Tuesday, December 29, 2009
Today I have a guest post from Maj. Myles Caggins of the 4th BCT, 1st Armored Division. We have had a chance to work together on a few projects and even to talk politics.
Twelve months ago I was in Washington, D.C. having just finished my graduate degree requirements from Georgetown. D.C., the most powerful city in the world, is an easy draw for the media and the military. In contrast, Contingency Operating Base Adder just south of Nasiriyah, Iraq is relatively unknown and military operations here seldom gain wide-spread press attention.
At least not until December 18.
This day Admiral Mike Mullen, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, our nation’s highest ranking military officer visited my brigade at COB Adder. Mullen was traveling with seven members of the Pentagon Press Pool among the 20+ other staffers and security personnel in his entourage.
Serving as an Army Brigade Public Affairs Officer my job is to tell the story of the 4,000 Soldiers assigned to the 4th Brigade, 1st Armored Division. I want audiences to know who they are and most importantly what they do in Iraq in 2009.
Gone are the days of U.S. Soldiers kicking down doors and rounding up IED makers, terrorist mortarmen, and other outlaws. In today’s stability operations environment, we are simply here to advise and assist Iraqi Security Forces.
Most readers of this blog believe that. However, if I stood in downtown Nasiriyah and tried to explain “stability operations” doctrine the local citizens would be skeptical of the message and the messenger—and of course 30% of what I say would probably be lost in translation.
Imagine if some dude from a foreign Army pulled up in your driveway in a 10’ tall armored truck; stood in your front lawn with body armor, an assault rifle, and a team of security then stated “I’m your friend, I come in peace.”
Needless to say, I might come off to be a Kevlar-clad Joe Isuzu to the average Iraqi. Remember him here and here.
So on my next post, I’ll explain the solution to gaining and maintaining a positive perception for American forces in southern Iraq…and how I changed the price of oil 2% with one quote on December 18.