The backlash over NBC's decision to remove Ann Curry from The Today Show is already starting, and the person leading the charge is an Iraq war veteran. 

Our commenters aren't the only ones disappointed with NBC for reportedly deciding to remove Ann Curry from The Today Show. Former Sergent Stephen Crowley started the "Keep Ann Curry on the Today Show" petition on Change.org after he heard the news. Crowley spent ten months in Iraq in 2005, and now suffers from PTSD. "One of the things that gives me a sense of calm and certainty in life is Ann Curry's compassionate style of journalism," he writes in the description of his petition. 

Crowley told The Hollywood Reporter's Seth Abramovitch he was looking for news about Karen Klein, the now famous bullied bus monitor, when he heard about Curry's departure. "All of a sudden I saw this article about how they were getting rid of her," Crowley told THR. "And I thought it was a stunt or The Onion or something. Some kind of fake article."

Elsewhere, TMZ is reporting last year Ann Curry signed a new contract with NBC worth $10 million per year. That price tag is hefty for a foreign correspondant, which is what it's widely assumed she'll be reassigned to do once NBC makes her removal from Today official. 

When Abramovitch filed his story, the petition only had a few hundred signatures, but since then the number has skyrocketed to over 14,000. Unfortunately, as Abramovitch points out, that's still only a small amount compared to the 5 million viewers The Today Show regularly averages, but the petition has been steadily growing over night. It gained a hundred new signatures while we wrote this post. 

When asked what he'd tell Curry if the two got a chance to meet, Crowley said he'd be as supportive as possible and reassure her that her fans are going to follow her work. "I would just tell her not to let this get her down," Crowley told Abramovitch. "Because she has a lot of people behind her, who love her, who love her journalism and her style. I'd just tell her to hang in there."

[Disclosure: Seth Abramovitch has previously worked for The Atlantic Wire.]