Lessons Learned In Iraq

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We’ve seen their happy homecomings for the past month. The 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment has been to Iraq two times since the war began. But, after the first deployment, there were questions of how soldiers treated Iraqi detainees. Now after this deployment, the unit is evaluating its efforts in Iraq in a conference at the Mountain Post.

The 3rd ACR leaders say this past deployment was successful, but there are always lessons to be learned. “Where there are costly mistakes and where there were also victories… What was most importantly learned is that working with Iraqis, we’re going to be successful,” Major Jay Gallivan, 3rd ACR soldier said.

This go around the unit lived amongst the Iraqi population. That was key, according to military leaders, for driving out insurgency in Tal Afar. “In between deployments, we did language training. One person had to understand Arabic,” the major said.

Although the two deployments were completely different (in 2003, the unit was on the front lines in Fallujah and Ramadi; in 2005, the unit was in Tal Afar fighting insurgency and training Iraqi Special Forces), unit leaders claim both times overseas were successful.

However, the first deployment brought on a court martial after an Iraqi general was suffocated to death. And another soldier was in court after allegedly beating Iraqi detainees with a baseball bat. But all of this is part of lessons learned. “We’ve refined our understanding of people and our culture sensitivity improved.”

The 3rd ACR doesn't know if they'll be heading back to Iraq for a third deployment, but unit leaders say the soldiers need to be prepared to go back to war.