tv Caught on Camera MSNBC April 1, 2012 1:00pm-2:00pm PDT
war caught on camera. correspondents in the heat of battle. >> i remember hearing it, bing, bing, bing, as the bullets are hitting the side of the humvee. >> troops recording the danger they face every day. >> oh! >> my first instinct was that i just lost three soldiers and a vehicle. >> come on, fire. >> and a classified military video that stuns the world. in this hour, troops from the frontlines to their front lawns. >> i think he remembers you. >> war, up close. "caught on camera." "combat."
hello. i'm contessa brewer. welcome to "caught on camera." u.s. troops in the wars in iraq and afghanistan have had some of the most high tech fighting gear, but they've also brought something else to the battlefield like never before. their cameras. the images cam tured have changed the way people back home see and hear what the troops are going through. thousands of miles away. a terrifying ied attack. >> combat patrolling at that time was hours upon hours of complete boredom punctuated by single moments of sheer terror. >> in the wars in iraq and afghanistan, by far the most common and deadly weapon against u.s. troops has been the improvised explosive device or ied. also known as roadside bombs,
ieds have claimed the lives of 65% of all u.s. casualties in both wars. >> the improvised bomb is the signature weapon of both the iraq and of the afghanistan war. it's the number one killer of soldiers. it's the number one weapon of insurgents. they're also as scary as hell. >> whoa! holy -- >> sometimes the difference between life and death is just seconds on a trigger. >> you just don't see it coming. you can have that gut feeling all day long but i don't know where it's coming from or who it's going to hit or who is going to push the button. >> january 11th, 2008, soldiers from the u.s. army's third quad run third armored cavalry division are on patrol in mosul, iraq. captain conrad brown is on command.
>> mosul was mostly al qaeda insurgents that had been pushed out of the sunni triang until the presurge 2006/2007. they had taken root in mosul. >> it's the sixth straight day of around the clock operations. the men are exhausted. >> we'd been up for about 36 hours at this point, and we're making our way back to our combat outpost. >> the battle worn neighborhood is known as an insurgent hot spot. >> the terrain favored the enemy immeasurably. the bombed out buildings were difficult to see from the windows. narrow alleys leading up to those roads and those intersections. >> but on this day the major supply route for both u.s. and
iraqi forces looks clear and the squad run decides to take it. >> i got it before every attack, that pit in my stomach. that's why i decided to take out the camera and start filming, just based purely on hunch. >> staff sergeant jason catrel is acting as lead scout standing up through the hatch of his bradley fighting vehicle. captain brown is on the radio reporting their position. when an ied detonates. >> my first instinct was that i just lost three soldiers in a vehicle. >> brown believes the ied has vaporized the bradley in front of him with his three men inside. >> the way it blew up, it happened in slow motion and you couldn't see the bradley any more. the ied was so buried, so deeply buied that it kicked up so much concrete and tar, asphalt, dirt, that it was raining on us for 45 seconds. the bradley disappeared. we didn't see it any more. i was already getting ready to -- as soon as we got security established, call for helicopter support. >> but miraculously, when the dust clears, the bradley
reappears and captain brown radios that all the men are safe. >> no cas. >> he road back and said they were all okay. >> i think i may have been knocked out for a few seconds, then realized what happened, checked on my crew, found out everybody is all right. call it up that we were good to go, still rolling. >> the convoy continues quickly back to its combat outpost. after inspecting the vehicles for damage, the men can finally breathe a sigh of relief. sergeant cautrell realized that the bradley's open hatch was what saved his life. >> for protection i had it straight up. luckily the hatch was between me
and a lot of the debris that blasted through. it put a few big dings in my hatch, but i was very happy it was there and protecting me from large chunks of shrapnel. debris probably could have taken me out. >> captain brown downloads the video to his laptop and his soldiers gather around to watch it. >> the first time we watched the video, i think we all said the exact same thing that i said on the video. >> oh -- >> because even though we'd watched the scene unfold in real life, you still don't see it coming. >> that's a lot of like patting on the back like, glad you made it through. the only reason that i think we didn't get blown up was the triggerman was a little slow or didn't have his timing right. i think maybe we were moving faster than he anticipated. >> the entire squad spends the next five days scouring the area of the explosion for the insurgents responsible for the attack. although they never find the men who planted the ied, they do eventually secure this area of mosul and rebuild the road for safe passage. >> it's one of those things where it's very personal when you get attacked. i've had a lot of ieds blow up on my vehicle, even on my door
of my vehicle. i've had snipers shoot at me. this one wasn't directed at my vehicle, but it was still close enough that you take it very personally. and it becomes a little miniature battle inside the war between just you and that other person who's trying to kill you. when you come out on top, you realize that you're still alive, so he failed. you may not have killed him, you may not have captured him, but he still failed, and that feels good. coming up -- journalists under siege in afghanistan. >> if we tried to cross an open stretch of road, we came under attack. and i thought "i can't do this, it's just too hard." then there was a moment. when i decided to find a way to keep going. go for olympic gold and go to college too. [ male announcer ] every day we help students earn their bachelor's or master's degree for tomorrow's careers. this is your moment. let nothing stand in your way.
directions on these hills. >> war reporting is as old as war itself, and for journalists covering the wars in iraq and afghanistan it's as dangerous as ever. in 2008, nbc news' richard engel t network's chief foreign correspondent, heads to afghanistan to report the story of soldiers based at restrepo. >> we didn't know what we were going to find. we wend to the valley which at the time was the most dangerous place in afghanistan. so we knew we would see action, we would see combat. >> engel and his crew, producer madeline herringer, and cameraman redden edwards, land right in the middle of the action. the men of viper company are trying to clear the valley of taliban fighters. the crew is there to document
the action. >> pretty much every day this outpost came under attack. and pretty much every time the soldiers went out there to do a patrol in the area, that patrol came under attack. >> while living with the men for weeks at a time, the crew experiences the harshness of the environment. >> the troops are out there for a year and a half. it's pretty tough. there's no showers, the food was pretty much all out of a plastic bag. so the living conditions were pretty bad. >> every conflict is different. >> in iraq, you're real danger was getting blown up in a humvee. in the koran val, because it's on foot and there are so few vehicles, it's more what you think of as classic warfare. units that are attacked by taliban fighters firing down
from the hillsides. we were just in gunfights all the time. >> during the very first firefight they film, cameraman redden edwards gets a little too close to the action. >> there was a group of soldiers who were just returning from a trip. and then suddenly these gunshots rang out. so i went up on to the top of the actual command post. i wanted to get a full, what we call sequence of him firing. the first shot i got was on his right hand side where the shell casings were coming out. so i basically got too close to the weapon and was hit by the casings. that will learn me not to get in the way of that. >> the casing misses the cameraman's eye by millimeters but draws blood. >> you're not thinking about your safety. you're not thinking about your security.
you're thinking about how you can compile a story together as you film. >> filming outgoing rounds, that's easy. filming incoming is much more difficult. >> before too long, engel and his crew find themselves in an extremely difficult situation. the soldiers from restrepo design to mount an operation designed to draw out the taliban. >> the troops broke up into two units. one unit from restrepo climbed down in the middle of the night through the hills and took up a post in a safehouse in the middle of this village. the other unit openly, overtly walked, drove and moved in to the village on the other side and set up position in a farmhouse. >> it's a trap to catch the taliban. and things are going just as planned. until a tragic mistake changes everything. >> so i was filming and suddenly there's this very loud explosion. >> a u.s.-fired mortar lands directly on the safehouse where part of the unit waits in ambush. >> it was a really, really awful moment because what it meant was that the operation that we had
thought we were going to have, suddenly turned into this very dire situation. >> i remember as soon as we heard that bang, we knew something was wrong. then we heard the most disturbing thing. we could hear the soldiers crying out for help, crying out in pain, and it was a horrible thing. >> there was nothing we could do other than watch and film. >> the mission changes to a rescue as apache helicopters are called in to retrieve the wounded. >> everything was incredibly dangerous at that stage because you're trying to extract wounded men. your chofr is blown. the troops that were injurehood to release red smoke to alert the people who were coming to save them of their exact location. >> in addition to worrying about his wounded men, the commander also needs to get everyone else out of there, including the nbc news crew. >> there was only one way out, we had to get back to the vehicle. so as expected, as the soldiers are leaving, they got attacked. >> we rounded a corner, and
that's when the first shot rang out. and then there was gunfire everywhere. richard and another soldier and i raced back to the humvee. >> the bullets are pinging off the side of the humvee. >> as i'm between this rock and the humvee, and redden is walking backwards, so the two of us are behind this humvee, i'm walking forward and he's walking backwards filming me and i'm trying to prevent him from falling and then getting run over by the vehicle or shot. >> my mind is racing because we need pictures, but you can't have pictures unless you're filming. and in fact, richard and i were having a giggle the other day because i said, richard, why didn't we just get into the humvee and hide there? and neither one of us couldn't remember why we didn't. but had we got into the humvee, we wouldn't have then got the pictures. >> we tried to cross an open
stretch of road, we came under attack. there's incoming fire right now. >> fortunately, the crew and the soldiers make it back to the command post, but as they return, the men get the news they had been dreading, one member of their company sergeant john penich, was killed in the incident. >> they were devastated. they were absolutely devastated. and i knew what it was going to mean for these soldiers, because i knew the bonds that they had among the unit and the fact that they'd done this themselves by accident. i'm still in touch with soldiers from the unit, and it still bothers them tremendously. they haven't gotten over this. and probably never will. >> engel and his crew spend more than a year going back and forth to the koran gal filming the men of restrepo. >> i think the drive for me to go to these places is because nobody else is going, or very
few people are going. that i have a camera and that i can record it as well is only a bonus. and therefore, i'm telling my story through these pictures. that's the great thing about being a cameraman. we have this amazing power with this thing that we hold in our hand to record life. >> i don't like war. i don't like seeing war. i don't like going to war. but war happens. and i think it's important to see war up close as a society, to understand about our human nature. war has its own dynamic that is also fascinating, is also grow tech and is also beautiful in some respects. because you see the chivalry that comes out. the chivalry that is gone in almost every other aspect of our society. and yet the brutality, which is also a part of our human nature that comes out.
i think if you go to a conflict zone, you will see a dynamic that you will not find anywhere else. >> hold fire, hold fire. coming up -- a close call for a team of army engineers who seek out roadside bombs. i'd like one of those desserts and some coffee. sure. cake or pie? pie. apple or cherry? cherry. oil or cream? oil or cream? cream. reddi-wip uses real dairy cream. nothing's more real than reddi-wip.
four ieds already today. we found three of them. >> to clear the roads of iraq and afghanistan of deadly ieds, the army relies on companies like this, the 235th combat engineers. drawn from the california national guard, these men are truly a band of brothers. and they do a job that is one of the most dangerous -- >> fire in the hole. >> -- and terrifying on the battlefield. this is one of the unit's
vehicle commanders. >> we essentially go down these roads looking for these bombs, looking for indicators that bombs are there, that they've been placed there. so we try to find them and we use various equipment to locate it, detect it, dig it up. >> he obsessively videotapes their whole deployment. >> i'm going to bring my video camera and just have a camera record everything. so i just have the camera on the dash of my vehicle. >> gunner ben winchester also films, mainly with his helmet cam. [ gunfire ] >> i just wanted to catch something. i wasn't exactly sure what i was going to catch. i was going to afghanistan. i know it's the real deal over
there. >> april 2009, the unit captures on camera a frightening day when they're hit with multiple ieds. >> we're driving down the road and we get hit in the middle of nowhere. there was no indicators, there was no markers. there is just an ied in the middle of nowhere. >> no one is hurt in that explosion, but the ied takes out the platoon's mine roller, a critical piece of equipment. the repairs take hours, forcing them to wait until morning to move again. and leaving them exposed on the dangerous road. >> i talked to the village elder. and he told me that the taliban used the road quite often and he advised us not to go down the road. >> he passes that information on to his commanders, but they order him to continue.
the next day just as he set out, their camera captures yet another strike. >> each time when your friend's blown up, your heart stops and you don't know. you wait for the dust to come down and wait for the radio to crack back up and hear something. >> good to go. >> everybody is good to go. nobody's injured. >> so we recover the vehicle and then we continue on the road. >> finally the group makes it safely to its destination. battered and shaken, but alive. phil is also a truck commander in the 235th who has survived numerous ieds. >> for a split second there's definitely a sense of, oh, god, this is it. this is -- it's all over. >> this is good. >> then you realize everything's good and you start hearing everybody again. you know that everybody's okay and, all right. we made it. >> i'll zoom in on it. >> while deployed the platoon routinely watches their own videos to assess the attacks and evaluate their reactions. >> the videos were really a time to decompress after a mission. it was something to look forward to, being able to sit down together. >> ben and van say they videotaped the war to remember and to prove exactly what happened there.
>> brownie's hit. brownie's hit. >> i think it helps because i think the media in the united states sort of censors a lot of like real combat footage. >> we're receiving small arms fire. >> i think it goes a long way to tell the american people that this war that we're in isn't so black and white. going to war shouldn't be something that is just taken so lightly. you know. >> during their time in afghanistan, van, ben and phil each sustained significant physical injuries including concussions, ruptured ear drums and broken bones. they earned five purple hearts among them. all three men finish their tours and all of them struggle with memories of the war. but they agree what got them through is their brotherhood. >> i would do it all over again only if i had them. >> as often as we can, we try to get together. we're trying to make new memories so the old memories aren't the same old war stories. we're trying to make new stories. whenever we can get together with these guy, i try and do it
welcome back to "caught on camera." i'm contessa brewer. one of the incidents of the iraq war came to the public when wikileaks began disseminating foot ooj from years anteriorlyier. among those killed two journalists from rooters. the video you're about to see is graphic and may be hard to watch. july 12th, 2007. the temperature is more than 100 degrees in central baghdad. this is the most violent period u.s. forces in iraq have seen. the surge, 30,000 u.s. troops are deployed to root out the insurgency. more troops on the streets means more danger. and attacks against u.s. forces are increasing daily. >> this is at the apex of iraq
going to hell. the surge has just started. and the war went from incredibly violent to over the top violent, especially in baghdad. >> we would get blown up regularly. snipers shooting at us. never really tell who the enemy was. >> soldiers from the u.s. army's bravo company 216, including specialist ethan mccord, are on patrol in a rundown neighborhood called new baghdad. early that morning the battalion comes under mortar fire as it leaves the base. while the soldiers patrol, they hear sporadic gunfire. >> this area had been a troublesome area so bravo company was tasked out to go in and kind of flush people out. >> two apache helicopters are trying air support and cameras mounted on their gun sites are recording the mission. wikileaks added the subtitles on the video, but the audio you hear is the pilot's actual radio
chatter. >> we got a target coming at you. >> the pilots spot a group of men they suspect are insurgents carrying weapons. >> slow down. individuals with weapons. >> he's got a weapon, too. >> there's at least 20 of them. >> oh, yeah. >> because the men are all dressed similarly, the pilots don't realize that two of them are journalists. photographer amir nouradeen and his driver. the apache soldiers seem to mistake amir's camera for a rocket-propelled grenade. >> he's got an rpg. >> we've got a guy with an rpg. >> i want to fire. >> all right. let's hold on. let's come around around. >> rpg getting ready to fire. >> we got a guy shooting. hue you know he's behind the building.
>> the helicopter crew gets permission from the commanding officer on the ground to fire on the group. >> all right. firing. >> pleat know when you got him. >> light them all up. >> come on, fire. >> they're running. >> keep shooting. >> the apache fires and fires and fires into this group of guys. it appears that they're all dead right away. >> look at those dead bastards. >> nice. >> a few minutes pass and the reuters employee begins crawling away. >> he's got that guy crawling right now on the curb. >> i got him. they're shooting over there, too. we'll see. >> the pilots are begging sort of themselves and begging the higher power that he'll get up and grab a weapon so that they can fire on him again.
>> come on, buddy. >> pick up a weapon. >> when you listen to the audio, when you go through the entire thing and listen to its in its entirety, you get a sense of detachment, almost, dare i say it, a video game. >> in the meantime, a van drives into the scene. >> crazyhorse, we have individuals going to the scene, possibly picking up bodies and weapons. >> it appears to be sort of an insurgent ambulance that's going to pick them up. >> the pilots want permission to attack again. >> can i shoot? >> roger. break. >> crazyhorse one, request permission to engage. >> picking up the wounded. >> get permission. >> come on, let us shoot. >> roger, engage. >> clear. >> come on. >> clear.
>> there's no sign of any further weapons, there certainly is no sign of any fighting. these guys are certainly no threat. and yet the helicopter pilots decide to light up the van. and blast it. >> oh, yeah, look at that. right through the windshield. >> just a few minutes later, specialist mccord and the rest of bravo company arrive on the scene. >> i immediately saw a group of men by a wall who had just been completely shredded from these 30 millimeter rounds. and i saw against the wall was an rpg. the rpg did not have a round in it. then on the ground close by was an ak-47. and i saw the light blue minivan. and i could hear a little girl
crying. >> realizing that there is a wounded child inside, mccord and his soldiers run to the van. >> inside the van when i looked in was a little girl about 4 years old. she had a severe belly wound and glass in her eyes and her hair and all over. next to her was a boy about 7 years old. he had very severe wound to the right side of his head. next to him in the driver's seat was the father. there was no way that he had survived. immediately i grabbed the little girl, grabbed a medic and was picking glass out of the little girl's eyes so that she can blink. there were no weapons or anything inside the van. it looked like a father driving his kids. >> the medic rushes the girl to a nearby vehicle as mccord returns to the van to take a photograph. >> and as i put my camera down, the boy makes a movement like a labored breath.
i remember my heart sinking and i start screaming out at this point. the boy's alive, the boy's alive. so i pull the boy out and i start running towards the bradley. as i'm running, i tell him, it's going to be okay. it's going to be okay. i have you. don't die, don't die. and he looks up at me. in the video, you can see where i stop running because he looks up at me for a second, then his eyes roll up into the back of his head. >> mccord hands the wounded boy to the medics at the bradley vehicle. >> you know, the whole time that this is going on, you know, my own kids are in the back of my head. when i put the boy inside the bradley, my platoon leader, who is a lieutenant, was standing there. what he said to me was, mccord, what the f are you doing? quit wasting your time with these mf'ing children and go pull security. roger that, sir. >> their fault for bringing
their kids into a battle. >> that's right. >> amazingly both children survive the attack. >> coming up -- the leaked apache video continues. another attack. with even more firepower. there's another way to minimize litter box odor: purina tidy cats. tidy cats premium line of litters now works harder to help neutralize odors in multiple-cat homes. and our improved formula also helps eliminate dust. so it's easier than ever to keep your house smelling just the way you want it. purina tidy cats. keep your home smelling like home. here's a chance to create jobs in america. oil sands projects, like kearl, and the keystone pipeline will provide secure and reliable energy to the united states.
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the better i drive, the more i save. i wish our company had something this cool. yeah. you're not... filming this, are you? aw! camera shy. snapshot from progressive. plug into the savings you deserve with snapshot from progressive. in april 2010, wikileaks releases a classified video that shocks the world. filmed from the gun site of a u.s. apache helicopter, the video first shows an attack on a group of men in baghdad.
and then on a van trying to aid the wounded. the video continues with another engagement, about 20 minutes later. >> to me, the most shocking part of the video comes at the end. >> roger that. clear. >> there's some confusion, maybe shots from nearby. all of a sudden, they zero in on a group of guys entering a building. >> there's at least six individuals in that building with weapons. >> we can put a missile in it. >> they say, let's hit it with a hellfire missile. they're getting ready to fire
that missile, at the bottom left corner, you see a guy randomly walk into the scene. they don't say, no, no, no, stop, stop, stop, don't fire. they shoot off the missile anyway. >> an iraqi citizen looks to be just walking down the road, just minding his own business and then one second he's there, one second he's not. as far as i can tell he was vaporized. i don't think his family ever knew what happened to him because there was nothing left. >> come around and we'll clear the smoke and fire one more. >> a lot of people don't know this, but the only thing that was found in that building when our teams went in there were a bunch of dead families. three families, to be exact. of children and women. that house could have been cleared very easily by one of our teams. but instead they chose to fire hellfire missiles into this building. >> stand by. engage.
>> all right. >> let me know when i'm clear. >> you're clear. >> were there some bad people in the area? yeah, there were. there were people there who wanted to hurt us. but it just doesn't make sense to me. because i was there. >> the day after the attack, the u.s. military releases a statement confirming the deaths of, quote, nine insurgents and two civilians, unquote. meaning the reuters journalists. according to the statement, before the apaches opened fire, american troops were conducting a raid nearby when they were hit with small arms fire and rocket-propelled grenades. reuters conducts its own investigation and can find no one in the area who saw any clashes that day. one week later the news organization demands an official u.s. investigation. it also specifically requests
access to the apache on board cameras and voice communications. all their requests are denied. the government makes no further comment on the incident until three years later when wikileaks, which had received a leaked copy of the classified video, releases it under the provocative title "collateral murder." >> the video is important in a number of ways. one of them is better scrutiny of how pilots behave when they fire on people. >> they released it in a couple different forms. they released it both in a long form, then a more concise form with the high points or highlighted the incident. the effect of that release was devastating. >> the u.s. military is trying to explain a newly leaked video that shows apache helicopters killing civilians during a raid in iraq. >> ethan mccord has just dropped off his children at school when he gets the news. >> came home. sat down on the couch with my
cup of coffee. turned on the news. it's insane. because the very first image i saw was of me running across the screen carrying a child. i was angry just by the initial shock of it being on the tv. but also a little relieved. i wanted people to know what was happening in iraq. >> the same day the video hits the air, the u.s. military releases the report it conducted in the weeks following the 2007 incident. >> the report was heavily redacted. the report basically said we investigated the incident and our guys behaved appropriately. there was no violation, if you will, of the rules of engagement. once you see the video, the conclusion of the report are diametrically opposed to that. >> in the fog of war in the context of combat this is what
is happening. >> after the wikileaks release, many people press the military to reopen its investigation. >> they in the end backed up the army regulation 156 report and said we're not going to reopen this, which again i thought was a very tragic and wrong call. >> the united states military declined a request to comment for this program and instead directed us to the findings in its report. since its release the video has sparked much debate. >> there was a perception that there was a threat, that there were enemy soldiers who had weapons and they were permitted to get clearance from the tactical operations center to fire. >> i think it's slanderous to say that their entire mission is to kill as many iraqis as possible. >> it's a complicated situation. in some ways in the first part of that incident, it's harder to find fault with the pilots for their initial actions. you know, you could argue they should have shown more restraint. what's harder to explain the opening up on the van.
the reason is they're in the air, they can follow that van anywhere. in fact, it might have been from strictly military point of view, it might have been better to follow the van and see where that led. >> urban combat is probably the most severe, most difficult type of combat that any army will ever face. with that said, there are very clear criterion set up for the use of deadly force. the idea is minimum use of force necessary to counter an adversarial threat. i've seen the video several times.
that van should have never been engaged by anybody. that never offered a threat. let me be clear. the presence of a weapon in the battlefield does not constitute a threat. it constitutes a weapon. you got to determine if the weapon is tied to someone who is threatening you. >> everybody's fighting over it, whether or not they had weapons. well, they had weapons, no, they didn't. this was murder, no it's not, it's war. in a sense everybody is right but everybody is so wrong at the same time. what you're looking at is a small black and white video of a much larger issue. and what legacy i was going to leave for my children. i struggle every day, every day i struggle. >> this is a situation where we could and should have done a better job of protecting innocent life because this is not only a war of territory, of physical destruction, this is a war of hearts and minds. clearly if you're killing civilians in the process of trying to secure a city, you're not really winning that battle.
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>> yeah. >> the separations can be long and difficult. and they make coming home all the more sweet. >> daddy! >> homecoming is the day troops and their families dream of. >> oh, my god! >> and more than a few of them are caught on camera. >> april, 2011, senior airman trevor crowder is anxious to return home from his nine-month deployment in iraq. >> i was excited. i was nervous at the same time. i wasn't expecting a big homecoming. i knew it was going to be my wife. i wasn't expecting a big parade or anything. >> back home in nebraska, there is more than one family member who misses trevor dearly. >> good boy. >> emmett thunderpaws is a 3-year-old great dane, the pride and joy of the crowder family. while trevor's deployed, emmett misses his playmate. >> get in my face and pushing me down. >> emmett, he missed rolling around with trevor.
they're best friends. hi, emmett. >> on the day her husband returns from war, whitney decides to videotape trevor's homecoming from emmett's point of view. >> emmett, come on. hey, emmett. do you not recognize me? he clearly smelled me coming in through the door. so i had no idea his reaction was going to be like that. it made it special for us. >> he was just like trying to look him in the eyes. i think he remembers you. >> how you doing? >> it was really fun to see emmett greeting trevor coming back. and it was really cute. i'm glad that i caught it on camera. >> and we're done. >> in buffalo, new york, another
soldier is greeted by a very emotional pooch. [ whining ] >> i miss you, yeah. >> karen fisher, an air force captain is returning from afghanistan, when she's surprised by her beloved golden retriever molly. [ whining ] >> i knew she would react, molly would react, but i didn't expect her to react the way that she did in the airport. i think she was just kind of beside herself and, we were both just overjoyed. >> staff sergeant joe meyers knew his surprise return from iraq would bring joy to his 9-year-old daughter hannah. >> come here. [ applause ] >> when the cameras started coming in, they told us that they were going to look at our class because we were the best fourth grade class. so they said that they were just going to come in and look around, and they said to welcome some special guests. >> the most special guest of all, her dad. >> it took all i could do to
keep my composure coming through the door of that classroom and looking for my daughter. >> two years after her father's surprise visit to her classroom, hannah lives in germany with her parents and younger sister. she and her father treasure the memory of that day. >> it was like a blur, but i was just so excited because i had no clue. and he wasn't supposed to be coming home that day. he was supposed to be coming home a little while after, like a few weeks, i think. >> in my 22 years i've been deployed four different times. i missed almost an entire school year for hannah. i didn't know what to expect. didn't know whether she'd jump up and down, whether she'd sit there in shock or the reaction that she had. the video ends up on youtube and becomes a sensation. millions of people continue to revel in their reunion.
something that amazes them to this day. >> sometimes i think about it, i'm like, oh, gosh, the world saw me cry. but my excuse is that i was only 9. >> joe meyers says the best part of his return was not the attention it got -- >> seeing my wife's face and my daughter's is the best part. >> and despite all the people who share it, it is still their private moment. >> i think it gives us kind of just a little common ground that she and i were both there in that moment and that we have everything that's gone on since then, the video and everything else that's happened, to reflect back on just she and i. >> hannah, it's true, a lot of people may have seen you cry, but a lot of people also shared in your joy. thanks for giving us something to smile about. i'm contessa brewer. that's all for this edition of about "caught on camera."