Tom Bowman

Tom Bowman is a NPR National Desk reporter covering the Pentagon.

In his current role, Bowman has traveled to Syria as well as Iraq and Afghanistan often for month-long visits and embedded with U.S. Marines and soldiers.

Before coming to NPR in April 2006, Bowman spent nine years as a Pentagon reporter at The Baltimore Sun. Altogether he was at The Sun for nearly two decades, covering the Maryland Statehouse, the U.S. Congress, the U.S. Naval Academy, and the National Security Agency (NSA). His coverage of racial and gender discrimination at NSA led to a Pentagon investigation in 1994.

Initially Bowman imagined his career path would take him into academia as a history, government, or journalism professor. During college Bowman worked as a stringer at The Patriot Ledger in Quincy, Mass. He also worked for the Daily Transcript in Dedham, Mass., and then as a reporter at States News Service, writing for the Miami Herald and the Anniston (Ala.) Star.

Bowman is a co-winner of a 2006 National Headliners' Award for stories on the lack of advanced tourniquets for U.S. troops in Iraq. In 2010, he received an Edward R. Murrow Award for his coverage of a Taliban roadside bomb attack on an Army unit.

Bowman earned a Bachelor of Arts in history from St. Michael's College in Winooski, Vermont, and a master's degree in American Studies from Boston College.

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So President Trump continues to defend his decision to begin pulling U.S. troops out of northern Syria. But that move has put 1,000 troops that remain in the area in danger. Defense Secretary Mark Esper told CBS' Face the Nation this morning that U.S. forces are finding themselves caught in the crossfire between Turkey and the Kurds, a situation he called, quote, "very untenable." NPR's Pentagon correspondent Tom Bowman is here to tell us more. Good morning, Tom.

TOM BOWMAN, BYLINE: Hey, Lulu.

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And more now on those new U.S. deployments to Saudi Arabia. Defense Secretary Mark Esper made that announcement yesterday.

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James Verini calls himself a "coward and a hypocrite."

Why? For not having the guts to cover the Afghanistan war after reporting on the destruction of the World Trade Center as a young reporter.

Heading to Mosul in the summer of 2016, he says, to write about life under the Islamic State was a kind of "penance."

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The strike had been ordered, the planes were ready to go, and then with about 10 minutes to spare, President Trump says he called off a military action meant to retaliate against Iran for shooting down a U.S. drone.

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PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: The only thing these corrupt politicians will understand is an earthquake at the ballot box, that's what they will understand. And they're going to see it.

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Why did Bob Neller join the Marines?

"I needed a job," the top Marine officer says nonchalantly.

He went to Officer Candidate School the summer before his senior year at the University of Virginia with the intention of then going to law school.

"The law school thing didn't work out," he recalls, "and I wanted to get married, and my parents were getting divorced, and I didn't have any money. And the Marine Corps said, 'Hey come do this for 2 1/2 years.' And I said, 'Sure.' "

It stretched to 44 years.

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