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February 28, 2009
Diversions (II)By Greyhawk
(Part one here.)
On May 19, 2008 the DoD announced seven brigade combat teams would deploy to Iraq, a process that would "begin in the fall and continue until the end of the year."
On May 19, 2008 the DoD named four brigades to begin deploying "in the spring of 2009".
And on September 30, 2008 the DoD announced seven brigade combat teams' deployments "will begin in the winter and continue into Summer 2009."
That's one year of deployments - from Fall of 2008 through summer, 2009. With each serving 12 month tours, the total number of Brigades in Iraq at the end of the period would be 22 (ignoring for this discussion the Regimental Combat Teams).
And how many are there now?
According to this Washington Post report from November, 2008, there are 14:
Gen. David H. Petraeus has decided to reduce the number of U.S. combat brigades in Iraq from 15 to 14 about six weeks earlier than planned, as a result of dramatically lower violence there, Pentagon officials said yesterday.Very nice. So one of the 22 Brigades from the standby talent pool (the 3rd Brigade, 10th Mountain from the June 30 announcement) was sent to Afghanistan instead of Iraq.
Then in February, President Obama was able to announce that the 5th Stryker Brigade Combat Team (see September 30 announcement) was also heading for Afghanistan instead of Iraq.
Which leaves 20. I'm no math whiz (and maybe some of the Brigades "don't count" for some reason or other), but unless Obama names six or seven more Brigades to be "diverted from Iraq to Afghanistan" real fast his drawdown is going to result in an increased number of Brigades in Iraq...
Actually, that many Brigades to "divert" is a potential public relations bonanza for President Bush to leave his successor (note that that person's identity was unknown at the time of the set-up), so given this news:
CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. (AP) — President Barack Obama has called former President George W. Bush and Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki to brief them on his plans to withdraw troops from Iraq....I'd have to hope a simple "thanks, dude!" was included somewhere in there.
(Part III here)
Posted by Greyhawk / February 28, 2009 4:36 PM | Permalink
Back in September, 2008, the Seattle-Tacome News Tribune reported that the newest Stryker Brigade was (almost) ready for action in Iraq...Fort Lewis 5th Brigade almost ready for battle The Army’s seventh and final Stryker brigade is in the home stret... Read More
November 26, 2010
I think anyone who's ever pondered the "comment" option - once only available on blogs and bulletin boards, now ubiquitous on almost any web site - will appreciate this:
The so-called faculty of writing is not so much a faculty of writing as it is a faculty of thinking. When a man says, "I have an idea but I can't express it"; that man hasn't an idea but merely a vague feeling. If a man has a feeling of that kind, and will sit down for a half an hour and persistently try to put into writing what he feels, the probabilities are at least 90 percent that he will either be able to record it, or else realize that he has no idea at all. In either case, he will do himself a benefit.
That's wisdom from the past, captured for posterity at the US Naval Institute, shared via the web on the institute's 137th anniversary.
From their about page:
"The Naval Institute has three core activities," among them, History and Preservation:
The Naval Institute also has recently introduced Americans at War, a living history of Americans at war in their own words and from their own experiences. These 90-second vignettes convey powerful stories of inspiration, pride, and patriotism.
Take a look at the collection, and you'll see it's not limited to accounts from those who served on ships at sea, members of the other branches are well-represented.
I'm fortunate to have met USNI's Mary Ripley, she's responsible for the institute's oral history program (and she's the daughter of the late John Ripley, whose story is told here). She also deserves much credit for their blog. ("We're not the Navy nor any government agency. Blog and comment freely.") We met at a milblog conference - Mary knew (and I would come to realize) that milbloggers are the 21st-century version of exactly what the US Naval Institute is all about. Once that light bulb came on in my head, I mentioned a vague idea for a project to her - milblogs as the 21st century oral history that they are.
"Put that in writing," she said (of course - see first paragraph above!) - and here's part of the result.
Shortly after the first tent was pitched by the American military in Iraq a wire was connected to a computer therein, and the internet was available to a generation of Americans at war - many of whom had grown up online. From that point on, at any given moment, somewhere in Iraq a Soldier, Sailor, Airman or Marine was at a keyboard sharing the events of his or her day with the folks back home. While most would simply fire off an email, others took advantage of the (then) relatively new online blogging platforms to post their thoughts and experiences for the entire world to see. The milblog was born - and from that moment to this stories detailing everything from the most mundane aspects of camp life to intense combat action (often described within hours of the event) have been available on the web...
And et cetera - but since you're reading this on a milblog, you probably knew that. And you know that milblogs aren't just blogs written by troops at war, that many friends, family members, and supporters likewise documented their story of America at war online in near-real time, as those stories developed.
The diversity in membership of that group is broad, the one thing we all have in common is the impulse to make sense of the seemingly senseless, and communicate the tale - for each of us that impulse was strong enough to overcome whatever barriers prevent the vast majority of people from doing the same. Everyone at some point has some vague idea they believe should be shared - we were the people who, from some combination of internal and external urging, found and spent those many half hours persistently trying to write it down.
But where will all that be in another 137 years? Or five or ten, for that matter. That's something I've asked myself since at least 2004 - when I wrote this:
Membership in the ghost battalion has grown in the years since, and an ever growing majority of those abandoned-but-still-standing sites are vanishing. Have you checked out Lt Smash's site lately? How about Sgt Hook's? If you're a long-time milblog reader you know the first widely-read milblog from Operation Iraq Freedom and the first widely-read milblog from Afghanistan are both gone from the web. If you're a relative newcomer to this world you may never even have heard of them - or the dozens upon dozens of others who carried forth the standard they set down.
If you have a vague notion that something should be done about that, (a notion I've heard expressed more than once...) then you and I and the good folks at the US Naval Institute are in agreement. Preserving the history documented by the milbloggers is just one of the goals of the milblog project, the once-vague idea that we're now making real.
And it's a big idea, if I say so myself - too big to explain in one simple blog post, so stand by for more. Likewise, it's too big a task to be accomplished by just one person. So if you're a milblogger (and exactly what is a milblogger? is a topic for much further discussion on its own) I'm asking for your help. All I'll really need is just a little bit (maybe just one or two of those half hours...) of your time, and your willingness to tell the tale.
We've already made history, it's time to save it.
(More to follow...)
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