From NPR's Embedded: Taking Cover investigates worst Marine-on-Marine friendly fire
March 14, 2023; Washington, D.C. – On March 23, NPR's signature documentary show Embedded will launch Taking Cover, an investigative podcast that reveals the truth behind the worst Marine-on-Marine friendly fire incident in modern history – and why it was covered up.
Hosted by NPR investigations team senior producer Graham Smith and NPR Pentagon reporter Tom Bowman, Taking Cover digs into a devastating explosion in 2004, in which two Americans and an Iraqi comrade were killed, and more than a dozen men in Fallujah were wounded. Though officers knew immediately what happened, they also understood there could be political consequences. The official report was buried, families were lied to – and to this day, the survivors still don't understand the truth about what happened on the worst day of their lives.
Introducing Taking Cover
Introducing Taking Cover
New episodes will publish every Thursday. And for the first time, listeners can get new episodes an entire week early with Embedded+ (and even enjoy sponsor-free listening), all while supporting public media. More details available at plus.npr.org/embedded or on the Embedded channel in Apple podcasts.
Listen to the trailer here.
"Tom and I have spent years traveling in war zones together, getting to know the troops by eating, sleeping and going out on patrol with them," said Smith. "It's always felt like essential journalism in terms of helping NPR listeners grasp the reality of U.S. foreign policy. But the conversations we've had with these men as we investigated one terrible mistake may do more to help people understand the last 20 years of war better than anything from the battlefield."
"We spent three years digging into the tip we received, talking to the families, the Marines who survived, officials and reading the investigative report," said Bowman. "This is a gripping and tragic story about mistakes, miscalculation and lies, and about how Marine veterans are still haunted by what happened to them on a single night in a small schoolhouse in Iraq."
"When I think of Embedded, I think of that in-depth, deeply-reported journalism that Graham, Tom and the team bring to the table with Taking Cover," said Irene Noguchi, who oversees the unit that produces Embedded. "This is where audiences can find a regular home for longform storytelling, where they hear those voices raw with emotion as Marines reflect on the past, and fully immerse themselves in following a story from its mysterious beginning to the revealing end."
"The depth of Tom and Graham's reporting, and the breadth of voices and storytelling they use, combine to create something truly special," said Robert Little, head of NPR's Investigations team and lead editor on the project. "Taking Cover isn't just a remarkable story, it's a vital one."
Listeners will find enterprise documentary storytelling projects from across the NPR Network in the Embedded feed. NPR's Embedded, hosted by Kelly McEvers, features stories that are bingeable, riveting and touch on the important issues and ideas of our day. Embedded presented the critically acclaimed The Last Cup and the award-winning criminal justice podcast On Our Watch, the 2022 Murrow award winner Capital Gazette, and the second season of White Lies.
NPR's rigorous reporting and unsurpassed storytelling that connects with millions of Americans every day — on the air, online, and in-person. NPR strives to create a more informed public — one challenged and invigorated by a deeper understanding and appreciation of events, ideas, and cultures. With a nationwide network of award-winning journalists and 17 international bureaus, NPR and its Member Stations are never far from where a story is unfolding. Listeners can find NPR by tuning in to their local Member Stations (npr.org/stations), and now it's easy to listen to our stories on smart speaker devices. Ask your smart speaker to, "Play NPR," and you'll be tuned into your local Member Station's live stream. Your speaker can also access NPR podcasts, NPR One, NPR News Now, and the Visual Newscast is available for screened speakers. Get more information at npr.org/about and by following NPR Extra on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.