Friend of late journalist David Gilkey: "Detroit was really lucky that he was here"

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Southeast Michigan was lucky to have David Gilkey when he worked at the Detroit Free Press.

Gilkey had a talent for finding the human element in photography, and won many awards for his journalism.

"He was extraordinarily brave and extraordinarily talented," said Joe Swickard.

During his 11 years at the Detroit Free Press, Gilkey played a key role in putting together a video series in 2006 that won the newspaper its first national Emmy award.

"Michigan Marines: Band of Brothers" followed the largest unit of Marines from Michigan and recorded their daily lives in Fallujah.

"We were very insistent on getting the stories of these men and their families and that it was more than the 'bang, bang,'" Swickard said.

Now a retired writer, Swickard worked side-by-side with Gilkey on the documentary.

"He was a fantastic guy. I was very proud to have worked with him," he said.

Swickard tells us of a close call where Gilkey came close to losing his life in 2006.

While following the Marines on patrol, Gilkey remembers sitting one vehicle behind Gilkey when a rocket lifted Gilkey's vehicle into the air, as it burst into flames.

If he had to put a number on it, Swickard said Gilkey worked in the Middle East a dozen times since 9/11.

"Detroit was really lucky that he was here," he said.