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Ar Rustamiyah College

The top military academy under Saddam Hussein's regime, called Rustumia College (Ar Rustamiyah), was in eastern Baghdad. The prestigious Baghdad Military Academy, Iraq's West Point, was also known as the Iraqi Military Academy or the Iraqi War College. The school included gyms, barracks, rifle ranges, offices, a pool, museum, library, grenade practice area, clock tower, and a screening room where movie reels were unwound on the carpeted floor.

In 1957, Saddam failed the entrance exam at the Baghdad Military Academy, probably because he had not finished high school, which was said to have devastated him. Most of the enlisted soldiers described their officers as distant, but normally not as a threat. Iraqi officer training was described by a captured graduate of the Baghdad Military Academy as "on the Sandhurst model," suggesting a British influence and a subsequent separation between the ranks of officers and enlisted. Officers were often politically appointed and not regarded as tactically competent by their men.

On 31 March 2003, American warplanes bombed the barracks of the main training center of the Iraqi paramilitary forces in eastern Baghdad's Rustamiyah area.

In mid-April 2003 US Navy Seabees were roaming through a hastily deserted Iraqi military academy, where the teapot in each barrack bedroom was still half full. The Seabees, from Port Hueneme's Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 4, Task Force Mike, were encamped at the sports stadium of the elite Iraqi military academy. When Seabees arrived one of the sites they found was the academy's ransacked museum. Mannequins had been stripped of their period uniforms, glass display cases were smashed and looted, posters were stripped from the walls. Each of the photographs of Iraqi forces framed on the wall had been smashed.



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