In the spring
of 2004, Coalition Forces, led by the United States Military, were engaged in a
vicious counter-insurgency fight in the newly liberated Iraq. Just a year
earlier, the Coalition had invaded Iraq and crushed Saddam Hussein's armies in
historical proportions. Cessation of major combat operations had been declared
only 43 days after the war began.
to uproot Saddam Hussein's ruling party was complete and Saddam himself in
custody. The task of assisting Iraqis in the establishment of a stable
government and rebuilding the country's infrastructure and economy lay ahead.
Elements inside of Iraq were vying for control and influence in the yet-to-be
established government, and many subsets of these elements would use fear,
threats, and violence to manipulate the citizens of Iraq to comply. The
Coalition, as the liberators of Iraq, were inherently involved in the struggle
for establishment of a democratically elected government.
behind this backdrop in the spring of 2004 that the Soldiers of the 11th
Armored Cavalry Regiment "Blackhorse" stationed at Fort Irwin and the
National Training Center, California were ordered to relinquish their role as
the trainers of soon-to-be combatants and begin their own training for future
counter-insurgency operations in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom III.
2004 the 58th Engineers deployed to Camp Victory near Baghdad International
Airport and Camp Cuervo in Southeastern Baghdad. In January 2005, 1st and 2nd
Squadrons as well as the Regimental Headquarters deployed to Iraq. 1st Squadron
(Ironhorse) deployed to Camp Taji in Northern Baghdad and later moved to Camp
Liberty near Baghdad International Airport. 2nd Squadron (Eaglehorse) deployed
to Forward Operating Base Kalsu, 35 miles south of Baghdad. The Regimental
Headquarters deployed to Camp Courage in Mosul taking on the role as
Headquarters, Task Force Freedom and Multi-National Division North West
(MND-NW). All units were deployed for approximately one year with the last
elements of the Regiment returning home to Fort Irwin in February 2006.
depicted in this breathtaking print is of a typical combat patrol conducting a
cordon and search. Over the course of an evening, many of these cordon and
search missions would be conducted. Planning for these missions would start as
much as a month in advance to literally just hours prior to execution. On the
night of the mission, a patrol could raid up to fifteen targets searching for
suspected terrorists and hidden weapon caches. These operations often began in
the late evening and ran into the early morning thus lending credence to the
print's title, "A Good Night's Work."
In the print
we see a patrol leader reporting to his higher headquarters his current
situation while in the HMMWV's turret a gunner provides local security for
Soldiers as they exploit a discovered weapons cache. To the patrol leader's
left is a Soldier removing an artillery shell from the discovered cache while
to the immediate rear are four Soldiers with shovels looking into a hollowed
out parcel of ground. Further back, we see four local nationals guarded by
Blackhorse Troopers. This particular scene allows us to presume that these men
were the suspected terrorists targeted by the evening's operation and the cache
found was their supply of weapons and munitions used in their attacks against
Coalition Forces. To the far right, stands an M2A2 Bradley Fighting Vehicle
providing added security over the entire scene.
scene depicts the difficulties faced and overcome by Blackhorse Troopers during
their yearlong deployment yet resident in their demeanor is the calm
professionalism and resolve in accomplishing the mission.
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