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October 9, 2009
Back to IraqBy Greyhawk
Iraq may not be the "central front" in the era of persistent conflict, but clearly it remains the number one destination for deploying troops.
The Third Infantry Division, the Ft Stewart, Georgia based U.S. Army division that toppled the Saddam Hussein regime with the "Thunder Run" in 2003, returned to Iraq in 2005 and again during "the surge" in 2007 is now beginning its historic fourth deployment to Iraq. "Division Commander Major General Tony Cucolo and Division Command Sergeant Major Jesse Andrews cased the battle-hardened 3rd ID Colors at Marne Garden amidst a multicolored array of brigade and battalion flags that represented more than 20,000 Dog Face Soldiers..."
U.S. Senator Saxby Chambliss and members from organizations throughout Hinesville, Liberty County and Coastal Georgia, joined almost 700 Soldiers and Family Members who watched the Division Colors case. They also witnessed the 3rd ID Band's final performance before they too join the era of persistent conflict. (US Army photo by SSG Tanya Polk, 4th IBCT Public Affairs)
"The general said that by the end of this year, 14,000 Marne Soldiers will have deployed and the remaining units will follow in 2010." More from Ft Stewart's newspaper The Frontline:
The division's 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team and members of the Division Special Troops Battalion began their Iraq deployments last month. The 2nd HBCT will follow in the coming weeks and will join division headquarters as Task Force Marne in Northern Iraq.
The 1st HBCT will deploy to Baghdad, Iraq, in November. The unit is currently preparing for combat at the National Training Center located at Fort Irwin, Calif. Along with other units deploying or in theater this will enable U.S. force levels in Iraq to be maintained at approximately 120,000 troops well into next year.
Division commander Major General Cucolo is an Afghanistan veteran:
"For the newest soldiers who don't know what combat is like yet, there might be some, 'gee I wish I was going to Afghanistan'. But for the old soldiers, and take it from an old soldier like me who was in Afghanistan when it was not the main effort and Iraq was, I am now going to Iraq where Afghanistan is the main effort and Iraq is not - it's still an incredibly important fight."
Unlike the rest of the division, the Combat Aviation Brigade, based out of Hunter Army Airfield will deploy to Afghanistan this month to replace an aviation unit already there. Barring any rapid increase in forces, U.S. troop levels in that theater will remain at 68,000.
The 3ID's 4th Brigade Combat Team had been training for an anticipated Afghanistan deployment...
...but this week the DoD announced they (along with the 25th Infantry Division's 2nd Brigade Combat Team, the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment, and the 1st Cavalry Division's 4th Brigade Combat Team) would deploy to Iraq next summer instead.
Previously: The war the times forgot
Posted by Greyhawk / October 9, 2009 12:55 PM | Permalink
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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