The Inestimable C.J. Chivers

New York Times reporter C.J. Chivers is back in Afghanistan after an absence of what seemed like forever (writing a book perhaps? Let’s hope).


Foot on Bomb, Marine Defies a Taliban Trap

Tyler Hicks/The New York Times

Lance Cpl. Ryan T. Mathison, left, after stepping on a mine that did not go off. An ordnance disposal team destroyed the explosive. More Photos >


SHOSHARAK, Afghanistan — If luck is the battlefield’s final arbiter — the wild card that can trump fitness, training, teamwork, equipment, character and skill — then Lance Cpl. Ryan T. Mathison experienced its purest and most welcome form.

On a Marine foot patrol here through the predawn chill of Friday morning, he stepped on a pressure-plate rigged to roughly 25 pounds of explosives. The device, enough to destroy a pickup truck or tear apart several men, was buried beneath him in the dusty soil.

It did not explode.

If Chivers, late of the Providence Journal, isn’t the best battlefield correspondent around, he’ll do until someone better comes along.

(And props to Tyler Hicks, photographer extraordinaire for the Times.)

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