Just weeks after ascending to World News Tonight coanchor, Bob Woodruff has become a top story.
The ABC newsman and his cameraman Doug Vogt were seriously injured Sunday by a roadside bomb in Iraq.
The two were embedded with the 4th Infantry Division and traveling in a convoy with U.S. and Iraqi troops near Taji, 12 miles north of Baghdad, when the bomb went off. Woodruff and Vogt were standing in the open hatch of an Iraqi military vehicle at the time as they attempted to report on the war from an Iraqi soldier's perspective.
Woodruff, 44, and Vogt, 46, underwent emergency surgery at a U.S. military hospital in Iraq, where surgeons removed shrapnel from Woodruff's head and neck and set several broken bones. Vogt received treatment for similar wounds. The two were then flown to a base in Germany for additional treatment.
"They're both seriously injured, but stable," said Colonel Bryan Gamble, commander of Germany's Landstuhl Regional Medical Center. He said that both men were under heavy sedation and being treated in the hospital's trauma unit.
Both Woodruff and Vogt had been wearing body armor at the time of the blast, which likely saved them, Gamble said, "otherwise these would have been fatal wounds."
An ABC News spokesperson said that both men's wives were at the hospital Monday, but much of the men's progress was reported by a former rival, Tom Brokaw.
Brokaw said Monday that he had spoken with Woodruff's wife, Lee, and said that they had received "some encouraging news."
"The doctors had told them once they arrived that the brain swelling had gone down," Brokaw said on NBC's Today show Monday. "In Bob's case, that had been a big concern. Yesterday they had to operate and remove part of the skull cap to relieve some of the swelling."
Brokaw also related Woodruff's reaction immediately after the explosion.
"He turned to his producer and said, 'Am I alive?' and "Don't tell Lee,' and then he began to cry out in excruciating pain."
David Westin, president of ABC News, appeared on Good Morning America Monday, saying despite the risks, it's important to have reporters on the ground.
"We all know there are substantial risks," Westin said. "At the same time, what we do is report the news. We report the stories such as Iraq, and it's a dilemma we struggle with all along because frankly, we don't get to report as much in Iraq as we'd like to because of security."
It was a sentiment echoed by Woodruff's World News Tonight tag-team partner, Elizabeth Vargas, on Sunday night's edition of the program.
"Bob and Doug were...doing what reporters do, trying to find out what's happening there up-close and firsthand. All of us are mindful of the risks and the dangers."