Monday, April 25, 2005

Could the battle handover in Ramadi have been done better? 
From a reader:

I am no military man, but I was in Mosul from March 04 to October 04, Camp
diamondback, working for KBR/Army. When I read your rebuke of the Marines that
took over your post, it reminded me of the Strykers that took over from the
101st in Mosul. Tell me what you think I heard from all kinds of people when
they compared the 101st who were leaving, to the new "strykers"? Hmmm ya,
sounded a lot like what you just wrote. Fact is no one from the states can hit
the ground running on "the rack", or what we called Iraq. No ONE. You know it,
dont deny it. But the one thing I always noted from all the KBR vets and Army
Soldiers around me, was that they took it as their responsiblity to iinform me
of my own ignorance. And they always stressed that if you have a question, ASK!
So you guys leaving and allowing the Marines to lose your Intel operation is on
you. No one but you guys. Shame on you. You knew its importance far more then
they did regardless of how arrogant they were, it was on you to pound it into
them. the biggest mistake we have made over there imho is not picking up where
those who went before left off.

Believe me, not a day goes by when we don't question that ourselves. Was there anything more we could have or should have done under the circumstances? Unfortunately, below battalion level, the answer is no, there was nothing we could have done, because the 2/4 was not all up yet by the time we finally pulled out. The two neigboring task forces collapsed on the central sector of Ramadi when we pulled out, temporarily, until the remainder of the 2/4 could be brought forward. So we really only had the ear of a few marines on the advanced party.

In theory, it would have been good to stay. But logistically, we had a timeline to meet, as well, and had to be in Kuwait on a certain day. Well, you backwards time plan your movement from there and that boils down quickly to a hard date we had to pull out of Ramadi, lock, stock, and barrel. Some elements of HHC remained a while, and there was some overlap between the 2/4's advanced guard and our departure. But our three line companies and the battalion commander and S-3 had to be wheels up on a plane from north of Baghdad before the handover was complete.

So we really could not get right-seat rides and left-seat rides down to the squad level, like you could in an ideal situation, like in training. Because in real life, logistical realities intervene, and they restrict your options severely.

Such are the realities of command in war. In concept, doing a battle handover is very simple: I do, we do, you do.

In reality, even the simplest things in war are almost always very difficult.


Stopped by your blog to get some ideas for mine http://vietnaminpictures.blogspot.com/. As the name implies it's mostly pictures with a few comments. Take a look if you get a chance, I'm not selling anything ! ---Jack--- vietnam war memorial
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