who's already taller than me and Olivia, 9 who's cute as can be.

Greg Hart, 42 is like one of my sons. A thin, at the moment bearded, scruffy good-looking perpetual motion machine, he also grew up working for me, more or less constantly by my side since he was a senior at Fordham University 21 years ago and did audience coordination for my old daytime talk show. We three not only have each other's backs, we know our next moves almost instinctively. Our rule in combat is that nobody is in front of us except the front line soldiers and Marines who are doing the shooting and sticking. That's not bravado, that's fact.

Big Christian Galdabini, 39, is another warrior/ journalist. His first overseas assignment with me was a wild trip in 2002 that took us from here in Afghanistan to Bethlehem at the time the Palestinians seized the Church of the Nativity. That action ended the last chance for peace in our lifetime in the Middle East and he was on a steep, slippery roof shooting the entire saga live all frigid night long. Christian's a former college football player, a great cameraman with an easy demeanor, terrific sense of humor, who never loses his nerve or composure in a crunch. After years as one of Washington DC's most eligible bachelors, he just got engaged to Cynthia and they plan to marry on July 4th weekend next year in Virginia..

Our satellite guy, Brian Donnelly, 42, also started with me in 2002 in Afghanistan. The only non American on the team, Briiiaaan! as we usually call him using an exaggerated British accent to honor the rowdies in the pubs of our Manchester-based colleague's homeland, has a dry, wry, wit that cracks us up. He is an electronics genius who has managed to get us on the bird (aka, satellite as we say in the biz) in some of the world's hairiest, hottest spots. A one-time rowdy himself, we've watched him settle down (to the extent a pony-tailed mohawk wearing lad can be said to have settled down), and he's become a dad! He and significant other Jacki live in the UK, have two kids, Ellie who's 21-months and Nathan the baby and dad's constantly showing us new pictures of the darling children who make Brian's mum Margaret proud.

Right now we're in a convoy of six humvees heading out from Bagram into the snow-covered mountains heading toward Salang. Oh me? You can read the bio if there's anything left you don't know. I'm the proud father of five. My wife Erica is an awesome beauty, a former news producer, a fantastic mommy to Sol Liliana who's two years, four months, adorable, bilingual (Spanish and baby talk), loves and is loved by her dear old daddy who misses her so much it hurts.

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