There was a really big surprise waiting for me this morning when I checked my email.buy ambien online without prescription
A note from an Army public affairs office at Fort Leonard Wood, home of the U.S. Army’s Maneuver Support Center of Excellence in Missouri, was asking permission to use a photo I shot in Iraq in 2003 for publication.ambien online pharmacy
About a year ago, the U.S. Army Engineer Museum, also located on Fort Leonard Wood, reached out to me knowing I had been with Alpha Company, 11th Engineering Battalion attached to the 3rd Battalion, 69th Regiment which crossed the Euphrates River in zodiac boats and successfully cleared a vital bridge of explosives during the initial few weeks of the Iraq War in 2003.buy ambien online
I had always just assumed that any exhibit would have one or two photographs on display.ambien for sale
I had no idea that the Army Engineer Museum would recreate one of the photographs into a large museum exhibit. The exhibit depicts the image of A Company/11th Engineer Battalion SFC Brian Raines dangling over the Euphrates River trying to cut the lines leading to explosives in the bridge columns.buy ambien without prescription
As time closes in on the ten year mark since the U.S. rolled into Iraq, I wonder how the history of things that happened will be remembered. I have this uneasy feeling that some of that history might be forgotten all together in the future.
I am not talking about the politics of why the U.S invaded Iraq. I am thinking more about what happened on the ground. The stories of soldiers and marines who fought the fights. These events didn’t make the big headlines. They happened if a photographer was there to capture the moment or not.
If I hadn’t been there to witness firsthand some of those things, I might have thought it all just Hollywood fantasy myself.
That is why it is very humbling to me to be part of something that is dedicated to telling the true story and keeping history on the right path.
This bridge mission the U.S. Army Engineer Museum was interested in was known in the U.S. Army plan of attack as Objective Peach.
Little things that add to the big picture of the Iraq War like Object Peach really weren’t that little that day.
This was no movie set. This was real.
Objective Peach was just southwest of Baghdad about 20 miles. On April 2 and 3, 2003, the Army’s 3rd Battalion, 69th Regiment Armor led by Lieutenant Colonel Ernest “Rock” Marcone began a river assault to capture this vital bridge which was rigged with explosives.
At Objective Peach, Marcone’s battalion fought off the largest Iraqi counterattack of the war. Three Iraqi brigades made up of between 5,000 and 10,000 Iraqi soldiers, backed by tanks, infantry fighting vehicles, and artillery, converged and tried to retake the bridge from the Americans from three directions.
Alpha Company/11th Engineer Battalion soldiers crossed the river in small zodiac boats under fire from Iraqi fighters on the other side. Their mission was to make sure that bridge which was rigged with explosives did not blow. A river assault of this scale hadn’t been attempted since World War II.
Marcone explained just why Objective Peach was so important in an interview to PBS.
We didn’t cross the bridge at [Musaib], because we thought that’s what [the enemy] expected us to do. When we looked at the bridges — the bridge at Objective Peach, not only is it not far from Karbala, but it was close to our ultimate objective, which was Objective Lions, the Saddam International Airport. By crossing there, we were very close in striking distance, 20, 25 kilometers or so to the airport. …
Plus, it was much closer to Objective Saints, which was in the south, which was the secondary brigade’s objective. … It just proved to be not only the most unlikely bridge, if you were looking at it from the enemy’s point of view, but for us, it facilitated our follow-on missions, which was to start to encircle Baghdad from the east and the south.
Next to the fall of Baghdad, that bridge was the most important piece of terrain in the theater.