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UPI's Benjamin wins top Legion award

March 25, 2004 at 6:47 PM

WASHINGTON, March 25 (UPI) -- UPI's Mark Benjamin has won the American Legion's top journalism award for 2004.

Benjamin won the Legion's Fourth Estate Award for his reporting last fall on the plight of hundreds of sick, wounded and injured soldiers at Fort Stewart, Ga. The troops, many of whom served in Iraq, were held in hot cement barracks without running water while they waited, sometimes for months, for medical care.

"Mark Benjamin's reporting prompted the Pentagon to rush 'doctors and dollars' to Fort Stewart to provide assistance to the Army Reserve and National Guard troops awaiting treatment," the Legion said in a statement Thursday announcing the award.

Benjamin, UPI's investigations editor, earlier won second place for the same reporting in the Raymond Clapper Memorial Awards, sponsored by the Senate Press Gallery.

"Mark Benjamin's brave and determined reporting that exclusively exposed the grim fate awaiting America's wounded Iraq War veterans when they came home takes a proud place in the grand tradition of UPI's journalism," said Editor Martin Walker. The award will be presented Sept. 2 at the Legion's annual convention in Nashville.

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