Happy Thanksgiving - 239 Days since our Soldiers came home on 1 April 2004.
Greetings from a guy most of you haven't heard from since April 30. I wanted to wish a late Happy Veterans Day to all the new veterans and my good friends of the 4ID and TF Ironhorse, wish you a Happy Thanksgiving, and give you a quick update on what's been going on since you last heard from me.
There have been lots of movement of 4ID/TF Ironhorse families since April 30. If you have friends and family with new email addresses, please forward this to them and ask them to send me their new email address if they want to be put back on my distribution list. I have no idea how many people I have lost track of since the last update so am asking you to help get this to the ones who received it during the deployment.
Overview of Past Seven Months
It has been a busy time since my last update on April 30. Most of my time has been spent writing the "History of the 4ID/TF Ironhorse in Iraq" that the 4ID hired me to write.
Beyond that, I've been fortunate to have been invited to the TF Ironhorse Lessons Learned Conference in San Antonio in early May where I spent time with our leaders and their spouses; worked with the Veterans History Project and Smithsonian at the dedication of the World War II memorial in Washington, DC over Memorial Day weekend (you can see the panel discussions I led at http://www.loc.gov/folklife/vets/wwii-home.html - I led panel discussions on May 27, 28, and 29). I left there to lead a group of 40 WWII 4ID veterans and family members on a tour in Normandy, France tied around the 60th anniversary of the 4ID's landing on June 6, 1944. About fifty of our current 4ID Soldiers and leaders were representing the 4ID at the Utah Beach ceremony on 6 June so we had time for our current Soldiers to mix with our WWII vets.
On 18 June I attended the Change of Command ceremony at Fort Hood where MG J.D. Thurman took command of 4ID from MG Ray Odierno. On 2 September I was in the audience at Fort Hood as the 4ID Iraq Monument was formally dedicated (a great ceremony). I attended, along with about 15 other veterans of the 22nd Infantry Regiment, a Dining In with today's 1-22 IN Soldiers at Fort Hood on 24 September. On 10 November I made my first ever visit to the Pentagon to attend the promotion ceremony as MG Ray Odierno was promoted to Lieutenant General.
Those are the big highlights of my last seven months, but it's not all that has kept me busy. I have not slowed down since we last communicated. I have missed my daily contact with the many friends that I made when sending out daily updates.
Status of "History of 4ID/TF Ironhorse in Iraq"
My primary focus since late April has been on writing the "History of 4ID/TF Ironhorse in Iraq", under contract to the 4ID and Fort Hood. I've interviewed lots of people, read hundreds of documents, looked at thousands of pictures, and done my best to represent the great accomplishments of our TF Ironhorse Soldiers in Iraq. I'm about 98% complete with my work and mailed it out earlier this week for the final review cycle. The history will have 300+ pages of text and close to 75 pictures and maps.
Many of you have asked me when the book will be available and how you can purchase copies of it. At this time, I do not know what the book will cost, when it will be available, or how you can order it - that is a decision of the 4ID. With that said, if you want me to let you know how to order our history, send me an email note and I will put you on the mailing list for notification as soon as I learn those details. It would also help our printing plans if you would tell me how many books you would be interested in purchasing. You are not committing yourself to any purchase, just helping insure enough are printed to meet the demand. If you think of it, please put "Book Info" or something like that in the subject line so I can separate those notes from my other mail easily.
Ladies of the Ironhorse
As you may recall, Rhonda Eggleston has been working on writing the story of the 4ID and TF Ironhorse from the ladies point of view. Once it is complete, proceeds from the sale of the book will go to the Soldiers of the 4ID. Here is Rhonda's progress report - you can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ladies of the Ironhorse - We are in the homestretch for this project. I am working with Chuck Boyle of St. John's Press to get "Ladies of the Ironhorse" edited and published. We are still cleaning it up but I think you will be pleased with the final product. About one-third of the book is submissions made to me specifically for this project. The rest of the book is highlights from Bob's daily updates. It has turned into a timeline of the 4ID's deployment from the family's perspective. I have read it several times and I still can not get through the book without weeping. My goal with this project was to show that family members make the choice to be supportive and strong for our soldiers even when we feel like being anything but strong. Your honor, dignity, and courage come through in this project along with your steadfastness of spirit.
I am still not sure of price, but if you are interested in being informed of when "Ladies of the Ironhorse" is published, send me an e-mail and I will keep you updated.
I am missing e-mails from three ladies who submitted pieces, so if you have not heard from me regarding permission to print please e-mail me. I must have written permission from you in order to print your piece. I also want to thank "my ladies" for your encouraging notes the last few weeks. Your kind words have kept me going. Well done Ladies!
Rhonda Eggleston, email@example.com
Women Write the War - now available
You may recall that Bee Pederson, mother of one of our 4ID Soldiers, was putting together a book with stories from a woman's viewpoint on this war - wives, mothers, friends, female Soldiers, others. That book is now available. For additional information, go to her website at www.womenwritethewar.net or you may order direct from the publisher, Chuck Boyle, St. John's Press, at www.angusconsulting.com (205) 507-4633.
Many of you recall the great tee shirts, for $5 each, and hooded sweatshirts that were favorite items of our families during the deployment. My sons still wear their "I hate sand and camels" shirts and Jan and I are ready to break out our 4ID hooded sweatshirts once it cools off here in Georgia (that may be today or tomorrow, it feels much cooler than normal today and forecast is for a freeze tonight). If you have misplaced their web address, it is www.tstogo.com and they are still in business and happy to help 4ID/TF Ironhorse families and friends.
4ID Leaders Promoted
Four of the leaders of 4ID and TF Ironhorse have been recognized for their great work and the following general promotions have been announced by DoD over the past two months:
General Officer Announcement - 24 Sept 2004
Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld announced today that the President has nominated Army Maj. Gen. Raymond T. Odierno for appointment to the rank of lieutenant general and assignment as assistant to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, The Joint Staff, Washington, D.C. Odierno previously served as the commanding general, 4th Infantry Division (Mechanized), Fort Hood, Texas. (Promotion was done by General Richard B. Myers on 10 November 2004 at the Pentagon).
General Officer Announcements - 26 Oct 2004
Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld announces that the President has nominated 3 Army Competitive Category colonels for promotion to the rank of brigadier general:
Colonel James O. Barclay III, United States Army, for promotion to the rank of brigadier general. He is currently serving as Executive Officer to the Commander, Multi-National Force-Iraq. (COL Barclay was Chief of Staff of 4ID/TF Ironhorse until June 2003)
Colonel Donald M. Campbell, Jr., United States Army, for promotion to the rank of brigadier general. He is currently serving as Special Assistant to the Commanding General, United States Army Recruiting Command, Fort Knox, Kentucky. (COL Campbell was 1BCT CO and then Chief of Staff of 4ID/TF Ironhorse in Iraq)
Colonel Dennis E. Rogers, United States Army, for promotion to rank of brigadier general. He is currently serving as Assistant Chief of Staff, G-3, III Corps, with duty as the G-3, Multi-National Corps-Iraq. (COL Rogers was 2BCT CO in Iraq until June 2003).
CD of "4ID Update from Iraq" is still available
If you haven't ordered a copy of the updates from Iraq covering from 21 January 2003 through 30 April 2004, they are still available. On the final CD, I put the entire tour so now everything I did is on one CD. You have said that these are great mementos to have as part of your memories of the memorable year in Iraq. This latest CD also includes the "Lessons Learned" document that can be used by others, and you, on future deployments. The CD is in Microsoft Word format so that most people can easily read it.
Rather than sell the CD's, I will give one to each person who donates to Americans Remembered, my non-profit corporation which is working with the Veterans History Project to preserve memories of America's veterans and home front workers from WWII to today's War on Terror. Donations to this 501(c)(3) organization are tax deductible.
I highly encourage you to take the time to browse through our web page at www.americansremembered.org to see what we are doing with the Veterans History Project. If you agree with the value of our work, please contribute as much as you can afford. It takes about $100 to produce three interviews, process them, get copies to the veteran for his/her family archives, and get a DVD copy filed in the Library of Congress' permanent archives.
If you'd like a copy of the CD covering the entire tour, please send the donation along with the form below to me.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Enclosed is my tax deductible donation to Americans Remembered. Please send a CD of the "4ID Updates from Iraq - January 2003 to April 2004" to:
Donation Amount: __$25 __$50 __$100 ___$250 _____Other (specify)
City, State, Zip___________________________________________________
Your email address: _______________________________________________
This CD will be mailed to you in December 2004.
Mail this form, along with your check to:
Americans Remembered, Inc.
P.O. Box 682232
Marietta, GA 30068
Restructuring of 4ID
For those who aren't aware of it, the 4ID has been busy rebuilding, training, and reorganizing since they returned from Iraq. Lessons learned during the deployment are now being made a part of the permanent organization of the 4ID. As always, the 4ID is the leading edge and is the first division to go through this major restructuring. Without going into too much detail, they are adding a fourth maneuver brigade (now called Unit of Action) at Fort Hood, expanding the size of the division by a couple of thousand troops, and restructuring much of the makeup of the units within each brigade and the overall division. The 3BCT is still located at Fort Carson. The restructuring is on track to be finished by mid December. Once it is final, I'll include the new look of the 4ID in a future update.
As I talk to Soldiers still in the 4ID, they had a much deserved leave in May/June but have not slowed down a bit since then. Changes of command were common from company through battalion, brigade and division level during June and July. There are many new people in the 4ID, many who are still in the division from Iraq are in new jobs, and, as usual in the Army, the only constant is change. Many of our Iraq Soldiers have moved on to different jobs in different units and different posts so we now have a good mix of old veterans and Soldiers in the 4ID. To keep up to date on things going on in the 4ID, go to the web page at http://pao.hood.army.mil/4id/
Join the National 4th Infantry Division Association - Do it Now!
For those of you who have put off joining the 4th Inf Div Assn, now is the time to do it. It is the one place where you can always hook up with your old friends and we'll keep track of addresses to help you find buddies that have moved on. We had a great reunion in Branson, MO in July and will have another great one in Las Vegas, NV next July - would love to see you there. Even if you can't make a reunion, the best $15 per year you will ever spend is to join the 4IDA and stay in touch with other veterans of the 4ID. All TF Ironhorse Soldiers, including those attached from other units to the 4ID in Iraq - all who are authorized to wear the 4ID patch on their left or right (combat patch) shoulder - are eligible to join the 4IDA. The Fort Hood chapter has over 300 members since their reactivation this summer. You can download a membership form from the web site at www.4thinfantry.org. You can join a geographic chapter close to you, a unit chapter, or be a member at large. Key point is - do it now before you forget it.
1 Year Ago Today - 4ID/TF Ironhorse in Iraq
News release from CentCom dated 11-25-03:
4ID PATROLS NET MORE WEAPONS, EXPLOSIVES
TIKRIT, Iraq – 4th Infantry Division also known as “Task Force Ironhorse” has over the past 24 hours, conducted 199 patrols, seven raids and captured 18 individuals.
One of those captured was wanted for anti-coalition activity. Thirty-three of the patrols were joint operations conducted with the Iraqi Police, the Iraqi Civil Defense Corps and the Border Guard in an effort to continually improve the safety and standard of living for the Iraqi people.
Weapons and equipment confiscated in raids and patrols throughout the Task Force Ironhorse area of operation include (17) AK-47 assault rifles, one machine gun, (11) rifles, one pistol, three rocket propelled grenade launchers, (24) rocket propelled grenades, (53) grenades, (50) blasting caps, 6 containers of artillery propellant, (60) 120mm and (250) 60mm mortar rounds, (10) blocks of C4 explosives, (10) sticks of TNT, (50) mortar fuses, (40) spools of wire, used to detonate improvised explosive devices and five improvised explosive devices.
DoD also confirmed the deaths of three of our Soldiers.
60 Years Ago Today - 4ID in the Hurtgen Forest
25 November 1944 - D+173
Against CT 8 and CT 22, the enemy's resistance was stubborn and effective. Small arms, mortars and artillery were utilized to maximum advantage. A number of self-propelled assault guns were employed with good results against CT 22. The enemy was overrun by CT 12 in its zone of advance. The resulting confusion and ineffectiveness on the part of the Germans made it apparent that once the main line of resistance could be reached and rapidly crossed, lack of leadership, poor contact and incompetent troops made the enemy a "pushover". Companies and platoons that knew their flanks had been enveloped failed to withdraw before they were cut off.
The intermittent rain rendered the few roads and trails a mass of mud which did much to hinder the advance. It was almost impossible for the tanks and tank destroyers to keep up with the advancing infantry.
The 2nd Battalion, 8th Infantry, attacked at 1130 to the southeast. At 1330, it repulsed a small counterattack by 40 to 50 enemy infantry, continued the advance and by 1410, had succeeded in capturing its objective. The 3rd Battalion strengthened its previous positions and patrolled.
The 12th Infantry attacked at 0800 and made good progress through the difficult wooded, hilly terrain against light resistance of disorganized enemy. It succeeded in seizing its objective and from that position was able to assist by fire the attack of the 5th Armored Division on Hurtgen. The three battalions then mopped up small pockets of by-passed enemy.
The plan of the 22nd Infantry was to attack with 2nd and 3rd Battalions, without artillery preparation in hope of surprising the enemy. The 3rd Battalion was to envelope Grosshau to the north, and the 2nd to reach the edge of the woods at the southwest. The 2nd Battalion, delayed by the attached armor unable to negotiate the poor roads, attacked at 0820 and the 3rd Battalion at 0745. Both battalions encountered heavy resistance immediately. The advance of the 2nd Battalion was bitterly contested but by 1030 they were on their objective, the edge of the woods overlooking Grosshau. By 0845, the 3rd Battalion onto the high ground paused for reorganization (and moving of the armor) before assaulting the town of Grosshau. At 1145, it attacked across the open field leading to the town. The enemy reacted immediately by placing very heavy fire and stopped the attack, destroying four tanks and two tank destroyers. Further attempts were repulsed and by 1500, the battalion dug in north after suffering heavy casualties. The 1st Battalion, in reserve, moved out at 1300 and dug in at the road junction west of Grosshau.
Thanks to Philippe Cornil at www.revive-it.com.
A Few Words from Bob
Let us not forget to continue to support our troops in Iraq, Afghanistan and around the world - the Global War on Terror is far from over. As I watch Fox News this morning, I get tears in my eyes as I watch the Soldiers and Marines in Iraq being hooked up to talk with their wives back here in the US. It reminds me of the many miles that separated our 4ID/TF Ironhorse Soldiers and their families last year.
Several have asked me if I will do a similar update when the 4ID deploys again. The answer to that is - I don't know. I'll always support our Soldiers and their families but can not say yet that I will or won't do what I did with the last deployment - and I haven't a clue when the next deployment will be, or to where.
I will periodically send out updates so if you have read this far and want to stay on my distribution list, please send me a note with your name and email address. Many on my distribution list now do not include names - I'd like to start putting your name with your email address as I build my new distribution list.
Continue to pray for our troops and their families. Enjoy your Thanksgiving with your family and friends. And please let me know if you want to be notified when I have ordering information on the "History of 4ID/TF Ironhorse in Iraq" once I find out the information - and please tell me how many books you might be interested in buying.
Bob Babcock - "Deeds not Words"
President, Americans Remembered - www.americansremembered.org
President, 22nd Infantry Regiment Society - www.22ndinfantry.org
Past President, Historian, National 4th Infantry Div Assn - www.4thinfantry.org
Marietta, GA - Phone 678-480-4422 (cell)