Face of Defense: Soldier Sees Progress in Iraq

CONTINGENCY OPERATING SITE WARRIOR, Iraq — Since the onset of Oper­a­tion Iraqi Free­dom in 2003, thou­sands of sol­diers have wit­nessed progress through­out their deploy­ments to Iraq.

For Army Sgt. Kevin Chap­man, a squad leader with the 1st Infantry Division’s Com­pa­ny D, 2nd Bat­tal­ion, 12th Cav­al­ry Reg­i­ment, 1st Advise and Assist Task Force, being a part of the tran­si­tion from Oper­a­tion Iraqi Free­dom to Oper­a­tion New Dawn has shaped his career as a soldier. 

Chap­man said he always want­ed to serve in the armed forces, and enlist­ed in the Army in 2005. 

“I joined the Army to try to make a dif­fer­ence for my coun­try,” the Cony­ers, Ga., native said. “I knew it was some­thing I could make a career out of and do for the rest of my life.” 

From 2005 to 2007, Chap­man said, he was as a gun­ner for the mor­tar pla­toon with the 1st Armored Division’s 1st Bat­tal­ion, 36th Infantry Reg­i­ment, from Fried­berg, Ger­many. He lat­er was tasked as the radio and tele­phone oper­a­tor in the fire direc­tion center. 

After the deploy­ment, Chap­man was reas­signed to Fort Hood, Texas, where he cur­rent­ly serves. 

After deploy­ing twice dur­ing the mid­dle and lat­ter parts of Oper­a­tion Iraqi Free­dom, Chap­man said, his cur­rent Iraq tour in sup­port of Oper­a­tion New Dawn is dif­fer­ent because of U.S. forces’ cur­rent role to advise Iraqi secu­ri­ty forces. 

“Dur­ing my first deploy­ment we did pres­ence patrols and ter­rain denial,” said Chap­man. “We would go out to show we were there, and we were a force. We were more aggres­sive dur­ing [my first tour], and we did­n’t work direct­ly with the [Iraqi forces].” 

Chap­man said he saw the tran­si­tion in oper­a­tions begin dur­ing his sec­ond deploy­ment in 2008. 

“In 2008 and 2009, I wit­nessed tran­si­tion,” he said. “After the agree­ments between the U.S. and Iraq, we had to have an [Iraqi] coun­ter­part with us, and we worked close­ly with them, train­ing them on how to shoot mortars. 

“Instead of being the dom­i­nant force and telling them what to do and how to do it,” he added, “we asked for sug­ges­tions and their opin­ions on the train­ing we gave.” 

U.S. and Iraqi forces coop­er­at­ed and com­bined strengths to devel­op train­ing and mis­sion sched­ules, while Iraqis took the lead, Chap­man said. 

Army Spc. John Charles, one of Chapman’s squad mem­bers, said pri­or expe­ri­ences def­i­nite­ly influ­ence Chapman’s abil­i­ty to be a great leader. 

“He gets a lot of respon­si­bil­i­ty dumped on him, more than any­body else, and he han­dles it with a sense of humor and a pride about him that I’ve not seen from anoth­er sol­dier,” said Charles, a Hous­ton native. 

Chap­man con­sis­tent­ly per­forms above his cur­rent rank, Charles added. 

Now, with the mis­sion of an advise and assist task force, Chap­man said it is impor­tant for U.S. forces to teach the Iraqi forces to main­tain an active pres­ence in their country. 

“We want them to take the reins, step in and con­tin­ue tak­ing over every­thing we do,” Chap­man said. “It’s impor­tant for us to teach and show them, and hope­ful­ly when we leave, they will be bet­ter able to uti­lize the train­ing we’ve giv­en them, and it will con­tin­ue mak­ing them better.” 

U.S. Depart­ment of Defense
Office of the Assis­tant Sec­re­tary of Defense (Pub­lic Affairs) 

Team GlobDef

Seit 2001 ist GlobalDefence.net im Internet unterwegs, um mit eigenen Analysen, interessanten Kooperationen und umfassenden Informationen für einen spannenden Überblick der Weltlage zu sorgen. GlobalDefence.net war dabei die erste deutschsprachige Internetseite, die mit dem Schwerpunkt Sicherheitspolitik außerhalb von Hochschulen oder Instituten aufgetreten ist.

Alle Beiträge ansehen von Team GlobDef →