Iraq Veterans Notebooks
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The Combat Action Badge (CAB) is a military badge worn by U.S. Army soldiers. The emblem features both an M9 bayonet and M67 grenade. The Combat Action Badge may be awarded to any soldier not eligible for the Combat Infantryman Badge (CIB) or Combat Medical Badge (CMB) after the date of September 18, 2001 performing duties in an area where hostile fire pay or imminent danger pay is authorized, who is personally present and actively engaging or being engaged by the enemy, and performing satisfactorily in accordance with the prescribed rules of engagement. The CAB may be awarded to any branch of service or military occupational specialty including infantrymen except when serving in a role where they would be eligible for the CIB.
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The Iraq War was a protracted armed conflict that began with the 2003 invasion of Iraq by a United States-led coalition. The invasion regime toppled the government of Saddam Hussein. However, the conflict continued for much of the next decade as an insurgency emerged to oppose the occupying forces and the post-invasion Iraqi government. An estimated 151,000 to 600,000 or more Iraqis were killed in the first 3–4 years of conflict. The United States officially withdrew from the country in 2011 but became re-involved in 2014 at the head of a new coalition; the insurgency and many dimensions of the civil armed conflict continue.
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Alerted on 19 January 2003, the 4th Infantry Division was scheduled to take part in the Iraq War in the spring of 2003 by spearheading an advance from Turkey into northern Iraq. The Turkish Parliament refused to grant permission for the operation and the division's equipment remained offshore on ships during the buildup for the war (see below). Its original mission, holding 13 Iraqi divisions along the "Green Line" in northern Iraq, was executed by joint Task Force Viking. Arriving through Kuwait after the invasion had started, the division was subjected to multiple "SCUD" alerts while at Camps Wolf and Udairi, necessitating the retreat to bunkers in full chemical protective gear.
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In early 2004, units from the division deployed to Iraq to take part in the combat operations of that country. The 2d Brigade deployed in January 2004 to Iraq and returned to Schofield Barracks in February of the following year. The 3d Brigade, 25th Infantry Division began deploying to Afghanistan in March 2004. The first element to deploy was 2d Battalion, 27th Infantry Regiment ("Wolfhounds"). They were accompanied by Battery B, 3d Battalion, 7th Field Artillery Regiment. The Wolfhounds operated in the volatile Paktika Province on the border with Pakistan in the Waziristan region. The 25th Infantry Division redeployed to Schofield Barracks Hawaii in April 2005. Army Spc. Richard Burton, crew chief with the 25th Infantry Division, provides security in a Black Hawk helicopter during a flight mission over Afghanistan's Kandahar province, 26 Nov. 2012. The 25th Infantry Division is recognized for the first successful free democratic elections in Afghanistan on 9 October 2004. One of the missions of the 25th Infantry Division was to track down insurgent Taliban and Al-Qaeda members in the mountainous terrain of Afghanistan. In July 2005, a 4th Brigade was added to the 25th Infantry Division as an airborne brigade stationed in Fort Richardson, Alaska. It deployed in October 2006 in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. The 2d Brigade began its transformation as a Stryker Brigade Combat Team while the 3d Brigade began its transformation as a unit of action (UA) in the same year. The (Light) status was dropped from the division name in January 2006. On 15 December 2006 the 172d Infantry Brigade was reflagged as the 1st BCT, 25th Infantry Division; concurrently, the former 1st BCT (Stryker) at Fort Lewis, Washington was reflagged as the 2d Cavalry Regiment (Stryker) and moved to Vilseck, Germany. From 2007 through 2009 elements of the 25th, including the 1/21 "Gimlets" from Schofield served in Iraq in the vicinity of Baghdad, serving proudly at great cost.
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The long, hot summer of 2003 drew to a close for the Marine Corps forces remaining in Iraq. The brief offensive of March-April had become an un planned occupation and peacekeeping campaign. Lieutenant General James T. Conway’s I Marine Expeditionary Force (I MEF) staff had announced the transition to “Post-hostility Operations” on 15 April, and the redeployment to a new operating area to the south of Baghdad ensued. The scope of Operation Iraqi Freedom shifted into securi ty and stability operations, facilitating humanitar ian assistance and restoring civilian rule. Further more, the Marine Corps presence in Iraq loomed more temporary than ever with the identification of follow-on military contingents of the loose Co alition organized by the United States and United Nations that would take over these duties upon their arrival in Iraq.
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