U.S. Casualties in Operation Iraqi Freedom June 2004
|1||Pfc. Markus J. Johnson||24||01 June 2004|
|2||Cpl. Bum R. Lee||21||02 June 2004|
|3||Lance Cpl. Todd J. Bolding||23||03 June 2004|
|4||1st Lt. Erik. S. McCrae||25||04 June 2004|
|5||Sgt. Justin L. Eyerly||23||04 June 2004|
|6||Spc. Justin W. Linden||22||04 June 2004|
|7||Sgt. Frank T. Carvill||51||04 June 2004|
|8||Spc. Christopher M. Duffy||26||04 June 2004|
|9||Sgt. Humberto F. Timoteo||25||05 June 2004|
|10||Spc. Ryan E. Doltz||26||05 June 2004|
|11||Sgt. Melvin Y. Mora||27||06 June 2004|
|12||Pfc. Melissa J. Hobart||22||06 June 2004|
|13||Lance Cpl. Jeremy L. Bohlman||21||07 June 2004|
|14||Sgt. Jamie A. Gray||29||07 June 2004|
|15||Capt. Humayun S. M. Khan||08 June 2004|
|16||Pfc. Thomas D. Caughman||20||09 June 2004|
|17||Spc. Eric S. McKinley||24||13 June 2004|
|18||Pfc. Shawn M. Atkins||20||14 June 2004|
|19||Maj. Paul R. Syverson||32||16 June 2004|
|20||Spc. Jeremy M. Dimaranan||29||16 June 2004|
|21||Sgt. Arthur S. Mastrapa||35||16 June 2004|
|22||Spc. Thai Vue||22||18 June 2004|
|23||Pfc. Jason N. Lynch||21||18 June 2004|
|24||U/I pending notification of next-of-kin||19 June 2004|
|25||Pfc. Sean Horn||19||19 June 2004|
|26||Staff Sgt. Marvin Best||33||20 June 2004|
|27||Lance Cpl. Pedro Contreras||27||21 June 2004|
|28||Lance Cpl. Deshon E. Otey||21||21 June 2004|
|29||Cpl. Tommy L. Parker Jr.||21||21 June 2004|
|30||Lance Cpl. Juan Lopez||22||21 June 2004|
|31||Staff Sgt. Gregory V. Pennington||36||21 June 2004|
|32||2nd Lt. Andre D. Tyson||33||22 June 2004|
|33||Spc. Patrick R. McCaffrey Sr.||34||22 June 2004|
|34||Capt. Christopher S. Cash||36||24 June 2004|
|35||Spc. Daniel A. Desens||20||24 June 2004|
|36||Staff Sgt. Charles A. Kiser||37||24 June 2004|
|37||Spc. Heines||25||26 June 2004|
|38||Lance Cpl. Manuel A. Ceniceros||23||26 June 2004|
|39||U/I pending notification of next-of-kin||27 June 2004|
|40||1st Sgt. Ernest E. Utt||38||27 June 2004|
|41||Lance Cpl. Adle||21||29 June 2004|
|42||Sgt. Alan D. Sherman||36||29 June 2004|
|43||Cpl. John H. Todd III||24||29 June 2004|
|44||Spc. Robert L. DuSang||24||30 June 2004|
United States Air Force Security Forces
The United States Air Force Security Forces (SF) are the ground combat force and military police service of the U.S. Air Force and U.S. Space Force.  USAF Security Forces (SF) were formerly known as Military Police (MP), Air Police (AP), and Security Police (SP) at various points in its history. Due to its significant ground combat mission, Security Forces are often regarded as integral infantry  within the Air Force   and were formed on the premise of being the Air Force's "Marine Corps". 
An on-the-ground investigation reveals that the U.S.-led battle against ISIS — hailed as the most precise air campaign in history — is killing far more Iraqi civilians than the coalition has acknowledged.
In Iraq, an on-the-ground investigation suggests that coalition airstrikes have killed many more civilians than previously reported.
The survivors of these strikes are left to wonder why their families were targeted.
Most will never receive an answer.
This is the story of one man who did.
L ate on the evening of Sept. 20, 2015, Basim Razzo sat in the study of his home on the eastern side of Mosul, his face lit up by a computer screen. His wife, Mayada, was already upstairs in bed, but Basim could lose hours clicking through car reviews on YouTube: the BMW Alpina B7, the Audi Q7. Almost every night went like this. Basim had long harbored a taste for fast rides, but around ISIS-occupied Mosul, the auto showrooms sat dark, and the family car in his garage — a 1991 BMW — had barely been used in a year. There simply was nowhere to go.
The Razzos lived in the Woods, a bucolic neighborhood on the banks of the Tigris, where marble and stucco villas sprawled amid forests of eucalyptus, chinar and pine. Cafes and restaurants lined the riverbanks, but ever since the city fell to ISIS the previous year, Basim and Mayada had preferred to entertain at home. They would set up chairs poolside and put kebabs on the grill, and Mayada would serve pizza or Chinese fried rice, all in an effort to maintain life as they𠆝 always known it. Their son, Yahya, had abandoned his studies at Mosul University and fled for Erbil, and they had not seen him since those who left when ISIS took over could re-enter the caliphate, but once there, they could not leave — an impasse that stranded people wherever they found themselves. Birthdays, weddings and graduations came and went, the celebrations stockpiled for that impossibly distant moment: liberation.
Next door to Basim’s home stood the nearly identical home belonging to his brother, Mohannad, and his wife, Azza. They were almost certainly asleep at that hour, but Basim guessed that their 18-year-old son, Najib, was still up. A few months earlier, he was arrested by the ISIS religious police for wearing jeans and a T-shirt with English writing. They gave him 10 lashes and, as a further measure of humiliation, clipped his hair into a buzz cut. Now he spent most of his time indoors, usually on Facebook. “Someday it’ll all be over,” Najib had posted just a few days earlier. “Until that day, I’ll hold on with all my strength.”
Sometimes, after his parents locked up for the night, Najib would fish the key out of the cupboard and steal over to his uncle’s house. Basim had the uncanny ability to make his nephew forget the darkness of their situation. He had a glass-half-full exuberance, grounded in the belief that every human life — every setback and success, every heartbreak and triumph — is written by the 40th day in the womb. Basim was not a particularly religious man, but that small article of faith underpinned what seemed to him an ineluctable truth, even in wartime Iraq: Everything happens for a reason. It was an assurance he offered everyone Yahya had lost a year’s worth of education, but in exile he had met, and proposed to, the love of his life. “You see?” Basim would tell Mayada. “You see? That’s fate.”
Basim had felt this way for as long as he could remember. A 56-year-old account manager at Huawei, the Chinese multinational telecommunications company, he studied engineering in the 1980s at Western Michigan University. He and Mayada lived in Portage, Mich., in a tiny one-bedroom apartment that Mayada also used as the headquarters for her work as an Avon representative she started small, offering makeup and skin cream to neighbors, but soon expanded sales to Kalamazoo and Comstock. Within a year, she𠆝 saved up enough to buy Basim a $700 Minolta camera. Basim came to rely on her ability to impose order on the strange and the mundane, to master effortlessly everything from Yahya’s chemistry homework to the alien repartee of faculty picnics and Rotary clubs. It was fate. They had been married now for 33 years.
Around midnight, Basim heard a thump from the second floor. He peeked out of his office and saw a sliver of light under the door to the bedroom of his daughter, Tuqa. He called out for her to go to bed. At 21, Tuqa would often stay up late, and though Basim knew that he wasn’t a good example himself and that the current conditions afforded little reason to be up early, he believed in the calming power of an early-to-bed, early-to-rise routine. He waited at the foot of the stairs, called out again, and the sliver went dark.
It was 1 a.m. when Basim finally shut down the computer and headed upstairs to bed. He settled in next to Mayada, who was fast asleep.
Some time later, he snapped awake. His shirt was drenched, and there was a strange taste — blood? — on his tongue. The air was thick and acrid. He looked up. He was in the bedroom, but the roof was nearly gone. He could see the night sky, the stars over Mosul. Basim reached out and found his legs pressed just inches from his face by what remained of his bed. He began to panic. He turned to his left, and there was a heap of rubble. “Mayada!” he screamed. “Mayada!” It was then that he noticed the silence. “Mayada!” he shouted. “Tuqa!” The bedroom walls were missing, leaving only the bare supports. He could see the dark outlines of treetops. He began to hear the faraway, unmistakable sound of a woman’s voice. He cried out, and the voice shouted back, “Where are you?” It was Azza, his sister-in-law, somewhere outside.
LATER THAT SAME day, the American-led coalition fighting the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria uploaded a video to its YouTube channel. The clip, titled 𠇌oalition Airstrike Destroys Daesh VBIED Facility Near Mosul, Iraq 20 Sept 2015,” shows spectral black-and-white night-vision footage of two sprawling compounds, filmed by an aircraft slowly rotating above. There is no sound. Within seconds, the structures disappear in bursts of black smoke. The target, according to the caption, was a car-bomb factory, a hub in a network of “multiple facilities spread across Mosul used to produce VBIEDs for ISIL’s terrorist activities,” posing 𠇊 direct threat to both civilians and Iraqi security forces.” Later, when he found the video, Basim could watch only the first few frames. He knew immediately that the buildings were his and his brother’s houses.
The clip is one of hundreds the coalition has released since the American-led war against the Islamic State began in August 2014. Also posted to Defense Department websites, they are presented as evidence of a military campaign unlike any other — precise, transparent and unyielding. In the effort to expel ISIS from Iraq and Syria, the coalition has conducted more than 27,500 strikes to date, deploying everything from Vietnam-era B-52 bombers to modern Predator drones. That overwhelming air power has made it possible for local ground troops to overcome heavy resistance and retake cities throughout the region. “U.S. and coalition forces work very hard to be precise in airstrikes,” Maj. Shane Huff, a spokesman for the Central Command, told us, and as a result 𠇊re conducting one of the most precise air campaigns in military history.”
American military planners go to great lengths to distinguish today’s precision strikes from the air raids of earlier wars, which were carried out with little or no regard for civilian casualties. They describe a target-selection process grounded in meticulously gathered intelligence, technological wizardry, carefully designed bureaucratic hurdles and extraordinary restraint. Intelligence analysts pass along proposed targets to “targeteers,” who study 3-D computer models as they calibrate the angle of attack. A team of lawyers evaluates the plan, and — if all goes well — the process concludes with a strike so precise that it can, in some cases, destroy a room full of enemy fighters and leave the rest of the house intact.
The coalition usually announces an airstrike within a few days of its completion. It also publishes a monthly report assessing allegations of civilian casualties. Those it deems credible are generally explained as unavoidable accidents — a civilian vehicle drives into the target area moments after a bomb is dropped, for example. The coalition reports that since August 2014, it has killed tens of thousands of ISIS fighters and, according to our tally of its monthly summaries, 466 civilians in Iraq.
Yet until we raised his case, Basim’s family was not among those counted. Mayada, Tuqa, Mohannad and Najib were four of an unknown number of Iraqi civilians whose deaths the coalition has placed in the “ISIS” column. Estimates from Airwars and other nongovernmental organizations suggest that the civilian death toll is much higher, but the coalition disputes such figures, arguing that they are based not on specific intelligence but local news reports and testimony gathered from afar. When the coalition notes a mission irregularity or receives an allegation, it conducts its own inquiry and publishes a sentence-long analysis of its findings. But no one knows how many Iraqis have simply gone uncounted.
Our own reporting, conducted over 18 months, shows that the air war has been significantly less precise than the coalition claims. Between April 2016 and June 2017, we visited the sites of nearly 150 airstrikes across northern Iraq, not long after ISIS was evicted from them. We toured the wreckage we interviewed hundreds of witnesses, survivors, family members, intelligence informants and local officials we photographed bomb fragments, scoured local news sources, identified ISIS targets in the vicinity and mapped the destruction through satellite imagery. We also visited the American air base in Qatar where the coalition directs the air campaign. There, we were given access to the main operations floor and interviewed senior commanders, intelligence officials, legal advisers and civilian-casualty assessment experts. We provided their analysts with the coordinates and date ranges of every airstrike — 103 in all — in three ISIS-controlled areas and examined their responses. The result is the first systematic, ground-based sample of airstrikes in Iraq since this latest military action began in 2014.
We found that one in five of the coalition strikes we identified resulted in civilian death, a rate more than 31 times that acknowledged by the coalition. It is at such a distance from official claims that, in terms of civilian deaths, this may be the least transparent war in recent American history. Our reporting, moreover, revealed a consistent failure by the coalition to investigate claims properly or to keep records that make it possible to investigate the claims at all. While some of the civilian deaths we documented were a result of proximity to a legitimate ISIS target, many others appear to be the result simply of flawed or outdated intelligence that conflated civilians with combatants. In this system, Iraqis are considered guilty until proved innocent. Those who survive the strikes, people like Basim Razzo, remain marked as possible ISIS sympathizers, with no discernible path to clear their names.
BASIM WOKE UP in a ward at Mosul General Hospital, heavy with bandages. He was disoriented, but he remembered being pried loose from the rubble, the neighbors’ hands all over his body, the backhoe serving him down to the earth, the flashing lights of an ambulance waiting in the distance. The rescuers worked quickly. Everyone knew it had been an airstrike the planes could return at any minute to finish the job.
In the hospital, Basim was hazily aware of nurses and orderlies, but it was not until morning that he saw a familiar face. Mayada’s brother placed a hand on his shoulder. When Basim asked who in his home survived, he was told: nobody. The blast killed Mayada and Tuqa instantly. A second strike hit next door, and Mohannad and Najib were also dead. Only Azza, Najib’s mother, was alive, because the explosion had flung her through a second-story window.
With his hip shattered, his pubic bone broken and his back and the sole of his left foot studded with shrapnel, Basim would need major surgery. But no hospital in Mosul, or anywhere in the caliphate, had the personnel or equipment to carry it out. The only hope was to apply for permission to temporarily leave ISIS territory, which required approval from the surprisingly complex ISIS bureaucracy. A friend put in the paperwork, but the ISIS representative denied the request. “Let him die,” he told Basim’s friend. “There were four martyrs. Let him be the fifth.”
Basim was moved to his parents’ home on the city’s southern side. For two days, close friends and family members streamed in, but he hardly registered their presence. On the third day, he found himself able to sit up, and he began flipping through the pictures on his phone. One of the last was taken the evening before the attack: Tuqa grinning in the kitchen, clutching a sparkler. For the first time, he began to sob. Then he gathered himself and opened Facebook. “In the middle of the night,” he wrote, 𠇌oalition airplanes targeted two houses occupied by innocent civilians. Is this technology? This barbarian attack cost me the lives of my wife, daughter, brother and nephew.”
Suddenly, it was as if the whole city knew, and messages poured in. Word filtered to local sheikhs, imams and businessmen. Basim’s own fate was discussed. Favors were called in, and a few weeks later, ISIS granted Basim permission to leave the caliphate. There was one condition: He must put up the deed to some of his family’s property, which would be seized if he did not return. Basim feared traveling to Baghdad whoever targeted his home might still believe him to be part of ISIS. Turkey seemed like his only option, and the only way to get there was to cross the breadth of Islamic State lands, through Syria.
For Basim, the next few days passed in a haze. A hired driver lowered him into a GMC Suburban, its rear seats removed to accommodate the mattress on which he reclined. They drove through the Islamic State countryside, past shabby villages and streams strewn with trash. In the afternoon, they reached Mount Sinjar, where a year earlier, Yazidi women were carted off by ISIS and sold into slavery. “I’m sorry, I have to go fast now,” the driver said, revving up the engine until they were tearing through at 100 m.p.h. Yazidi guerrillas were now taking refuge in the highlands and were known to take aim at the traffic down below.
The country opened up into miles and miles of featureless desert. Basim could not distinguish the small Syrian towns they passed but was aware of reaching Raqqa, the capital of the caliphate, and being lifted by a team of pedestrians and moved to a second vehicle. Soon a new driver was rushing Basim along darkened fields of wheat and cotton on narrow, bone-jarring roads. At times, the pain in his hip was unbearable. They stopped to spend the night, but he did not know where. At dawn, they set out again. After a while, the driver reached under his seat and produced a pack of cigarettes, forbidden in the caliphate. Basim was alarmed, but the driver began to laugh. 𠇍on’t worry,” he said. “We’re now in Free Syrian Army territory.”
Before long, the traffic slowed, and they were weaving through streets crowded with refugees and homeless children and Syrian rebels. Basim was pushed across the border on a wheelchair. Waiting on the Turkish side, standing by an ambulance, was his son. Weeping, Yahya bent down to embrace his father. They had not seen each other in a year.
Basim spent the next two months in and out of a bed at the Special Orthopedic Hospital in Adana, Turkey. In the long hours between operations, when the painkillers afforded moments of lucidity, he tried to avoid ruminating on his loss. He refused to look at photos of his house, but occasionally at first, and then obsessively, he began replaying his and Mayada’s actions in the days and weeks before the attack, searching for an explanation. Why was his family targeted? Some friends assumed that an ISIS convoy had been nearby, but the video showed nothing moving in the vicinity. What it did show was two direct hits. “O.K., this is my house, and this is Mohannad’s house,” he recalled. “One rocket here, and one rocket there. It was not a mistake.”
Basim’s shock and grief were turning to anger. He knew the Americans he had lived among them. He had always felt he understood them. He desperately wanted to understand why his family was taken from him. “I decided,” he said, “to get justice.”
Basim belongs to one of Mosul’s grand old families, among the dozens descended — the story goes — from 40 prophets who settled the baking hot banks of the Tigris, opposite the ancient Assyrian metropolis of Nineveh. Though the city they founded has since acquired a reputation for conservatism, Basim could remember a time of cosmopolitan flair. When he was growing up, domed Yazidi shrines and arched Syriac Orthodox churches stood nearly side by side with mosques and minarets cafes in the evenings filled with hookah smoke and students steeped in Iraq’s burgeoning free-verse poetry movement. On Thursdays, visitors could find bars, clubs and raucous all-night parties or head to the Station Hotel, built in the central railway depot, where travelers liked to congregate for a drink (and where, to her eternal amusement, Agatha Christie once met the manager, a Syrian Christian named Satan). The wealthy tended to sympathize with the old monarchy or nationalist causes, but the working-class neighborhoods, particularly the Kurdish and Christian quarters, were bastions of Communist support. Islamic fundamentalism was nearly unheard-of, a bizarre doctrine of the fringe.
In the 1970s, as Saddam Hussein consolidated power, Mosul’s pluralism began to erode, but Basim would not be around long enough to witness its disappearance. He left for England in 1979 and soon made his way to the United States. Settling into Michigan life was easy. Basim bought a Mustang, figured out health insurance, barbecued, went to cocktail parties and dated a woman he met in England. This development alarmed his parents, who began to pester him to settle down and suggested that he marry his cousin Mayada. He resisted at first, but the allure of making a life with someone from back home proved too great. He married Mayada in 1982, in a small ceremony at his uncle’s home in Ann Arbor, Mich., in front of a dozen people.
As the oldest son, Basim felt increasingly concerned about his aging parents, so in 1988, he and Mayada made the difficult decision to move back home permanently. The city they returned to had undergone a shocking transformation. The Iran-Iraq war was winding down, but at a cost of as many as half a million dead Iraqis. The political alternatives of Basim’s youth were gone: Communism had long since been crushed, and Arab nationalism had lost its luster under Hussein’s Baathist dictatorship.
Instead, people increasingly described their suffering in the language of faith. The culture was transforming before Basim’s eyes for the first time, Mayada wrapped herself in a head scarf. Not long after, small networks of religious fundamentalists began appearing in Mosul, preaching to communities devastated by war and United Nations sanctions.
Then, in 2003, the United States invaded. One night just a few months afterward, the Americans showed up at the Woods and took over a huge abandoned military barracks across the street from Basim’s property. The next morning, they started cutting down trees. “They said, ‘This is for our security,’ ” Basim recalled. “I said, ‘Your security doesn’t mean destruction of the forest.’ ” Walls of concrete and concertina wire started to appear amid the pine and chinar stands. The barracks became a Joint Coordination Center, or J.C.C., where American troops worked with local security forces. Basim came to know some of the Americans once, before the center acquired internet access, he helped a soldier send email to his mother back home. Sometimes he would serve as an impromptu translator.
Across Iraq, the American invasion had plunged the country into chaos and spawned a nationalist resistance — and amid the social collapse, the zealots seized the pulpit. Al Qaeda in Iraq recruited from Mosul’s shanty towns and outlying villages and from nearby provincial cities like Tal Afar. By 2007, sections of Mosul were in rebellion. By then, the Americans had expanded the mission of the J.C.C., adding a center where Iraqis could file compensation claims for the injury or death of a loved one at the hands of American forces.
When the Americans withdrew in 2011, Basim felt as if almost everyone he knew harbored grievances toward the occupation. That same year, on one of his customary rambles around the internet, Basim came upon a TEDx Talk called 𠇊 Radical Experiment in Empathy” by Sam Richards, a sociology professor at Penn State. Richards was asking the audience to imagine that China had invaded the United States, plundered its coal and propped up a kleptocratic government. Then he asked the audience to put themselves in the shoes of 𠇊n ordinary Arab Muslim living in the Middle East, particularly in Iraq.” He paced across the stage, scenes from the Iraq conflict playing behind him. n you feel their anger, their fear, their rage at what has happened to their country?”
We visited the locations of nearly 150 airstrikes across northern Iraq, seeking to determine which air force launched them and whom they killed. The American-led coalition now acknowledges that it was the “probable” source of many more of those strikes than previously disclosed. Below are the stories of some of the victims. A. K. and A. G.
Basim was transfixed. He𠆝 never seen an American talk this way. That night, he wrote an email. r Dr. Richards, my name is Basim Razzo, and I am a citizen of Iraq,” he began. He described how Iraqis had celebrated the overthrow of Hussein but then lost hope as the war progressed. “Radical Islamists grew as a result of this war, and many ideas grew out of this war which we have never seen or heard before,” he said. “I thank you very much for your speech to enlighten the American public about this war.”
Richards invited Basim to begin speaking to his classes over Skype, and a friendship blossomed. Years later, Richards saw Basim’s Facebook post describing the attack and ran it through Google Translate. He and his wife spent hours messaging with Basim, trying to console him. In the end, Richards had signed off, “This American friend of yours, this American brother, sends you a virtual hug.”
Now, as Basim lay in bed in the Special Orthopedic Hospital in Adana, he found his thoughts returning to the old Joint Coordination Center next to his house in Mosul and the condolence payments they used to offer. He knew that he would never recover the full extent of his losses, but he needed to clear his name. And he wanted an accounting. He decided that as soon as he recuperated, he would seek compensation. It was the only way he could imagine that an Iraqi civilian might sit face to face with a representative of the United States military.
T he idea that civilian victims of American wars deserve compensation was, until recently, a radical notion floating on the edges of military doctrine. Under international humanitarian law, it is legal for states to kill civilians in war when they are not specifically targeted, so long as “indiscriminate attacks” are not used and the number of civilian deaths is not disproportionate to the military advantage gained. Compensating victims, the argument went, would hinder the state’s ability to wage war. Even the Foreign Claims Act, the one American law on the books that allows civilians to be compensated for injury or death at the hands of United States military personnel, exempts losses due to combat.
Over the years, however, war planners have come to see strategic value in payments as a good-will gesture. During the Korean War, American commanders sometimes offered token cash or other gifts to wronged civilians, in a nod to local custom. These payments were designed to be symbolic expressions of condolence, not an official admission of wrongdoing or compensation for loss. During the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts, war planners began to focus more seriously on condolence payments, seeing them as a way to improve relations with locals and forestall revenge attacks. Soon, American forces were disbursing thousands of dollars yearly to civilians who suffered losses because of combat operations, for everything from property damage to the death of a family member.
Because the military still refused to consider the payments as compensation for loss, the system became capricious almost by design. Rebuilding a home could cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, on top of several thousands’ worth of furniture and other possessions. Medical bills could amount to thousands of dollars, especially for prostheses and rehabilitation. Losing government documents, like ID cards, could mean years of navigating a lumbering bureaucracy. The American condolence system addressed none of this. Payouts varied from one unit to the next, making the whole process seem arbitrary, mystifying or downright cruel to recipients: Payouts in Afghanistan, for example, ranged from as little as $124.13 in one civilian death to $15,000 in another.
In 2003, an activist from Northern California named Marla Ruzicka showed up in Baghdad determined to overhaul the system. She founded Civic, now known as the Center for Civilians in Conflict, and collected evidence of civilians killed in American military operations. She discovered not only that there were many more than expected but also that the assistance efforts for survivors were remarkably haphazard and arbitrary. Civic championed the cause in Washington and found an ally in Senator Patrick J. Leahy of Vermont. In 2005, Ruzicka was killed by a suicide blast in Baghdad, but her efforts culminated in legislation that established a fund to provide Iraqi victims of American combat operations with nonmonetary assistance — medical care, home reconstruction — that served, in practice, as compensation.
When the Americans withdrew in 2011, however, all condolence programs went defunct, and they were not revived when the United States began the war against ISIS in 2014. The Marla Ruzicka Iraqi War Victims Fund itself — the only program specifically designed to aid war victims still in effect — has turned to other priorities and no longer provides assistance to civilian survivors of American combat operations. When we asked the State Department whether civilian victims of American airstrikes could turn to the Marla Fund for assistance, they were unable to provide an answer.
The two most recent military spending bills also authorized millions of dollars for condolence payments, but the Defense Department has failed to enact these provisions or even propose a plan for how it might disburse that money. In fact, in the course of our investigation, we learned that not a single person in Iraq or Syria has received a condolence payment for a civilian death since the war began in 2014. “There really isn’t a process,” a senior Central Command official told us. “It’s not that anyone is against it it just hasn’t been done, so it’s almost an aspirational requirement.”
With Mosul and Raqqa now out of ISIS control, the coalition is “not going to spend a lot of time thinking about” condolence payments, said Col. John Thomas, a spokesman for Central Command. “We’re putting our efforts into community safety and returning refugees to some sort of home.” While assisting civilian victims is no longer a military priority, some authorities appear to remain concerned about retaliation. About a year after the strike on Basim’s house, his cousin Hussain Al-Rizzo, a systems-engineering professor at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, received a visit from an F.B.I. agent. The agent, he said, asked if the deaths of his relatives in an American airstrike made him in his “heart of hearts sympathize with the bad guys.” Hussain, who has lived in the United States since 1987, was stunned by the question. He said no.
In late December 2015, after three operations, Basim moved to Baghdad to live with Yahya in a five-bedroom house next door to his nephew Abdullah, Mohannad’s oldest son. Eight screws were drilled into his left hip, a titanium plate stabilized his right hip and a six-inch scar mapped a line across his abdomen. His pain was unremitting. He was out of work and had little more than the clothes he took when escaping Mosul. His computer, the photo albums, the wedding gifts Mayada had packed for Yahya — all of it was buried under rubble.
Basim channeled his frustrations into proving his case to the Americans. With a quiet compulsiveness, he scoured the web, studying Google Earth images. He asked a niece, still living inside Mosul, to take clandestine photographs of the site, including close-ups of bomb fragments. He inventoried his lost possessions. He contacted everyone he𠆝 met who might have links to the American authorities: acquaintances from Michigan, his cousins in Arkansas, a relative who was an assistant professor at Yale University. His best hope was Sam Richards, the professor at Penn State: One of his former students was an adviser to Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, and she helped him get an appointment at the United States Embassy in Baghdad.
On a rainy Sunday in February 2016, Yahya drove Basim to the perimeter of the Green Zone in downtown Baghdad. He proceeded into the fortified compound by walker and then boarded a minibus for the embassy, carrying a nine-page document he had compiled. Because there was no established mechanism for Iraqi victims to meet American officials, his appointment was at the American Citizen Services section. He pressed against the window and showed the consular officer his dossier. One page contained satellite imagery of the Razzo houses, and others contained before-and-after photos of the destruction. Between them were photos of each victim: Mayada sipping tea, Tuqa in the back yard, Najib in a black-and-white self-portrait and a head shot of Mohannad, an engineering professor, his academic credentials filling the rest of the page. The most important issue, Basim had written, was that his family was now “looked at as members of ISIS” by the Iraqi authorities. This threatened to be a problem, especially after the city’s liberation.
The consular officer, who spoke to us on the condition of anonymity, was moved. “I have people coming in every day that lie to me, that come with these sob stories,” the officer remembered telling him, 𠇋ut I believe you.” When Basim emerged onto the street, the rain was beating down, and a passer-by held out an umbrella as he hobbled to a taxi.
Two months passed, and Basim heard nothing. He wrote to the officer and reattached the report, asking for an update, but he received no reply. He tried again the next month and was told that his case had been 𠇏orwarded.” Then more silence.
We first met Basim not long after, in the spring of 2016, in a quiet cafe in Baghdad’s Mansour district. Basim’s cousin’s wife, Zareena Grewal, the Yale professor, had written an Op-Ed in The New York Times about the attack. We had already been investigating the larger problem of civilian airstrikes for several months, so we contacted him to learn more about his story. Nearly half the country was still under ISIS control, and all along Mansour’s palm-shaded sidewalks were the resplendent bursts of militia flags and posters of angelic-looking young men who had fallen on the front. Around the city, residents were living under a pall of suspicion that they were Islamic State sympathizers, a target for rogue militias and vengeful security forces, and Basim was eager to move north to Erbil. This was another reason he was determined to meet the Americans — not only for compensation but also for a letter attesting to their mistake, to certify that he did not belong to ISIS. “We’ll hear something soon,” Basim assured us.
But as the summer months came and went, still without word, Basim’s confidence began to waver. In September, nearly a year after the airstrike, he tried emailing the embassy again. This time he received a response: “The recipient’s mailbox is full and can’t accept messages now. Please try resending this message later, or contact the recipient directly.” (The consular officer later told us that when Basim’s case was referred to a military attorney, the attorney replied, “There’s no way to prove that the U.S. was involved.”)
In November, we wrote to the coalition ourselves, explaining that we were reporters working on an article about Basim. We provided details about his family and his efforts to reach someone in authority and included a link to the YouTube video the coalition posted immediately after the strike. A public-affairs officer responded, “There is nothing in the historical log for 20 SEP 2015,” the date the coalition had assigned to the strike video. Not long after, the video disappeared from the coalition’s YouTube channel. We responded by providing the GPS coordinates of Basim’s home, his emails to the State Department and an archived link to the YouTube video, which unlike the videos on the Pentagon’s website allow for comments underneath — including those that Basim’s family members left nearly a year before.
“I will NEVER forget my innocent and dear cousins who died in this pointless airstrike,” wrote Aisha Al-Rizzo, Tuqa’s 16-year-old cousin from Arkansas.
“You are murderers,” wrote Basim and Mohannad’s cousin Hassan al-Razzo. “You kill innocents with cold blood and then start creating justification.”
“How could you do that?” wrote another relative. “You don’t have a heart.”
Over the coming weeks, one by one, the coalition began removing all the airstrike videos from YouTube.
When ISIS left a mortar in Qaiyara’s rail yard, a local informant passed on the coordinates for an airstrike. The strikes hit the rail yard (below), but ISIS had moved on. Instead, the homes of Salam al-Odeh and Aaz-Aldin Muhammad Alwan were hit. Salam’s wife, Harbia, hung on until she reached the hospital, where she told her relatives what happened, then died of her injuries. A few weeks later, her son Musab died of his wounds, too. Of the eight people living in the two homes struck, only Rawa (below), who was 2, survived.
T he Coalition’s air war in Iraq is directed largely from the Combined Air Operations Center, quartered inside Al-Udeid Air Base in the desert outskirts of Doha, Qatar. As a shared hub for the Qatari Air Force, the British Royal Air Force and the United States Air Force and Central Command, among others, Udeid hosts some of the longest runways in the Middle East, as well as parking lots full of hulking KC-135 Stratotanker refueling planes, a huge swimming pool and a Pizza Hut. An alarm blares occasional high-temperature alerts, but the buildings themselves are kept so frigid that aviators sometimes wear extra socks as mittens.
When we visited in May, several uniformed officials walked us through the steps they took to avoid civilian casualties. The process seemed staggeringly complex — the wall-to-wall monitors, the soup of acronyms, the army of lawyers — but the impressively choreographed operation was designed to answer two basic questions about each proposed strike: Is the proposed target actually ISIS? And will attacking this ISIS target harm civilians in the vicinity?
As we sat around a long conference table, the officers explained how this works in the best-case scenario, when the coalition has weeks or months to consider a target. Intelligence streams in from partner forces, informants on the ground, electronic surveillance and drone footage. Once the coalition decides a target is ISIS, analysts study the probability that striking it will kill civilians in the vicinity, often by poring over drone footage of patterns of civilian activity. The greater the likelihood of civilian harm, the more mitigating measures the coalition takes. If the target is near an office building, the attack might be rescheduled for nighttime. If the area is crowded, the coalition might adjust its weaponry to limit the blast radius. Sometimes aircraft will even fire a warning shot, allowing people to escape targeted facilities before the strike. An official showed us grainy night-vision footage of this technique in action: Warning shots hit the ground near a shed in Deir al-Zour, Syria, prompting a pair of white silhouettes to flee, one tripping and picking himself back up, as the cross hairs follow.
Once the targeting team establishes the risks, a commander must approve the strike, taking care to ensure that the potential civilian harm is not 𠇎xcessive relative to the expected military advantage gained,” as Lt. Col. Matthew King, the center’s deputy legal adviser, explained.
After the bombs drop, the pilots and other officials evaluate the strike. Sometimes a civilian vehicle can suddenly appear in the video feed moments before impact. Or, through studying footage of the aftermath, they might detect signs of a civilian presence. Either way, such a report triggers an internal assessment in which the coalition determines, through a review of imagery and testimony from mission personnel, whether the civilian casualty report is credible. If so, the coalition makes refinements to avoid future civilian casualties, they told us, a process that might include reconsidering some bit of intelligence or identifying a flaw in the decision-making process.
Most of the civilian deaths acknowledged by the coalition emerge from this internal reporting process. Often, though, watchdogs or journalists bring allegations to the coalition, or officials learn about potential civilian deaths through social media. The coalition ultimately rejects a vast majority of such external reports. It will try to match the incident to a strike in its logs to determine whether it was indeed its aircraft that struck the location in question (the Iraqi Air Force also carries out strikes). If so, it then scours its drone footage, pilot videos, internal records and, when they believe it is warranted, social media and other open-source information for corroborating evidence. Each month, the coalition releases a report listing those allegations deemed credible, dismissing most of them on the grounds that coalition aircraft did not strike in the vicinity or that the reporter failed to provide sufficiently precise information about the time and place of the episode. (The coalition counts both aircraft and artillery attacks in its strike figures we excluded artillery attacks.)
In the eyes of the coalition, its diligence on these matters points to a dispiriting truth about war: Supreme precision can reduce civilian casualties to a very small number, but that number will never reach zero. They speak of every one of the acknowledged deaths as tragic but utterly unavoidable. “We’re not happy with it, and we’re never going to be happy with it,” said Thomas, the Central Command spokesman. 𠇋ut we’re pretty confident we do the best we can to try to limit these things.”
Because so much of this process is hidden — through March, the coalition released only one internal investigation from Iraq, a strike that hit a civilian vehicle in the Hatra district southwest of Mosul — its thoroughness is difficult to evaluate independently. The pre-eminent organization that seeks to do so is Airwars, a nonprofit based in London that monitors news reports, accounts by nongovernmental organizations, social-media posts and the coalition’s own public statements. Airwars tries to triangulate these sources and grade each allegation from ir” to 𠇍isputed.” As of October, it estimates that up to 3,000 Iraqi civilians have been killed in coalition airstrikes — six times as many as the coalition has stated in its public summaries. But Chris Woods, the organization’s director, told us that Airwars itself “may be significantly underreporting deaths in Iraq,” because the local reporting there is weaker than in other countries that Airwars monitors.
The coalition sees the same problem but draws the opposite conclusion. In a September opinion article in Foreign Policy, with the headline “Reports of Civilian Casualties in the War Against ISIS Are Vastly Inflated,” Lt. Gen. Stephen J. Townsend, the coalition’s former top commander, wrote: “Our critics are unable to conduct the detailed assessments the coalition does. They arguably often rely on scant information phoned in or posted by questionable sources.”
Counting civilian deaths in war zones has always been a difficult and controversial endeavor. The Iraq Body Count project, which sought to record civilian deaths after the 2003 invasion using techniques similar to Airwars, was flooded with criticism for both undercounting and overcounting. The Lancet, a medical journal, published studies based on surveys of Iraqi households that detractors alleged were not statistically sound. Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International have conducted ground investigations, but usually for only a handful of strikes at a time. Yet the coalition, the institution best placed to investigate civilian death claims, does not itself routinely dispatch investigators on the ground, citing access and security concerns, meaning there has not been such a rigorous ground investigation of this air war — or any American-led air campaign — since Human Rights Watch analyzed the civilian toll of the NATO bombing in Kosovo, a conflict that ended in 1999.
In our interview at the base, Lt. Gen. Jeffrey Harrigian, commander of the United States Air Forces Central Command at Udeid, told us what was missing. “Ground truth, that’s what you’re asking for,” he said. “We see what we see from altitude and pull in from other reports. Your perspective is talking to people on the ground.” He paused, and then offered what he thought it would take to arrive at the truth: “It’s got to be a combination of both.”
In early 2016, an ISIS patrol forced its way into the home of Rafi al-Iraqi (below, with his children), demanding the family’s cellphones. Sama (right), Rafi’s 10-year-old daughter, burst into tears and produced her mother’s phone, which contained negative messages about ISIS that she had recently sent to her sister in Erbil. Rafi and his wife were arrested and interrogated, but only he was released. When Rafi asked about his wife, he was told, “We’ll bring her to you.” Not long after, the family received her bullet-riddled body. Almost precisely a year later, at the height of the Mosul offensive, an airstrike leveled Rafi’s house and two others next door. Only Rafi, his mother and his 12-year-old son, Mohammed (far left), survived.
I nvestigating civilian harm on the ground is difficult but not impossible. In the spring of 2016, we began our own effort, visiting Iraqi cities and towns recently liberated from ISIS control. Ultimately, we selected three areas in Nineveh Province, traveling to the location of every airstrike that took place during ISIS control in each — 103 sites in all. These areas encompassed the range of ISIS-controlled settlements in size and population makeup: downtown Shura, a small provincial town that was largely abandoned during periods of heavy fighting downtown Qaiyara, a suburban municipality and Aden, a densely packed city neighborhood in eastern Mosul. The sample would arguably provide a conservative estimate of the civilian toll: It did not include western Mosul, which may have suffered the highest number of civilian deaths in the entire war. Nor did it include any strikes conducted after December 2016, when a rule change allowed more ground commanders to call in strikes, possibly contributing to a sharp increase in the death toll.
The areas we visited had undergone intense attacks of all kinds over the previous two years: airstrikes, sniper fire, mortars, rockets, improvised explosive devices, demolitions by ISIS, demolitions by anti-ISIS vigilantes and more. Our approach required mapping each area, identifying the sites that had been struck from the air and excluding those damaged by Iraqi forces in close-quarters ground combat.
Finally, we determined who or what had been hit. In addition to interviewing hundreds of witnesses, we dug through the debris for bomb fragments, tracked down videos of airstrikes in the area and studied before-and-after satellite imagery. We also obtained and analyzed more than 100 coordinate sets for suspected ISIS sites passed on by intelligence informants. We then mapped each neighborhood door to door, identifying houses where ISIS members were known to have lived and locating ISIS facilities that could be considered legitimate targets. We scoured the wreckage of each strike for materials suggesting an ISIS presence, like weapons, literature and decomposed remains of fighters. We verified every allegation with local administrators, security forces or health officials.
In Qaiyara’s residential district, where small wheat-colored homes sit behind low concrete walls, one or two structures had been reduced to rubble on almost every block. We went to all of them. A significant part of our efforts involved determining which air force — Iraqi or coalition — carried out each strike. Either way, according to official accounts, the air war in Qaiyara was remarkably precise: The coalition has stated that it killed only one civilian in or near the town, while the Iraqi Air Force has not acknowledged any civilian deaths in the area.
It was soon clear that many more had died. We visited one house that stood partly intact but for the rear alcove, which had been pancaked. A woman stepped out from the front of the structure, three children orbiting her. She told us her name, Inas Hamadi. “My children died here,” she said. “It happened so quickly.” One of the surviving children, Wiham, 11, remembered waking up to the sound of aircraft and running under the stairs to hide with her six siblings and cousins. Then the house was struck, collapsing the staircase onto them. Riam, 8, and Daoud, 5, did not survive. oud’s body was full of shrapnel,” Wiham said. “Riam had a hole beside her ear and a hole in her brain. She looked around and was dizzy.”
The strike was witnessed by neighbors, who helped rescue the children. Everyone agreed that the target was most likely the hospital or a pair of homes on the next street, all of which had been commandeered by ISIS. We collected the names and photographs of the dead and checked satellite imagery to confirm the date range of the strike. The deaths were never reported, were never recorded in any public database and were not investigated by the coalition.
We continued in this fashion, door to door. What we found was sobering: During the two years that ISIS ruled downtown Qaiyara, an area of about one square mile, there were 40 airstrikes, 13 of which killed 43 civilians — 19 men, eight women and 16 children, ages 14 or younger. In the same period, according to the Iraqi federal police, ISIS executed 18 civilians in downtown Qaiyara.
In Shura and Aden, we found a similar discrepancy between the number of civilian deaths on the ground and the number reported by the coalition. Through dozens of interviews at each site in all three locations, along with our house-to-house mapping, we tried to determine the reasons behind each airstrike that killed civilians. Coalition officials say ISIS fighters embedded in the population, making it difficult to avoid hitting civilians nearby. This appeared to be the case for about one-third of the deadly strikes — for example, a September 2016 strike on an ISIS-occupied primary school in Shura that killed three civilians in the vicinity.
But in about half of the strikes that killed civilians, we could find no discernible ISIS target nearby. Many of these strikes appear to have been based on poor or outdated intelligence. For example, last fall we visited a bombed-out house on the edge of Qaiyara, near the rail yard. It belonged to the family of Salam al-Odeh neighbors and relatives told us the family had been sleeping one night when they awoke to the shudder of an airstrike nearby. Sometimes strikes came in pairs, so Salam’s wife, Harbia, scooped up their baby, Bara, and ran out the door. Salam scrambled to save his other children — his daughter, Rawa, and his sons, Musab and Hussein. But then a second strike hit. Salam, the baby and Hussein were killed instantly. His wife hung on until she reached the hospital, where she told her relatives what happened, but then died from her injuries. A few weeks later, Musab died of his wounds too. Only Rawa, who was 2, survived. Several months later, we found the person who called in the strike, one of the coalition’s main sources in Qaiyara, a local Iraqi official we are not identifying for his safety. He told us that while on a walk one day, he spotted an ISIS mortar under a clump of trees near the rail yard and transmitted the coordinates. (Neighbors also told us that ISIS had occupied and then abandoned a house in the area a year earlier, which a different informant may have told the coalition about.) By the time the information made its way to the coalition and it decided to act, the mortar had been moved.
Such intelligence failures suggest that not all civilian casualties are unavoidable tragedies some deaths could be prevented if the coalition recognizes its past failures and changes its operating assumptions accordingly. But in the course of our investigation, we found that it seldom did either.
In June, for example, we visited an electrical substation occupying several blocks of the Aden neighborhood in eastern Mosul. On the evening of April 20, 2015, aircraft bombed the station, causing a tremendous explosion that engulfed the street. Muthana Ahmed Tuaama, a university student, told us his brother rushed into the blaze to rescue the wounded, when a second blast shook the facility. “I found my brother at the end of the street,” he said. “I carried him.” Body parts littered the alleyway. “You see those puddles of water,” he said. “It was just like that, but full of blood.” We determined that at least 18 civilians died in this one attack and that many more were grievously wounded. News of the strike was picked up by local bloggers, national Iraqi outlets and ISIS propaganda channels and was submitted as an allegation to the coalition by Airwars. Months later, the coalition announced the results of its investigation, stating that there was “insufficient evidence to find that civilians were harmed in this strike.” Yet even a cursory internet search offers significant evidence that civilians were harmed: We found disturbingly graphic videos of the strike’s aftermath on YouTube, showing blood-soaked toddlers and children with their legs ripped off.
A key part of the coalition’s investigation process is to match civilian casualty accusations against its own logs. Chris Umphres, an Air Force captain at Udeid who assesses allegations of civilian casualties, told us that military investigators possess the coordinates of 𠇎very single strike conducted by coalition forces,” crucial information unavailable to the typical journalist. “We have 100 percent accountability of where all of our weapons are employed.”
We found this to not always be the case. For every location we visited, we submitted GPS coordinates to determine whether it was the coalition or the Iraqi Air Force that bombed the site. At first, the coalition told us it did not have the time or the staff to check more than a handful of the coordinates. But eventually, a team of Air Force analysts at Udeid agreed to compare the dates and coordinates of each of the 103 sites in our sample with those the coalition had recorded in its airstrike log. If a strike in our sample occurred within 50 meters of a strike that was recorded in the logs, they classified it as a “probable coalition airstrike,” while assessing those outside this range — that is, anything more than a couple of house-lengths away — as “unlikely.”
By this measure, 30 of the 103 strike sites in the sample we submitted are probable coalition strikes. But other evidence suggests that the coalition was responsible for many more. Human rights organizations have repeatedly found discrepancies between the dates or locations of strikes and those recorded in the logs. In one instance, the coalition deemed an allegation regarding a strike in the Al-Thani neighborhood of Tabqa, Syria, on Dec. 20, 2016, as “not credible,” explaining that the nearest airstrike was more than a kilometer away. After Human Rights Watch dispatched researchers to the ground and discovered evidence to the contrary, the coalition acknowledged the strike as its own.
We found many such discrepancies. For instance, the Air Force analysts said it was unlikely that the coalition had struck Qaiyara’s water-sanitation facility because the logs recorded the nearest strike as 600 meters away, which would place it outside the compound entirely. Yet we discovered a video — uploaded by the coalition itself — showing a direct strike on that very facility. (When we asked Lt. Col. Damien Pickart, director of public affairs at Udeid, about this discrepancy, he said he could only report “what the strike log shows.”) Similarly, we were told that a strike we identified on Qaiyara’s main bridge was unlikely to be by the coalition, because the nearest strike was on a truck 150 meters away. We again found a coalition video showing a direct hit on the structure. Pickart explained the inconsistency by saying the coalition had conducted multiple strikes on various targets within an hourlong period, only one of which was included in the official log.
The most common justification the coalition gives when denying civilian casualty allegations is that it has no record of carrying out a strike at the time or area in question. If incomplete accounts like these are standard practice, it calls into question the coalition’s ability to determine whether any strike is its own. Still, even using the most conservative rubric and selecting only those 30 airstrikes the Air Force analysts classified as “probable” coalition airstrikes, we found at least 21 civilians had been killed in six strikes. Expanding to the 65 strikes that fell within 600 meters — for example, the strikes on the home of Inas Hamadi in Qaiyara and the electrical substation in Aden — pushed that figure to at least 54 killed in 15 strikes. No matter which threshold we used, though, the results from our sample were consistent: One of every five airstrikes killed a civilian.
To understand how radically different our assessment is from the coalition’s own, consider this: According to the coalition’s available data, 89 of its more than 14,000 airstrikes in Iraq have resulted in civilian deaths, or about one of every 157 strikes. The rate we found on the ground — one out of every five — is 31 times as high.
Last December, 15 months after the attack, following a long, tangled chain of emails and phone calls, the coalition confirmed that it had indeed carried out an airstrike on Basim and Mohannad’s homes. It acknowledged that it had, in fact, conducted an internal inquiry — a 𠇌redibility assessment” — the previous autumn after Zareena Grewal, Basim’s relative at Yale, wrote the Op-Ed in The Times. The assessment, completed on Oct. 30, 2015, concluded that the allegation was 𠇌redible” this meant the coalition had known for more than a year that it had “more likely than not” killed civilians and that it had recommended a full investigation into the strike, even as Basim’s attempts to reach the coalition were being ignored. Despite this finding, the coalition neglected to include the incident in its public tally of deaths — which, in Iraq at that time, stood at 76 civilians — because of what Col. Joseph Scrocca, a coalition spokesman, called 𠇊n administrative oversight.”
Basim’s case had now become impossible to ignore. Based on the evidence we provided, Maj. Gen. Scott Kindsvater, then an Air Force deputy commander, ordered an internal investigation to determine what might have gone wrong on the night of the strike. And then, on Feb. 14, for the first time in the 17 months since the attack, Basim received an email from the coalition. “We deeply regret this unintentional loss of life in an attempt to defeat Da𠆞sh,” Scrocca wrote, using another term for ISIS. “We are prepared to offer you a monetary expression of our sympathy and regret for this unfortunate incident.” He invited Basim to come to Erbil to discuss the matter. Basim was the first person to receive such an offer, in Iraq or Syria, during the entire anti-ISIS war.
Early in the morning of his scheduled meeting, Basim dreamed about Mayada. He could feel her skin next to his. He suddenly felt a surge of regret for things said and left unsaid, accrued over a lifetime together. He awoke in tears. “I washed my face,” he said, 𠇍id my morning prayer and sent her my prayers. It made me calmer.”
It was March 17. The air outside was soft and cool Erbil had finally experienced rainfall after a parched winter. The coalition had asked Basim to go to Erbil International Airport, where he would be picked up and taken to meet coalition representatives and receive a condolence payment. He invited us to join him, and we agreed. Basim did not know how much money the Americans would offer, but he had spent hours calculating the actual damages: $500,000 for his and Mohannad’s homes, furnishings and belongings $22,000 for two cars and $13,000 in medical bills from Turkey. We stood waiting in the parking lot. A white S.U.V. with tinted windows rolled by. A family emerged from a taxi, the father juggling two suitcases and a toddler, heading off on what appeared to be a vacation.
Basim checked his phone to see the latest messages from friends in Mosul. It had been a month since Iraqi forces seized the eastern half of the city, but the Woods were still too dangerous to visit because ISIS controlled the opposite bank and was lobbing mortars across the river. On the west side, thousands were trapped in the Old City, and Basim heard stories that ISIS was welding doors shut to keep people in their homes, holding them hostage against heavy artillery and air power. That morning, an airstrike flattened almost an entire city block in the Mosul Jidideh neighborhood — killing 105 civilians, according to the coalition, or possibly double that number, according to Airwars, in either case making it one of the largest aerial massacres since the war began.
It was late afternoon, 30 minutes past the meeting time, when an S.U.V. rolled up, an American in Army fatigues behind the wheel. We climbed in, and the truck moved off through the sprawling airfield, past rows of parked helicopters, toward a set of hangars. Basim struggled to maintain his composure. He𠆝 imagined this day a hundred times, but now he wasn’t sure what to say, how to act. The driver made small talk about the weather, the winter drought, the needs of farmers. He pulled the truck around to a prefab trailer ringed by blast walls. Inside, sitting around a large wooden table, were more American soldiers. Capt. Jaclyn Feeney, an Army attorney, introduced herself and invited Basim to be seated.
“We just wanted to start by expressing our deepest sympathies, not only on behalf of the Army but on behalf of myself,” she said. “We do take the closest care in what we do here, but it’s high risk, and sometimes we make mistakes. We try our best to prevent those mistakes, but we hope that since we did make a mistake here, we can do everything that we can to right it, as best we can. I know there’s nothing that I can say that can make up for the loss that you’ve — ”
“The only thing that cannot be returned is the loss of life,” Basim said. His hands gripped the armrests, as if he were using every ounce of energy to stay seated. He struggled to keep his voice steady. 𠇎verything else could be redone or rebuilt. The loss of life is unrepairable.”
rtainly. We are prepared to offer you a condolence payment,” Feeney replied. “It’s not meant to recompensate you for what you’ve lost, or for rebuilding or anything like that. It’s just meant to be an expression of our sympathy, our apologies for your loss.”
Outside, a plane lifted off, and the room trembled. Feeney was holding documents in her hand. 𠇊nd so for that reason, we are capped in the amount that we can give you. So the amount in U.S. dollars is $15,000, which we will be paying you in Iraqi dinars, so 17,550,000 dinars. And so, if you’re willing to accept that — ”
Basim looked at her in disbelief. “No.”
“You’re not willing to accept that?”
“This is — this is an insult to me. No, I will not accept it. I’m sorry.”
Feeney looked stunned. “I’m sorry also,” she said.
Moments passed, and everyone sat in silence. Feeney explained again that they were capped by their own regulations. Basim replied, “This is, I have to say, I’m sorry to say, ridiculous.” Basim said he wanted official documentation proving his innocence, so that he could return safely to Mosul one day. Feeney promised to make some calls. The meeting quickly came to an end.
Basim walked out into the late-afternoon air. Traffic at the airport had picked up: buses overloaded with families, children sticking their elbows out of taxis. Basim drove home in disbelief, as if he were living through an elaborate hoax and the Americans would call back any minute with a serious offer. The truth was, he never expected to recover the full extent of his material losses, and he knew the military was not in the business of compensation, only condolence, but after so many months, so much back and forth, the humiliation burned. “This is what an Iraqi is worth,” he said.
At home, he considered his options. He wanted a lawyer — but from where? Could an Iraqi find an American attorney? The amount the coalition had offered exceeded its own guidelines, which stipulated $2,500 per Iraqi, but did not cover Mohannad and Najib, which meant he — or his sister-in-law — would potentially have to endure this process again. He considered traveling to the United States to find an advocate, but getting a visa was almost impossible. Once, in the first months after the attack, he even wanted to move there, seek asylum. Now the thought seemed absurd.
Despite everything, Basim could not bring himself to hate Americans. In fact, this experience was further evidence for a theory he had harbored for a while: that he, fellow Iraqis and even ordinary Americans were all bit players in a drama bigger than any of them. A few weeks later, he spoke to Sociology 119, Sam Richards’s Race and Ethnic Relations class at Penn State. “I have nothing against the regular American citizen,” he told the class of some 750 students. “I lived among you guys for eight years. I was never bothered by any person — in fact, many of them were very helpful to me.”
“This situation of war,” he continued, 𠇋ig corporations are behind it.” This is where the real power lay, not with individual Americans. He𠆝 come to believe that his family, along with all Iraqis, had been caught in the grinder of grand forces like oil and empire, and that the only refuge lay in something even grander: faith. He had rediscovered his religion. “There was some bond that grew between me and my God. I thanked him for keeping my son alive. I thanked him that my operation was successful. Now I can walk.”
It was the same God who had written out his whole life from the 40th day in the womb. Basim’s faith in this divinely authored fate had become a calming current, coursing through his every waking moment. “Sometimes I go out with my friends,” Basim told the students. 𠇋ut when I come back home, when I go to bed and thoughts start coming into my head about my wife, what would have happened probably five years from now, my daughter would be in college, she wanted to study this and that — there isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think about them. But in the end, life goes on.”
Ahmed al-Layla tried to persuade his parents to escape from Mosul with his sister, Eaman, and join him in Erbil, but they were stubborn. His father, Mohammed Tayeb al-Layla (below left), a former dean of engineering at Mosul University, refused to abandon his prized library, shelf after shelf of books on engineering and soil mechanics. As the Iraqi Army approached, neighbors told us, several ISIS fighters broke into the home, climbed to the roof and assumed sniper positions. Ahmed’s father raced up in pursuit, with Ahmed’s mother, Dr. Fatima Habbal (below right), a prominent gynecologist, close behind. Not long after, an airstrike flattened the home, killing the snipers, along with Ahmed’s parents and sister.
T his spring, Iraqi forces pushed deeper into western Mosul, into the Old City, a hive of stacked houses that lean over narrow streets. The neighborhood was being pounded with airstrikes and mortars, while ISIS was refusing to allow people to leave. Basim learned that three in-laws of Abdullah, Mohannad’s son — a pregnant woman, her husband and his father — had tried to bribe their way to the east side but were caught and beheaded. Nearly everyone was telling such stories. Meanwhile, word spread that Basim had taken his case to the coalition, and aggrieved families started to reach out for advice. Basim felt like an elder statesman of heartbreak, and he offered whatever counsel he could. The strike on his house remained a great mystery, though, and not a day passed when he did not retrace the hours and days before the attack, wondering what could have brought it on.
In April, through the Freedom of Information Act, we finally obtained a portion of the coalition’s internal probe of the strike on the Razzo homes. As Basim read though a dozen partly redacted pages, a story began to emerge — the coalition had been receiving intelligence that his and Mohannad’s houses were an ISIS command center. The report suggests that this may have been because of the J.C.C. next door Basim recalled that ISIS briefly occupied the J.C.C. when it first conquered Mosul but had long since abandoned the facility. Yet the coalition’s intelligence source apparently passed along this outdated information and in the process confused his house with the J.C.C.
Next, according to the report, the coalition dispatched a drone to surveil the property. Over three days, in 15-to-30-minute windows, his house was filmed. The investigation acknowledged that “no overtly nefarious activity was observed,” but nonetheless everything the coalition witnessed confirmed its conviction that it was filming a terrorist headquarters. No weapons were visible, but the report noted that ISIS 𠇍oes not obviously brandish weapons,” so as to go undetected. Occasionally Basim or Mohannad would open their shared gate to the street, allowing a guest to enter. The coalition simply saw men opening a gate, an action that it determined was consistent with the activity of an ISIS headquarters. And, perhaps most important, the report stated that the coalition did not observe any women or children outdoors — although in the ISIS-controlled city, women rarely left the house to avoid the religious police, and most filming had occurred under the blistering afternoon sun, when almost everyone stayed indoors.
Though the Razzos hadn’t known it, the burden of proof had been on them to demonstrate to a drone watching them from above that they were civilians — guilty until proved innocent. In the end, 95 minutes of unremarkable footage had sealed the fate of Mayada, Tuqa, Mohannad and Najib. The report concluded that there was “no evidence indicating carelessness or bad faith” on the part of the coalition and that its targeting process “remains sound.” (It also declared that because of an equipment error, the drone footage no longer existed for investigators to review.) Yet to Basim, the truth seemed just the opposite: The coalition had disregarded ground realities and acted on flimsy intelligence.
Not long after receiving the report, Basim decided to return to the Woods. It was risky to visit — ISIS was still controlling neighborhoods on the opposite bank — but he wanted to see, to touch, what was left, and he took us along. We set out in the early morning, driving past dusty abandoned villages, through checkpoints sporting brilliant hoists of red, blue and green militia flags and onto a broad boulevard, teeming with pushcart vendors and street children. Whole city blocks were flattened. Basim was not caught off guard by the destruction, which he expected based on the videos he𠆝 seen, but he was surprised by the traffic. He regarded the passing scenes as if he were a tour guide, recounting the history of each neighborhood. It appeared to be an affectation of calm, a studied attempt to withstand the torment of return, but the truth eventually surfaced. “I’m numb,” he said. “I’m just numb.”
We drove past more ruined buildings. Around the wreckage of one stood a concrete wall, still intact, where ISIS had painted two hands open in supplication. Basim translated the inscription: THANK GOD FOR EVERYTHING YOU HAVE. IF YOU DO, HE WILL GIVE YOU MORE.
We headed toward the Tigris River. As we approached, we could see the apartments, houses and minarets on the other side, still under ISIS control. And then suddenly, the city was gone. We entered the Woods, which remained a bucolic oasis. The trees were heavy with figs, apricots and lemons, and the air buzzed with mosquitoes. We pulled up to a pale yellow gate. Basim lingered outside for a moment, afraid to approach. He then opened it and stepped onto his property for the first time in 18 months. We followed him along an overgrown stone path. He stopped in front of a smashed-up wall surrounded by chunks of concrete. Rebar snaked out like hairs. “This was the laundry room,” he said.
To the right stood what was once his kitchen. A faint rotten odor emerged from within. The remnants of a table and three chairs were visible. Scattered amid the shattered glass and charred metal bars were pages of recipes: Cookies & Cream Freeze, Chocolate Mousse Torte.
We moved over the rest of the debris. Marble shards, concrete blocks, several mattresses, two satellite dishes, a Spalding tennis racket, an iron, a book of equations, a bathroom sink. The backyard was intact. 𠇊t least we still have a swimming pool!” Basim said, laughing absently.
He circled back to the laundry room. There he spotted in a corner, poking out of the rubble, a white platform heel. It belonged to Tuqa. “I told her they were too high and that she would fall,” he said. He could picture her wearing them, coming down the stairs.
Major General Sean C. Bernabe assumed command of the 1st Armored Division on 30 September 2020.  Deputy commander Brigadier General Matthew L. Eichburg had been serving as the interim commanding officer since 28 July 2020. 
The division command group consists of: 
- Commanding General: Major General Sean C. Bernabe
- Deputy Commanding Officer (Operations): Brigadier General Matthew L. Eichburg
- Deputy Commanding General (Maneuver): Brigadier Andrew D. Cox MBE
- Deputy Commanding Officer (Support): Colonel Frank J. Stanco
- Chief of Staff: Colonel Chad C. Chalfont : Command Sergeant Major Michael C. Williams
The division has been reorganized under the new modular design after moving to Fort Bliss, in which the deployable unit of maneuver is a brigade rather than a division. It consists of a division headquarters battalion, three armored brigade combat teams, a combat aviation brigade, a sustainment brigade, and a division artillery,  field artillery battalions are assigned to their respective brigade combat teams.
The division's 3rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team was deactivated after leaving Afghanistan in spring 2015, and its maneuver battalions were reassigned to the remaining three brigade combat teams subsequently the division's 4th Armored Brigade Combat Team was re-flagged as 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team. 
1st Armored Division consists of the following elements:
- Division Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion "Gladiator"
- Headquarters and Support Company
- Operations Company
- Intelligence and Sustainment Company
- Division Signal Company
- 1st Armored Division Band
- Headquarters and Headquarters Company (HHC) 6th Squadron, 1st Cavalry Regiment 2nd Battalion, 37th Armor Regiment 4th Battalion, 70th Armor Regiment1st Battalion, 36th Infantry Regiment2nd Battalion, 3rd Field Artillery Regiment (FAR) 16th Brigade Engineer Battalion (BEB)
- 501st Brigade Support Battalion (BSB)
- HHC 1st Squadron, 1st Cavalry Regiment 1st Battalion, 35th Armor Regiment 1st Battalion, 37th Armor Regiment 1st Battalion, 6th Infantry Regiment4th Battalion, 27th FAR 40th Brigade Engineer Battalion
- 47th Brigade Support Battalion
- HHC 2nd Squadron, 13th Cavalry Regiment 1st Battalion, 67th Armor Regiment 1st Battalion, 77th Armor Regiment 4th Battalion, 6th Infantry Regiment 4th Battalion, 1st FAR 2nd Brigade Engineer Battalion 123rd Brigade Support Battalion 
- Headquarters and Headquarters Battery
- 24th Theater Public Affairs Support Element (TPASE)
- Combat Aviation Brigade, 1st Armored Division "Iron Eagle"
- HHC 3rd Squadron (Heavy Attack-Reconnaissance), 6th Cavalry Regiment "Heavy Cavalry"  1st Battalion (Attack), 501st Aviation Regiment "Iron Dragons" 2nd Battalion (General Support), 501st Aviation Regiment "Desert Knights" 3rd Battalion (Assault), 501st Aviation Regiment "Apocalypse" 127th Aviation Support Battalion "Work Horse"
- HHC Special Troops Battalion "Iron Legion" 142nd Combat Sustainment Support Battalion "Atlas"
The division was nicknamed "Old Ironsides" by its first commander, Major General Bruce Magruder, after he saw a picture of the frigate USS Constitution, also nicknamed "Old Ironsides". The large "1" at the top represents the numerical designation of the division and the insignia is used as a basis for most of the other sub-unit insignias.
In January 1918, the Tank Corps of the United States Army was established under Colonel Samuel Rockenbach.  At his direction, First Lieutenant J. P. Wharton designed the original coat of arms: a triangle on a shield surrounded by a wreath and a silver dragon. The triangle itself is an old heraldic element of armorial design known as a pile, representing the head of a spear. There was no shoulder patch in 1918.
The 7th Cavalry Brigade (mechanized) contributed the other part of the present-day Armor shoulder patch. The brigade formed out of the 1st Cavalry Regiment in Marfa Texas, on 16 January 1933 under General Daniel Van Voorhis, then Colonel of the Cavalry. The 7th Cavalry Brigade included the 13th Cavalry and had been organized specifically to develop the new armored force concept while training in the emerging modern war-fighting tactics.
Colonel George F. Linthwaite (then a newly enlisted Private) joined the 13th Cavalry regiment in 1933. Major General Robert W. Grow (then a Major and brigade adjutant) was instructed to develop a shoulder patch for the new armored force. Grow announced to the brigade that a contest would be held to design the new Armored force patch. A three-day weekend pass was awarded to the designer of the winning entry.
Linthwaite won the contest: he designed a circular patch, four inches in diameters, with a solid yellow-gold background to symbolize the Cavalry heritage. On the face of the patch, he drew a stylized black tank track with a drive and idler sprockets to symbolize mobility. In the center of the track at a slight diagonal, he placed a single cannon barrel, also in black, to symbolize firepower. Finally, to symbolize the striking power of the new armored force, he added a diagonal lightning bolt in red, extending across the total design and full diameter of the patch.
In 1940, Major General Adna R. Chaffee Jr. was promoted to lead the newly created Armor Forces which had evolved from the old 7th Cavalry Brigade and were preparing for the looming war in Europe. Chaffee wanted a patch for this new Armored Force. He chose to combine the 7th Brigade patch with the triangle from the World War I crest. The tri-colors, with blue for infantry, red for artillery, and yellow for cavalry – represented the three basic components of the mechanized armed force. In 1940 the War Department officially designated the now-familiar patch worn by soldiers of all United States Army Armored Divisions. 
World War II Edit
On 15 July 1940, the 1st Armored Division, largely an expanded and reorganized version of the 7th Cavalry Brigade, was activated at Fort Knox under the command of Major General Bruce Magruder. The 1st Cavalry Regiment was re-designated as the 1st Armored Regiment and the 13th Cavalry Regiment was re-designated as the 13th Armored Regiment under the 1st Armored Brigade, 1st Armored Division.  For more than two years after its activation, the 1st Armored Division trained at Fort Knox and the division pioneered and developed tank gunnery and strategic armored offensives while increasing from 66 medium-sized tanks to over 600 medium and light armored vehicles. 
Order of battle Edit
The first order of battle for the 1st Armored Division was:   HHC, 1st Armored Division
On 15 April 1941 the division sent a cadre to form the 4th Armored Division at Pine Camp, New York.
- Bruce Magruder (July 1940 – March 1942) 
- MG Orlando Ward (March 1942 – April 1943)
- MG Ernest N. Harmon (April 1943 – July 1944)
- MG Vernon Prichard (July 1944 – September 1945)
- MG Roderick R. Allen (September 1945 – January 1946)
- MG Hobart R. Gay (February 1946 to inactivation)
On 15 July 1940 the division was trained at Fort Knox, Kentucky. It was a new experiment in a self-supporting, self-sustaining blitzkrieg force. It had never been carried out before and the troops necessary for this kind of force were drawn from a variety of army posts.
When the organization was completed, the division had tanks, artillery, and infantry. In direct support were tank destroyer, maintenance, medical, supply and engineer battalions, but bringing the division up to its full quota of tanks, guns, and vehicles was difficult. Although new equipment was received almost daily, the division had only nine outdated medium tanks primarily armed with guns until March 1941. Most of the division attended the Armored Force School at Knox to train in using their newly acquired tanks, half-tracks, and guns.
The division left in September 1941 for three months to participate in maneuvers in Louisiana. The division returned to Fort Knox the day before the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Training took on a new intensity. The division was reorganized, and all tanks, both medium and light were put into two armored regiments, the 1st and 13th. A third armored field artillery battalion, the 91st, was formed, and the 701st Tank Destroyer Battalion was organized and attached to the division.
At Fort Knox, the division participated in the Technicolor short movie The Tanks Are Coming (as the "First Armored Force"). It deployed to participate in the VII Corps Maneuvers on 18 August 1941. Once the maneuvers concluded, the 1st Armored Division then moved on 28 August 1941 and arrived at Camp Polk for the Second Army Louisiana Maneuvers on 1 September 1941. They then moved to Fort Jackson on 30 October 1941 to participate in the First Army Carolina Maneuvers. The 1st AD returned to Fort Knox on 7 December 1941 but started to prepare for deployment overseas instead of returning to garrison.
The 1st Armored Division was ordered to Fort Dix on 11 April 1942 to await their deployment overseas. The division's port call required them to board the RMS Queen Mary at the New York Port of Embarkation at the Brooklyn Army Terminal on 11 May 1942. They arrived in Northern Ireland on 16 May 1942 and trained on the moors until they moved on to England on 29 October 1942. The division was now commanded by Major General Orlando Ward.
Combat operations Edit
A volunteer squadron of three M3 Grant crews from the 1st Armored Division, commanded by Henry Cabot Lodge Jr. and placed under British command, fought in the Battle of Gazala in June 1942, becoming the first Americans to engage the Germans on land in the war. 
Alerted for the invasion were the 1st Battalion of the 1st Armored Regiment, the 1st and 2nd Battalions of the 13th Armored Regiment, nearly all the 6th Armored Infantry Regiment, the 27th Armored Field Artillery Battalion, "B" and "C" Companies of the 701st Tank Destroyer Battalion, and detachments of the 16th Armored Engineer Battalion, the Supply Battalion, the Maintenance Battalion, 47th Armored Medical Battalion, and the 141st Signal Company.
The unit proper's first contact with an enemy was as part of the Allied invasion of Northwest Africa, Operation Torch, on 8 November 1942. Elements of the division became part of the Northern Task Force and became the first American armored division to see combat in World War II. Combat Command B (CCB) of the division landed east and west of Oran under the command of Brigadier General Lunsford E. Oliver and entered the city on 10 November 1942. On 24 November 1942, CCB moved from Tafraoui, Algeria to Bedja, Tunisia, and raided the Djedeida airfield the next day and conquered the city on 28 November 1942. CCB moved southwest of Tebourba on 1 December 1942, engaged with German forces on El Guessa Heights on 3 December 1942, but its lines were pierced on 6 December 1942. CCB withdrew to Bedja with heavy equipment losses between 10 and 11 December 1942 and was placed in reserve. CCB next attacked in the Ousseltia Valley on 21 January 1943, and cleared that area until 29 January 1943 when sent to Bou Chebka, and arrived at Maktar on 14 February 1943.
Combat Command A (CCA) fought at Faïd Pass commencing on 30 January 1943, and advanced to Sidi Bou Zid, where it was pushed back with heavy tank losses on 14 February 1943, and had elements isolated on Djebel Lessouda, Djebel Kasaira, and Garet Hadid. Combat Command C (CCC), which was formed on 23 January 1943 to raid Sened Station on 24 January, advanced towards Sbeita and counterattacked to support CCA in the Sidi Bou Zid area on 15 February 1943, but was forced to retreat with heavy losses. The division withdrew from Sbeita on 16 February 1943, but by 21 February 1943 CCB contained the German attack toward Tébessa. The German withdrawal allowed the division to recover Kasserine Pass on 26 February 1943 and assemble in reserve. The division moved northeast of Gafsa on 13 March 1943 and attacked in heavy rains on 17 March 1943 as CCA took Zannouch, but became immobilized by rain the next day. The division drove on Maknassy on 20 March 1943, and fought the Battle of Djebel Naemia on 22–25 March 1943, and then fought to break through positions barring the road to Gabès between 29 March and 1 April 1943. It followed up on the withdrawing German forces on 6 April 1943 and attacked towards Mateur with CCA on 27 April 1943, which fell after fighting on Hill 315 and Hill 299 on 3 May 1943. The division, now commanded by Major General Ernest N. Harmon, fought the Battle for Djebel Achtel between 5 and 11 May 1943 and entered Ferryville on 7 May 1943. With the British forces taking Tunis and Americans in Bizerte, the Axis forces in Tunisia surrendered between 9 and 13 May 1943. The division was reorganized in French Morocco and began arriving in Naples, Italy on 28 October 1943.
Reorganization 1943 Edit
The division was reorganized on 15 September 1943. Its new composition was: 
- Headquarters Company
- Combat Command A
- Combat Command B
- Reserve Command
- 1st Tank Battalion
- 4th Tank Battalion
- 13th Tank Battalion
- 6th Armored Infantry Battalion
- 11th Armored Infantry Battalion
- 14th Armored Infantry Battalion
- 81st Cavalry Reconnaissance Squadron (Mechanized)
- 16th Armored Engineer Battalion
- 141st Armored Signal Company
- 1st Armored Division Artillery
- 27th Armored Field Artillery Battalion
- 68th Armored Field Artillery Battalion
- 91st Armored Field Artillery Battalion
- 123rd Armored Ordnance Maintenance Battalion
- 47th Armored Medical Battalion
- Military Police Platoon
After the Allied invasion of Sicily, the 1st Armored Division, which was part of the American Fifth Army, invaded mainland Italy. It participated in the attack on the Winter Line in November 1943, flanked the Axis armies in the landings at Anzio, and passed through the city of Rome and pursued the retreating enemy northward until mid-July 1944. At that point, Harmon was replaced by Major General Vernon Prichard, who led the 1st AD for the rest of the war. Three days after Prichard took command, the division was reorganized based on experiences in the North Africa Campaign.  The change was drastic: it eliminated the armored and infantry regiments in favor of three separate tank and infantry battalions, disbanded the Supply Battalion, and cut the strength of the division from 14,000 to 10,000. The result of the reorganization was a more flexible and balanced division, with roughly equivalent infantry and tank battalions. These forces could be combined or custom-tailored by the command to meet any situation. The additional infantry strength would prove particularly useful in future campaigns in the largely mountainous combat of the Italian campaign. The division continued in combat to the Po Valley until the German forces in Italy surrendered on 2 May 1945. In June, the division moved to Germany as part of the occupation forces.
- Total battle casualties:7,096 
- Killed in action: 1,194 
- Wounded in action: 5,168 
- Missing in action: 216 
- Prisoner of war: 518 
During the war, the Old Ironsides division captured 41 towns and cities and 108,740 prisoners. 722 division soldiers were awarded the Silver Star and another 908 received the Bronze Star. The division received 5,478 Purple Hearts. Two division soldiers were awarded the Medal of Honor during World War II: Private Nicholas Minue and Second Lieutenant Thomas Weldon Fowler.
The 1st Armored Division flag returned to the New York Port of Embarkation on 24 April 1946 and was deactivated at Camp Kilmer, New Jersey on 25 April 1946. The component headquarters and units which remained in Germany were retasked and renamed as a component of the United States Constabulary.
After World War II Edit
As part of the Korean War buildup of American forces, the 1st Armored Division was reactivated at Fort Hood, Texas on 7 March 1951. The division became one of the first divisions in the Army to integrate black soldiers throughout the ranks, and was also the only combat-ready armored division in the continental United States and the first to receive the M48 Patton tank. Training for nuclear war became a major theme in the mid-1950s. The 1st Armored Division participated in tests of the "Atomic Field Army" at Fort Hood and in Operation Sagebrush, the largest joint maneuver conducted since World War II. The 1st Armored Division moved to its new base of operations at Fork Polk, Louisiana after completing the exercise in February 1956. 
At the end of the 1950s, the Army's focus on a nuclear battlefield waned and it experienced years of reduced budgets. The 1st Armored Division reverted into a training cadre for new inductees after being reduced in size and moved back to Fort Hood.
In 1962, the 1st Armored Division was brought back to full strength and reorganized. Brigades replaced combat commands and the division's aviation assets doubled. Intense training followed the reorganization. In October 1962 the 1st Armored Division was declared combat-ready just before the Cuban Missile Crisis. The division deployed from Fort Hood, Texas to Fort Stewart in response to the Soviet stationing of missiles in Cuba. The entire operation took 18 days. 
In the following six weeks, the 1st Armored Division conducted live-fire training and amphibious exercises on the Georgia and Florida coasts. One highlight was a visit from President John F. Kennedy on 26 November 1962. Shortly thereafter, tensions eased and the division returned to Ft. Hood.
Although the 1st Armored Division did not participate as a division in the Vietnam War, there were two units, Company A, 501st Aviation and 1st Squadron, 1st Cavalry, that served in Vietnam. Both earned Presidential Unit Citations, and 1-1 Cavalry received two Valorous Unit Awards and three Vietnamese Crosses of Gallantry. Neither unit was officially detached from the 1st Armored Division thus veterans of both units may wear the division's patch as a combat patch. In 1967 the 198th Infantry Brigade was formed from three of the division's infantry battalions and deployed from Fort Hood to Vietnam. After the war, two of the three battalions, 1-6 Infantry and 1-52 Infantry, returned to the 1st Armored Division.
In early April 1968, when rioting broke out in many American cities following the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr., the 3rd Brigade was deployed on 6 April to assist in restoring order during rioting in Chicago.  : 309
West Germany Edit
In the early 1970s, American forces withdrew from Vietnam and the Army was heavily restructured: the 1st Armored Division was rumored to be on the list of units to be deactivated. Veterans of the division organized a letter-writing campaign to "save" the 1st Armored Division.
As part of the Army's post-Vietnam reorganization, the 1st Armored Division was moved to West Germany in 1971 and replaced the 4th Armored Division in the Bavarian city of Ansbach. The Division headquarters remained in Ansbach, with brigade units in the neighboring towns of Bamberg, Illesheim, Fürth (Nuremberg), Schwabach, Katterbach, Crailsheim, Erlangen and Zirndorf for the next twenty years, as part of VII Corps, itself part of NATO's Central Army Group.
1st Battalion, 51st Infantry (Mech), at Crailsheim, part of the 1st Brigade, was deactivated on 16 June 1984 as a result of the division's conversion to the Division 86 force structure. Under the Division 86 structure, each heavy division decreased by one infantry battalion, while remaining infantry battalions gained one additional rifle company.
On 16 April 1986, the Aviation Brigade, 1st Armored Division, was activated in Germany.
In April 1987, 6th Battalion, 43rd Air Defense Artillery (Patriot) moved to a newly built Urlas Kaserne (located near Bismarck & Katterbach Kaserne) assigned to the 1st Armored Division.
On 16 November 1987, the 501st Combat Aviation Battalion was deactivated and re-flagged as 2nd Battalion, 1st Aviation Regiment at Katterbach Kaserne, Federal Republic of Germany, under the 1st Armored Division.
Persian Gulf War Edit
In August 1990, Iraq invaded Kuwait. On 8 November 1990, the 1st Armored Division was alerted for deployment to the Middle East to provide an offensive option should Saddam refuse to withdraw from Kuwait. This alert changed the division's focus, from "building down" in Europe to "building up" in Southwest Asia.
Division leaders and soldiers began focusing on planning, training and unit deployment. Planning focused on the challenge of logistics, as the division had to be shipped to Saudi Arabia in a logical order to support the buildup for combat operations.
Commanders and their staff rapidly integrated new equipment into their units to be deployed to the Persian Gulf region. The division also prepared to receive new units: 3rd Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division replaced 1st Brigade, 1st Armored Division. Round-out units such as the 312th Support Center (RAOC) composed of reservists from throughout Germany, also joined the division. Other units, such as the 54th and 19th Engineer battalions, the 218th Military Police Company, and the 7th Support Group, joined the 1st Armored Division in Kuwait.
Units concentrated on preparing vehicles for overseas movement while undergoing individual and unit training, including gunnery, in the few weeks available before deployment. The division qualified 355 tanks and 300 Bradley crews on Tables VII and VIII, conducted division artillery howitzer section gunnery, fired modified Vulcan Table VIII and qualified Stinger and Chaparral crews. Battle drill rehearsals and wargaming seminars were also part of the rigorous training agenda.
The division transported equipment by rail, wheeled convoy, and rotary-wing self-deployment. These movements unavoidably occurred on short notice or in bad weather, and posed challenges to coordination and logistics. The first trains departed for port the last week of November 1990 and continued to so until the second week of December 1990. Within two months 17,400 soldiers and 7,050 pieces of equipment were moved to Saudi Arabia for Operation Desert Shield/Storm. 
Battle damage assessment Edit
- 25 Feb: 2 tanks, 25 APC, 9 artillery, 14 ADA, 48 trucks, 314 EPW
- 26 Feb: 112 tanks, 82 APC, 2 artillery, 2 ADA, 94 trucks, 545 EPW
- 27 Feb: 186 tanks, 127 APC, 66 artillery, 5 ADA, 118 trucks, 839 EPW
- 28 Feb: 41 tanks, 60 APC, 15 artillery, 11 ADA, 244 trucks, 281 EPW
- 1–12 Mar: 99 tanks, 191 APC, 98 artillery, 105 ADA, 879 trucks, 4,707 EPW
- Total: 440 tanks, 485 APC, 190 artillery, 137 ADA, 1,383 trucks, 6,686 EPW 
Four division soldiers were killed in action and 52 wounded in action during the Gulf War  : 232
The Balkans Edit
On 18 December 1995, under the command of Major General William L. Nash, the division deployed to northeastern Bosnia as the command and major traoop contributing element of Task Force Eagle, a peace enforcement, multinational unit. The 1st Armored Division returned in late 1996 to Germany.
In 1999, the unit deployed to Kosovo for Operation Allied Force and Operation Joint Guardian. The unit trained heavily afterwards in the Hohenfels and Grafenwöhr Training Areas in Germany, with realistic OPFOR (Opposition Forces) exercises.
In 2000, the 1st Armored Division's 1st Brigade Combat Team trained at the Grafenwoehr Training Area (GTA). In February 2000, 1st Armored Division Headquarters announced the closure of military facilities in Bad Kreuznach and its subsequent move to Wiesbaden scheduled for June 2001. The 1st Armored Division trained at HTA and GTA in three separate exercises in March 2001. Ready First participated in Mountain Guardian III at Hohenfels as a mission rehearsal exercise for Kosovo.
The 1st Armored Division's command and control elements conducted a warfighter exercise in the GTA between 21 March and 17 April 2001. The 1st Armored Division took command of Task Force Falcon in Kosovo as Brigadier General Randal Tieszen accepted the colors from 1st Infantry Division's Brigadier General Ricardo Sanchez. The 1st Armored Division celebrated its 60th birthday at home and abroad in Kosovo on 15 July 2001. Major General George W. Casey, Jr. traveled to Boston Harbor in August 2001 where he connected with Commander Bill Foster of the USS Constitution.
In the months building up to the March 2003 invasion of Iraq, two battalions of the 1st Armored Division's 3rd Brigade were deployed to support Operation Iraqi Freedom. The 2–70 Armor and 1–41 Infantry battalion task forces augmented the 82nd Airborne Division, the 3rd Infantry Division, and the 101st Airborne Division throughout the campaign to oust Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein. These units spearheaded the U.S. assaults in As Samawah and Karbala and later occupied the southern area of Baghdad. The 1st Battalion, 13th Armor followed shortly behind towards the end of March 2003.
In May 2003, the division deployed to Iraq and assumed responsibility for Baghdad, under command of Major General Ricardo Sanchez, relieving the 3d Infantry Division. The 1st Brigade, under Colonel Michael Tucker and after July 2003 under Colonel Peter Mansoor, assumed responsibility for the Rusafa and Adhamiya districts of central Baghdad.  The division was scheduled to return to Germany in April 2004 but was extended in country an additional 3 months in order to oppose an uprising of Shia militia led by Moqtada Al Sadr. During the extension Task Force 1–37 Armor ("Bandits") fought Sadr's forces in Karbala while Task Force 2–37 AR ("Dukes") along with elements of 2–3 FA ("Gunners") fought in Diwaniya, Sadr City, Al-Kut, and Najaf. Task Force 1–36 IN ("Spartans") became the Combined Joint Task Force 7 Operational Reserve and conducted operations along Route Irish from Baghdad International Airport to the Green Zone in support of the 1st Cavalry Division. Forces from the 2d Brigade fought in Kut. During its 15-month deployment, the division lost 133 soldiers.
Ready First Edit
The division's 1st Brigade deployed again to Iraq in January 2006 under the command of Colonel Sean B. MacFarland after months of intensive training in Grafenwöhr and Hohenfels, Germany. Many of the soldiers who fought with units like 1–36 Infantry ("Spartans"), 2–37 Armor ("Iron Dukes"), and 1–37 ("Bandits") during the invasion of Iraq returned for a second tour. Most of the 1st BCT was initially deployed to Northern Iraq in Nineveh province concentrating on the city of Tal' Afar. In May 2006, the main force of the 1st Brigade received orders to move south to the city of Ramadi in volatile Al Anbar Province. 
Since 2003, Al Anbar served as a base of operations for the Sunni insurgency and al Qaeda. Ramadi, its capital, had neither a government nor a police force when the brigade arrived. Most military strategists inside and outside of the Bush administration believed that the war in Anbar had already concluded unsuccessfully. Al Qaeda in Iraq publicly announced Ramadi as the capital of their new caliphate and the city alone averaged more than twenty attacks per day the province was statistically the most dangerous location in the country, and the insurgency enjoyed free rein throughout much of the province. 
When the 1st Brigade arrived in Ramadi in June 2006 with more than 70 M1 Abrams tanks and 84 Bradley fighting vehicles, many locals believed the brigade was preparing for a Fallujah-style block-by-block clearing assault on the city and many insurgents fled the city. Following Colonel H.R. McMaster's "Clear, Hold, Build" strategy, the brigade developed a plan to isolate the insurgents, deny them sanctuary, and build Iraqi security forces.
The 1st Brigade moved into some of Ramadi's dangerous neighborhoods and built four of what would eventually become eighteen combat outposts starting in July 2006. The soldiers brought the territory under control and inflicted many casualties on the insurgents. On 24 July, the Al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) launched a counterattack, initiating 24 assaults, each with about 100 fighters, on American positions. The insurgents failed in all of their attacks and lost about 30 men. 
Independence Day Edit
Simultaneous with combat operations, the brigade worked on the "hold" portion of clear, hold, build. Lieutenant Colonel Tony Deane, commander of Task Force 1-35 Armor, approached Sheik Abdul Sattar Bezia al-Rishawi of the Abu Risha tribe in an attempt to recruit his tribesmen to the police force.
In his book A Chance in Hell that focuses on the operation in Al Anbar, Jim Michaels wrote that the US had a flawed view on civil government which ignored the tribal history of Iraq. "The tribal system embraced elements of democracy. The sheik may not be elected," wrote Michaels," but nor is he born into his job. Sheiks are generally selected by a group of elders[. ] Throughout history, ignoring the tribes [in Iraq] has never been a smart move. Sheiks have wielded power for thousands of years and survived countless efforts to blunt their influence in the name of modernity."  : 89
To facilitate Sheik Sittar, Colonel MacFarland's deputy, Lieutenant Colonel Jim Lechner, and his police implementation officer, Marine Major Teddy Gates, changed the location for Iraqi Police recruiting. They wanted a more secure location close to Sattar's house, as this would enable them to build a police station north of the Euphrates River in an area where many potential recruits lived. Having already had his father and three brothers killed by AQI, Sattar appreciated the idea. The residents' response was overwhelming by standing in line to serve as IP's at the next recruiting drive.
In August, the new Jazeera police station north of the river, manned mostly by Abu Ali Jassim tribe members, was attacked and the sheikh of the tribe was killed. AQI hid the sheikh's body so it was not found for several days, a violation of Islam's strict burial rules that call for internment within 24 hours.
The attack on the station killed several Iraqi police and created many burn casualties. MacFarland offered to evacuate the police to Camp Blue Diamond, an American Army camp outside of Ramadi, while they repaired the station. But the Iraqis refused to abandon their post and instead put their flag back up and resumed patrolling that same day. 
With the locals outraged by AQI's disregard of Islamic funeral laws, the charismatic Sattar stepped forward to continue the push toward working with the Americans.  On 9 September 2006, he organized a tribal council, attended by more than 50 sheiks as well as MacFarland, where he officially declared an "Anbar Awakening". It would convene an Awakening Council dedicated to driving the AQI out of Ramadi and establish rule of law and local governance. The Anbar Awakening was realized with Sittar as its leader. McFarland, speaking later about the meeting, said, "I told them that I now knew what it was like to be in Independence Hall on 4 July 1776 when the Declaration of Independence was signed." While attacks remained high through October 2006, the Awakening and Sittar's influence began to spread. The AQI, realized it was losing its influence over the citizens and launched a counterattack on the Sufia tribal area on 25 November. The attack was intended to terrorize and insult the Sufia tribe, though with the 1st BCT's M1A1 tanks reinforcing tribal defenders, the AQI was repelled and the relationship between the Sufia tribe and the 1st Armored Division improved.
By early 2007, the combination of tribal engagement and combat outposts was defeating AQI's in Ramadi and throughout the province. President George W. Bush, in his 23 January 2007 State of the Union speech referred to Al Anbar as a place "where al Qaeda terrorists have gathered and local forces have begun showing a willingness to fight them." 
"The Gettysburg of this war" Edit
By February 2007, contact with insurgents dropped almost 70 percent in number since June 2006 as well as decreasing in complexity and effect. By the summer of 2007, fighting in Al Anbar was mostly over. Frederick Kagan, resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, called Al Anbar "the Gettysburg of this war, to the extent that counterinsurgencies can have such turning points," writing "Progress in Anbar and throughout the Sunni community has depended heavily on a skillful balance between military force and political efforts at the local level." 
The tactics, techniques, and procedures used by 1st BCT were groundbreaking at the time but came to serve as the philosophical basis for the surge in Iraq.  In nine months, 85 soldiers, sailors, and Marines were killed, and over 500 were wounded.
Division Headquarters redeploys Edit
In September 2007, amid a national debate about troop levels in Iraq and, more broadly, about the US strategy in Iraq, the 1st Armored Division Headquarters was re-deployed to Iraq. General David Petraeus' surge strategy was in effect, with major counterinsurgency operations across the country. "This is a pivotal and historic time for the 1st AD, for the forces in Iraq and for the nation," said Brig. Gen. James C. Boozer, a deputy commanding general for 1st AD at the time of the division's deployment.  The division began its deployment the same day Petraeus delivered his Report to Congress on the Situation in Iraq, concluding that "the military objectives of the surge are, in large measure, being met."
The division, commanded by then-Major General Mark Hertling, conducted a relief in place with the 25th Infantry Division and assumed command of Multi-National Division North, headquartered in Tikrit, Iraq, on 28 October 2007, just as MacFarland's Anbar Awakening was pushing AQI out of Anbar. At the time in northern Iraq, enemy attacks averaged 1,800 a month, the Iraqis had little trust in their central government, and the unemployment rate was high.
Hertling assumed responsibility for all Coalition forces in Northern Iraq. Multi-National Division North was composed of five maneuver brigade combat teams, a combat aviation brigade, a fires brigade, and an engineer brigade. The division had responsibility includes the Iraqi provinces of Ninawa, Kirkuk (formerly at Tamin), Salah ad Din, and Diyala along with Dahuk, and As Sulaymaniyah. The area included the critical cities of Tal Afar, Mosul, Bayji, Tikrit, Kirkuk, Samarra, Balad, Baqubah, Dahuk, and Sulaymaniah. Arbil province remained aligned as a separate Multi-National Division, North-East. The division area of operations included ethnic fault lines between Arabs and Kurds, religious fault lines between Sunni and Shia Muslims, numerous tribal regions, and the complexities involving significant former regime elements.
The 1st Armored Division immediately applied a mix of lethal and non-lethal counterinsurgency tactics, as maneuver battalions partnered with State Department officials and provincial reconstruction teams. Commanders applied a focused lethality, protecting the Iraqi population while killing insurgents in large volumes. 
The division transferred responsibility to Headquarters 25th Infantry Division on 8 December 2008 and returned to Wiesbaden Army Airfield (later renamed Lucius D. Clay Kaserne) in Germany. 
On 17 April 2013, US Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel announced the deployment of elements of the 1st Armored Division headquarters to Jordan in response to the crisis in Syria. The elements from the 1st Armored Division joined forces in Jordan and provided command and control in cooperation with Jordan forces, which was used to establish a joint task force headquarters that provided command and control for chemical weapons response, humanitarian assistance efforts, and stability operations. The 1st Armored Division planners in Jordan are facilitating the exchange of information with the Jordanian Armed Forces. 
Move to Fort Bliss Edit
In 2005 the Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) commission decided to move the 1st Armored Division to Fort Bliss, Texas no later than 2012. As part of the current Army-wide transformation, several division units were deactivated or converted to other units. The 1st Armored Division officially uncased its colors at Fort Bliss on 13 May 2011.
- 1st Brigade: The 1st Brigade, 1st Armored Division cased its colors at Friedberg, Germany on 20 April 2007, ending 62 years of military presence in Germany.  1st Brigade reactivated and uncased its colors on 27 October 2008.  and began reconfiguring as a Stryker brigade combat team (SBCT) after redeployment from Iraq in November 2010. Denoted 1-1AD "Ready First", the 1st BCT, 1st Armored Division deployed to Afghanistan in December 2012.  The first female engagement team to deploy from Fort Bliss was trained in 2012 before Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta's order rescinding restrictions on women in combat roles.  "Ready First" Brigade converted from a Stryker BCT to an ABCT 20 June 2019. 
- 2nd Brigade: 2nd Brigade, 1st Armored Division in Baumholder, Germany, remained assigned to USAREUR until 15 July 2009, when it was reflagged as the separate 170th Infantry Brigade.  It relocated to the U.S. in 2012. As part of the Grow the Army Plan announced on 19 December 2007, the 170th is one of two infantry brigades to be activated and retained in Germany until 2012 and 2013. (The other brigade is the 172nd Infantry Brigade in Schweinfurt, Germany, which reflagged from 2nd Brigade, 1st Infantry Division on 16 March 2008.  ) In 2010, the U.S. Army attached the 2nd Brigade, 1st Armored Division to the Brigade Modernization Command,  assigning it the evaluation mission previously held by the 5th Brigade, 1st Armored Division, AETF. In 2016, 2nd Brigade moved to the Ready pool for deployment. 
- 3rd Brigade: On 28 March 2008, the 3rd Brigade, 1st Armored Division (HBCT) deactivated at Fort Riley and reflagged as 2d (Dagger) Brigade, 1st Infantry Division (HBCT).  The 3rd Brigade was reactivated as an infantry brigade combat team on 2 July 2009 at Fort Bliss. 
- 4th Brigade: On 4 March 2008, 4th Brigade, 1st Armored Division activated at Fort Bliss as a HBCT and reflagged from the 4th Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division. 
- 5th Brigade: In 2007, a new unit, 5th Brigade, 1st Armored Division, activated at Fort Bliss as an Army evaluation task force. 5th BCT tested the Future Force Warrior system. It evaluated multiple types of spin out equipment and prepared them for fielding to the rest of the Army. 5th Brigade was deactivated in 2010.
- Aviation Brigade: The Aviation Brigade, 1st Armored Division deactivated on 7 June 2006 at Fliegerhorst Kaserne, Hanau, Germany and moved to Fort Riley, Kansas to reflag as the modular Combat Aviation Brigade, 1st Infantry Division.  The Combat Aviation Brigade, 4th ID was reflagged to CAB, 1st Armored Division. 4–501st Aviation (4th Battalion "Pistoleros", 501st Regiment, Combat Aviation Brigade, 1st Armored Division) deployed to Kuwait in November 2012. 
- Engineer Brigade: The Engineer Brigade, 1st Armored Division, the last of its kind in the Army, cased its colors and inactivated at Giessen, Germany on 26 April 2007. 
- Division Artillery: Division Artillery, 1st Armored Division cased its colors and was deactivated at Baumholder, Germany on 1 May 2007. The 1st AD DIVARTY was the last standing division artillery unit in the Army.  The DIVARTY reactivated in 2014 at Fort Bliss.
The division's colors were officially moved from Germany to Fort Bliss on 13 May 2011.  On 25 June 2013, Army force restructuring plans were announced. As part of the plan, the division deactivated its 3rd Brigade Combat Team following its 2014 deployment to Afghanistan. The 4th BCT was reflagged as the 3rd Brigade Combat team in April 2015.
The 1st Armored Division's Sustainment Brigade deployed 200 of its soldiers to Afghanistan on 11 May 2015. 
Operation Freedom's Sentinel Edit
In late December 2016, ArmyTimes reported that about 1,500 soldiers from the 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team and about 800 soldiers from the 16th Combat Aviation Brigade to Afghanistan as part of Operation Freedom's Sentinel.  In March 2017, Stars and Stripes reported that, according to an Army statement, 200 soldiers from the 1st Sustainment Brigade will deploy throughout Afghanistan to lead logistical operations, particularly providing supply, to support the US counter terrorism mission and Afghan-led operations against the Taliban. 
Operation Inherent Resolve Edit
In March 2017, Stars and Stripes reported that 400 soldiers from the division's headquarters element will deploy to Iraq in summer 2017, where it led the coalition's ground efforts as part of Operation Inherent Resolve. 
- (1-503rd IR): Active, assigned to the 173rd Airborne Brigade, based in Vicenza, Italy (2-503rd IR): Active, assigned to the 173rd Airborne Brigade, based in Vicenza, Italy
- 3rd Battalion, 503rd Infantry Regiment (3-503rd IR): Inactive since 1973
- 4th Battalion, 503rd Infantry Regiment (4-503rd IR): Inactive since 1973
- Company E, 503rd Infantry Regiment (E-503rd IR): Inactive since 1957
- Company F, 503rd Infantry Regiment (F-503rd IR): Inactive since 1957
- Company G, 503rd Infantry Regiment (G-503rd IR): Inactive since 1957
- Company H, 503rd Infantry Regiment (H-503rd IR): Inactive since 1957
- Company I, 503rd Infantry Regiment (I-503rd IR): Inactive since 1957
- Vincent J. Stislow, PFC, I Co 3/503, New Guinea, 1943 (later DOW, 18 Feb 1945, Corregidor).
- Paul A. NARROW, PFC, Corregidor 1945
- Ross H. Redding, PFC, Company B, 1st Battalion, 503rd Infantry, 173rd Airborne Brigade (Sep), Republic of Vietnam, 8 November 1965. 
- PFC Kenneth Brinkley
- Pvt Lester Grant Viekko December 1968
- Harrison J. Meyer, PFC, D Co 1/503, Ramadi, Iraq, 2004. 
- Thomas E. Vitagliano, SSG, C Co 1/503rd, Ramadi, Iraq. 
- Christopher Choay, SSG, C Co 2/503, Afghanistan, 2005.
- Daniel T. Metcalfe, SFC, D Co 2/503, Sayyid Abad, Afghanistan, 2012. 
- Stephen E. Simmons, SSG, Company C, 2d Battalion (Airborne), 503d Parachute Infantry Regiment, 173d Airborne Brigade Combat Team. 
- Matthew Matlock, SSG, C Company 1/503 (ABN) OEF VII.
- Christopher T. Upp, SSG, Company HHC, 2d Battalion (Airborne), Chowkay Valley, Afghanistan, 2007 503d Parachute Infantry Regiment, 173d Airborne Brigade Combat Team.
- Captain (Infantry) Alan Burgess Phillips, A Co., 4/503rd, 173rd Airborne Brigade (Sep), 10 July 1967, Republic of Viet Nam
- 84C MoPic : 1989 mock-up documentary of a Long Range Reconnaissance Patrol (LRRP) mission during the Vietnam War. C Co., 2/503, 173rd (ABN) BDE, Bon Song, Vietnam
- Constituted 24 February 1942 in the Army of the United States as the 503d Parachute Infantry (1st Battalion concurrently consolidated with the 503d Parachute Battalion [constituted 14 March 1941 in the Army of the United States and activated 22 August 1941 at Fort Benning, Georgia] and 2d Battalion consolidated with the 504th Parachute Battalion [constituted 14 March 1941 in the Army of the United States and activated 5 October at Fort Benning, Georgia] and consolidated units designated as the 1st and 2d Battalion, 503d Parachute Infantry)
- Regiment (less 1st, 2d and 3d Battalions) activated 2 March 1942 at Fort Benning, Georgia
- Regiment inactivated 24 December 1945 at Camp Anza, California
- Redesignated 1 February 1951 as the 503d Airborne Infantry, allotted to the Regular Army, and assigned to the 11th Airborne Division
- Activated 2 March 1951 at Fort Campbell, Kentucky
- Relieved 1 March 1957 from assignment to the 11th Airborne Division' concurrently reorganized and redesignated as the 503d Infantry, a parent regiment under the Combat Arms Regimental System
- Withdrawn 16 December 1986 from the Combat Arms Regimental System and reorganized under the United States Army Regimental System 
- Redesignated 1 October 2005 as the 503d Infantry Regiment 
- World War II: New Guinea Leyte Luzon (with arrowhead) Southern Philippines
- Vietnam: Defense Counteroffensive Counteroffensive, Phase II (with arrowhead) Counteroffensive, Phase III Counteroffensive, Phase IV Counteroffensive, Phase V Counteroffensive, Phase VI Tet 69/Counteroffensive Summer-Fall 1969 Winter-Spring 1970 Sanctuary Counteroffensive Counteroffensive, Phase VII Consolidation I 
- Afghanistan: Consolidation I, Consolidation II, Consolidation III, Transition I
- Iraq: Liberation of Iraq (with arrowhead)  Transition of Iraq Iraqi Governance 
Note: The published Army lineage predates the War on Terrorism. Comparison of the deployment dates of regimental elements with the War on Terrorism campaigns estimates that the battalion will be credited with participation in the six campaigns listed.
World War I Edit
The 3rd Division was activated 21 November 1917, seven months after the American entry into World War I, at Camp Greene, North Carolina. Eight months later, it saw combat for the first time in France on the Western Front.
Order of battle Edit
- Headquarters, 3rd Division
- 5th Infantry Brigade
- 8th Machine Gun Battalion
- (75 mm) (155 mm) (75 mm)
- 3rd Trench Mortar Battery
- 3rd Ammunition Train
- 3rd Supply Train
- 3rd Engineer Train
- 3rd Sanitary Train
- 5th, 7th, 26th, and 27th Ambulance Companies and Field Hospitals
At midnight on 14 July 1918, the division earned lasting distinction. Engaged in the Aisne-Marne Offensive as a member of the American Expeditionary Force (AEF) to Europe, the division was protecting the French capital of Paris with a position on the banks of the Marne River. The 7th Machine Gun Battalion of the 3rd Division rushed to Château-Thierry amid retreating French troops [ citation needed ] and held the Germans back at the Marne River. While surrounding units retreated, the 3rd Division, including the 4th, 30th and 38th Infantry Regiments, remained steadfast throughout the Second Battle of the Marne, and Colonel Ulysses G. McAlexander's dogged defense earned the 3rd Division its nickname as the "Rock of the Marne".  During the massive attack, the 3rd Infantry Division's commanding officer, Major General Joseph T. Dickman, famously cried out "Nous Resterons La" (We Shall Remain Here). Their Blue and White insignia also earned them the nickname The Blue and White Devils."  The rest of the division was absorbed under French command until brought back together under the command of Major General Joseph T. Dickman and by 15 July 1918 they took the brunt of what was to be the last German offensive of the war. General John Joseph "Black Jack" Pershing, Commander-in-chief (C-in-C) of the AEF on the Western Front, called this stand "one of the most brilliant pages in the annals of military history".  During the war two members of the division were awarded the Medal of Honor.
Casualties during the war were 3,177 killed in action with 12,940 wounded.
- Joseph T. Dickman (28 November 1917) James A. Irons (11 February 1918)
- MG Joseph T. Dickman (13 February 1918)
- BG James A. Irons (27 February 1918)
- BG Charles Crawford (8 March 1918)
- BG James A. Irons (10 March 1918)
- BG Charles Crawford (19 March 1918)
- MG Joseph T. Dickman (12 April 1918)
- BG Fred W. Sladen (18 August 1918)
- MG Beaumont B. Buck (27 August 1918)
- BG Preston Brown (18 October 1918)
- MG Robert L. Howze (19 November 1918)
- Headquarters, 3rd Infantry Division
- Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 3rd Infantry Division Artillery
- 9th Field Artillery Battalion (155 mm)
- 10th Field Artillery Battalion (105 mm)
- 39th Field Artillery Battalion (105 mm)
- 41st Field Artillery Battalion (105 mm)
- Headquarters Company, 3rd Infantry Division
- 703rd Ordnance Light Maintenance Company
- 3rd Quartermaster Company
- 3rd Signal Company
- Military Police Platoon
Combat chronicle Edit
The 3rd Division is the only division of the U.S. Army during World War II that fought the Axis on all European fronts,  and was among the first American combat units to engage in offensive ground combat operations. Audie Murphy, the most highly decorated American soldier of the war, served with the 3rd Division.  The 3rd Infantry Division saw combat in North Africa, Sicily, Italy, France, Germany and Austria for 531 consecutive days.  During the war the 3rd Infantry Division consisted of the 7th, 15th and 30th Infantry Regiments, together with supporting units.
The 3rd Division, under the command of Major General Jonathan W. Anderson, after spending many months training in the United States after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, first saw action during the war as a part of the Western Task Force in Operation Torch, the Allied invasion of North Africa, landing at Fedala on 8 November 1942, and captured half of French Morocco. The division remained there for the next few months and therefore took no part in the Tunisian Campaign, which came to an end in May 1943 with the surrender of almost 250,000 Axis soldiers who subsequently became prisoners of war (POWs). While there a battalion of the 30th Infantry Regiment acted as security guards during the Casablanca Conference in mid-January 1943. In late February Major General Anderson left the division and was replaced by Major General Lucian K. Truscott, Jr., who instituted a tough training regime and ensured that all ranks in the division could march five miles in one hour, and four miles an hour thereafter. The troops called it "the Truscott Trot". The division began intensive training in amphibious landing operations.
On 10 July 1943, the division made another amphibious assault landing on the Italian island of Sicily (codenamed Operation Husky), landing at Licata town on the beach, to west, called Torre di Gaffi and Mollarella and on the beach, to east, called Falconara. The division, serving under the command of Lieutenant General George S. Patton's U.S. Seventh Army, fought its way into Palermo before elements of the 2nd Armored Division could get there, in the process marching 90 miles in three days, and raced on to capture Messina on 17 August, thus ending the brief Sicilian campaign, where the division had a short rest to absorb replacements. During the campaign the 3rd Division gained a reputation as one of the best divisions in the Seventh Army.
Eight days after the Allied invasion of mainland Italy, on 18 September 1943, the 3rd Division came ashore at Salerno, where they came under the command of VI Corps, under Major General Ernest J. Dawley who was replaced two days later by Major General John P. Lucas (who had commanded the division from September 1941 to March 1942). The corps was part of Lieutenant General Mark W. Clark's U.S. Fifth Army. The 3rd Division was destined to see some of the fiercest and toughest fighting of the war thus far, serving on the Italian Front. Seeing intensive action along the way, the division drove to and across the Volturno River by October 1943, and then to Monte Cassino, where the Battle of Monte Cassino would later be fought, before, with the rest of the 15th Army Group, being held up at the Winter Line (also known as the Gustav Line). In mid-November the division, after spearheading the Fifth Army's advance and suffering heavy casualties during the past few weeks, was relieved by the 36th Infantry Division and pulled out of the line to rest and absorb replacements, coming under the command of Major General Geoffrey Keyes' II Corps. The division remained out of action until late December.
After a brief rest, the division was part of the amphibious landing at Anzio, codenamed Operation Shingle, on 22 January 1944, still as part of VI Corps, and serving alongside the British 1st Infantry Division and other units. It would remain there for just under four months in a toe-hold against numerous furious German counterattacks, and enduring trench warfare similar to that suffered on the Western Front during World War I. On 29 February 1944, the 3rd Division fought off an attack by three German divisions, who fell back with heavy losses two days later. In a single day of combat at Anzio, the 3rd Infantry Division suffered more than 900 casualties, the most of any American division on one day in World War II.  The division's former commander, Major General Lucas, was replaced as commander of VI Corps by the 3rd Division's commander, Major General Truscott. He was replaced in command of the 3rd Division by Brigadier General John W. "Iron Mike" O'Daniel, previously the assistant division commander (ADC) and a distinguished World War I veteran.
In late May, VI Corps broke out of the Anzio beachhead in Operation Diadem with the 3rd Division in the main thrust. Instead of defeating the Germans, Lieutenant General Clark, the Fifth Army commander, disobeying orders from General Sir Harold Alexander, Commander-in-Chief (C-in-C) of the Allied Armies in Italy (formerly the 15th Army Group), sent the division on to the Italian capital of Rome. This allowed the majority of the German 10th Army, which would otherwise have been trapped, to escape, thus prolonging the campaign in Italy. The division was then removed from the front line and went into training for the Operation Dragoon, the Allied invasion of Southern France.
On 15 August 1944, D-Day for Dragoon, the division, still under VI Corps command but now under the U.S. Seventh Army, landed at St. Tropez, advanced up the Rhone Valley, through the Vosges Mountains, and reached the Rhine at Strasbourg, 26–27 November 1944. After maintaining defensive positions it took part in clearing the Colmar Pocket on 23 January, and on 15 March struck against Siegfried Line positions south of Zweibrücken. The division advanced through the defenses and crossed the Rhine, 26 March 1945 then drove on to take Nuremberg in a fierce battle, capturing the city in block-by-block fighting, 17–20 April. The 3rd pushed on to take Augsburg (where it liberated thousands of forced laborers) and Munich, 27–30 April, and was in the vicinity of Salzburg when the war in Europe ended.  Elements of the 7th Infantry Regiment serving under the 3rd Infantry Division captured Hitler's retreat near Berchtesgaden. 
- Total battle casualties: 25,977 
- Killed in action: 4,922 
- Wounded in action: 18,766 
- Missing in action: 554 
- Prisoner of war: 1,735 
- Charles F. Thompson (July 1940 – August 1941) Charles P. Hall (August 1941 – September 1941)
- MG John P. Lucas (September 1941 – March 1942)
- MG Jonathan W. Anderson (March 1942 – March 1943)
- MG Lucian K. Truscott Jr. (March 1943 – February 1944)
- MG John W. O'Daniel (February 1944 – December 1945)
- MG William R. Schmidt (July 1945 – August 1946)
World War II Edit
On 14 February 1942, just two months after the American entry into World War II, the 503rd Parachute Infantry Regiment was formed, under the command of Lieutenant Colonel William M. "Bud" Miley. The regiment's 1st and 2nd Battalions were formed at Fort Benning, Georgia, from the 503rd and 504th Parachute Battalions, respectively. En route to Australia, the 503rd picked up a third battalion in Panama, where they had been undergoing jungle training.  Unlike many other airborne units, which were deployed in the European Theater of Operations (ETO), the 503rd was the first airborne regiment to fight in the Pacific, and as an independent unit.
The unit's first operation was an unopposed landing at Nadzab, in the Markham Valley, New Guinea, on 5 September 1943. Although the landings were unopposed, the troops were later attacked by enemy bombers from the air. The 503rd's deployment helped force the Japanese evacuation of a major military outpost at Lae. During their overland withdrawal, the third battalion of the 503rd had a major skirmish with the Japanese rear guard.
On 3–4 July 1944, 1st and 3rd Battalions of the 503rd were delivered by parachute to Kamiri Airfield on the island of Noemfoor off the coast of Dutch New Guinea, sustaining significant casualties from the jump. To reduce further casualties, the 2nd Battalion was delivered amphibiously. At the Battle of Noemfoor, the 503rd played a major role in the elimination of the Japanese garrison on that island.  As a result of his heroic actions during the battle, paratrooper Sergeant Ray E. Eubanks was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor. Airfields constructed on Noemfoor after its capture enabled the advance of Allied troops from New Guinea to the Philippines.
Following a non-combat landing on the island of Leyte in the Philippines, the 503rd Regimental Combat Team (RCT) made a major amphibious landing on Mindoro Island in the central Philippines on 15 December 1944. Originally, it was intended for the 503rd to jump on Mindoro, but due to inadequate airstrip facilities on Leyte, an airborne landing was not possible. During the Battle of Mindoro, the 503rd was subjected to intense air and naval actions, at one point being shelled for 25 minutes by a Japanese naval task force. One company of the 503rd RCT engaged in a fierce battle against a company-size Japanese force defending an enemy air raid warning station on the north end of the island. The success of the Mindoro operation enabled the United States Army Air Forces to construct and operate air strips and forward air bases to support later landings in the Philippines at Lingayen Gulf, Luzon.
On 16 February 1945, the 503rd RCT jumped on Fortress Corregidor ("the Rock") to liberate that island from occupying Japanese forces. Braving intense fire, the paratroopers rushed forward and overcame the heavy blockhouse defenses, dropping explosives into embrasures to kill hidden Japanese gunners. For its successful capture of Corregidor, the unit was awarded a Presidential Unit Citation and received its nickname, "the Rock Regiment" from it. The regimental insignia was designed by Private First Class Thomas M. McNeill while recuperating from his injuries and dengue fever, hepatitis, and malaria on Mindoro Island, following the battle of Corregidor.
After returning to Mindoro, the 503rd was alerted for another combat jump, this time in the central Philippines to reinforce the 40th Infantry Division in its fight on Negros island. However the jump was canceled and the combat team landed amphibiously on 7 April 1945.  It would spend the remainder of the war conducting mopping up operations on the island, often against fanatical enemy resistance notably, one of the Japanese units the 503rd fought was the remnants of the battered 2nd Raiding Brigade of Japanese paratroopers.  After Japan's surrender in August 1945, over 6,150 Japanese soldiers surrendered to the 503rd, although some continued to hold out until October. 
Post-WWII history Edit
Inactivated at Camp Anza, California, in December 1945, it was reactivated and redesignated as the 503rd Airborne Infantry Regiment in February 1951 and assigned to the 11th Airborne Division at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, following the departure of the 187th Airborne Infantry Regiment to Korea as a separate airborne regimental combat team. In 1956 the 503rd went with the rest of the 11th Airborne Division to posts in southeastern Germany.
The 503rd was relieved on 1 March 1957 from assignment to the 11th Airborne Division and was concurrently reorganized and redesignated as the 503rd Infantry, a parent regiment under the Combat Arms Regimental System. This year marked the point during which infantry regimental numbers ceased indicating actual tactical units but instead were used in designating battle groups of Pentomic divisions, which did not have regiments and battalions.
On 1 July 1958 the 11th Airborne Division was inactivated and its personnel and equipment reflagged as the 24th Infantry Division however, two of the division's five battle groups remained on jump status with Airborne designations: the 1st Airborne Battle Group, 187th Infantry, and the 1st Airborne Battle Group, 503d Infantry. This was a short-term assignment, however, and on 7 January 1959 1-503d was relieved from assignment to the 24th Infantry Division and assigned to the 82d Airborne Division at Fort Bragg. 
The move was accompanied by the rotation of the only other airborne battle group, 1-187th, from the 24th to the 82nd. Concurrently 1-504th and 1-505th were relieved from the 82nd and assigned to the 8th Infantry Division in central Germany. At Fort Bragg, 1-503rd joined 2-503rd, already assigned to the 82nd, as one of the division's five battle groups.
On 24 June 1960 the 1st ABG, 503d Infantry was relieved from assignment to the 82d Airborne Division and assigned to the 25th Infantry Division in Hawaii, remaining there until 1 July 1961 when it was relieved from the division as it traveled to Okinawa. The ABG was accompanied by Battery C (Abn), 319th Artillery, later reorganized and redesignated as HHB, 3d Battalion (Abn), 319th Field Artillery.  On 26 March 1963 it was assigned to the newly activated 173d Airborne Brigade, and shortly thereafter it was reorganized and redesignated as the 2d Battalion, 503d Infantry on 25 June 1963. Additionally, on 26 March 1963 the 1st ABG, 503d Infantry was relieved from assignment to the 82d Airborne Division, assigned to the 173d Airborne Brigade and subsequently reorganized and redesignated as a battalion as well.
Vietnam War Edit
In May 1965, two battalions of the 503rd Infantry deployed as part of the 173rd Airborne Brigade to Vietnam as the first major U.S. Army ground combat unit to be deployed, joined later by 4-503rd Inf and 3-503rd Inf (bearing the lineages of the former Company D and Company C, 503rd PIR, respectively). During its six years in Vietnam, the four battalions of the 503rd participated in fourteen campaigns, earning two more Presidential Unit Citations and a Meritorious Unit Commendation. The 2nd Bn (Abn), 503rd Inf participated in the only combat jump of the war during "Operation Junction City" in 1967. It redeployed to the U.S. in July 1971, having the distinction of being one of the last units to leave Vietnam. [ citation needed ]
Following the return of the 173rd Brigade (Separate) to the U.S. was its inactivation when its assets were used to form the 3rd Brigade (Airborne), 101st Airborne Division (Airmobile). The 1-503rd was relieved from the 173rd effective in August 1971. The 1-503rd was deactivated and 4-503rd was reassigned as 1-503rd 173rd Brigade Separate and on 14 January 1972 reassigned to 3rd Brigade, 101st Airborne Division (Airmobile). The 2-503rd continued as 2-503rd, 173rd Airborne Brigade (Separate)and on 14 January 1972 relieved and reassigned as 2-503rd 3rd Brigade, 101st Airborne Division (Airmobile). The 3-503rd was relieved and reactivated as 3rd-187th 173rd Airborne Brigade (Separate) and on 14 January 1972 reassigned to 3rd Brigade, 101st Airborne Division (Airmobile). The 3rd Brigade, along with other supporting division units, saw its jump status terminated on 1 April 1974 when the 101st became a completely airmobile division (renamed Air Assault on 4 October 1974).
The lineage of 2-503rd was inactivated on 1 October 1983 and relieved from assignment to the 101st, followed by 1-503rd on 16 November 1984. The existing battalions were reflagged as units of the 187th Infantry Regiment during the implementation of the U.S. Army Regimental System (ARS).
Reactivation in Korea, assignment to Italy Edit
On 16 December 1986 both 1-503d and 2-503d were reactivated and assigned to the 2d Brigade, 2d Infantry Division in Korea when two existing infantry battalions were reflagged. Stationed together at Camp Hovey, they formed the division's 2d Brigade, which also included the 1st Battalion, 506th Infantry. Both battalions of the 503d performed annual rotations to Warrior Base, just south of the Korean Demilitarized Zone (DMZ), from where they patrolled the DMZ manned guard posts Collier, Oullette, and 128 and served as a quick-reaction force for the DMZ.
The 2nd Bn, 503rd Inf was inactivated on 29 September 1990 in Korea and relieved from assignment to the 2nd Infantry Division, but 1-503rd and 1-506th remained and became air assault battalions within the division. (Although locally referred to as air assault battalions, they were never recognized as such by DA and were employed as regular infantry battalions.) The 2nd Bn, 503d returned to active status as an airborne battalion on 16 December 2001 when it was assigned to the 173rd Airborne Brigade and activated in Italy. The company names were kept from its lineage in Korea: A Company (Able), B Company (Battle), C Company (Chosen), D Company (Destined), H Company (Hound), HHC (Blacksheep).
Global war on terror Edit
In March 2003, the Turkish government refused to allow American ground forces, which were positioned at their ports, to move through Turkey in order to establish a northern front in support of "Operation Iraqi Freedom". America needed another option and the paratroopers of the 173rd Airborne Brigade provided that option. On 26 March at 2000 hours, fifteen C-17 aircraft delivered 20 heavy platforms and 959 paratroopers of the 173rd Airborne Brigade onto Bashur Drop Zone in the vicinity of Bashur, Iraq. This combat parachute assault was the beginning of Operation Northern Delay and established the coalition's northern front.
The parachute assault force consisted of HHC, 173rd Airborne Brigade 1st Battalion (Airborne), 508th Infantry Regiment commanded by LTC Harry Tunnell 2nd Battalion (Airborne), 503rd Infantry Regiment commanded by LTC Dominic J. Caraccilo 74th Infantry Detachment (Long Range Surveillance) D Battery (Airborne), 319th Field Artillery Regiment 173rd Support Company (Combat) 501st Support Company (Forward), 250th Forward Surgical Team ODA (-), 2nd Battalion, 10th Special Forces Group (Airborne) 4th Air Support Operations Group (USAFE) and the 86th Contingency Response Group (assigned to the 86th Airlift Wing (USAFE). The paratroopers were under the command of Colonel William C. Mayville Jr., commander of the 173rd Airborne Brigade. The aircraft from which the units were delivered into battle were the C-17s of the 62d and 446th Airlift Wings from McChord AFB, Washington and the 437th Airlift Wing and 315th Airlift Wing (AFRES) from Charleston AFB, South Carolina. The C-17s were under the command of Colonel Robert “Dice” R. Allardice, commander of the 62nd Airlift Wing. This airborne operation was not only the largest since the 1989 invasion of Panama, but was the first airborne personnel insertion ever conducted with the C-17. [ citation needed ]
The successful establishment of a northern front was essential to the coalition's battle plan. Without a northern front, six Iraqi divisions arrayed in northern Iraq remained free to move south to reinforce Baghdad. Fast-moving Coalition forces were closing on Baghdad with the expectation of having to capture the Iraqi capital from three defensively arrayed divisions. Six additional Iraqi divisions streaming from the north could dramatically affect the balance of power around Baghdad. [ citation needed ]
Another factor was the oil-rich area of Kirkuk Governorate. The oil wealth of the Kirkuk area would be crucial to rebuilding Iraq [ citation needed ] but the Iraqi army had shown a willingness to destroy their country's own future simply to spite the Coalition. Securing the oil fields and airbases of Kirkuk was assigned to the 173rd Airborne Brigade.
The success of the 173rd Airborne Brigade in its securing of Bashur and Kirkuk and its subsequent control and rebuilding of Kirkuk and later the As Sulaymaniyah Governorate was unmatched in-theater. [ citation needed ] The troopers integrated forces from fifteen other units, to include five Army divisions, to accomplish every mission.
In the summer of 2004, the 1-503rd deployed with the 2nd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division from Korea to violent Ramadi, Iraq, where its soldiers took part in the battle of Fallujah and conducted combat operations in the violent Al-Anbar province. At that point in the war, Ramadi was considered by some to be the most dangerous city in Iraq [ citation needed ] , and the battalion suffered high losses during the deployment. 1-503rd was targeted by daily small arms, RPG, and mortar attacks and experienced a significant number of vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices, also known as VBIEDS or car bombs. Despite this, 1-503rd was very successful in their mission to curb insurgent activity. According to an interview with Lieutenant Colonel James Raymer,  by 2006, insurgent activity was markedly lowered from the year that 1-503rd conducted operations in Ramadi. Additionally, 1-503rd played a critical role in the 2005 elections in Iraq in Ramadi.  In the spring of 2005, the 173rd began its second deployment in three years to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom VI. 2d BN (ABN) 503d IN deployed to Regional Command South demonstrating unparalleled bravery fighting anti-coalition forces in the bloodiest spring since the original invasion in 2001. The ROCK fought the Taliban and Al Qaeda in the Provinces of Helmand, Zabul and Kandahar and excelled in all aspects of the deployment to include facilitating a peaceful parliamentary election process in the fall of 2005.
Upon completion of its year-long deployment to Iraq, 1-503rd did not return to Korea, but instead relocated to Fort Carson, Colorado, with the rest of the brigade. It was redesignated on 1 October 2005 as the 1st Battalion, 503rd Infantry Regiment, inactivated on 15 November 2005, relieved from assignment to the 2nd Infantry Division, and assigned on 15 June 2006 to the 173rd Airborne Brigade, where the battalion was activated with the assets of the existing 1-508th.
In May 2007, the 173rd ABCT (including both 1-503rd and 2-503rd) deployed to Afghanistan. Both units fell under the NATO ISAF mission. The 2-503rd remained as part of TF Bayonet and the unit was the subject of several articles detailing   their operations during OEF VIII. The 1-503rd was attached to the 4th BCT, 82nd Airborne and then 4th BCT, 101st Airborne as part of TF Fury and TF Currahee, respectively.
On 7 February 2011, 2-503rd was awarded the Valorous Unit Award for their actions during OEF VIII from 25 January to 30 July 2008. The official citation reads: "For extraordinary heroism in action against an armed enemy. During the period 25 January 2008 to 30 July 2008, the Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 2d Battalion, 503d Infantry Regiment and its subordinate units displayed exceptionally meritorious service assigned as Task Force Rock in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in Kunar Province. Task Force Rock's professionalism and dedication to the mission under fire went beyond the call of duty and contributed greatly to the success of Task Force Bayonet. The actions of Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 2d Battalion, 503d Infantry Regiment and its subordinate units are in keeping with the finest traditions of military service and reflect great credit upon the unit, the 173d Airborne Brigade Combat Team and the United States Army". The subordinate units of HHC, 2d Battalion, 503d Infantry Regiment included: Companies A, B, C, D, F Battery B (4th Battalion, 319th Field Artillery Regiment) Battery C, (3d Battalion, 321st Field Artillery Regiment) and Headquarters and Headquarters Company (Special Troops Battalion, 173d Abn Bde).
On 26 October 2011, 2-503rd was awarded the Presidential Unit Citation for the soldiers' "extraordinary heroism in action against an armed enemy" from 5 June to 10 November 2007.  
Staff Sergeant Salvatore Giunta received the nation's highest award for valor after running through heavy enemy fire to rescue a badly wounded comrade during a deadly ambush on 25 October 2007, in the Korengal Valley. Soldiers from the battalion also earned two Distinguished Service Crosses, the second-highest valor award, and 27 Silver Stars, the third-highest award for valor. 
|Name||Rank||Unit||Place||Date of action||Ref.|
Ray E. Eubanks †
|Sergeant||Company D, 503d Parachute Infantry Regiment||Noemfoor, Dutch New Guinea||23 July 1944|
Lloyd G. McCarter
|Private||503d Parachute Infantry Regiment||Corregidor Island, Philippines||16–19 February 1945|
Larry S. Pierce †
|Sergeant||Headquarters Company, 1st Battalion (Airborne), 503d Infantry, 173d Airborne Brigade||near Ben Cat, Republic of Vietnam||20 September 1965|
Milton L. Olive, III †
|Private First Class||Company B, 2d Battalion (Airborne), 503d Infantry, 173d Airborne Brigade||Phu Cuong, South Vietnam||22 October 1965|
|Sergeant First Class||1st Battalion (Airborne), 503d Infantry, 173d Airborne Brigade||near Bien Hoa, Vietnam||8 November 1965|
Alfred V. Rascon
|Specialist Four||Medical Platoon, Headquarters Company, 1st Battalion (Airborne), 503d Infantry, 173d Airborne Brigade||near Long Khánh Province, Vietnam||16 March 1966|
Charles B. Morris
|Sergeant||Company A, 2d Battalion (Airborne), 503d Infantry, 173d Airborne Brigade (Separate)||Republic of Vietnam||29 June 1966|
Don L. Michael †
|Specialist Four||Company C, 4th Battalion (Airborne), 503d Infantry, 173d Airborne Brigade||Republic of Vietnam||8 April 1967|
John Andrew Barnes, III †
|Private First Class||Company C, 1st Battalion (Airborne), 503d Infantry, 173d Airborne Brigade||Kontum, Vietnam||12 November 1967|||
Charles J. Watters †
|Chaplain (Major)||Army Chaplain Corps, 173d Support Battalion (Airborne), 503d Infantry, 173d Airborne Brigade||near Dak To Province, Republic of Vietnam||19 November 1967|
Carlos J. Lozada †
|Private First Class||Company A, 2d Battalion (Airborne), 503d Infantry, 173d Airborne Brigade||Dak To, Republic of Vietnam||20 November 1967|
Michael R. Blanchfield †
|Specialist Four||Company A, 4th Battalion (Airborne), 503d Infantry, 173d Airborne Brigade||Binh Dinh Province, Republic of Vietnam||3 July 1969|
Glenn H. English Jr. †
|Staff Sergeant||Company E, 3d Battalion (Airborne), 503d Infantry, 173d Airborne Brigade||Phu My District, Republic of Vietnam||7 September 1970|
|Staff Sergeant||2d Battalion, 503d Infantry Regiment, 173d Airborne Brigade||Korengal Valley, Kunar Province, Afghanistan||25 October 2007|
Kyle J. White
|Specialist||2nd Battalion, 503d Infantry Regiment, 173d Airborne Brigade||Aranas, Nuristan Province, Afghanistan||9 November 2007|||
Ryan M. Pitts
|Staff Sergeant||2d Battalion, 503d Infantry Regiment, 173d Airborne Brigade||Wanat, Kunar Province, Afghanistan||13 July 2008|
- (2010) is a documentary film about the Second Platoon, Battle Company, 2nd Battalion, 503rd Infantry Regiment (airborne) of the 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team in the Korangal Valley in Afghanistan.
Campaign Participation Credit Edit
In August 1919 the Third Infantry Division returned from France and was stationed at Camp Pike, Arkansas. The division remained at Camp Pike until 1922.
Commanders:  BG William Mackey Cruikshank (Aug 1919) BG Ora Elmer Hunt (Aug 1919–Oct 1919) MG William M. Wright (Oct 1919–Jan 1920) BG Edward Mann Lewis (Jan 1920–Aug 1921) MG Charles Henry Muir (Aug 1921–Nov 1922) BG Ulysses G. McAlexander (Nov 1922–Nov 1923) MG Edwin B. Babbitt (Nov 1923–May 1924) BG Joseph E. Kuhn (May 1924–Dec 1924 MG William H. Johnston (Dec 1924–Oct 1925) MG Robert Alexander (Oct 1925–Aug 1927) MG Joseph D. Leitch (Sep 1927–Mar 1928) BG Michael J. Lenihan (Mar 1928–Mar 1929) BG Joseph Compton Castner (Apr 1929–Nov 1932) BG Halstead Dorey (1932–1933) BG Henry W. Butner (1933–Feb 1934) BG Otho B. Rosenbaum (Feb 1934–Aug 1935) MG Casper H. Conrad Jr. (Aug 1935–Aug 1936) MG David L. Stone (Sep 1936–Mar 1937) BG Alfred T. Smith (Jul 1937–Jan 1938) MG Walter C. Sweeney Sr. (1939–1940)
World War II Edit
Order of battle Edit
Korean War Edit
- MG Robert H. Soule (August 1950 – October 1951)
- MG Thomas J. Cross (October 1951 – May 1952)
- MG Robert L. Dulaney (May 1952 – October 1952)
- MG George W. Smythe (October 1952 – May 1953)
- MG Eugene W. Ridings (May 1953 – October 1953)
During the Korean War, the division was known as the "Fire Brigade" for its rapid response to crisis. 3rd Infantry Division had been headquartered at Fort Benning along with its 15th Infantry Regiment. The 7th Infantry Regiment was located at Fort Devens. 3rd Infantry Division initially arrived in Japan where, as the Far East Command Reserve,  it planned post conflict occupation missions in northern Korea.  In Japan their strength was increased by augmentation by South Korean soldiers. The Division was assigned to X Corps and landed at Wonsan on the east coast of Korea on 5 November and received the 65th Infantry Regiment as their third maneuver element before moving north to Hungnam and Majon-dong. At Majon-dong they established a defensive position with the 65th Infantry. 1st and 2nd Battalions of the 7th Infantry were on the left flank. The 15th Infantry was between the 7th and 65th Regiments. 3rd Battalion, 7th Infantry was set as the nucleus for Task Force Dog which was commanded by Brigadier General Armistead D. Mead, assistant 3rd Division commander and sent north to conduct a relief in place with 1st Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment at Chinhung-ni the south end of the 1st Marine Division and support the withdrawal of 1st Marine Division and Regimental Combat Team 31 from the fighting at the Chosin Reservoir. 3rd Infantry Division's Task Force Dog was the rearguard keeping the pressure off of the Marine column. The division along with the 7th Infantry Division established a collapsing perimeter around the port of Hungnam until the last of X Corps was evacuated. The Division was the last unit to leave Hungnam and was shipped to Pusan where it completed unloading on 30 December and moved north to Kyongju and on 31 December it was placed in Eighth Army reserve for reorganization and reequipping following which it was to move into the Pyongtaek-Ansong area. The Division was then transferred to US I Corps.
In January 1953 the Division was transferred from I Corps. The Division served in Korea until 1953 when it was withdrawn. Notably, the division fought at the Chorwon-Kumwha area, Jackson Heights and Arrowhead outposts and blocked a push in the Kumsong Area in July 1953.
3rd Infantry Division received ten Battle Stars. Eleven more members of the unit received Medals of Honor during the Korean War. Eight were from the 7th Infantry Regiment: Jerry K. Crump (6 and 7 September 1951), John Essebagger, Jr. (25 April 1951), Charles L. Gilliland (25 April 1951), Clair Goodblood (24 and 25 April 1951), Noah O. Knight (23 and 24 November 1951), Darwin K. Kyle (16 February 1951), Leroy A. Mendonca (4 July 1951), and Hiroshi H. Miyamura, whose award was classified Top Secret until his repatriation (24 and 25 April 1951). Three more recipients were with the 15th Infantry Regiment: Emory L. Bennett (24 June 1951), Ola L. Mize (10 and 11 June 1953) and Charles F. Pendleton (16 and 17 July 1953).
During the Korean War, the division had 2,160 killed in action and 7,939 wounded.
After the armistice, the division remained in Korea until 1954, when it was reduced to near zero strength, the colors were transferred to Fort Benning, Georgia and, in December 1954, the 47th Infantry Division was reflagged as the Third.
On 1 July 1957, the division was reorganized as a Pentomic Division. The division's three infantry regiments (the 7th, 15th and 30th) were inactivated, with their elements reorganized into five infantry battle groups (the 1-7 IN, 1-15 IN, 1-30 IN, 2-38 IN and the 2-4 IN). In April 1958, the division deployed to Germany as part of an Operation Gyroscope rotation (soldiers and families, no equipment), switching places with the 10th Infantry Division (which was reflagged as the 2nd Infantry Division upon its arrival at Fort Benning). In 1963, the division was reorganized as a Reorganization Objective Army Division (ROAD). Three Brigade Headquarters were activated and Infantry units were reorganized into battalions.
Cold War to the Millennium (1953 through 2000) Edit
The division was stationed with the V Corps (1958–63, 1992-1996) and VII Corps (1963–92) in West Germany from near the Czech border westward throughout various towns including Wūrzburg (Div. Hq. & Support Command), Schweinfurt (1st Brigade), Kitzingen (2nd Brigade), and Aschaffenburg (3rd Brigade). In August 1961, a few days after the Berlin Wall was erected, a reinforced company from the 7th Infantry Regiment (a unit of the 3rd Infantry Division) in full battle gear, was ordered to travel along the Autobahn (a major highway) from Aschaffenburg in Bavaria to West Berlin. This was to assert the right of US forces to travel unhindered from West Germany across the western part of East Germany to West Berlin. After the Berlin Wall was built, it was not known if the East German forces would attempt to impede or restrict the movement of US troops when crossing East Germany while trying to reach West Berlin. The unit arrived in West Berlin without incident confirming the right of free passage. [ citation needed ]
In November 1990, following Iraq's invasion of Kuwait, more than 6,000 3rd Infantry Division men and women deployed with the 1st Armored Division on Operation Desert Storm as part of the Allied Coalition. They participated in the Battle of Medina Ridge which was the second largest tank battle of the conflict.  The 3rd Brigade was credited with the destruction of 82 tanks, 31 Armored Personnel Carriers, 11 artillery pieces, 48 trucks, 3 AAA guns and captured 72 EPW's with the loss of 2 Bradley Cavalry vehicles, 30 WIA's and 1 KIA. Later nearly 1,000 soldiers deployed to southeastern Turkey and northern Iraq to provide comfort to Kurdish refugees. In late Spring of 1991, the division supplied senior ranking officers and non-commissioned officers, along with a military police company to Task Force Victory (Forward). Stationed in Kuwait the Task Force was to provide division level support to the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment (which shared the same duty station). Those elements of V Corps attached to the task force (including those of division) returned to their home units in early September 1991. [ citation needed ]
As part of the Army's reduction to a ten-division force, the 24th Infantry Division was inactivated on 15 February 1996, and reflagged to become the 3rd Infantry Division.
In 1996 the division was redeployed to Fort Stewart, Fort Benning, and Hunter Army Airfield, Georgia. The division repeatedly demonstrated its deployability since then by maintaining a battalion, and later a brigade task force presence in Kuwait. It has also moved sizable forces to Egypt, Bosnia and Kosovo in partnership training and peacekeeping missions.
In 1996–97, the 3rd Infantry Division Detachment, Rear Tactical Operations Center (RTOC), which is a unit manned by the Georgia Army National Guard was mobilized and served in Operation Joint Endeavor. During this time, the 3rd ID RTOC served under the 1st Infantry Division and later the 1st Armored Division. Respectively serving in Bosnia, at Camps Dallas and Angela, near Tuzla under the 1ID, and then in Croatia at Slavonski Brod, under the 1AD, serving the Assistant Division Commander for Support, then BG George Casey.
- MG Charles D. W. Canham (November 1953 – November 1954)
- MG Haydon L. Boatner (December 1954 – October 1955)
- MG George E. Lynch (October 1955 – February 1957)
- BG Frederick R. Zierath (March 1957 – March 1957)
- MG Roy E. Lindquist (March 1957 – August 1958)
- MG John S. Upham Jr. (August 1958 – April 1960)
- MG Albert Watson II (April 1960 – April 1961)
- MG William W. Dick Jr. (April 1961 – April 1962)
- BG Morris O. Edwards (April 1962 – June 1962)
- MG Frank T. Mildren (June 1962 – March 1964)
- MG Albert O. Connor (March 1964 – February 1966)
- BG Jack S. Blocker (February 1966 – April 1966)
- MG Robert H. Schellman (April 1966 – August 1967)
- BG Lawrence V. Greene (August 1967 – October 1967)
- MG George P. Seneff Jr. (October 1967 – March 1969)
- MG George M. Seignious II (March 1969 – February 1970)
- MG Robert C. Taber (February 1970 – April 1971)
- MG Marshall B. Garth (April 1971 – September 1972)
- MG Sam S. Walker (September 1972 – June 1974)
- MG Edward C. Meyer (June 1974 – August 1975)
- MG Pat W. Crizer (August 1975 – October 1977)
- MG R. Dean Tice (October 1977 – October 1979)
- MG Robert L (Sam) Wetzel (October 1979–1981)
- MG Fred K. Mahaffey (1981–1983)
- MG Howard G. Crowell, Jr. (1983–1985)
- MG George R. Stotser (1985–1987)
- MG Nicholas S. H. Krawciw (1987–1989)
- MG Wilson A. Shoffner (1989–1991)
- BG Richard F. Keller (1991–1993)
- MG Leonard D. Holder Jr. (1993–1995)
- MG Montgomery Meigs (July 1995 – February 1996)
- MG Joseph E. DeFrancisco (June 1996 – August 1996)
- MG John W. Hendrix (August 1996 – October 1997)
- MG James C. Riley (October 1997 – December 1999)
- MG Walter L. Sharp (December 1999 – December 2001)
Global War on Terrorism Edit
- MG Buford Blount (December 2001 - September 2003)
- MG William G. Webster (September 2003 - June 2006)
- MG Rick Lynch (June 2006 - July 2008)
- MG Tony Cucolo (July 2008 - April 2011)
- MG Robert B. Abrams (April 2011 - August 2013)
- MG John M. Murray (August 2013 - August 2015)
- MG James E. Rainey (August 2015 - 2017) 
- MG Leopoldo A. Quintas
- MG Antonio Aguto
OIF I (Baghdad Spearhead) Edit
Early in 2003 the entire division deployed in weeks to Kuwait. It was called on subsequently to spearhead Coalition forces in Operation Iraqi Freedom, fighting its way to Baghdad in early April, leading to the end of the Saddam Hussein government. The First Brigade captured the Baghdad International Airport and cleared and secured the airport, which also resulted in the division's first Medal of Honor since the Korean War, awarded to SFC Paul Ray Smith. Second Brigade, Third Infantry division made the much-publicized "Thunder Run" into downtown Baghdad. The Second Brigade was redeployed to Fallujah, Iraq during the summer of 2003. The division returned to the United States in September 2003. [ citation needed ]
Order of Battle during 2003 invasion:
1st Brigade 2nd Battalion, 7th Infantry Regiment (Mech) 3rd Battalion, 7th Infantry Regiment (Mech) 3rd Battalion, 69th Armor Regiment 1st Battalion, 41st Field Artillery Regiment (155SP) 2nd Brigade 3rd Battalion, 15th Infantry Regiment (Mech) 1st Battalion, 64th Armor Regiment 4th Battalion, 64th Armor Regiment (Tuskers) 1st Battalion, 9th Field Artillery Regiment (155SP) 3rd Brigade 203rd FSB 3rd Brigade Combat Team (Mech) 1st Battalion, 15th Infantry Regiment (Mech) 1st Battalion, 30th Infantry Regiment (Mech) 2nd Battalion, 69th Armor Regiment 1st Battalion, 10th Field Artillery Regiment (155SP) 1st Battalion, 39th Field Artillery Regiment, 3rd ID DIVARTY, MLRS - Inactivated May, 2006  3rd Squadron, 7th Cavalry Regiment
Beginning in 2004, the 3rd began re-organizing. The division shifted from three maneuver brigades to four "units of action", which are essentially smaller brigade formations, with one infantry, one armor, one cavalry, and one artillery battalion in each. The former Engineer Brigade became the 4th Brigade at Fort Stewart. Each of these units of action engaged in several mock battles at the National Training Center (NTC) and Joint Readiness Training Center (JRTC), and preparation for a second deployment to Iraq. [ citation needed ]
OIF III Edit
In January 2005, the Third Infantry Division became the first Army division to serve a second tour in Iraq. [ citation needed ] The division headquarters took control of the Multi-National Division Baghdad, MND-B, headquartered at Camp Liberty and with responsibility for the greater Baghdad area. First and Third Brigades of the Third Infantry Division were placed under control of the 42nd Infantry Division, and later under the 101st Airborne Division, in MND-North. In preparation of this deployment a Fourth Brigade was organized and became the first cohesive brigade combat team sent into a combat zone by the US Army, cohesive in that it fulfilled the table of organization requirement of such a unit. The California Army National Guard's 1st Battalion 184th Infantry Regiment served as one of the brigade's two infantry battalions, as well as the detachment from the Hawaii Army National Guard's 29th Brigade Combat Team, the 2/299th Infantry, also the 48th Brigade Combat Team from the Georgia Army National Guard, 2/130 Infantry Battalion of the Illinois National Guard, and Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, 295th Infantry Battalion from the Puerto Rico Army National Guard served in this Operation. [ citation needed ]
2/69 Armor was assigned to Camp War Horse in Iraq. By Mid 2005 Primary elements of 2/69 Armor 3rd Brigade 3rd Infantry Division was re-deployed to Ramadi Iraq, replacing elements of the 2nd ID. They ran joint missions with 2nd Mar Div. and elements of the Pennsylvania National Guard and the 2/130th Infantry of the Illinois National Guard who was redeployed as to Al Taquattum as the infantry battalion.
OIF V Edit
The division redeployed to Fort Stewart and Fort Benning in January 2006. On 17 November 2006, the Army announced that the Third Infantry Division is scheduled to return to Iraq in 2007 and thus become the first Army division to serve three tours in Iraq. The division headquarters became the leadership organization of MND-C (Multi-National Division Central), a new command established south of Baghdad as part of the Iraq War troop surge of 2007. [ citation needed ]
In support of operations in Baghdad, the unit 3rd Squadron, 7th Cavalry was detached from 3ID and assigned by General Petraeus to 3rd BCT, 82nd Airborne who was under the command of the 1st Cavalry Division. In 2008, 82nd Airborne and 1st CAV redeployed home, and 3–7 CAV was handed over to 3rd BCT, 4th Infantry Division under the command of the 25th Infantry Division. They would remain under this command until 3–7 CAV's redeployment back to Fort Stewart, being reattached to the 3rd Infantry Division. [ citation needed ] Similarly, 1st Battalion, 64th Armor was detached from 3ID and attached to 2nd BCT, 1st Infantry Division under 1st Cavalry Division, and later under 2nd BCT, 101st Infantry Division under command of 4th Infantry Division. 
Reassignment of 1st Brigade Edit
In the fall of 2008, the 3rd Infantry Division's 1st Brigade was assigned to serve as the on-call federal response force under the control of NORTHCOM, the combatant command assigned responsibility for the continental United States. The brigade remained at its home station of Fort Stewart, Georgia, and "is training to deploy domestically in response to terrorist attacks or other national emergencies."  The brigade will be trained in responding to WMD attacks, crowd control, and dealing with civil unrest. 
The force was renamed "Chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, or high-yield explosive Consequence Management Response Force". Its acronym, CCMRF, is pronounced "see-smurf",  and the unit is now under the daily control of United States Northern Command's Army North, whose mission is to "protect the United States homeland and support local, state, and federal authorities."  The unit is a multi-branch force with servicemembers from the four branches of the United States Department of Defense.
Reorganization of 4th Brigade Edit
In March 2009, 4th Brigade reorganized from a mechanized or heavy brigade to a light infantry brigade. As part of this reorganization, 4th Battalion, 64th Armor was reflagged as 3rd Battalion, 15th Infantry Regiment. 
OIF VII Edit
The 3rd Infantry Division assumed command of the Multi-National Division-North, now United States Division-North, in October 2009. This milestone marked the division's fourth tour in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom (I, III, V, and VII). The division has elements operating in every area of Iraq as the mission changes from Operation Iraqi Freedom to Operation New Dawn on 1 September 2010. With the advent of Operation New Dawn, the focus will shift from combat operations to stability and advise and assist operations throughout all Iraq's provinces.
In the course of Operation Iraqi Freedom up until 24 September 2010, 436 members of the division were killed in action 
Operation Enduring Freedom Edit
The Combat Aviation Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division deployed to Afghanistan for a 13-month tour. The brigade was the first unit from 3ID to deploy to Afghanistan. During that tour 3rd CAB soldiers flew about 26,000 missions, including 800 air assaults, and were responsible for about 2,500 enemy casualties.
3rd CAB is slated to deploy to Afghanistan again in January 2013. The 2500 soldiers will deploy with 3rd Special Troops Battalion for a 9-month tour. The Marne Air will be operating out of Kandahar Airfield in the RC-South area-of-operations, relieving the 25th CAB.
Both the 3rd CAB and 3rd STB will fall under their parent division when the 3ID Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion deploys in August and takes over command of RC-South from 82nd Airborne Division HQ. 
The 2nd Heavy BCT's two combined-arms battalions also deployed individually to Afghanistan. 1st Battalion, 64th Armor Regiment deployed in March 2012. They are attached to the 3rd Stryker Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division (United States) from Joint Base Lewis-McChord, WA, to help train Afghanistan National Security Forces to take over in their country's security operations.  1st Battalion, 30th Infantry Regiment deployed a month earlier. They are tasked with providing security to units conducting contingency operations. Both battalions will serve nine-month tour. 
In December 2012, the 3rd Sustainment Brigade deployed for its fifth deployment over the last decade and first to Afghanistan, for nine months in support of Operation Enduring Freedom 12–13, let by COL Ron Novack and CSM Daniels. Deployed to Kandahar with 276 soldiers the brigade provided sustainment and retrograde support to the 3rd and 4th Infantry Divisions, 1st and 2nd Marine Expeditionary Forces, and International Security Assistance Forces operating in Regional Commands South, Southwest, and National Support Element-West. The brigade assisted in the closure and transfer of over 61 Forward Operating Bases while simultaneously providing sustainment to the force. Additionally, the 3rd Sustainment Brigade provided direct support to the 1st and 2nd Brigade Combat Teams and the Combat Aviation Brigade of the 3rd Infantry Division.
In February 2013, the 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division (later reflagged as the 2nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division), deployed to Logar Province and Wardak Province, Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. 6th Squadron, 8th Cavalry Regiment was tasked with securing Logar Province, and disrupting the almost daily rocket attacks on Forward Operation Base Shank.  3rd Battalion, 15th Infantry Regiment was tasked with securing Wardak Province's highly volatile Highway 1. The soldiers of 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division returned home in late November 2013 after serving a 9-month tour.
Operation Freedom's Sentinel Edit
In April 2017, Military.com reported that about 200 soldiers from the 3rd Infantry Division Headquarters will deploy to Afghanistan to replace the 1st Cavalry Division Headquarters at Bagram Airfield taking over command of the U.S. Forces-Afghanistan's National Support Element, as part of Operation Freedom's Sentinel. 
Starting in December 2018 troops of the Georgia Army National Guard’s 48th IBCT of the 3rd Infantry Division were deployed in support of NATO operations in Afghanistan. These missions included train, advise, assist missions for the Afghanistan military as well as attached infantry units from 3rd Battalion, 121st Infantry Regiment to Army Special Forces ODAs and other Special Operations forces.
Operation Atlantic Resolve Edit
In February 2015, ArmyTimes reported that More than 3,000 soldiers from the 1st Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Combat Aviation Brigade, 3rd ID's Artillery and other units of the 3rd Infantry Division began an accumulative of 12 months deployment to Europe in March 2015 in support of Operation Atlantic Resolve. Soldiers from 3rd ID deployed to various European countries including Germany, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania and Bulgaria with the 1st Brigade acting as the European Rotational Force and NATO Response Force, which works and trains with NATO allies to remain prepared for contingency operations within the European Command's area of responsibility. 
The current composition of the brigade includes: 
- 30th Armored Brigade Combat Team
- Headquarters and Headquarters Company (HHC), 30th Armored Brigade Combat Team (30th ABCT) in Clinton, North Carolina , in Bluefield, West Virginia , in Fayetteville, North Carolina , in Wilmington, North Carolina , in Charlotte, North Carolina , in Goldsboro, North Carolina
- 4th Battalion, 118th Infantry Regiment, in Union, South Carolina.
- 236th Brigade Engineer Battalion, Durham, North Carolina.
In 1974 the 30th Infantry Division ceased to exist and its units were divided amongst the North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia Army National Guards. The 30th Infantry Brigade (Mechanized) from North Carolina was chosen to carry on the lineage of the 30th Infantry Division. 
The brigade took part in Exercise Display Determination in 1984, 1986, 1987, and 1992.
The brigade was affiliated with the 24th Infantry Division on 5 June 1999 during the division's reactivation ceremony as part of the active/reserve component integrated division concept. The headquarters for the division was an active unit located at Fort Riley, Kansas while its subordinate units were all National Guard units.
From 2000 to 2001 a few select units from 30th Brigade were chosen to conduct a six-month peacekeeping mission in war torn Bosnia and Herzegovina. The deployment marked the first time that National Guard troops were utilized as front line patrolling forces since the beginning of deployment of combat troops to the region. [ citation needed ]
In July 2002 the brigade conducted "Operation Hickory Sting '02" at Ft. Riley, Kansas in preparation for the unit's upcoming National Training Center rotation the next year. During this time, an Illinois-based unit, Battery G, 202nd ADA, joined the Brigade. The unit's 2003 NTC rotation was dubbed "Operation Tarheel Thunder." After successfully completing its NTC rotation, 30th Brigade, along with the 39th Infantry Brigade from Arkansas, were informed that they would be deployed as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
In February 2004 the brigade began a year-long deployment to the Diyala Governorate in Iraq. With the deployment, 30th Infantry Brigade became the first National Guard brigade combat team to deploy to a war since the Korean War 50 years earlier. The brigade was also the first National Guard brigade to have its own area of operation in Iraq. [ citation needed ]
In 2004, one member of the Brigade, SPC Frederico Mérida was convicted of murdering an Iraqi National Guardsmen (ING) at FOB Mackenzie in Salh-Ad-Din Province near the village of Ad-Dawr and sentenced to 25 years in prison at his subsequent court martial. He apparently killed the ING member as a result of a sexual encounter gone wrong. 
The Battle of Baqubah Edit
The first Battle of Baqubah (not to be confused with Operation Arrowhead Ripper in 2007) was some of the fiercest fighting that the brigade encountered during its deployment. The battle began at approximately 5:30 am 24 June 2004 local time as insurgents from the group Al-Tawhid Wal-Jihad (aka Al-Qaeda in Iraq) attempted to ambush 3rd Platoon, Company A, 1st Battalion, 120th Infantry (Mechanized) with small arms, heavy machine guns, IEDs and RPG fire. The platoon was able to break through the ambush and attempted to turn the battle around with a counterattack. As the battle wore on, however, battle damage to all three of the platoon's M2 Bradley Fighting Vehicles forced the counterattack to halt and once again the advantage lay with the insurgents.  
At around 6:00 am reinforcements from Company A, including company commander Captain Christopher Cash, left the unit's forward operating base and were also ambushed almost immediately. In the process Captain Cash was killed. The Bradley in which Captain Cash was killed as well as one other returned to base, leaving only three Bradleys from 1st Platoon to reinforce 3rd Platoon.  As the reinforcements advanced on 3rd Platoon, an RPG struck one of the Bradleys, hitting SPC Daniel Desens and wounding several others. The platoon sergeant, SFC Chad Stephens, moved under fire without body armor or a weapon from his Bradley to SPC Desens' to retrieve the wounded Specialist. As SPC Desens was treated by the platoon medic, SPC Ralph Isabella, the platoon regrouped and continued its march towards 3rd Platoon. As they advanced once again towards 3rd Platoon, SFC Stephens's Bradley was also hit by an RPG, severely wounding his gunner and wounding several others including SFC Stephens. 
After SFC Stephens's platoon reached its objective, SPC Desens and six other wounded personnel were evacuated via helicopter and the platoon carried on the fight until 3:00 am the next morning. SPC Desens later died of his wounds. SFC Stephens would ultimately receive a Silver Star for his actions. 
As the well coordinated attack raged on for another eight hours, insurgents were able to overrun two Iraqi police stations as rocket and mortar attacks racked FOB Warhorse, the unit's forward operating base. Ultimately, Coalition forces were able to root out enemy hiding spots and strong points with UAVs as attack aircraft bombed them. In the end two soldiers from the 30th Brigade were killed and six wounded. While the actual enemy death toll varies, Coalition forces estimated at least 60 insurgents were killed in the attack. Abu Musab al-Zarqawi claimed responsibility for the attack although some experts question if Al-Qaeda in Iraq was actually capable of planning and carrying out such an organized attack, despite the fact that Al-Qaeda in Iraq flags were seen being raised by insurgents over the two captured police stations. 
Zarqawi claimed victory over the Americans in the battle, although it may have been a Pyrrhic victory as the insurgent death toll was much higher than the Coalition one and the attack neither forced the Americans from the city nor stopped the planned transfer of authority for the city from the Coalition Provisional Authority to the Iraqi Interim Government at the end of the month. Zarqawi was killed in an air attack two years later outside of Baqubah and a year after that Operation Arrowhead Ripper succeeded in forcing a large part of the remaining insurgent forces out of the city.
By the end of the deployment the brigade had lost five soldiers killed in action:
- Specialist Jocelyn L. Carrasquillo: 28, from Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina, assigned to HHC, 1st Battalion, 120th Infantry. SPC Carrasquillo was killed by an improvised explosive device on 13 March 2004. 
- Captain Christopher S. Cash: 36, from Winterville, North Carolina, Commander of A Company 1st Battalion, 120th Infantry. CPT Cash was killed on 24 June 2004 in the Battle of Baqubah. 
- Specialist Daniel Alan Desens Jr.: 20, from Jacksonville, North Carolina, also of A Company, 1st Battalion, 120th Infantry. SPC Desens was also killed in the Battle of Baqubah on 24 June 2004. 
- Sergeant DeForest L. Talbert: 24, of Charleston, West Virginia, assigned to C Company, 1st Battalion, 150th Armor. SGT Talbert died 27 July 2004 in Baladruz, Iraq, when an improvised explosive device detonated near his vehicle. 
- Staff Sergeant Michael S. Voss: 35, from Aberdeen, North Carolina, assigned to HHC, 1st Battalion, 120th Infantry. SSG Voss was killed on 8 October 2004 in Tikrit, Iraq when his convoy was attacked with an improvised explosive device and small arms fire. 
Post-deployment and redeployment Edit
In early 2005, as the brigade returned from Iraq, 30th Infantry Brigade transformed into the 30th Heavy Brigade Combat Team as part of the Army's new Brigade Unit of Action concept. With the transformation, the brigade disbanded the 119th Infantry Regiment whose lineage in the North Carolina National Guard can be traced back to before the American Civil War.  The brigade then gained the 1st Squadron (RSTA), 150th Cavalry Regiment (WV ARNG) as the brigade's reconnaissance element. The 1–150th Cavalry had previously deployed with the brigade to Iraq as 1–150th Armor. The brigade also gained the 30th Special Troops Battalion, formed from the 30th Corps Support Group.
In October 2007, the brigade was alerted for deployment once again, to include both the North Carolina and West Virginia Army National Guard assets.  In preparation for the upcoming deployment, the brigade attended a 23-day annual training period at Camp Shelby, Mississippi in May 2008.  The primary purpose of the training exercise was to complete Bradley Fighting Vehicle new equipment training for the scouts on fighting vehicle crews. The crews conducted gunnery through Bradley table VIII, while wheeled scouts performed gunnery with M2 .50 caliber machine guns. Other training included warrior task battle drill and individual weapons qualifications.
Operation Iraqi Freedom VII Edit
In early 2009, 30th HBCT began mobilizing in Camp Shelby, Mississippi to conduct pre-deployment validation training.  With training complete, the brigade returned to North Carolina for one last time before the deployment to hold a deployment ceremony on 14 April and to allow soldiers to say goodbye to their families.  By the end of April 2009, the brigade arrived in Iraq and began the process of taking over for 2nd HBCT, 1st Armored Division in a process known as "relief in place."  Shortly thereafter, the brigade began conducting patrols south of the Baghdad area as part of Multinational Division – Baghdad. 
On 21 May, less than a month after arriving in Iraq, the brigade began to take its first casualties. While making their way to a meeting with local officials in the Doura Market, three soldiers from 1st Battalion, 252nd Armor Regiment's civil-military liaison team were killed by a suicide vest improvised explosive device (SVIED) in the Al Rashid district in the southwestern part of Baghdad along with multiple civilians. Major Jason George, 38, from Tehachapi, California was an Army Reservist and served as the battalion's civil-military officer. 1st Lieutenant Leevi Barnard, 28, from Mount Airy, North Carolina was a North Carolina Guardsman and served as Major George's assistant. Sergeant Paul Brooks, 34, from Joplin, Missouri was a Missouri Guardsman who had volunteered for the deployment and served as the team's medic.  Alpha Co. also of the 1st Battalion, 252nd Armor was in the market area at the same time that morning when the attack occurred. Their swift response to the incident resulted in the timely treatment and ground evacuation of the remaining coalition casualties to the 10th CSH IBN Sina Hospital and their efforts undoubtedly saved many lives that day.
On the same day, soldiers from A Battery, 1st Battalion, 113th Field Artillery Regiment successfully fired the M982 Excalibur precision guided artillery round from FOB Mahmudiyah. This marked the first time that a National Guard unit had used the new precision guided munition in Iraq. 
A little over a month later the brigade suffered four more casualties, this time from A Company, 1st Battalion, 120th Infantry. They were killed when their HMMWV was struck by an IED on 29 June in the Mahmudiyah area, south of Baghdad. Sergeant 1st Class Edward Kramer, 39 and a father of two, was from Wilmington, North Carolina and was on his second deployment to Iraq with the battalion. Sergeant Roger Adams Jr., 36, from Jacksonville, North Carolina had recently joined the National Guard and had previously served in the Marine Corps. Adams was also a father of four. Sergeant Juan Baldeosingh, 30, from Havelock, North Carolina was a father of three and had been in the National Guard for a little over a year. He had previously served in the Marine Corps. Sergeant Robert Bittaker, 39, from Jacksonville, North Carolina was a father of two and had served two prior deployments with the battalion, one of which was with the brigade's deployment to Bosnia in 2000. This attack resulted in the single largest loss of life for the brigade since the start of Operation Iraqi Freedom.  SGT Baldeosingh would later be buried at Arlington National Cemetery. He would be the second North Carolina Guardsman to be buried at the cemetery since WWII.  SGT Juan C. Baldeosingh is listed in the Arlington National Cemetery database as being laid to rest in Section 60, Grave 8847.
Operation Spartan Shield Edit
In 2019, the 30th ABCT mobilized from Fort Bliss, Texas and deployed to Camp Buehring, Kuwait, replacing the 4th Infantry Division (United States) in command of Operation Spartan Shield. From here, many units of the brigade went on to support Operation Spartan Shield and Operation Inherent Resolve in countries around the CENTCOM area of responsibility.
Shoulder Sleeve Insignia Edit
Symbolism: The letters "O H" are the initials of "Old Hickory" and the "XXX" is the Roman notation for the number of the organization. 
Background: The shoulder sleeve insignia was originally approved on 23 October 1918 for the 30th Division. It was redesignated for the 30th Infantry Brigade on 20 February 1974. The insignia was redesignated effective 1 September 2004, with description updated, for the 30th Brigade Combat Team, North Carolina Army National Guard. 
Distinctive Unit Insignia Edit
Symbolism: The hornet's nest, adapted from the crest of the North Carolina ARNG, is a reference to the unit's home area. The fleurs-de-lis represent the unit's participation in five campaigns in Europe during World War II, while the sword with blade in the colors of the Belgium Fourragére refers to that award received for service in Belgium and the Ardennes. The laurel branch and the star denote awards of the French Croix de Guerre with Palm and with Star for service in France during World War II the scarlet scroll alludes to the Meritorious Unit Commendation. 
Background: The distinctive unit insignia was authorized for the noncolor bearing units of the 30th Infantry Brigade on 11 June 1974. The insignia was redesignated effective 1 September 2004, with the description updated, for the 30th Brigade Combat Team, North Carolina Army National Guard.