|Author||Kendall D. Gott|
Eyewitness to War: A US Army Oral History of Operation AL FAJR, is a unique publication. This study is a derivative of the CSI Operational Leadership Experience (OLE) project, a program that collects and archives first-person experiences from the Global War on Terror. The second battle for Fallujah in November 2004 was a brutal and bloody fight so characteristic of urban terrain. Under the overall command of the 1st Marine Division, four Marine infantry and two US Army battalions, Task Forces 2-2 Infantry and 2-7 Cavalry, were committed to the streets of Fallujah while the Army’s 2d Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division formed a cordon to hold and isolate the insurgents in the city. Using the firepower and mobility of the Army’s heavy armor and mechanized units to full effect, the Marine Regimental Combat Teams were successful in destroying the enemy and securing Fallujah in ten days.
Interviews in Eyewitness to War span a wide spectrum of participants, from commanders and senior non-commissioned officers at platoon, company, and battalion levels, to combat and combat service support personnel on the battlefield, and to one journalist who witnessed the battle firsthand. We make no claim that this history is a comprehensive work, as these 36 people are but a fraction of the thousands who took part in the operation. This is primarily an Army oral history, though one of the Marine Regimental Commanders agreed to provide his story. The USMC bore the brunt of fighting in Fallujah and this study does not attempt to overlook their tremendous accomplishments.
The individuals in this work volunteered their time to have their observations recorded for history and to work with our staff over many months. Their stories are a tremendous testimony to the skill, flexibility, and bravery of the US Army today.
This collection of personal experiences is the raw material history is made of. It is a riveting and useful way to study the past. It is our hope that the insights derived from their roles in the second battle for Fallujah will better prepare the US Army for tomorrow’s endeavors. Military science students, military historians, and political scientists may be interested in this volume, as well as military leaders and Iraq War veterans.