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Graphic - Center for Army Lessons Learned

On Point

The United States Army in Operation Iraqi Freedom


Historians prefer to write about people long dead for a number of reasons. For one thing, the dead can't criticize what is written. More important, it takes time for the record of events to be completed, and generally it takes the perspective of time to come to grips with happened and what it meant. For all of these reasons, those of us who wrote On Point depended upon help from many people to attempt to elucidate the record and to make some sense of what happened.

There are far too many to mention them all and we will certainly have left out some key folks, but we need to take a moment to acknowledge a few of the many persons who supported us.

First and foremost, we are grateful to the chief of staff of the Army, General Eric Shinseki, and his successor, General Peter Schoomaker, for mandating and sustaining this effort. We are also grateful to them for looking after the effort without looking over our shoulders. General Kevin Byrnes, commanding general of US Army Training and Doctrine Command, made sure we got the proper resources, in particular, the right people to get the job done. Brigadier General Mark O'Neill, deputy director of Strategy, Plans, and Policy, Army G3, and Colonel Jim Greer, director of the School of Advanced Military Studies, led the team in Iraq and provided us with their own in-sights and assisted when there were rough spots. Colonel Chuck Taylor, chief of staff, Initiatives Group, supported the team and made sure the Army staffers who needed access to determine policy insights got what they needed without turning the collection effort into a "staff study."

Lieutenant General Jim Riley, commanding general of the Combined Arms Center, Brigadier General Tim Livsey, Combined Arms Center-Training, and Brigadier General Jim Hirai, deputy commandant of the Command and General Staff College, provided superb support to the team. Reasoning they could learn by doing, General Hirai released several Command and General Staff Officer Course (CGSOC) and School of Advanced Military Studies students early so they could join the team. He was right - and they did. He also gave us his aide de camp, Major Travis Rooms, without whom the team would have never gotten off the ground.

Colonels Dave Buckley, Combined Arms Center chief of staff, Greg Lynch, dean of the Command and General Staff College, and Steve Spataro, deputy chief of staff, Resource Management pulled together the team, provided space and information technology support and supported budgets, travel, and contracting to get the team housed, equipped, transported, and sustained. Without them we could not have gotten off post, let alone to Iraq.

Ruth Eckert, Fort Leavenworth Resource Management, helped us prepare a budget on the fly and then accounted for what we spent and ensured we stayed within budget. She did all of that and managed to smile throughout. She also helped produce the mountains of orders and documents we needed to travel. Candi Hamm, secretary at the School of Advanced Military Studies, and Rose Cantrell, Fort Leavenworth Transportation Office, did the work of several folks helping us get orders processed and passports issued and supported the effort in every way from helping personnel process vouchers to getting us started on maintaining what grew to a huge archive.

Colonel (retired) Lynn Rolf, director of Educational Technology at the Command and General Staff College, begged, borrowed, or bought the gear we needed to manage the archives and develop our data. At one point his team installed, configured, and linked 60-odd computers and then moved them back into classrooms when we were done. They also set up the classified archives and built from the ground up the electronic archives architecture and hardware to support the archive. Fort Leavenworth's Directorate of Information Technology pitched in to provide encrypted phones and standard phones.

Several CGSOC students joined the team and remained at Fort Leavenworth following their course's completion to support the rest of us. Major Glenn Reed served as officer in charge in the rear and assured we got what we needed forward and reported our activities as required. Major Cindy Dillard served as adjutant and made sure spouses and the Army knew where everyone was. She managed our travel and generally accounted for all of us. Keeping track of the team was no mean feat since we often had folks in several different countries at once. Major Audrey Hudgins took on the task of determining how to archive the material so it could be found and searched with reasonable utility. Staff Sergeant Warren Reeves, who served with the team from April until October as our supply sergeant and operations sergeant, received and accounted for every piece of property from laptops to digital recorders. He was patient, thorough, indefatigable, and when required, he had the endurance of a bloodhound in tracking down a lost piece of gear.

Major C.P. Watkins did quality control on information technology gear and jumped through flaming hoops to acquire encrypted Iridium phones for the team's use in the theater. Only when he had all of the equipment we needed did he get to Kuwait and Iraq. Once there, he made sure things worked and helped ensure we got things back home. Major Ike Wilson, Major Travis Rooms, and Captain John Townsend ran the forward command post in Camp DOHA, and woe to the team member who failed a formation or time to move out. They kept us on track, on time, and in compliance with CFLCC regulations.

Within theater, Captain Scott Emmel, executive officer of the V Corps G3 Plans section, was singularly responsible for our care, feeding, and movement throughout Iraq. Coordinating the disparate movements of 30 team members at a time to various locations across the theater required patience and impressive powers of persuasion. We also thank the many soldiers who drove, guarded, and mostly waited for us at the various unit locations while we did our collection. Finally, we thank the units who hosted and supported us without hesitation or reservation.

Lieutenant Colonel Kevin Farrell and the Combat Studies Institute supported us in a number of ways, but most important they lent us Master Sergeant Phil Davis, Missouri Air National Guard, who in his day job is a first-class editor. Between the Air Force and On Point, Phil worked seven days a week for most of the summer and fall. In October, he retired from the Air Guard but retained his day job. If occasionally we called him unkind names and questioned his convictions about the Air Force, it is only because he discovered and red inked the many awkward sentences. The CSI editor Robin Kern did a masterful job of laying out this book.

In mid-July, the collection team members returned to their assigned units, leaving only three writers through 1 October 2003, and two after that. Even so, we continued to require support unstintingly provided by Colonel Larry Saul at Center for Army Lessons Learned. Travis Rooms, who stayed on to support phase two assessments in theater along with Sergeant Gregory Chancey, provided our administrative support.

In July, Colonel Jay D. Wells from the Joint Forces Command Lessons Learned Cell, moved in with us to provide liaison between our effort and theirs. He assured a two-way flow of information between the Army study group and Joint Forces Command's team. Lieutenant Colonel Kevin Woods and Commander Mike Pease from the Joint Advanced Warfighting Program supported our efforts to understand what the other side may have been thinking. Colonel Phil Exner, Lieutenant Colonel Dave Wessner and Mr. Daryl Gibson from the United States Marine Corps Combat Assessment Team helped us to understand I MEF operations and provided valuable information.

The Army's Center of Military History provided us contacts advice and access to their collection. Brigadier General John Brown, chief of Military History, Lieutenant Colonel (retired) Bill Epley, Center of Military History, and a number of command historians provided responsive--often immediate--help when asked. Randy Talbot of Army Materiel Command and Lieutenant Colonel Steve Holcomb of Third Army were particularly helpful. Dr. Charles Kirkpatrick, the V Corps historian, traded interviews and documents and offered helpful criticism throughout the effort, often serving as a sounding board as well. Rick Atkinson read our work and provided useful feedback and positive reinforcement. He graciously looked the other way when we claimed to others that we were "consulting with our Pulitzer Prize-winning colleague."

More than 120 people read the first draft and took time to provide feedback. Major General Hank Stratman, former deputy commanding general-support for CFLCC, and Colonel Dan Bolger, chief of staff, 2nd Infantry Division, in particular, took a great deal of time to read our work critically and provide useful feedback. A great many others gave freely of their time to answer follow-up questions and work with us to make sure we got things right. Some of these soldiers, still in Iraq, nonetheless made time to help us get information we required despite the fact they continued to work seven days a week in a difficult environment.

Several senior retired soldiers also gave freely of their time to assist in our research. General Fred Franks, who commanded VII Corps in DESERT STORM, went to the theater with us as our senior mentor, conducted interviews, and helped us identify significant themes. General Gordon Sullivan and Brigadier General Hal Nelson answered questions and provided information pertaining to the development of Force XXI. General Dennis Reimer patiently answered questions and helped us find resources to address his tenure as chief of staff.

In June, Lieutenant Colonel (retired) Quent Schillare brought in a team of transcriptionists and an archivist to support transcribing interviews and archiving material. For the most part, they are retired soldiers who understood what they were transcribing and so could help not only by transcribing, but also by identifying important interviews. Given the speed with which we worked, their assistance in helping us sort through 2,300 interviews proved invaluable. Mr. Ed Burgess and the staff of the Combined Arms Research Library unhesitatingly turned a large part of the classified archives of the library into a workspace for us. They worked to make the archive accessible and kept it open literally seven days a week through most of July and August. Lieutenant Colonel (retired) Jack Burkett served as research assistant and unearthed clues with the panáche of Sherlock Holmes. When asked to verify a fact, he always came through with multiple sources and cross-references when the facts seemed in dispute.

We had problems peculiar to the era of digital cameras. Units gave us literally thousands of digital photographs. Then we had to determine who took them, since some looked too good to be GI photos. Sergeant Jeremiah Johnson from the Army's 55th Signal Company (US Army Combat Camera) spent a week using "gee whiz" software finding the copyrighted photos. Rose Dawson, who joined the team in October, scouted out sources and submitted copyright requests. Sergeant Johnson also brought thousands more images that combat camera took. To date, there are some 79,000 images in the archive.

Mark Osterholm did a superb job of developing graphics to illustrate operations. Although Mark never served in the armed forces, he learned rapidly and can identify units and develop operational graphics with speed that would make a School of Advanced Military Studies student envious. Sandi Miles worked copyright issues, helped develop the bibliography, and saw the project through the editing process. We were blessed with an enthusiastic and thorough editorial board, led by Major General Jim Dubik of Joint Forces Command. Lieutenant General (retired) Dan Petrosky served on the board, as did Brigadier General John Brown, chief of military history, Dr. Williamson Murray, and Colonel (retired) Rick Sinnreich. They all carefully read the manuscript and, in an intense all-day session at Fort Leavenworth on 14 November 2003, gave us the benefit of their assessment. What emerged was clear guidance.

No one sets out to write a bad book or to make errors in fact or interpretation. We expect there are some in On Point. For those, we take full

[ Contents ] [ Foreword ] [ Preface ] [ Acknowledgments ] [ Introduction ]
[ Ch 1 ] [ Ch 2 ] [ Ch 3 ] [ Photos ] [ Ch 4 ] [ Ch 5 ] [ Ch 6 ] [ Ch 7 ] [ Ch 8 ]
[ OIF-SG Team ] [ Order of Battle ] [ Glossary ] [ Bibliography ]

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