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New Handbook Helps Soldiers Survive First 100 Days in Iraq

WASHINGTON (Army News Service, Feb. 2, 2006) - A new handbook on how Soldiers can survive their first 100 days in Iraq is now available at

"Soldier Handbook: Surviving Iraq," was developed due to the increased casualty rate during the first 100 days of a unit's deployment in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, according Col. Steven Mains, director of the Center for Army Lessons Learned at Fort Leavenworth, Kan.

The handbook educates Soldiers on how not to become complacent to potential dangers and to be mindful of resourceful enemies who closely observe U.S. tactics to adapt their attack strategies, said Mains.

The handbook is based on responses from more than 1,700 Soldiers - captains, lieutenants and Soldiers from the ranks of staff sergeant and below. About 1,000 of the responses were taken from interviews with redeploying units in Kuwait and Soldiers at Fort Hood, Texas; Fort Carson, Colo. and Fort Stewart, Ga.

The Soldiers were asked questions pertaining to individual Soldier behavior, unit leadership, equipment and pre-deployment training.

"Our intention was to learn from the Soldiers what they thought contributed to their survival in Iraq," said Milton Hileman, senior military analyst for CALL. "We asked them to focus their answers as if they were talking from one Soldier to another."

The remaining responses came from a 23-question survey that CALL placed on its Web site.

"We were pleased with numerous responses we received from many of the Soldiers," said Hileman. "The Soldiers in many cases were very insightful."

"Several Soldiers came up to me after filling out the survey and said 'Thank you for asking,'" said James Gebhardt, senior military analyst for CALL. "They had a sense of self-worth and self-importance."

Among other recommendations, many Soldiers recommended:

• Staying aware of their surroundings,
• Listening to their leaders,
• Avoiding routine or predictable patterns,
• Following standard operating procedures, and
• Using protective gear and armored vehicles.

The handbook will be made available in paper format this month.


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