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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

SecArmy: Morale is key to Iraqi success

By Staff Sgt. Carmen Burgess

BAGHDAD, Iraq (Army News Service, Nov. 28, 2005) – Secretary of the Army Francis Harvey said he believes that high troop morale is a key contributor to the Army’s success in Operation Iraqi Freedom.

This came at the end of a Thanksgiving holiday trip to Iraq where the Army’s top executive spent time visiting with Soldiers in or attached to the 3rd Infantry and 101st Airborne divisions and Task Force Freedom.

“Whether on patrol or in the operations centers, every Soldier I came into contact with had a positive, 'can do' attitude,” said Harvey. “It’s a reflection that they really know what they are doing. It has a positive effect on everyone.”

The secretary said there was no better indicator of troop confidence than the high retention rates of units like the 3rd Infantry Division, which has achieved 135 percent of its reenlistment goal.

Harvey: ISF progress impressive

The Army secretary was also impressed with the tremendous progress of the Iraqi Security Forces after meeting with 9th Mechanized Division Commander Maj. Gen. Bashar Ayoub in Taji.

“They are increasingly becoming more operationally independent,” Harvey said. “They haven’t had things that we take for granted like logistics, intelligence and transportation support for their forces.”

Since his visit to the country in March, the number of Iraqi Security Forces has increased by 50 percent, from about 140,000 to 212,000, with 35 percent of the battalions operating independently.

Iraqi general optimistic

Ayoub was quite optimistic in his briefing to the U.S. Army’s senior leader as he listed the number of improvised explosive devices, weapons caches and unexploded munitions sites his brigades have discovered.

“We hope to continue more and more in the future to limit the actions of the insurgents in the area,” said Bashar, “by continuing to train our soldiers in traffic checkpoints, cordon and search operations, and securing command and control areas.”

Following the briefing, Harvey said that “the commanders of Iraqi forces have an inherent understanding of the importance of living in a democratic free state. General Bashar wanted me to know that the future was bright and he was ready to go.”

Forces working together as team

The “jointness” of operations also struck the secretary as being quite impressive.

“Everyone is working together as a team,” said Harvey. “From special and conventional forces to the Army and Air Force, the real time nature of intelligence gathering between all the involved groups is making an incredible impact on our success.”

The secretary traveled from Baghdad to Tikrit to Mosul, meeting with enlisted and commissioned Soldiers along the way to hear their insights on operations in the country while sharing a holiday meal with them. His message to all was the same – their service has freed 50 million people from oppression.

“Let there be no doubt, the insurgents will be defeated,” he said. “They are facing the best trained, the best equipped and the best led Soldiers in the world today. Let’s stay the course and make the world a much safer place now and for future generations.”

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