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[H.A.S.C. No. 108–28]








One Hundred Eighth Congress

DUNCAN HUNTER, California, Chairman
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CURT WELDON, Pennsylvania
JIM SAXTON, New Jersey
JOHN M. McHUGH, New York
HOWARD ''BUCK'' McKEON, California
WALTER B. JONES, North Carolina
JIM RYUN, Kansas
ROBIN HAYES, North Carolina
KEN CALVERT, California
ROB SIMMONS, Connecticut
JO ANN DAVIS, Virginia
W. TODD AKIN, Missouri
JOE WILSON, South Carolina
TOM COLE, Oklahoma
JEB BRADLEY, New Hampshire
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JOHN KLINE, Minnesota

JOHN SPRATT, South Carolina
LANE EVANS, Illinois
GENE TAYLOR, Mississippi
MARTY MEEHAN, Massachusetts
VIC SNYDER, Arkansas
ADAM SMITH, Washington
MIKE McINTYRE, North Carolina
ROBERT A. BRADY, Pennsylvania
BARON P. HILL, Indiana
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JOHN B. LARSON, Connecticut
SUSAN A. DAVIS, California
RICK LARSEN, Washington
JIM COOPER, Tennessee

Robert S. Rangel, Staff Director
Eric R. Sterner, Professional Staff Member
Justin Bernier, Research Assistant

1\ Mr. Alaxander left the Committee on Aug. 9, 2004.
2\ Mr. Stenholm was assigned to the Committee on Sept. 8, 2004.



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    Wednesday, September 8, 2004, The Performance of U.S. Military Servicemembers in Iraq and Afghanistan


    Wednesday, September 8, 2004




    Hefley, Hon. Joel, a Representative from Colorado

    Hunter, Hon. Duncan, a Representative from California, Chairman, Committe on Armed Services

    Skelton, Hon. Ike, a Representative from Missouri, Ranking Member, Committee on Armed Services

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    Costello, Capt. Patrick, USA, Former ADA, 101st Airborn Division

    Linninigton, Col. Michael, USA, Former Brigade Commander, 101st Aireborne Division

    McCoy, Lt. Col. Bryan, P., USMC, Former Commander, Former Commander, Third Battalion, Fourth Marine Regiment

    Savage, Capt. Morgan, USMC, Former Company Commander, Third Battalion, Fourth Marine Regiment

    Springman, Lt. Col. Jeffery, A., USA, Fomer Commander, 3-29 Field Artillery Battalion, Fourth Infantry Division



Hunter, Hon. Duncan
Skelton, Hon. Ike

[There were no Documents submitted.]
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[The Questions and Answers can be viewed in the hard copy.]


House of Representatives,
Committee on Armed Services,
Washington, DC, Wednesday, September 8, 2004.

    The committee met, pursuant to call, at 10:05 a.m., in room 2118, Rayburn House Office Building, Hon. Joel Hefley presiding.


    Mr. HEFLEY. If our witnesses would take their places, and the Members take their seats, we will begin this hearing.

    Our Chairman, Duncan Hunter, is unfortunately detained at the White House. And so I will be filling in for him for the time being.

    Our guests this morning are Colonel Michael Linnington, former Brigade Commander of the 101st Airborne Division; Lieutenant Colonel McCoy of the U.S. Marine Corps, who is a former Commander of the Third Battalion, Fourth Marine Regiment; Lieutenant Colonel Jeffrey Springman, former Commander, Third Battalion, in support of the Fourth Infantry Division; Captain Patrick Costello, former Air Defense Artillery Commander of the 101st Airborne Division; Captain Morgan Savage, U.S. Marine Corps, former Company Commander, Third Battalion, Fourth Marine Regiment.
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    Welcome, gentlemen, to our committee. We look forward to your testimony and appreciate your willingness to appear before us this morning.

    Today's hearing is a bit of a departure from the conventional Armed Services Committee hearings. Today, we will hear from these military officers directly in charge of commanding our men and women in uniform who are performing with bravery, honor and effectiveness, in multiple theatres around the world in the fight against global terrorism.

    While we normally hear from generals several steps removed, today, we will hear from those with the most direct experience in how the American soldier and Marine is carrying out this important mission for their country.

    This hearing is about the selfless work of the American military in Iraq. It is about how we acknowledge the efforts of our troops who are deployed halfway around the world. It is about how future generations will remember this generation of Americans called to serve their country in the Global War on Terrorism.

    Now, some may think this is merely another attempt to justify the war in Iraq. I happen to personally believe that the American people are safer with Saddam Hussein out of power and in jail, and I think that our efforts to bring democracy to the Middle East will discredit, demoralize and undermine our terrorist enemies.

    Others may, and I am sure actually do, disagree. However, I trust that we can all agree that the vast majority of Americans serving in Iraq and Afghanistan are answering their country's call to service with bravery, dedication, integrity and honor.
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    Tomorrow, we will have two full committee hearings on the abuse of detainees in the Global War on Terrorism. What happened in those instances was inexcusable, but it is hardly representative of the vast majority of our military personnel in Iraq. The misdeeds of some soldiers at Abu Ghraib Prison and elsewhere must not be allowed to define worldwide perceptions of our Armed Forces.

    Thirty years ago, a generation of Americans fought in another foreign war. Because the war was controversial, some people who opposed it sought to tar all Vietnam veterans with the crimes of a small handful. We can't allow that to happen again. That is why we are here, to hear from individuals who have returned from the battlefield about all that they have accomplished and why the American soldier, Marine, sailor and airman still represents the best that this country has to offer.

    Gentlemen, thank you, again, for appearing before this committee, and we understand that you don't set national policy. Our purpose here today is not to pull you into these debates. But, you know your soldier and Marines, and you know the challenges that they have overcome. You know the courage they have demonstrated in combat. You know the seriousness with which they take their missions. And you know the hard work they have done to help the abused people secure a Democratic future.

    The American people need to know it, too. We all look forward to your testimony, but first, let me recognize the committee's ranking Democrat, Mr. Skelton, for any remarks he might like to make.

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    Mr. Skelton.

    [The prepared statement of the Mr. Hunter can be viewed in the hard copy.]


    Mr. SKELTON. Thank you so much, Mr. Chairman.

    Let me join you in welcoming our witnesses, a colonel, two lieutenant colonels, and two captains.

    And it gives us the opportunity, speaking for those we represent as well as the entire American people, to say thank you to you and to all who wear the uniform that are engaged in the challenges in Iraq.

    Cicero, the great Roman orator, once said that gratitude is the greatest of all virtues. And we want to, before we do anything else today, express our gratitude and our thanks to you for your service, your devotion to duty, for your patriotism and for your professionalism. And for that, we thank you, and it is a pleasure to have you.

    Mr. Chairman, when I awoke on Labor Day morning, I heard the disturbing news that seven Marines were killed outside of Fallujah. Needless to say, that news saddened me more than I can tell. My heart sank further still yesterday when we passed the symbolic but distressing milestone of a thousand American troops who have died in Iraq.
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    And, of course, I think every congressional district has felt that pain, including mine. This number represents a thousand families who have paid the highest price for the war in Iraq. When the price is this high, what exactly do we have to show for the sacrifice of our sons and daughters?

    But we made a commitment to a free Iraq, and I have maintained from the beginning that we must see that commitment through. We must have a strategy and a plan that takes account of the lessons of history. It is no surprise to the Members of this committee that I have been reading and studying history literally all of my adult life, and I would like to share some of my thoughts with the gentlemen before us today.

    We ignore the lessons of history at our peril. And unfortunately, that calls for some of us—who called for the detailed planning for the Post Cold War—or the post-war period, those proposals and urging of plans were ignored in the months leading up to the war. I sent two letters to the President on this, one September the Fourth, 2002, and one the day before we went in to attack in March.

    I am not convinced that we have a viable exit strategy. When I look at Monday's attack on the Marine convoy near Fallujah, I can't help but, gentlemen, think of Vietnam. In that war, we allowed the enemy sanctuaries in Cambodia and Laos to exist, only to suffer the consequences later, when they came back to fight another day.

    So I ask the question, have we not learned the lessons of denying the enemy sanctuary? Within a political agreement from the Iraqi government, the Marine patrols have not entered Fallujah since April, allowing it to become a safe haven for insurgents, and likely allowing guerrilla leader Abu Zarqawi to use the city as a base of operations.
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    My fears about our withdrawal last April have been confirmed. Sadr City has also become another sanctuary for insurgents, and we must have a plan for developing viable and strong Iraqi forces.

    Lieutenant General Petraeus, who some of you I know know, is giving that mission his all. That is a long-term mission. We can't risk sinking further into a quagmire while we wait for those forces to be fully trained. We need a strategy now to force the insurgents from their holes, from their sanctuary holes. We cannot afford to surrender the cities of Iraq to the insurgents and then sit by while they attack us from these safe havens.

    Allowing the enemy to establish sanctuaries didn't work 35 years ago in Vietnam, and it doesn't work today in Iraq. It doesn't please me to say this, particularly with such fine examples of American valor sitting right here before us. We owe the men and women of America who serve this Nation in Iraq, in Afghanistan, around the world a strategy befitting their service.

    I am very proud of all you have accomplished. It speaks well of our Nation that our troops have shouldered the burden of this war and carried our country so far for so long. I am concerned, however, that we are asking a great deal of our troops when we continue to deploy them into combat with no end in sight.

    Some of these witnesses have deployed multiple times in Iraq and Afghanistan. I am sure they will deploy again. How long can we continue this pace before we do irreparable harm to our military's readiness and retention, our troops morale? I don't know.
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    I had an interesting visit with the adjutant general of the Missouri National Guard the other day. And to hear him tell about the lowered end-strength of certain National Guard units in Missouri tells me that many of the people are not joining, or they are getting out, and it is a serious problem for the National Guard in my home state.

    We are stretching the force too thin. We have the finest military in the world, the finest that the world has ever seen. That is represented today by the soldiers and Marines who, Mr. Chairman, will testify before them. So we owe you the very best we can provide. That is the purpose of this committee.

    It is also the purpose of this committee to ask tough questions. Second place in Iraq, second place in Afghanistan doesn't count, or your efforts, your valorous efforts will be for naught. Let's hope that we have true success, and we learn the lessons from the past, particularly the past in Vietnam. And thank you again for being here.

    Mr. HEFLEY. Thank you, Mr. Skelton.

    Colonel Linnington, why don't we start with you, and then we will move down the row here. And, without objection, your complete statement will be put in the record. And if you would like to summarize in any way, well, you have the time.


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    Colonel LINNINGTON. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

    Good morning, Mr. Chairman, Congressman Skelton, distinguished Members, good morning.

    I am here this morning with my brothers in arms, Lieutenant Colonel Bryan McCoy, formerly Battalion Commander in the Third Battalion, Fourth Marine Regiment; Lieutenant Colonel Jeff Springman, formerly a Battalion Commander in the Third Battalion, 29th Field Artillery of the Fourth Infantry Division at Fort Carson; Captain Morgan Savage, formerly K Company Commander in Third Battalion, Fourth Marines; and Captain Pat Costello, on the end, formerly Company Commander in C Company, second to the 44th Field Artillery, and the 101st Airborne Division at Ft. Campbell.

    Before coming to the Joint Staff in early July, I commanded the Third Infantry Brigade in the 101st Airborne Division at Fort Campbell, Kentucky. During my command, I was privileged to serve in both Afghanistan and Iraq, most recently, from February of 2003 through February of 2004, as part of the 101st Airborne Division's efforts in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

    My brigade departed Iraq after transferring authority to the First Battalion, 14th Calvary Stryker Unit from the Iron Horse Brigade out of Fort Lewis last February. I would like to thank you for this opportunity to talk about our soldiers and also for your tremendous support, concern for our troops, and especially your visits to soldiers deployed throughout Iraq and Afghanistan.

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    I had the opportunity to meet many of you in this room—over the past year—that visited us in Iraq, and I thank you personally for your visit. The support of the American people and our elected officials is very important to our soldiers. Nothing makes me prouder than to have the opportunity today to talk about our soldiers and the great job they are doing throughout the full range of military operations.

    In the early days of combat, my soldiers crossed by air and ground into Iraq, fought in Al Hillah in South Baghdad, and after the fall of the regime, moved with the 101st Airborne Division north to the Nineveh Province, centered on the city of Mosul.

    My brigade was responsible for the area west of Mosul, centered on the city of Telefar and out to the Syrian border, south of the Tigris River.

    My brigade performed a wide range of operations from war fighting to stability-and-support operations, often conducting both within blocks or hours of each other. It was not uncommon for my soldiers to be rebuilding schools and medical clinics during the day and conducting mounted and foot patrols at night, or fighting insurgents in one part of town while assisting in elections in another.

    In all of these operations, our soldiers performed magnificently with courage, dedication, selflessness, compassion and respect for the Iraqi people that made me very proud to be their commander.

    Our junior leaders in particular made me especially proud. Our junior leaders displayed tremendous maturity in their leadership and tackled responsibility that is normally reserved for those much more senior in rank. It wasn't uncommon in any zone for young lieutenants and sergeants to be conducting traditional infantry tasks, like raids, securing key infrastructure and conducting foot patrols, with newly trained Iraqi security forces.
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    What was unique was that my young leaders also conducted nontraditional missions, like supervising harvests, restoring key infrastructure, especially oil and water facilities. They settled land disputes. They retrained city and border policemen. And they assisted in local elections. Our soldiers performed all of these operations, as you mentioned, Mr. Chairman, with courage and integrity.

    They bravely fought side by side with loyal Iraqi police and security forces in an effort to maintain peace and security for the Iraqi people. I can recall countless incidents of heroism by our young soldiers and our young leaders in intense fighting, in dark and dangerous streets and back alleys and in uncertain conditions where they knowingly exposed themselves to danger in order to accomplish their mission, because that is our primary task, accomplishment of the mission.

    They are also impressive for their innovation and initiative. I am happy to have one of my company commanders with me this morning, on the end, Captain Pat Costello, commander of an Air Defense Artillery Battery that was attached to my brigade combat team in Iraq. In normal life, Pat's unit was responsible for providing air defense coverage and early warning for my 4,000-plus soldiers. In Iraq, once we transitioned to stability operations, Pat became my emergency response program coordinator, responsible for all of the humanitarian and rebuilding operations in my portion of Iraq, over 700 projects valued at over $7 million, all designed to improve the quality of life for the average Iraqi citizen.

    Pat's unit of about 120 soldiers quickly transitioned from their air defense artillery tasks to convoy and fuel escort missions, traversing hundreds of miles daily from the borders with Turkey to Baghdad and from Mosul to the western border with Syria, all helping to get fuel, primarily propane and benzene, to the families in the remote regions of that country.
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    Pat's innovation and leadership are examples of the many diverse and challenging tasks we asked our young leaders to perform daily in Iraq. Finally, our soldiers are serving with compassion and respect for the Iraqi people and genuinely care about the cultural sensitivities in this largely tribal environment.

    This relationship goes far beyond the things you might expect, such as respecting local customs and traditions. It goes as far as coordinating delivery of donated school supplies from American families sent in the mail to needy Iraqi school children or fixing playgrounds and soccer fields on soldiers' off-time or donating food and money for sick and poor Iraqi families.

    Acts of kindness, both from and toward our soldiers, is rarely reported in our news media, but they are everyday facts of life in Iraq. From my part, I spent a great deal of time my last eight months in Iraq meeting daily with Iraqi governmental and ministerial leaders, tribe elders, and border, customs and security officials. We used all of these opportunities to work together to identify issues, come up with joint solutions and work together for the betterment of the people of Iraq.

    In all of these interactions I had, 99 percent of the Iraqis I met with were happy for the American presence, concerned with improving the quality of life of their citizens and dedicated to the future prosperity of their country.

    Mr. Chairman, in closing and on behalf of our soldiers, I again want to thank you for all you did in supporting us during our deployment and our families during our absence. One of the things that keeps soldiers going is knowing their families are well cared for while they are deployed and will be well provided for if they don't come home.
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    Again, thank you for this opportunity, and I look forward to answering your questions this morning.

    Mr. HEFLEY. Thank you, Colonel.

    Colonel McCoy.


    Colonel MCCOY. Good morning, Chairman, Congressman Skelton and distinguished Members of the House Armed Services Committee. It is my distinct pleasure to be here with you today and assist you in any way possible.

    My name is Lieutenant Colonel Bryan McCoy. Prior to being assigned to the National War College, I was the Commanding Officer of Third Battalion, Fourth Marines from May 2002 until July of 2004.

    During this period, I had the privilege to lead that battalion through (OIF) Operation Iraqi Freedom I and Operation Iraqi Freedom II. During OIF I, we were among the initial battalions of the First Marine Division that crossed the Kuwait and Iraq border on 21 March 2003.

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    We fought at the Basra International Airport and destroyed the 31st Brigade of the 51st Mechanized Infantry Division. We fought up Highway 1 at places like Afaq, Al Kut. We forced the foot crossing of the Diyala River and were the first Marines to enter Baghdad.

    Two days later, we were the battalion at al-Fardus Square that liberated the Palestine Hotel and assisted the Iraqi citizens in pulling down the statue of Saddam.

    On that day, 9 April 2003, we immediately transitioned to stability-and-security operations and, for the next two weeks, worked around the clock restoring water and securing vital infrastructure. We patrolled markets and neighborhoods and made vital human-to-human contact with the citizens of Baghdad, not from our armored vehicles or from even behind sunglasses, we made eye-to-eye contact with the average Iraqi and communicated our intent that we were there not to harm, but to liberate.

    Our young Marines were amazing in their ability to transition from Phase III combat operations to the much more ambiguous mission of security-and-stability operations. These young men, in many cases, were last year's high school seniors. They instinctively knew what to do and demonstrated great compassion on a people that had known only terror and fear.

    The effect of their efforts was electric. To see the faces of the tormented people, many of whom had never known anything but being ruled by Saddam and his brutal regime, was overwhelming. As we gained their trust, nearly every adult or child had a story to tell about how they had personally suffered under Saddam. They told of family members dragged off in the middle of the night to be tortured, raped and murdered.

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    Many showed us their scars, mutilated limbs, sightless eyes, burned and scared bodies. Their stories were not difficult to believe. On our march up, nearly every police station we entered, we found torture rooms complete with photo albums with before-and-after pictures of victims. This is more or less a show-and-tell book, so when the Baath party officials from Baghdad visited, they would be able to show their good work.

    The relief visible in the faces of the average Iraqi was all I needed to know just how horribly the Iraqi people had suffered. Despite being in a city of five million people, we managed to bring a majority of the looting under control in a few short days.

    The Iraqi people were grateful for our presence in their neighborhoods, since a U.S. Marine meant safety and security. Prior to that, the uniform meant only lawlessness and oppression. We saw the Sheik Omar Marketplace open, and people were able to return to mosque. We were relieved in Baghdad by elements of the U.S. Army's First Brigade, Third Infantry Division and, by June, had returned to 29 Palms, California, to begin refitting and retraining.

    We began our second tour in Iraq in February of 2004. We relieved the U.S. Army units in the western parts of the Al Anbar province. Our battalion was responsible for the cities of Haditha, Ana and Rawah. Heading into this deployment, we continued to train at the high intensity level, but also developed the tactics, techniques and procedures required in security-and-stability operations.

    We had select Marines and sailors attend intensive language training. We all underwent training to attune us to the Iraqi culture and the religion of Islam. We also employed the new operating principle of the First Marine Division: First, do no harm. Those were our watch words as we went about our mission. We would not inflict any more harm on a people that had suffered for 30 years under Saddam Hussein. Our mission was to build on the incredibly good work of the Third Armored Calvary Regiment (ACR) which we had relieved.
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    In short, we were to maintain the rule of law, build the capabilities and competence of the Iraqi security forces and identify resource projects to aid the recovery of Iraq. We aimed project funding at buildings for schools, government institutions, infrastructure, such as water pumping stations and electric substations.

    Above all else, we offered the Iraqi people a chance at a better life, not so much by what we could do by our hands, but by Iraqis doing things for Iraqis. We were simply enablers.

    Learning from our experiences in Baghdad the previous year, we again sought to make that critical human-to-human contact with the Iraqi people. We engaged the Iraqi police as equals. Under the leadership of Captain Matt Danner, a reinforced rifle squad moved into the Haditha police station and lived with them 24/7. They were the only permanent U.S. presence in the city. By living and working side-by-side with the Iraqi people, this small hand-picked squad earned their trust.

    Soon, the human intelligence vital to counter an insurgency was flowing, and we began to make a real impact on the criminal and terrorist elements in that town.

    Captain Danner's squad also served as a mirror and a window. As a mirror, they provided valuable insight into how our battalion's actions or inactions were perceived, and we were able to adjust our posture when needed in order to project the right message.

    As a window, that squad provided me with valuable insight into the often Byzantine world of local Iraqi politics, their personalities, feuds, alliances and debts. More importantly, they were a constant reminder to the Iraqi police that we were not leaving them alone, and we were committed to their future.
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    Our work was interrupted in April when we were called to Fallujah to participate in Operation Vigilant Resolve. Once again, the Marines and sailors responded brilliantly, transitioning from security-stability operations to high-intensity urban combat. By mid-May, we were back in our former area of operations and picked up where we had left off.

    Earlier in our deployment, the Haditha and Ana police stations were weak, demoralized and easily intimidated institutions that did not hold the respect of their adversaries, the people, even of themselves. And they labored under the stigma of the old police force or as American lackeys.

    By the time we finished our deployment, they were confident, pro-active departments that were respected and not feared by the average Iraqi citizen. And they dealt with the anti-Iraqi governmental forces on equal footing. Our presence was that of a close friend and partner, not as an occupier.

    This change did not come about overnight. Success was almost imperceptible, much like a tide coming in. We made some very strong bonds with the Iraqis there. I can tell you, there are some very brave and stout-hearted men who are just as passionate about their country as we are about ours.

    When it was time for the battalion to rotate home, I was petitioned by the mayor of Haditha and the chief of police to allow Captain Danner and his squad to stay on. Captain Danner was made an honorary member of the Jerrafa tribe, which is the largest tribe in Haditha.

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    He even received a few marriage proposals to marry the daughters of a few of the policemen. On the day that Captain Danner and his Marines did leave, they slaughtered a goat and had a feast in their honor. There was a celebration. That was almost unthinkable the five months when we first arrived in country.

    Perhaps the biggest impact we made was on the children. Marines and sailors love kids, and the relationship was an easy key one to forge. The children are the future of Iraq. They no longer have to fear for their parents being murdered or raped by their government.

    We have done and continue to do great things in Iraq. And we are doing it side-by-side with some very brave and dedicated Iraqis. I can tell you stories about the chiefs of police that are out there, personally disarming Improvised Explosive Devices (IED) so we don't have to.

    Your young Marines have demonstrated incredible courage, endurance, will and compassion on a daily basis, all to make a better Iraq. And I believe we are being successful. Thank you for this opportunity, and I look forward to your questions.

    Mr. HEFLEY. Thank you, Colonel.


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    Colonel SPRINGMAN. Mr. Chairman, Congressman Skelton, and distinguished Members of the committee, thank you for the opportunity to appear before you today to share with you my recent experience serving in Operation Iraqi Freedom.

    I currently serve as a member of the Army staff in the Pentagon. I participated in Operation Iraqi Freedom from early April 2003 to late March 2004, as the Commander of the Third Battalion, 29th Field Artillery, Task Force Pace Setter, part of the Third Brigade Combat Team, Fourth Infantry Division from Fort Carson, Colorado.

    Our unit began combat operations north of Baghdad. Next, we operated near the Iranian border, then, in the vicinity of Kirkurk and, for the last nine months, in the Sunni triangle between Balad and Samarra in a city named An Dhuluiya.

    While we performed many tasks, our major missions were controlling an area of over 750 square kilometers to include providing security alongside local security forces and repairing or rebuilding infrastructure suffering from years of neglect. We provided artillery support throughout the brigade combat team's entire area. We moved over 6,000 captured enemy bombs from the air base we used as our forward operating base, and we operated the brigade holding area.

    I had the privilege of leading some of America's finest young men and women and some of the world's finest soldiers. In addition to U.S. Army artillery, infantry, military police and engineers, we had an infantry platoon and an explosive ordnance detachment from the Republic of Moldova attached to us. They were with us for their entire six-month deployment. Thanks to our mid-level noncommissioned officers, lieutenants and captains, we performed our task to standard, and despite having soldiers wounded, we suffered no deaths to enemy action or accident.
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    I feel we were able to bring all of our soldiers home because the young leaders performed magnificently, making good decisions and ensuring their soldiers were ready. Daily, I witnessed artillery lieutenants and sergeants leading patrols to the same standards as infantry leaders, yet quickly switching back to their artillery duties without a misstep.

    These same leaders performed duties as civil affairs (CA) officers. Additionally, we have soldiers alive because their immediate leaders ensured they were properly trained and maintained uniform standards despite the extreme conditions.

    One of our soldiers earned the Silver Star after being wounded. I have no doubt he would have been killed or too seriously wounded to continue fighting if he had not been wearing his body armor and helmet properly.

    I am extremely honored to be here and wanted to thank you for this opportunity. Thank you.

    Mr. HEFLEY. Thank you very much, Colonel.

    Captain Savage.


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    Captain SAVAGE. Good morning, Mr. Chairman, Congressman Skelton, distinguished ladies and gentlemen of Congress.

    My name is Captain Morgan Savage, currently the Academics Officer at the Officer Candidate School. I had the privilege of serving the Third Battalion, Fourth Marines, for two years, from the summer of 2002 to the summer of 2004. We did one deployment in Operation Iraqi Freedom, as the Headquarters and Services (H&S) company commander.

    And in the second deployment, I had the opportunity to serve as a rifle company commander in Lieutenant Colonel McCoy's battalion. I will offer you perspectives on both deployments, OIF I and OIF II. In Operation Iraqi Freedom I, we had a clear mission from the beginning, standard to our Marine ethos: Locate, close with and destroy enemy forces, whether it be Saddam's Fedayeen or the 51st Infantry Division. Essentially, as we all know, it was a 20-day sprint that ended in Baghdad with a battalion and its companies transitioning from offensive operations to stability-and-support operations to help the Iraqi people.

    At that time, the Iraqi people, regardless of what they had suffered for many years, were in a state of euphoria. This is demonstrated by the fact that, as we patrolled the streets of Baghdad, we would constantly be met by Iraqis, be it vendors or families coming out of their homes, to offer us fresh baked bread, sodas or artifacts from their personal life, things from their personal line that told us a story. And sometimes, they didn't have to offer us anything; we could look at them and see, perhaps, that either through service to their country or through torture, what some of their experiences had been.

    As we operated in Baghdad, the Iraqi people also were willing to help us locate enemy forces, which demonstrated the fact that they understood our intent and what we were trying to do, and it was for the common Iraqi person. We were there to help them. And that paid off, as they added to us setting a secure environment for the battalion, for our respective companies and for themselves.
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    We returned home for six months, a little under six months, and focused heavily on stability-and-support operations. Going back to Iraq in February of 2004, our mission was two-fold. It was to eliminate the conditions that allow anti-Iraqi forces to operate and continue to feed an environment of instability to the Iraqi people.

    And number two, quite frankly, to kill or capture anti-Coalition, anti-Iraqi forces that would seek to do us harm and the people of Iraq harm. The second aim was self-explanatory. Those that sought to engage us or whose actions fell within the rules of engagement were either engaged and killed or detained for intelligence value to further roll-up targets on our high-value target list.

    It is part of our ethos in the First Marine Division: No worse enemy. The first part of our ethos: No better friend. Helping to eliminate the conditions that allow terrorists and anti-Iraqi forces to operate was what we spent most of our time in Iraq doing, for Operation Iraqi Freedom, part two.

    This translated into working with various police agencies in Haditha, Haqlaniyah, Ana, Iraqi National Guard and also numerous civil affairs projects that demonstrated that we were good for our word, that we are there to help the Iraqi people and that we are not there with just our rifles; we are there with a sense of compassion and dignity for the Iraqi people.

    Specific examples that demonstrate the Iraqi resolve and willingness to be successful at the current task at hand: We constantly received assistance from the Haditha police station to help us execute our raids that included intelligence or, in essence, what the word of mouth was from the street. The use of sources to help us identify targets that were either moving against Coalition Forces in zone or working to destabilize the zone itself. And this was done at great loss to several members of the police station.
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    The assistance from various police stations in keeping our Marines out of harm's way by letting us know routes on a specific day that were fairly secure or, toward the end of our deployment, using their policemen, not our explosive ordnance disposal technicians, but their policemen to disarm IEDs. I watched an Iraqi police captain personally disarm an IED because he did not want to wait the three hours for our Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) techs to show up, because they are a dime a dozen on any given day in Iraq.

    Mind you, after the fact, I was amazed at his commitment to keep our Marines out of harm's way. I can tell you that was about the best pack of Marlboros I chain-smoked with that police captain.

    Toward the end of our deployment, we were conducting offensive operations in the area of Rawah and Ana. Kilo Company, within the battalion scheme of things, had the mission of conducting roll-ups on high-value targets in Ana. We thought, ladies and gentlemen, we would spend the day kicking in doors.

    Instead, we conducted several knocks in homes of suspected high-value targets. And the rest of the afternoon, the police chief, Colonel Mohammed, used his men to round up those suspected individuals, sent his men out in harm's way, and had the bulk of my company staff in the police station trying to entertain us with tea and flat bread. The point being, he was willing to send his people out in harm's way to do a job that ultimately he felt was his responsibility.

    And then, the last night in Haditha, as we pulled our last squad out working with Captain Danner, we came under intermittent small arms contact. The police captain, Captain Samir, looked at me shamefully with regret, the fact that, ten days away from going home, we had to still work under those conditions—and I know for a fact given the bravery of the Haditha policemen, that they would have given their lives to see us get home safely to our families on July 12th.
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    In conclusion, the Iraqi people are a very proud group of people. They progressively took over more of the security responsibilities that the Coalition Forces and Third or Fourth Marines specifically had been charged with toward the end of our second deployment. They progressively put themselves in harm's way more and more to outdo our level of commitment.

    They took the task seriously, and they took us seriously because we were committed to the task at hand, and our actions are what spoke to the Iraqi people.

    Ladies and gentlemen, I thank you for the opportunity to speak here today. I look forward to your questions.

    Mr. HEFLEY. Thank you, Captain.

    Captain Costello.


    Captain COSTELLO. Mr. Chairman, Congressman Skelton, distinguished Members, good morning and thank you for allowing me to participate in this morning's hearing.

    My name is Captain Patrick Costello. I am currently serving as an evaluator for the Army Test and Evaluation Command. My most recent assignment was as Commander of Charley Battery, Second of the 44th Air Defense Artillery, at Fort Campbell, Kentucky.
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    During my 18 months in command, I served in Iraq from February of 2003 to February of 2004 as part of the Third Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division, in support of Iraqi Freedom.

    I value the opportunity to speak this morning, not only of the actions of our great soldiers, but also to say, thank you for your support, the support of the American people and, most importantly, the support of the soldiers, both those who served under my command and those who continue to serve overseas today.

    During my year in Iraq, my battery was asked to perform a myriad of missions, both doctrinal and nondoctrinal. As an Air Defense Battery Commander, I had anywhere from 85 to 105 soldiers under my command on any given day.

    Our primary mission was to provide the Third Brigade Combat Team, air and missile defense and early warning. By the end of April, it was evident that our mission had changed, and there was no threat from aircraft or tactical ballistic missiles.

    I assumed a civil affairs role during our month in Baghdad, coordinating with various humanitarian organizations to bring much needed assistance into our brigade area of operations (AO). By the beginning of May 2003, the brigade combat team relocated to Telefar, Iraq, under division control from Mosul.

    I expanded my new job by managing the brigade's Commander's Emergency Response Program (CERP) funds, designed to improve the quality of life for Iraqis. Under the program, in a little more than seven months, I spent more than $7 million on reconstruction projects and salaries to the new Iraqi police, border guard and facility protection forces.
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    It was not uncommon for me to travel hundreds of kilometers each day to hire Iraqis to restore the flow of electricity or water to many cities, towns and villages, to rebuild government buildings, hospitals and schools.

    As time progressed, the program evolved. And by the time that we redeployed, we had completed over 700 projects, and project selection and payments was no longer being decided by the Army; it was being handled exclusively by newly elected officials.

    As I performed a nondoctrinal mission, so did my soldiers. Each day, they would drive hundreds of kilometers to pick up and escort fuel trucks to gas stations in areas in need to help alleviate the fuel shortage. Simultaneously, they conducted perimeter security missions, convoy escorts, mounted, dismounted patrols and numerous other nontraditional air defense missions.

    My soldiers are just one example of the great work being done by our military on a day-to-day basis in Iraq. The missions that we completed are a testament to the flexibility and ingenuity of our soldiers, and I am proud to serve with our soldiers. I am proud to have returned each and every one of my soldiers home to their families.

    Thank you, again, for the opportunity to speak this morning, the support that you have shown our soldiers. And I look forward to answering any questions that you have.

    Mr. HEFLEY. Thank you, Captain.

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    Thank each of you for your very excellent testimony. Before we get to questions, I would like to recognize Mr. Skelton to speak out of order.

    Mr. SKELTON. Mr. Chairman, thank you.

    And let me speak out of order for a moment, if I may, for the purpose of welcoming our newest member to this committee, the gentleman from Texas and my good friend, Charlie Stenholm.

    We thank you for joining us today.

    Mr. Chairman, the House just acted to appoint Charlie Stenholm to our committee, the Armed Services Committee. We couldn't have a finer Member in the United States Congress. Charlie Stenholm came to Congress 2 years after I did in 1978. Of course, we have been fast friends ever since. He is a man of the highest honor, strongest integrity.

    He presently serves as the ranking Member on the Agriculture Committee, but known to so many of us for his full knowledge of federal rules and for his fiscal conservatism.

    He has been for a strong balanced budget through the years. I also know he supports a strong national defense. He also has worked and does work in a bipartisan fashion, which is what we like to have here on this committee, on the defense issues that are being considered.

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    So I am extremely pleased, Mr. Chairman, to welcome Charlie Stenholm to the Armed Services Committee.

    And we hope you enjoy your work here as much as we do.

    Mr. HEFLEY. Charlie, I, too, would like to welcome you to the committee. I can tell by watching you, you were wondering why none of the witnesses were talking about wheat allotments and the dairy situation.

    But we do get into some other things here. We think you are going to enjoy it. As most of you know, Charlie has represented the 17th District of Texas since 1979, which includes Dyess and Goodfellow Air Force bases. And as has already been mentioned, he has been very, very active on the Agriculture Committee. And, Charlie, we welcome you to this committee.

    As you—as the Members ask questions, since we do have five witnesses, if you would try to direct your questions to a witness, so they don't feel that they have to go down the line and answer everybody's question all the way down the line, it might be helpful to get more Members the opportunity to ask questions.

    Mr. Skelton, I recognize you first for questions.

    Mr. SKELTON. Let me ask each of the captains, were either or both of you trained in civil affairs or in urban counterterrorism combat before you went to Iraq the first time? Either one of you.

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    Captain SAVAGE. Sir, I will go ahead and answer that first. For civil affairs, we were not. For urban combat in an urban environment, yes, sir, we were. Our battalion had spent the better part of six months knowing that Operation Iraqi Freedom was a matter of time, and part of that work was training in an urban environment, working from Toots in Victorville, to things that we could do in the backyard. Basically, during what we called downtime, the commanders have their Marines work through the barracks and talk through, chalk through and then exercise tactics, techniques and procedures for potentially every possible mission that might come.

    One of the reasons why we didn't focus on civil affairs, Congressman Skelton, is because civil affairs has its own separate groups that they detach to every infantry battalion specifically, and what the rifle companies and the Marine Corps would often provide is security for the Marines in the civil affairs group to go and execute work in various projects or perform negotiations with Iraqi business leaders.

    Mr. SKELTON. Thank you.


    Captain COSTELLO. Congressman Skelton, as far as civil affairs go, I received no training before we deployed. I don't think I personally understood the scope or the need of civil affairs over there. It quickly became evident. And I received a lot of on-the-job training from the civil affairs detachment that was attached to our brigade.

    Mr. SKELTON. Was that a battalion company or what?
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    Captain COSTELLO. No, sir. It was a section. Each brigade received a section of civil affairs.

    Mr. SKELTON. Okay.

    Captain COSTELLO. As far as the other training goes, sir, we train on that at home station. And the Army CTCs, the Combined Training Centers, Joint Readiness Training Center (JRTC), National Traning Center (NTC), do a great job in training on Mobile Environment Team (MET) operations and dealing with civilians and different roles that they may play.

    So, not so much as Colonel Linnington said yesterday, what to think, but more how to think.

    Mr. SKELTON. Good. Thank you. I have one question for Colonel Linnington, and I will limit mine.

    Colonel, you have been deployed to both Afghanistan and Iraq. And I understand that you have performed with distinction. And we thank you for that. Do you see any signs of deployment fatigue in the soldiers anywhere you have been deployed?

    Colonel LINNINGTON. Congressman, coming back from Afghanistan, we had a very short break between when we got back to Fort Campbell and then when we deployed into Iraq. I think because of the mission we were given and the soldier realization that it was an important mission and wanting to be part of the team, part of the 101st team that went to Iraq, there was overwhelming consensus among them that they wanted to go.
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    After coming back and being gone for, in some cases, 16 or 18 months out of 2 years for some of the soldiers, they were happy for the predictability that came with being home and getting a schedule at Fort Campbell that allowed them to stay for what is now looking like it is going to be over a year or two years.

    We measure troop fatigue in terms of morale and reenlistment. I am proud to say, today, that in my unit, that was in both theaters, we overwhelmingly exceeded our reenlistment rates in all categories the whole two years I was in command.

    I think that comes from soldiers realizing they are doing what they have joined the Army to do and realizing the importance of the missions. So, in my unit, I would say, no.

    Mr. SKELTON. I think that also speaks well of you. Thank you.

    Mr. HEFLEY. Mr. Bartlett.

    Mr. BARTLETT. Thank you very much for your testimony. As you know from reading our press, particularly most of the word media, written media, you get the impression that the average Iraqi sees us as an occupier rather than a liberator.

    I would just like you to go down the line to give me a percentage, each of you, as to your estimate of the percentage of Iraqis that see us as liberators and the percentage of those that see us as occupiers from your contact with the Iraqi people for the months that you were over there.
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    Colonel LINNINGTON. Congressman Bartlett, I would say, from my context of being up north, in Nineveh Province, it was about 99 percent looking at as liberators versus occupiers. Of course, those that saw us as occupiers were usually trying to kill us, so I don't see very much of them.

    I would say, if you took the Iraqi people on whole, it had to be greater than 9O percent saw us as liberators, and they were routinely happy for our presence.

    Mr. BARTLETT. Thank you.

    Colonel MCCOY. Sir, I would have to concur with that. I would say, in excess of 90 percent saw us as liberators, not occupiers. They very well saw what we were providing for them and were happy to have us. I am sure, down the road, they want to have their country back. There is no denying that. Who wouldn't? But they definitely see us as liberators.

    Colonel SPRINGMAN. Sir, I served in the Sunni Triangle. Even there, I would agree with the 90 percent figure seeing us as liberators and as the best hope for the future, working with us.

    Captain SAVAGE. Sir, I would say, well above 95 percent. And if ever there was a perceived indifference from the Iraqi people, that can be contributed to a spike in anti-Coalition and anti-Iraq force activity, essentially an element of coercion, perhaps changing a perception of the Iraqi people. But they understood why we were there. It was to help them. It was as liberators, not conquerors.
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    Captain COSTELLO. Sir, I have the disadvantage of sitting at the end of the table. But I also agree with, about 90 percent saw us as liberators, not occupiers.

    Mr. BARTLETT. Mr. Chairman, it would be nice if this last two or three minutes of testimony could lead the news this evening, because what you gather from our newscasts and from the print media is that we are mostly seen over there as occupiers rather than liberators. And it would be nice if the testimony of those who have been on the front lines over there could reach the American people rather than the news that does reach the American people, which—let me just ask you, again, very generally.

    Your response to the media reports of what is going on in Iraq compared to what you saw in Iraq. Do you feel that there is a difference in what the American people are being told and what you saw over there? Let's just go down the line again.

    Colonel LINNINGTON. Mr. Congressman, I think, because the loss of any American soldier or Marine is significant, that that will dominate the news, and it should, because the American sons and daughters are our most precious resource.

    Unfortunately, the good news stories in a lot of cases don't make the news, because it is dominated by the more tragic events.

    We had the opportunity when we came back to Fort Campbell to get out and visit local communities, Veterns of Foreign Wars (VFW), Parent Teacher Associations (PTA), church groups. Heck, I even talked to Dell Computers about what was going on in Iraq and showed some video and talked about some of the good news stories that were going on.
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    And a lot of the American people didn't realize that was going on, frankly. And they were happy for us. Because they are obviously the ones that pay our salaries, and they wanted to know what we were doing over there was worthwhile.

    I would answer your question from that perspective being that, whenever there is loss of life, it must dominate the news, but there are a tremendous number of good-news stories that offset those sacrifices.

    Mr. BARTLETT. But those aren't getting in the media; are they?

    Colonel LINNINGTON. No, sir. Not in my experience.

    Colonel MCCOY. Sir, the good news does not make the news, it is the shipwrecks that make the news, the Abu Ghraibs and the causalities are going to dominate the news. I think that is just the fact of making good copy.

    I can tell you that on a daily basis, there are good news things happening that are being conducted by our Armed Forces members over there every single day, and doing it for the betterment of the Iraqi people. They are serving with honor courage and commitment.

    Colonel SPRINGMAN. Sir, I also agree that while I served, there the good news was not being put out. There was a lot more good news than bad news that I saw. I wish the news media could have seen the towns that we went to as we went into them and then a year later when we left to see how active business was and how secure they were compared to the time we moved in, sir.
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    Captain SAVAGE. Since returning from Iraq on July 12, having spent a lot of time watching Headline News and CNN and Fox News to decompress, I have not seen any good news stories about what soldiers, Marines, airmen and sailors are doing. Part of our mission statement, part of our battalion commanders intent from Colonel McCoy was win one family at a time through dignity and human respect, the average Iraqi person the average Iraqi family. And it is too bad that a lot of members of the press are not over there to see one family member, one community at a time being won over because that is what happens on a daily basis from the vehicle-borne IEDs and the negative things that make the news.

    Captain COSTELLO. Sir, in the six months that I have been back from Iraq I find it very difficult to watch the news, because I think it is a misrepresentation of what is actually going on there on a day-to-day basis. I think this is tied to your last question about the percentage of Iraqis that see us as occupiers or liberators. And watching the news now it makes it seem like it's 90 percent of the Iraqi people that do not appreciate what has happened for them and see us as occupiers. Every experience that I had in Iraq was completely to the contrary.

    Mr. BARTLETT. Thank you all very much for your testimony. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.

    The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Ortiz.

    Mr. ORTIZ. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. First of all, let me say thank you for the outstanding work that you have done. We are proud of you.
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    I would like to touch a little bit on the rules of engagement. I have a letter here from a Navy corpsman who is serving along with the Marines, and this is what he says: The only far missions they, officers, approve are all out of range. And they know that when they approve them, the higher up, is really bunching this up and it has got to stop. He says, ''Please write our Congressman and tell him we need to either do this or get off the pot. They are just letting them kill us. We are not allowed to do much about the insurgent activity. It may be our battalion. It may be higher than that. I don't know. But people are going to die unnecessarily, and the enemy will only get bolder if this keeps up. Please tell Congress there is no polite way to fight a war. And despite whatever the hell they are thinking, this will not save the government any face. In fact, it will do the opposite. They are laughing at us because the show of force that we are supposed to be showing around and they are dropping rounds on us and escaping without a single shot being fired at them. It is entirely within our means to stop this.''

    And then, of course, the father comes by the office and gives us the complaint of one of his sons. He has two sons in Iraq. I can remember when I went to Lebanon when the village containing 245 Marines were killed. A group of this committee. I think you were with us, Mr. Skelton. Myself, Bob Stump and others were there, two days, three days after the killings of these Marines. We felt secure because we saw the soldiers carrying their weapons to later find out that the weapons they were carrying did not have any ammunition because they did not want to create an international incident.

    I just want to ask you if any of you have had this problem where even small fires coming at you and there is an order given not to fire back? Have you had any such experience like this. Are there any of you that can answer this question?
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    Colonel LINNINGTON. Congressman, that was not my experience. I know when our troops come under fire, they return fire accurately and within the rules of engagement. One of things that General Petrais did tell us, however, was that in all operations, offensive, defensive, or whatever we were doing, his principle and the principle we operated under is that we did not want to create more enemies than we took off the street.

    So as we conducted offensive operations or even as we conducted routine searches of Iraqis homes looking for weapons or things like that, we did it under those conditions.

    Sometimes there would be an attempt by the insurgents to bait us into producing or returning overwhelming fire, which would create more enemies than we take off the street. In those cases, it is really a leadership decision where the young leader at the point of the spear makes that decision and executes according to how he has been trained.

    Mr. ORTIZ. That decision did not put any of our young soldiers in harm's way?

    Colonel LINNINGTON. We are always in harm's way. We understand that. I will tell you that without question, when our soldiers were being engaged, we were fighting back. I cannot remember an incident where we sat and took fire and did not return fire because of a restrictions on the rules of engagement.

    Mr. ORTIZ. One of the reasons I bring this up is in south Texas, just Monday, we had our tenth soldier killed. He was home two weeks ago and returned back and died. I am just concerned. I want you young men and women to come back alive. We value your life. We value the lives of our families. I am just concerned that if we have any flaws in the rules of engagement, we want to know so that we can tell the higher ups that we cannot continue to have young men and women die just because we do not want to create an international incident. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
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    The CHAIRMAN. Thank you.

    Mr. Jones.

    Mr. JONES. Thank you very much. I want to thank those of you on the panel today. I have the privilege to represent three bases: Camp Lejeune Marine Base, Cherry Point, Ranier Station, actually Fornewell Air Station, and also Seymour Johnson Air Force Base.

    I do have a question but I want to share with the committee also that I have great respect for those of you who are fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq. I, two years ago, had the humbling experience and a spiritual experience of attending the funeral of Michael Bit, Sergeant Marine killed at Nasaryia. There was a reason that I was involved, because Congressman Elton Gallegly called me and he said, Walter, a Marine was killed that was my constituent, and his wife, Janina, had twins born after he was deployed and would need help with her mother visiting from Australia to extend the visa. From that, I felt my responsibility as a Member of Congress to attend the funeral. And it has not been the only one, but it has been one that, again, because of the circumstances, will be a spiritual experience, because Janina read the last letter she received from Michael, and Michael talked about loving his family, proud to be a Marine and that whether that he would see his wife on earth or in heaven would be God's will.

    And I share that because like many on this committee, we know that there is a reason and a purpose, and you have said in your statements that you believe that we need to be there and that we need to fight this war and win this war. And we want you to have all that you need to win. And I just want to make those statements. And, by the way, I did attend the ceremony to award the wife, in memory of her husband's service, the Silver Star down at Camp Lejeune last Friday and General Roberson, I told him afterwards I never heard such eloquent comments about our men and women in uniform and about the need to have those of you who are so brave to serve this great Nation and put your life on the line.
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    About three weeks ago, the Secretary of the Navy and Marine Corps—and I hope that the committee will stand strong on that this year, and we do end up naming the Secretary of the Navy, Navy and Marine Corps; it is the right thing to do—the Secretary of the Navy and Marine Corps visited Camp Lejeune in New River anterior point about three weeks ago, and he had occasion to speak to the 8th Marine regiment. And this is my question, both to the United States Army and to the Marine Corps. I was pleased that the leadership down at Camp Lejeune would allow the troops who were assembled at parade rest, or at ease, I should say, to ask questions.

    The one question that I had not been thinking much about myself, nor probably would I, came from a young Marine that asked the Secretary of the Navy about counseling. And I could tell that the question kind of caught everyone there a little bit by surprise, many in the leadership, as well as myself and the Secretary of the Navy, mental fatigue. I cannot imagine the stress that the troops are under quite frankly day in and day out in such a chaotic situation as what is taking place in Iraq. So this would be my question: What type of mental fatigue are you seeing in Iraq? And also, what are you doing to help the troops coming back from Iraq or Afghanistan as it relates to trying to help them to readapt to the American way of life? So, I will now stop rambling and let you please answer. The two colonels would be the best, Army and Marine Corps.

    Colonel MCCOY. Sir, I would like to handle that one first. Our junior leaders are trained to recognize combat stress while in a combat environment. When a Marine or sailor does not behave as himself, we pick up on the indicators, changes in his personality and we can immediately intervene. Initially, at the junior leadership level. We have the chaplain and medical officer that are there. Often, all that is needed to remove that Marine or sailor from the immediacy of the fighting. Not to take them back to an installation, because once you do that, he starts to lose touch with reality, but to keep him there with the unit in a secure area where he still has the fraternal bonds of his unit to help him through that.
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    We teach our Marines that it is okay, just as when you are in a firefight it is okay to call for air support and artillery. This is a fight of a different nature and it is quite all right to call for help. We are very compassionate about that.

    Before returning, every Marine had 96 hours of de-stress time back in a secure area. We went through extensive seminar-type discussions led by the junior leaders that we had trained on what it would be like to reenter. We did this a second time. About 60 percent of my unit were returning veterans coming back after the second tour. That said, we explained these are the symptoms; these are the feelings you are going to have. This is what is normal; this is what is not normal We also took post deployment surveys. In there, fairly anonymous, only seen by our medical officers, we were able to identify Marines that we thought were at risk or were not at risk. That was not the end of it. If those people had issues, we proactively sought them additional guidance by trained profession. Upon returning, before we went on leave, we kept the battalion there for another three weeks. Before we released us back into the wild, so to speak, we stayed there where we had the structure of a chain of command in place and to get them back into a routine—things like sleeping, eating, regular physical training (PT), regular food; all of those things were very important for our reentry.

    The short answer to your question, Congressman, is that we took a very deliberate and measured approach to how we brought our Marines and sailors back and they all have the numbers of the people that they need to call if they are having trouble. If they need to call in fire support, so to speak.

    Additionally, we proactively identified people that may be having trouble, Marines coming back with either too much money or not enough money. People that had had marriage problems before. Maybe they had had alcohol problems before. Those people are all identified as at risk, even though they had not shown any symptoms either in combat or their post-deployment survey. And we got them preemptive counseling, if you will.
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    Combat stress is very real. They estimate about everyone coming back, depending on where you were and what you were doing, carries about 30 days of post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD inside them. If you add up all the time, we spent about 30 days treating that in country and when we got back before we went on our block leave.

    So you can never weed it all out, but I can tell you that from the commanding general on down we made a very intense intensive effort at that.

    Mr. JONES. I am so pleased to hear that. Mr. Chairman, could the Army answer that question, as well?

    The CHAIRMAN. Briefly.

    Colonel Linnington.

    Colonel LINNINGTON. Congressman, a very similar approach to what Colonel McCoy said in the Army. There are health professionals on site at our base in Talifar, a psychologist with the forward surgical team that was there, chaplains in our unit as well as trained medical officials. More importantly, a trained and caring chain of command that knows how to recognize soldiers that are undergoing stressful conditions and getting them to the right professionals.

    Very similar to the Marine Corps, we had training programs before we came back to Ft. Campbell both to the soldiers and for their families that were at Campbell awaiting their return. And then, after we got back to Ft. Campbell, a lock-in period of at least ten days, in some cases as much as two weeks where predictable schedules were in place for soldiers to reintegrate with their families and make sure everything was okay before they went on leave. High risk soldiers were identified by the chain of command, and again given to professionals to work those issues. So a very similar approach
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    Mr. JONES. Thank you very much. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

    The CHAIRMAN. Thank you.

    Mr. Taylor.

    Mr. TAYLOR. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I especially want to thank our panel for being here, and I think it is a particularly good move to have some of the younger officers here to hopefully speak frankly with us. We very much appreciate your service.

    On one of my trips over there, I was amazed by the very large number or percentage of the causalities that were the result of improvised explosives. And you guys have already figured this out. We do not tell you how to take a hill on this committee. We hopefully buy the things you need.

    I did not feel like our Nation was putting the right amount of emphasis on trying to jam some of those signals. I know that when I traveled and my colleagues traveled over there, we were protect 100 percent of the time. And I do not feel like you were. So I would like to hear from you as quickly as possible, what percentages of the causalities your units experienced came as a result of improvised explosives and what percentage of the troops do you think were protected on a daily basis as they went out on parole that could have been protected, were not protected. I realize it is not there for everything

    Colonel LINNINGTON. Congressman, very early on, we did not have the up-armored Humvees or the armored protection that we needed to conduct routine patrols, especially given such large land area we were responsible for up north. We did not have a large IED problem initially, so that was not really an issue with us, but as the IED problem started to surface and migrate from the south to the north, we had to take precautionary measures to protect ourselves. We knew the Army was coming forward with additional up-armored Humvees and the armored plating kits to augment our light vehicles with some protection, but what we did in the interim was we started out fitting our own vehicles with local contractors in the local community that provided us armor shielding on the side of light skinned vehicles, floor boarding to protect from explosives coming through the floor boards and pinholes to mount machine guns on those vehicles that did not have it.
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    So I would agree with you, we did not have enough armor vehicles, up armored Humvees that we needed. But as things got along, we got more and more of them.

    Mr. TAYLOR. What percentage of your force do you think was adequately protected by the time you left?

    Colonel LINNINGTON. By the time we left, everyone was, because it became a requirement that no vehicles would leave our patrol, our forward operating base, unless they has some form of protection, ballistic protection on the sides and the floors.

    Mr. TAYLOR. This was February 2004.

    Colonel LINNINGTON. This was March 2004, yes, sir.

    Mr. TAYLOR. Okay. Colonel.

    Colonel MCCOY. Sir, I would say 75 percent of my causalities were due to IEDs. Of those, nearly all of them were returned to duty. The wounds were superficial. The reason they were superficial is that, because I had 100 percent of the force protected with sappy plates, ballistic goggles and additional armor on the Humvees

    Mr. TAYLOR. What about jammers? What percentage of your force do you think had some form of jammer?

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    Colonel MCCOY. The only jammers we had in our area belonged to the EOD personnel. We did not have any jammers.

    Mr. TAYLOR. You left Iraq when?

    Colonel MCCOY. I left Iraq in July, sir.

    Mr. TAYLOR. Okay. Colonel.

    Colonel SPRINGMAN. Sir, I left in March of 2004. I had no one killed by IEDs. However, about half my wounded, about 11 or 12 guys were probably due to IEDs. By the time we left, I believe everyone was adequately protected. We all had the proper body armor and we even got the proper body armor for the Mandovians who were supporting us, sir.

    Mr. TAYLOR. What about some form of jamming device.

    Colonel SPRINGMAN. Sir, we actually had a Warlock. I used it, just one. We had several patrols out at any time. What we used it for was our logistics patrol that was less protected in vehicles. And it always went with our logistics patrol out and back, sir.

    Mr. TAYLOR. But what percentage of your vehicles—since you do not need one for every vehicle, I am told, but you certainly need one for every patrol—what percentage of your patrols actually had some form of device to jam the signals of the IEDs?
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    Colonel SPRINGMAN. Sir, we probably had twelve patrols a day, ten to twelve, and one of those would have the device

    Mr. TAYLOR. So 11 were not?

    Colonel SPRINGMAN. Correct, sir

    Mr. TAYLOR. All right. Captain.

    Captain SAVAGE. Congressman Taylor, to amplify Lt. Colonel McCoy's remarks, all the causalities from kilo company were direct fire. We did receive two IED attacks, one on March 5, one on June 9, both of which, had the Marines not had the side armor for the Humvees, had they not been wearing their ballistic goggles, they probably would have suffered several wounded in action (WIA) and at least one killed in action (KIA) in each incident.

    As fate would have it, and as the leadership imposed, we have to do precombat check and inspections on our Marines, making sure they have the ballistic goggles. The Marine Corps did not buy those ballistic goggles to look cool on top of their helmets. The Marines wear them for a specific reason.

    If they are getting ready to do an entry into a house that requires an explosive breach, whether it be night, day, whatever the conditions, they have to wear every bit of protection they have. And as far as the Humvees that we drove around in, Humvees, it was not until April that we started doing company-sized missions. And by the time we were doing company-sized missions, the battalions were task-organized. One company might be an all seven tons with side armored panels, another company might be in all Humvees. But every mission that we went on, every Humvee or every 7 ton would have side armor on it.
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    So it was never really a concern given the fact that a lot of our movements were platoon-sized missions. It works. I know first hand that it works.

    Mr. TAYLOR. What percentage of your convoys had some form of jammer along with you.

    Captain SAVAGE. Zero. We never saw it at the company level, sir.

    Captain COSTELLO. Sir, I had one soldier injured by an IED explosion. Until we received the up-armored kits for the Humvees, we relied on soldiers ingenuity, fabricating steel plates, sand bags, anything we could do to protect ourselves. As far as personal equipment, we were 100 percent protected. And as Colonel Linnington stated earlier, there is a requirement to leave the forward operating base, that the vehicle was completely up armored and had some form of protection. As far as jammers were concerned, sir, I left in February of 2004, and I never saw one.

    Mr. TAYLOR. Thank you all again.

    The CHAIRMAN. Mrs. Wilson.

    Mrs. WILSON OF NEW MEXICO. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I want to join my colleagues in thanking all of you for serving. It is very much appreciated and thank you for your leadership of your soldiers. I wanted to ask you a couple of things. One was—and I am not sure who is the most appropriate, but you can flip a coin if you want to—did you have the resources you needed either interior to your units or attached to your units, that you needed for the civil affairs work that you did, both financial, language specialists, those kind of things, or were you hampered in any way to the projects you were trying to accomplish?
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    Colonel LINNINGTON. Congresswoman, I will hit that first briefly. We had a civil affairs detached with us. It quickly became evident that we needed to augment them with some additional assets and we used other military occupational specialist (MOS) like Captain Costello's folks who helped us administer some of the CERP money for projects and programs; and where we lacked the number of translators that we needed, we hired more from the local economy and trusted agents as well as Coalation Pravisional Authority (CPA) directed folks from Titan gave us a large number of interpreters to accomplish those missions.

    So it was a lot of ingenuity on soldiers' parts initially to get where we needed to go, but we got there pretty quickly.

    Colonel MCCOY. Ma'am, our civil affairs group—we had a team attached to us. They were from our Reserve Component. I cannot think of trying to accomplish my mission without them. They were vital in everything that we did. We did augment them, but only in terms of security and interpreters, that we, again, got from Titan or our own Marine interpreters that happened to speak the language.

    Colonel SPRINGMAN. Ma'am, as an artillery unit, initially we were not task organized with a CA detachment. About 30 days after we took over our own area, we received a detachment. In the meantime, I had created my own using artillery officers and non-commissioned officers (NCO). They continued to work in that even after we received our civil affairs detachment. As far as interpreters, as far as civil affairs went, we used all local contract that we had hired from the local populous and used the official military interpreters for other duties.
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    Mrs. WILSON OF NEW MEXICO. What about our captains? Did you have what you needed?

    Captain SAVAGE. Yes, ma'am, we had our civil affairs attachment within the battalion that if we had a specific mission that required the presence, we were able to tap into them and if not, our platoon-level leadership, our platoon commanders and platoon sergeants received paying agent authority, some of the basic skills that our civil affairs teams perform, that if, for whatever reason they were employed, elsewhere, the platoon commander or platoon sergeant, myself or a company executive officer (XO) could perform if needed. To answer your question, yes, ma'am.

    Captain COSTELLO. Ma'am, I think the only civil affairs resources we were short was that there were not enough school trained civil affairs soldiers there. I have no doubt in my mind that every one of us at this table played some sort of civil affairs role at some point in time over there, as does every soldier. As Colonel Linnington said, we had plenty of translators. They were augmented by soldiers. I had a young private first class that spoke fluent Arabic, and he would augment the teams depending on what was needed.

    Mrs. WILSON OF NEW MEXICO. The other question I wanted to ask you—soldiers are great at adapting; American soldiers are. I know that you all dealt with the situation and adapted. But there are always lessons learned and things that you want to pass on to the guy that is coming into your job that you did not expect when you showed up and so you wanted to pass those things on. From your experience, what were the things that you did not expect that you want to make sure you take back as lessons learned for the American Marines or the American Army or even just for your successor walking in when you walked out. What did you not expect and how can we better prepare our soldiers and Marines?
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    Colonel LINNINGTON. Ma'am, the one thing that surprised us was really the scope of responsibility at the very junior level and the responsibility of junior soldiers to be solved in the civil affairs mission. We trained that extensively, as the other services do in our combat training center. Specifically for a light unit at the joint readiness training center, we tend to sometimes get put in situations at that training center that are very ambiguous and you do not quite know how to handle them. And you get home and you try to learn how to do better in those situations. And we did a lot of that before we left.

    But then you go over there and find ourselves thrust in those situations, really we were all kind of having flash backs about the width and breadth of the responsibilities at the junior level. We captured all of our lessons learned as we came home. The Army did a good job of sending out teams of scholars and trainers that picked up the things that we were doing and brought them back to the United States prior to the deployment of the unit that replaced us. And when the Strykers came in from Fort Lewis to replace us in the northern portion of Iraq, we spent a full 2–1/2 or 3 weeks with them to give them the ability to become familiar with the terrain, meet all the local officials that they needed to know about and there was a pretty seamless transition. So we were happy for that time period that we were allowed to transition.

    Colonel MCCOY. Congresswoman we had a taste of what, SASO, or stability and security operations, would be like with final bit of OIF I being in Baghdad at the beginning of phase four operations. We took those lessons home with us. In addition to that, we went through, as I mentioned in my statements, intensive language, cultural training. We also had a very dedicated professional military education program, taken articles written from across the spectrum from periodicals and newspapers and then discussed those in a guide discussion format down at the squad level led by often the company commander or the platoon commander.
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    After that, it was a matter of taking our tactics, techniques and procedures and applying them to the specific AO that we had. TTPs if you will, tactics, techniques and procedures, that would not work in Baville, would not necessarily work in Al Umbar, so you had to adjust those specifically to that. I cannot say that there was anything that surprised me.

    Mrs. WILSON OF NEW MEXICO. Do any of the other three have particular insights on that? I know I am out of time, but is there something that you particularly want to share.

    Colonel SPRINGMAN. Ma'am, we went through similar process as has been described. The one thing I emphasized to both the unit that was coming in whenever I could, and with the ones we returned was junior leaders having to maintain the standards and discipline. Be that the uniform or just how they act and interact with Iraqis, and if the junior leaders were involved they could make the right decisions and their soldiers would be both more secure and able to accomplish their mission.

    Mrs. WILSON OF NEW MEXICO. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

    The CHAIRMAN. Thank you.

    Mr. Reyes.

    Mr. REYES. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Thank you gentlemen for being here. We definitely appreciate your service and the hard work that you have done. And as I ask each one of you, please pass on out of appreciation to those that serve with you and for you. We appreciate everybody's service. Having said that, Mr. Chairman, are we going to have another panel on this. Is this it?
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    The CHAIRMAN. This is it.

    Mr. REYES. I want to express, or maybe just make a recommendation that until the future we include enlisted personnel and minorities and women, because I have been to Iraq five times and Afghanistan about nine times, and each one of those trips I have seen what America looks like and I just, no knock on our panel here, because I respect and honor their service, but I do think we need enlisted personnel, minorities, women represented at the table, as well. When we talk about our military, it is reflective of our country and, certainly representing a border district, the 14 causality that causality that we suffered in our area, most have been minorities. So I just offer that as an observation, and I hope a recommendation that we will follow in the future.

    I have got a number of questions that I would like some of you to comment on. Over this August break, I had a couple that approached me and tell me that their son was very troubled, because in a recent action in Iraq, his best buddy had been killed. It was a firefight where there were rocket-propelled grenades (RPG) and small arms fire, but this individual was driving a Humvee and got broad sided by a truck apparently and got killed.

    And yet his death was categorized as non-hostile because it was, I guess, a vehicle accident. That is a huge problem. This is not the first time that I have heard of that, and I would ask you to comment.

    The other thing that I would ask you to comment on, when you were there, is we have these no-go areas as we have today and what are the consequences both in being able to have a presence that reinforces the good news that you have testified to here today about the liberation of the country and the fact that we are there standing to help the Iraqi people, and most importantly, the 21 or so billion dollars authorized for projects to improve the quality of life of the Iraqi people. How can we administer into those areas if there are these no-go areas that we are not able to service, to protect or to be with the Iraqi people. So if you can comment on those two things, I would appreciate it.
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    Colonel LINNINGTON. Congressman Reyes, we had no no-go areas in my area of responsibility except for the mosques where the cultural sensitivities of non-Muslims in the mosque, we abided by that, and what we would do is we would work with our Iraqi security officials that were trained and walking side-by-side with us to enter those areas

    Mr. REYES. Is this a recent phenomenon of the no-go regions or areas that we are experiencing now?

    Colonel LINNINGTON. We did not have any in my area, in the 101st area.

    Colonel MCCOY. I can speak for my area, I did not have any no-go areas. Just as Colonel Linnington said, mosques obviously are a protected site. When we did need to go into a mosque, we did it with Iraqi forces.

    Colonel SPRINGMAN. Same sir. I have not heard the term ''no-go area'' used.

    Captain SAVAGE. To echo Lt. Colonel McCoy, we did not have no-go area, but we were trained that if we had to, we would have Iraqi policemen or Iraqi national guard so as to not incite the civilian population.

    Captain COSTELLO. Sir, other than cultural sites and things like mosques, there are no no-go areas.
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    Mr. REYES. I would be remiss—I have known Captain Costello for over eight years. He is the son of our commander at Fort Bliss, and with El Paso ties, an El Paso young man. We are very proud of his service and we are very happy for you to be here today.

    Captain COSTELLO. Thank you.

    Mr. REYES. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

    The CHAIRMAN. Thank you. We will stand in recess. We have one vote and possibly two votes coming up here and then we will reconvene.


    Mr. CALVERT. [presiding] The hearing will please come to order. The next person to ask questions is Congressman Calvert, who is temporarily the chair.

    And I appreciate you gentlemen for coming today. I certainly want to be one of those to thank you for your service. I recently returned from Iraq, also. I was there with Congressman—Chairman Hunter and Congressman Reyes. And we certainly saw evidence of all of the good that the military has done and continues to do every day. And certainly, unfortunately, that is not being conveyed to the American public. But, certainly, we are very appreciative of that.

    But one problem, that—when we were in one part of the theater, was Fallujah. And I probably want to specifically ask the Marines this question, because certainly you guys are there. And obviously, April was a very tough month. We suffered significant casualties, not just in Fallujah, but in other parts of Iraq. But that seems to be the crossroads of insurgency at this time, and certainly we have got some bad news over the weekend of what is occurring in Fallujah. So I would like to get—start with Colonel McCoy, your feelings about how do we deal with Fallujah. Is that a problem that you think needs to be resolved in order for us to stop the transshipping of not just individuals, but bombs and other paraphernalia that is being shipped apparently through Fallujah?
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    Colonel MCCOY. Sir, my involvement with Fallujah lasted about five weeks, when we were called from western Al Anbar into Fallujah, and participated in Operation Vigilant Resolve. The thrust of your question, respectfully, Mr. Chairman, is really outside of my lane.

    As a battalion commander, I execute tactical tasks. That is exactly what I did. I executed tactical tasks while we were there in Fallujah. And you know, frankly, we took the fight to the enemy. And that is pretty much where my lane ends, sir.

    Mr. CALVERT. Staying in that vein, the enemy in Fallujah, what did you see there? When we define insurgency, was it mainly a local insurgency, or were those some foreign fighters also?

    Colonel MCCOY. I think we are fighting a—from my experience, we are fighting—this insurgency at large actually has a few components to it. There are the foreign fighters that are there to further their cause: turn Iraq into the next Afghanistan, Baghdad into the next Beirut.

    Ms. DAVIS OF CALIFORNIA. Is there a percentage that anecdotally you can share with us, what you have seen in the field, what percentage of foreign fighters versus—

    Colonel MCCOY. It would be pure speculation, since I wasn't able to, you know, take a census with these guys. It is hard to tell who is shooting at you, whether he is one of the criminal elements that are out to make a buck, or if it is a former Baath party regime, or a hard-core terrorist.
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    I will tell you, in Fallujah you can tell when you are up against a guy that has a little bit more formal training. And you have to make sure that your tactics are very precise when you deal with them. They are much more accurate, much more lethal, than if you are going up against the guy that is firing an RPG at you for a couple hundred bucks. When you deal with a professional terrorist, you know it. Their fire is much more accurate and you need to be much more careful.

    We did run into a combination of all three, I believe, in Fallujah. There were very well-trained insurgents that we fought, that fought from fortified houses that were constructed in a textbook manner. We also fought against those that were not as proficient.

    Mr. CALVERT. The criminal element—are these folks being paid for by former Baathists or foreign fighters in order to inflict—

    Colonel MCCOY. Yes, sir. When we follow the money, it is coming from former Baath party. Where they get their money—or from foreign terrorists that are also kind of extending their operational reach, if you will, by getting some surrogate foot soldiers to do some of their bidding.

    Mr. CALVERT. Any other comments from the panel regarding the insurgency in general?

    The component of the insurgency movement today, and what kind of progress, I think, Colonel, I will talk to you and then we will talk to the other folks.
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    Colonel LINNINGTON. Mr. Chairman, one of the things that we looked at was money as ammunition. And in a lot of cases the unemployment issues in Iraq were what fed the insurgency, because—especially some of the young men are looking for ways to earn money. And one way, of course, is to attack Americans, if you are paid by former Baath officials or foreign extremists. So as we use the money this Congress provided us to rebuild the infrastructure of Iraq, we tried to hire as many folks as we could so that we removed that opportunity to hire poor Iraqi young men, especially to participate in the insurgency. So we appreciate your support there.

    Mr. CALVERT. Colonel.

    Colonel SPRINGMAN. Sir, I believe we saw very similar. There were definitely those who were just being paid off the street to attack, and those who were better trained. And I would agree with the last comment. The more we got back to work, either through our projects or through just the economy itself rebuilding, the less good being paid to attack us, especially with the inherent dangers there, and the attacks became fewer from the people just being paid to attack us, sir.

    Mr. CALVERT. Captain, you just got back in July. How do you see that?

    Captain SAVAGE. Sir, I look at it from two perspectives. One, it was a constant fight for the 80 percent gray; 10 percent are committed to doing—aligning with us. In other words, those that can go one way or the other, that is where creating the conditions for them to understand our cause and understand that we are there to help them get back on their feet was so critical, because if those conditions existed—a sense of despair existed amongst the disenchanted youth, then the concern is that there would be more enemy, and that is why getting out there with the civil affairs projects was important.
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    The second part to that is seeing those that were better trained, whether they be foreign fighters or former Baathist members, could definitely spark or ignite a certain sense of euphoria. I think the term in Regimental Combat Team I (RCT1) headquarters was ''drunk with Jihad''; but after getting smacked down and after they got punished quite severely, I think that would go away and you would be left with those that were die-hard committed to killing Americans, and the rest would be like it is not so cool to jump on the band wagon.

    Captain COSTELLO. Sir, I would like to echo what Colonel Linnington and Colonel Springman said, the big difference that the money played in keeping those potential guys on our side of the fence.

    Mr. CALVERT. Thank you. Next, Congressman Snyder.

    Dr. SNYDER. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I think in the interests of time, I will just direct my questions to you, Colonel Linnington and Colonel McCoy, and get an Army and a Marine Corps perspective on a couple of questions I have.

    I have visited Iraq a couple of times. Was there, I think, three weeks ago. And we visited the 39th Brigade, which is attached to the 1st Cav. And I hadn't—when we first arrived, we had a meeting with Ambassador Negraponte and Ambassador David Nash, and we got to talking to Ambassador Nash. And I asked him about the flow of development dollars, getting funds to everyone so they can do the sweat projects, sewer, water, electricity, trash pickup, and the kinds of things that make neighborhoods better and safer and that raise neighbor morale.

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    And we were assured at our meeting with the civilian leadership that the money was flowing, everything was great, the development projects were progressing, just wonderful; never seen anything like it.

    Then, when we got out in the Blackhawks and went out to the 1st Cav and were picked up by one of the generals in the leadership, and heard from a couple of different generals about it, and hadn't been in the vehicle for two minutes, until we started hearing a plea from the leadership: Please, please, please, help us get more money for development projects.

    And, in fact, one of the generals we were talking to, it was his opinion that if you took a map of their area, and mapped on it all of the areas where they were getting hit with RPGs and IEDs and small-arms fire—but you could overlay a map over that where there is raw sewage on the streets, where they may have a sewer plant, but it is not hooked up to each house, where there is not clean water, to where electricity is deployed, or where trash is accumulating; and his anecdotal experience—and he used the word anecdotally—he said, in our experience in those neighborhoods where we have gone in, in the months they had been there and worked on those projects, that attacks went down.

    We have gotten very unsatisfactory answers since being back here about what—where is the problem with funding getting to. You know, folks probably at your level or higher in terms of parceling out to projects. Was it your experience? Forgive me, I forget when you all came back.

    But Colonel Linnington and Colonel McCoy, if you could just comment. Do you have any knowledge about—could you have used more money for those kinds of neighborhood improvement projects?
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    Colonel LINNINGTON. Congressman, a consistent theme by my boss, General Petraeus, was to get as much money as we could into the economy as quickly as we could, and get folks back to work and improve the quality of life for the Iraqi people. Success breeds success.

    Areas where we weren't successful at getting projects going and getting people working, we tended to then get information from the local people, who were happy with us being there, about any insurgency activity that was going on in their area, and then we would tend to conduct raids or whatever to stamp those out.

    So I agree with your premise that where the infrastructure is being rebuilt, and where the country is developing, tend to be the areas where we don't have problems. It is the areas where money is difficult to either get it there or get folks into the area to conduct reconstruction; those in my opinion seem to be the areas that we have difficulty. We had consistently good support, money support, both through CPA, Coalition Provisional Authority, and our higher headquarters to do all of the reconstruction projects we wanted. And that is why, in the area we were in, we had relative success.

    Dr. SNYDER. When did you come back?

    Colonel LINNINGTON. We came back at the end of February.

    Dr. SNYDER. My first trip over there was the 101st. And I think money may have been flowing a little more free-wheeling at that time.
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    But, Colonel McCoy, do you have any comments.

    Colonel MCCOY. Yes, sir. I would tell you that there was severe degradation of the infrastructure across Iraq, based out of Saddam's 30 years of rule. In most cases we were able to take that infrastructure and develop it so it exceeded prewar capabilities.

    Iraq is a very big place. There are in many towns that we—small fishing villages, if you will, along the Euphrates that we probably just didn't get to. It is a matter of time, and we put our money and our effort toward the larger population areas that would breed some of this dissent.

    I never had problems getting access to money. Any project I put forward was certainly approved. We did try to be good stewards of that money. We didn't arbitrarily approve projects until we had gone on site.

    Dr. SNYDER. When did you get back?

    Colonel MCCOY. I got back in July of 2004.

    Dr. SNYDER. Second question for the two of you, if you don't mind. Another issue that we have heard about intermittently, both by e-mail—we all have friends, they are just a split second away by e-mail now that serve— and I have some questions about over there was the problem with parts primarily for vehicles.

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    But did you all feel like your supply lines were well maintained, that you were able to maintain your vehicles and keep them up and running and the other kind of equipment you need?

    Colonel LINNINGTON. Initially, it was a challenge. I think that was primarily because we moved as quickly as we did. And there was some frustration with getting the parts, especially tires and rims that we wanted. It is very rough terrain. And we were going through tires and rims on our vehicles very quickly. Our problem was visibility of where those parts were.

    And in some cases, we ordered and double ordered parts. And then after we had been there four or five months, all of a sudden we started getting—parts were coming out of the sky.

    Dr. SNYDER. The delay is what I have a concern on.

    Colonel LINNINGTON. The Army has done a lot of work on making sure that we have what we wanted. And we had priority of repair parts across the Army. That was beneficial. We ran very quickly in the early stages. It took a while to get the infrastructure established.

    Dr. SNYDER. Once you got settled into Mosul it was better?

    Colonel LINNINGTON. Yes, sir. Much better.

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    Dr. SNYDER. Do you agree with that general assessment, Colonel McCoy?

    Colonel MCCOY. I would agree with that, sir. For OIFI, during the march-up, I arrived in Baghdad with 15 of 15 Abrams tanks, and 49 of 50 of our Amtraks. Supply parts were short—but we had done a 600 movement to contact, if you will.

    OIF II, I was easily able to maintain above a 98 percent readiness rating for all of my rolling stock.

    Dr. SNYDER. Thank you. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

    Mr. WILSON OF SOUTH CAROLINA [presiding]. Next up is Tom Cole from Oklahoma.

    Mr. COLE. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. Let me again just begin by echoing the opinion I am sure everybody on this committee has. We very much appreciate your professionalism and what you have done and what you are doing. It just is awesome.

    I had the good fortune to be in Iraq and Afghanistan guided by your colleague to your rear, Colonel Simcock, but extraordinarily impressive performance by American soldiers across the board.

    Let me begin by asking you: I am going to kind of exclude—if I understand your responses, Colonel McCoy and Captain Savage, because I think you both spoke to this in your remarks about Iraqi forces and security people that you were working with, as I understood it the improvement was impressive.
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    I would like to direct the same question to you, Colonel, and then just across the board for the others. What was your impression and your interaction with Iraqi security forces and armed personnel? Were they getting better? Just your overall impression.

    Colonel LINNINGTON. had a very favorable impression, Congressman. We actually had so many young Iraqi men, some former military, and some obviously not coming forward, wanting to participate as Iraqi security forces.

    Our difficulty in the early days was getting all of them the equipment and the training that they needed quickly, and getting them working either on the border with Syria, which is where I was responsible for, or in security protection forces or even in the police forces.

    So over the period of about six to eight months we ran several border training academies, we ran half a dozen or more police training academies, intel, and we started to establish the infrastructure for training of the Iraqi military forces. And they got better and better as time progressed. Initially it was all us. And then progressively it became us and them.

    And then, you know, people have asked me how do you determine success, or how do you measure success? Success for me was three weeks before we left, an Iraqi border patrol of all Iraqis interdicted a smuggler coming through the border, tracked him and chased him into an Iraqi town, where an Iraqi police checkpoint was established. And those two Iraqi forces, with vehicles and radios and communicating with each other, apprehended those individuals. And that, for me was success, because that was definitely not there when we got there.
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    So, progressively it got better and better. And, I think, reading the paper and seeing what General Petraeus is doing with the training of the new Iraqi military forces, I think it will progressively get better and better and be a good-news story for all of Iraq.

    Mr. COLE. Colonel Springman.

    Colonel SPRINGMAN. Sir, what I saw down in the Sunni Triangle, in my area, initially the police were fairly poor. There were one or two that were pretty good policemen.

    And when we first started to form the Iraqi Civil Defense Corps, we had six members. And we were—by the time we were done, though, it was very successful, and we had over 250 members that we had trained. I had the sergeant major train them. And these six were actually a great success story. No one wanted to come forward. These six did, relatively poor. And we trained them. They went on patrols with us. When we were attacked they came to our aid, and the success came when one of them was attacked by himself, and we went to his aid. Then the word started to spread that we were equals and working with us, and the numbers started to increase. And I saw that as a success story.

    They did all of the patrols with us at the end. They secured some of their own buildings themselves. And they helped capture some of the local leaders who were attacking us, simply because they were Iraqis and could do it better.

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    Mr. COLE. Captain Costello, did you have any experiences?

    Captain COSTELLO. Sir, I saw a little bit of this. There was definitely an improvement through my time there, for the border guard, the police and the facility protection forces. I could see a big difference in the folks as they came through, because I was responsible for paying all of their salaries.

    I had a lot of contact with them. You know, they started off with just a basic school: get issued a weapon, sometimes there was a uniform, sometimes there wasn't. By the time we had left, we had leadership academies run by our NCOs to help train these forces more. As the money started flowing, we were able to equip them with the uniforms that they needed.

    It helped them more mentally to build their confidence and legitimize them in the eyes of the other folks from the town. They see the uniform, and they know that this guy is not just another guy just carrying around a weapon or something like that. So with the new equipment and training and a little more confidence, I definitely saw an improvement, sir.

    Mr. COLE. Terrific. Let me address—my time is running a little short, but let me address a question, Colonel Linnington, to you and then also to you, Colonel McCoy, and if we have time for the others that would be great.

    As was alluded to early on, we have seen—it has been a pretty tough couple of days, to say the least. And, you know, we are moving into the height of the political season in this country. Do you have any speculation as to whether or not we are seeing intensified activity partly to impact public opinion inside the United States? I am not asking you to do—draw a partisan—but just to impact American morale or determination at home; or do you think this is just happening independently of our own political timetable inside this country?
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    Colonel LINNINGTON. Sir, speculation on my part. But, we saw a similar spike in activities as we were approaching the election period in Iraq. And, I think with the elections coming up in Iraq in January, it may be more tied to their election period and trying to destabilize the country for their election period than their own again. That is speculation on my part.

    Mr. COLE. It is a very speculative question. Colonel McCoy.

    Colonel MCCOY. One coincidence that may be there is that we are doing troop rotations. We experienced, when we rotated back in for OIF II, an increase in enemy activity as they introduced the new unit to the AO, so to speak.

    That is going on with 1st Marine Division right now in Fallujah, and out west in Al Anbar Province with units that are doing what we call left-seat, right seat rides, as part of the relief/replace process. That has historically been a window when the enemy attempts to increase their operations and exploit a seam in command and control, a perceived seam.

    Mr. COLE. My time has expired. So unless somebody else has an observation. Did you have one?

    Colonel SPRINGMAN. No, sir.

    Mr. COLE. Okay. Just again, thank you gentlemen very much for your service. It is deeply appreciated.
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    Mr. WILSON SOUTH CAROLINA. At this time, Congresswoman Susan Davis of California.

    Ms. DAVIS OF CALIFORNIA. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. And thank you to all of you for your dedicated service. And particularly I think the way that you have addressed your ability. And I'm not sure it was your training, but something in you that allowed you to work as closely with the Iraqis as you did and have some success as a result of that.

    I wonder if you could talk a little bit about that success. I think we know that success is really dependent on having the Iraqis take charge through police forces, security, counterinsurgency. You have addressed that somewhat. But can you—without giving any specific time line, so on a worst—and really a best-case scenario, what is your sense of how that is going in terms of some kind of a timeline; what it will take, and what you saw in terms of going from 6 to, say, 250 soldiers who were adequately trained?

    The numbers of Iraqis in service are quite large. But the numbers, as I can tell from figures I have looked at, that are actually trained and able to do the work that is required, is still a relatively small number. How do you assess that? What do you—give us some better idea about those numbers.

    Colonel LINNINGTON. Ma'am, I can't put a time line on it, to be honest with you. I know that the more that the Iraqi security forces and army forces are trained up, in place, and operating and gain that experience of providing security for Iraq, then the better they will be. I think it is important that we stand side by side with them to train them. And that is really what our responsibility was when I was there—to help get them trained, be they border security or police or even the Iraqi Civil Defense Corps folks that we trained of all ethnicities. Then they were confident because we were there training them, and we always conducted our training so that we had the opportunity afterwards to talk about it, get feedback from them, and then take it an extra step.
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    I know we are still on the road to training the rest of the forces, Iraqi security forces. I can't speculate on how long that will take to accomplish that.

    Ms. DAVIS OF CALIFORNIA. A third of the way there? Half of the way there?

    Colonel LINNINGTON. The numbers I have seen indicate that we are about 50 percent or so, in training and filling the ranks of Iraqi Army soldiers, and probably a little less or greater number, dependent upon whether you are talking about border security or force protection security, that are guarding key infrastructure or city police.

    I think it is important that the training take place, the whole gamut of training that they go through, because it makes them better on the job, and then they can obviously train themselves after a certain point, and they don't need us around to conduct that training.

    Ms. DAVIS OF CALIFORNIA. Anybody else want to comment on that?

    Colonel MCCOY. Yes, ma'am, I would like to. And Captain Savage may be a little bit closer to this than I, since he worked very close with the Hadetha police. In December, just before we arrived, the police station in Hadetha was, frankly, overrun by local thugs and bandits who confiscated the weapons from the police and released all of the prisoners, all of this really without firing a shot.

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    Over the next seven months, that changed dramatically. There was now a police force that just didn't sit in the police station and try to defend itself and occasionally surrender. They actually went out and patrolled and had adopted our police—American police—mindset to serve and protect.

    When two police officers can walk into a crowd and arrest two men, that signals a sea change in the respect that the local people had for the police, and the confidence that the police had in their training. No longer when they make an arrest does the family come down to the police station, large extended family, and intimidate the police into releasing them. The police are the authority and the final authority in that town.

    That to me spells more, or is a greater indicator than the number of police we have on the force. We had maxed out our cap with the number of police. The Iraqi National Guard, another element of the Iraqi security forces, was also dysfunctional, if you will, when we first arrived. I will tell you that after the transfer of sovereignty, there was a—it is as if a light switch had gone off.

    And that force had spring in their step, a little swagger in their step, and became very, very dedicated under some very strong Iraqi leadership that stepped forward.

    And we, of course, encouraged that and reinforced that every chance that we had. They intend to expand that battalion to a brigade size to add another two battalions to that. That is when I left in July. That is still in the works. So in that case, I guess we are a third there, for western Al Anbar, or my part of it.

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    We have made great strides. And a lot of it is really not quantifiable, but we can certainly qualify that success with their performance and the fact that the Iraqi police were definitely in charge. Maybe an indicator of that was soon after we left, that police station was targeted for a pair of suicide bombs as well as the Iraqi National Guard headquarters that were very close to each other. And they had operated together very well.

    That may have been an indicator that they were having more effect than the bad guys liked. They were able to minimize the damage to that suicide bomb, and then conducted their own investigation and rounded up the people that were responsible for it.

    Ms. DAVIS OF CALIFORNIA. Thank you. I appreciate that. Perhaps in the interest of time, quickly, if you or most of you would like to address the intelligence issue. Are you—is most of the intelligence coming from people in the community? Are you getting intelligence from the outside? Could you give us a sense of that? And also, the issue of the numbers of foreign fighters that you feel—has that diminished greatly? Is that still about where it was? What are you hearing, I guess, from the street; or what were you hearing from the street, and where does the bulk of your intelligence come from?

    Colonel LINNINGTON. Ma'am, 80 percent or more of our intelligence came from human intelligence, came from Iraqis. Just based on the human-to-human contact with American forces, would tell us where the caches were or where the pockets of insurgents were in our area. So in that regard, it was important for us to maintain close personal relationships with all of the folks in our area, and thus the importance of all of the things that we were doing.

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    In terms of foreign fighters, being responsible for a large portion of the border with Syria, that was my concern. And there has been a longstanding debate about how many foreign fighters are coming from Syria. I can tell you that I did not see a lot of foreign fighters coming from Syria. But I can only speak to the 270 kilometers that I was responsible for. And part of that reason I think was because we quickly trained up border security forces and ran a lot of patrols, American patrols, along the border. And I think they know where we are, and they know where the security patrols are from the Iraqi side. So it was probably not a big port of entry, if you will, for the area I was responsible for.

    Ms. DAVIS OF CALIFORNIA. I know my time is up, Mr. Chairman. Perhaps someone else can follow up on that. Thank you.

    Mr. WILSON SOUTH CAROLINA. Next up is a proud Marine, Congressman John Kline of Minnesota.

    Mr. KLINE. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Thank you, gentlemen, all for being here. Thank you for your leadership and for the just outstanding performance of you and your Marines and soldiers in Iraq. We are all so proud of you.

    I was interested to hear that all five of you felt that over 90 percent of the Iraqi population looked at our presence there, the U.S. presence, the coalition presence there, as liberators and not occupiers. And I particularly thought, Captain Costello, when you said that you didn't like to watch or listen to the news since you came back, because it was so out of proportion, the news to what your perception, what was really happening in Iraq, I think that is very helpful for us to hear that from you.
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    I would like to take just a minute and kind of follow up on what my colleague from South Texas was getting at with rules of engagement. So I would like to go to where the rubber meets the road and start with you, Captain Savage. Can you tell me what your Marines' understanding was and is, of when they can shoot and when they can't shoot?

    Captain SAVAGE. Yes, sir. Very plainly. If somebody in the population or in the process of executing a mission identifies themselves as a target, meaning they demonstrate a hostile act—they are either shooting at us, preparing to shoot as us, or they are doing something that indicates that they are going to make us a target—the enemy had a very significant and direct fire threat over there. So if we were in an area that was a known indirect fire target, essentially a target reference point for the enemy, and there was somebody on rooftops, on buildings that had been engaged before with a pair of binos, we could engage that target. The right to self-defense is inherent in every unit commander beyond the squad leader and fire team leader.

    So at no time were the rules of engagement unclear. They were echoed before every mission, sir, in every op order, in every back brief, every precombat check inspection. I mean, if we had time to do nothing else, we talked through the mission at hand, what we are getting ready to do, to make sure that Marines understand the key points, what are your keys to success, our main effort, and where can we really cause catastrophic failure.

    As a company commander, I would venture to say I have never had a concern about Marines not understanding the rules of engagement or being able to pull the trigger when the time was right. I was more concerned about having somebody that was overzealous pull the trigger on somebody unnecessarily. And, you know, as a subordinate commander, I am responsible for every round. And I would venture to say we are fortunate that that never happened.
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    Essentially it was rule number five, safety rule number five: Know your target and its background. Because for every person, hypothetically, that we may have killed that didn't need to be killed, then that would create probably 20 or 30 more of the enemy or simply people that would try to kill us, just to avenge a death in the family.

    Mr. KLINE. But, specifically—I think I heard you say this clearly, but I want to underscore it for purposes of the record—none of your Marines had to wait to be shot at before they could return fire, right? If they perceived a threat to themselves or the force, they could shoot?

    Captain SAVAGE. That is correct, sir.

    Captain COSTELLO. Yes, sir. That is correct.

    Mr. KLINE. Okay. Right answer, folks. Thanks very much. In the ever faint hope of setting an example for my colleagues, Mr. Chairman, I will yield back.

    Mr. WILSON SOUTH CAROLINA. Thank you, Congressman Kline. And certainly questions in a great Marine tradition.

    Next up we have Congressman Frank LoBiondo of New Jersey.

    Mr. LOBIONDO. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. And, gentlemen, I echo the comments of all of my colleagues. Thank you for serving your country so well, for making us all so proud, especially Colonel Linnington. I have had a relationship with your brother for about 20 years now. So I feel a special kinship toward you.
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    A couple of questions that I have. On a local south Jersey radio talk show which I am on pretty frequently, and open up to questions from callers, there is one particular caller—it is easy to tell from his comments where he is coming from—but he is insisting that he has a contact with a friend who has either a son or a grandson that has been in Iraq—so that is where his connection is coming from. And he is continuing to insist that—a couple of things: that not all of our troops in harm's way have body armor.

    You talked about the up-armored Humvees. I think I have got your take on that. And also that morale is nose-diving, that it was okay for a while, but now that the rank-and-file troops believe that they shouldn't be there, that they are not getting the right equipment in all cases, that there is more that we can be doing as a Nation to support them, and that if the truth be known, according to this individual, that morale is really a problem.

    Colonel Linnington, could you start with trying to make some comments on that?

    Colonel LINNINGTON. Congressman, that is about 180 degrees out from my experience. As I left, the 101st's morale was at an all-time high. We were exceeding reenlistment rates. And our equipment was getting refurbished and refit amazingly quickly, primarily due to the resources that were given to us by your committee and by the United States Congress. So I appreciate that.

    Body armor was not an issue in our unit. Everybody had it when we got there, and we left it in Iraq when we came back home for units that were replacing us. And the things that we had, the up-armored kits for vehicles, we left all of that in Iraq as well so that units coming in would have it when they came in. We didn't take any of it home.
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    As we refit our equipment upon return, part of the refit of the equipment is replenishment of the stocks and the things that we left in Iraq.

    There are lots of indications of morale in a unit. And the biggest reason, the biggest thing, I think, is troops wanting to stay in the unit and stay in the Army to do what they are doing. And overwhelmingly our troops' morale is high. And there is no other way can I justify the comments of the caller that talked to you on the radio.

    Mr. LOBIONDO. Okay.

    Colonel MCCOY. Yes, sir. I can address the body armor question first. I will restate for the record that 100 percent of my Marines and sailors had both the Small Arms Protective Insert (SAPI) plate interceptor vest and ballistic goggles.

    With regards to morale, I can assure you there is no sense of victimhood from where I stand in my battalion, my regiment, my division; a few individuals notwithstanding. The families, who you would expect to see the first cracks in morale—since our families in my battalion endured 13 out of 18 months we were deployed to Iraq, we came back for 5 months and then redeployed—they are solid. We are as proud of them as they are of us.

    Finally, we are doing what Marines do. This is why we joined. It is an all-volunteer force. Marines join to do this, to fight and win their Nation's battles. That is exactly what we are doing. Last week I had the opportunity to go to Bethesda to visit a Marine, Corporal Peter Bagarella, from Cape Cod. He wasn't one of my Marines, but he was a Marine from 1st Battalion, 8th Marines, that relieved us in Hadeetha.
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    This Marine had lost a foot and his eyes to an IED. He is going to regain his eyesight. What was significant and striking was this young Marine's morale was sky-high. And even though he knew—he had lost his foot, his first concern was to get back to his unit and to get back to his comrades.

    We believe in our mission. We trust in our brothers. And we have fought with a happy heart. To suggest that there is dissent in the ranks is, again, to echo Colonel Linnington, 180 degrees out from my experience, sir.

    Mr. LOBIONDO. Thank you.

    Colonel SPRINGMAN. Sir, I saw high morale, also. Again, reenlistment rates were over 100 percent. Soldiers know they were doing what soldiers do. Families—I had several soldiers reenlist in Iraq who said the main deciding factor was their wife was happy with the support she was getting, and everything was going well back here in the States as well as with the soldier deployed, sir.

    You know, also saw soldiers who were wounded, drive along with the mission that day. I drive on with patrols, because they didn't want to leave their fellow soldiers out there. Of course, the more seriously wounded were evacuated right away. But we had soldiers continue—PFC Chapman, I remember was hit, his interceptor body armor stopped it, he had a black-and-blue mark, but it probably would have killed him had he not been wearing his interceptor body armor. He got up and drove on with the mission a few minutes later, sir. I saw morale high while I was over there, sir.
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    Mr. LOBIONDO. Captain, your experience the same?

    Captain SAVAGE. That is correct, sir. I would say morale and happiness are not always—do not always coexist. Getting ready, standing at the gates to do a grim task, doesn't mean that you are happy about it; but at the same time, Marines volunteer to be tested, and at the end of a deployment, if a Marine were fortunate to come back home to our families, we know how we did.

    And for the 5–1/2 months we were in Iraq, for the 7 months that we were gone, Marines constantly sought the test, constantly sought to be tested. And the worst thing for a Marine was to spend time away from his unit, as I know personally, sir.

    Mr. LOBIONDO. Captain Costello.

    Captain COSTELLO. Yes, sir. Similar thoughts. First off, 100 percent of my soldiers had body armor. There was never a time that there was a body armor shortage within my unit.

    I think the caller that you referenced may be confusing morale with being homesick. There is no doubt in my mind that every soldier that is over there right now would rather be back home. And, you know, some of the e-mails or phone calls that family members or friends may receive sometimes may be, you know, not so optimistic or not so happy and things like that.

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    But I did not witness any morale problems. I had one discipline problem in a year that required an Article 15 for almost a hundred soldiers. And, you know, my guys had smiles on their face constantly. Would they rather be home? Yes.

    Mr. LOBIONDO. Thanks. Mr. Chairman, can I indulge for another minute?


    Mr. LOBIONDO. Just real quickly, and I will just ask Colonel Linnington and Colonel McCoy. When I was—when I visited and the—as you know, they arranged for us to have meals with the soldiers. One of the comments that I heard was that most of our troops get to watch Armed Forces Network, which is basically our cable system. And along the lines that we heard before that you were mentioning, none of the good news stories are basically making the TV networks.

    Do you think that the troops that are watching that at the time over in theater recognize that? And is that causing any kind of a problem, that they are seeing good things happening on the ground and then they are watching TV when they are coming off duty and saying, where is the good story? Do you hear any of that? And I know I am overtime, so I would just ask you to comment briefly.

    Colonel LINNINGTON. Troops tend to watch football games and wrestling and boxing and things. And believe it or not, as Pat said earlier, we tended to leave the news off while we were in theater, so it didn't affect them that much. And the ones that did, you know, they understood the importance of the mission, and took pride in what they were doing. So they took it for what it was worth.
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    Colonel MCCOY. I concur with that statement.

    Mr. LOBIONDO. Gentlemen, thank you very much for your service to our country.

    Mr. WILSON SOUTH CAROLINA. Thank you, Congressman LoBiondo. And next up we have Dr. Phil Gingrey, Congressman from Georgia.

    Dr. GINGREY. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

    And, gentlemen, let me join—first of all, join with my colleagues in thanking you, thanking you from the bottom of our hearts for your service in Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom, and your continued service to our country. We are deeply appreciative. And you enjoy, as you know, I hope, 100 percent support of this committee from members on both sides of the aisle, in a very bipartisan fashion.

    I want to address my first question, I think, to Colonel Linnington, Lieutenant Colonel McCoy, and Lieutenant Colonel Springman. And this is a little bit of a follow-up on what Congresswoman Davis from California asked a little earlier about the Iraqi troops. You know, before the handoff on June the 28th, it certainly, I think—I will have to admit I had had the impression that we were dealing with some Keystone Cops over there.

    And when—that first, handoff in Fallujah, when our Marines pulled back, we didn't have a very good experience there. And their performance was less than exemplary. And I am just wondering, we had a couple of—three months ago our Chairman, Chairman Duncan Hunter, arranged for us to have a video conference with General Petraeus. And, of course, his is a heavy lift; it is a truly tough job to try to stand up that Iraqi Army.
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    I am still concerned about how we are doing; how are they doing now that we indeed are in an advisory role to them? How are we doing in regard to recruiting? Are we able to reach into the Iraqi civilian population and get good people and get them well trained? If the colonel and lieutenant colonels could comment on that.

    And then I have a short question, Mr. Chairman, for our captains.

    Colonel LINNINGTON. Mr. Congressman, we had an abundance of folks volunteering to serve in the positions, Iraqi security positions in our area. And I can only talk up through the time we left, which was about mid-February when we got home.

    When we left in February, we had trained up all of the border guards that were in place along the Syrian border; 270 kilometers of the border in my area were 100 percent Iraqi. And we had come off of those positions at the completion of their training, and they had that wholly on their own.

    We were initially guarding lots of key infrastructure: oil refineries, water distribution centers, the dam, a lot of other key facilities. And in the 6 or 8 months that we had recruited, trained, and equipped Iraqi forces, by the time we left, they were 100 percent in control of all of those facilities, as well, without issue and without incident.

    I can't speak to what is happening in Fallujah or with the establishment in training, equipping of the Iraqi Army, because we had left—my unit had left Iraq prior to a lot of those forces standing up. I will tell you, however, that when it came to recruiting young Iraqi men for those positions in the Army, there was an overwhelming response by the young Iraqi young men to participate and become soldiers for the new Iraq. That is how they called it.
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    So I would suspect, as I have seen General Petraeus quoted, that it will take time. But based on the enthusiasm of the young Iraqi men to become part of the future of Iraq, that can only get better over time.

    Colonel MCCOY. Mr. Congressman, we found that the key was Iraqi leadership. Recruitment was never an issue. But finding dedicated and courageous Iraqi leadership to fill those billet positions was the crux move, if you will.

    The battalion commander in our zone was arrested in late May for being corrupt. And based on his testimony, we found body armor, radios, uniforms, in his possession in his house. That he was probably selling on the black market.

    He was arrested. Most of his chain of command was sacked along with him. And we brought in young lions that we had identified in the ranks and promoted them up. Many of them had military training or police training in the past, mostly military.

    That, too, is like a light switch going off. And that unit turned around overnight and began to operate on its own, to conduct checkpoints on their own, and to closely work with the Iraqi police in our sector.

    That was the crux move; just swelling the ranks with numbers, with the rank and file is fine. But the key is identifying and nurturing those young leaders and then backing them up. And it was—under Iraqi leadership, those National Guard battalions were fantastic.
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    Colonel SPRINGMAN. I left in late March. Recruiting initially where we were in the Sunni Triangle was a little bit difficult. We started with six members of the ICDC, or the Iraqi Civil Defense Corps. That eventually recently got up to 250.

    These six were what I would call poor Iraqis. They did not have family position, nor did they have money. And, actually, I think this became an opportunity for them, because they became leaders and a way for them to show their leadership ability.

    They quickly took charge, those six. They took charge of the others as they came in. By the time we were done, they were conducting operations very well, and at the squad and platoon level, sir. I think a lot of the—for lack of a better word—''disenfranchised'' Iraqis saw this as a means that was not going to—as a means for them actually to advance and have a part in the new Iraq.

    In our area, I was on the Tigress River. There were two bridges across. It was the true lifeline of my area to the outside. And they guarded, along with the police, those bridges and the other entrances to the area.

    They additionally operated at several cites in our AO that were likely ambush sites or mortar or rocket attack sites, just to keep those out of the hands of those who wanted to attack us or attack them, sir. They were operating 24 hours very well, I thought.

    Dr. GINGREY. Gentlemen, thank you.

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    Mr. Chairman, if you will indulge me just for another second, I think I am the last of the Mohicans here, and I did want to address a question to Captain Savage and Captain Costello.

    I can't remember—it has been three hours since the hearing started—which of you in your formal remarks said that when you—the first—Operation Iraqi Freedom 1, that you were greeted with jubiliation by the Iraqi citizens, and indeed I think one of you mentioned that they brought fresh bread and flowers and were very, very happy to see you.

    Now, my question for both of the captains is, in your second rotation, this more recent Operation Iraqi Freedom 2, did you see the same attitude from the Iraqi citizenry, or had there been any significant change from the time that we got there and were seen as liberators and not occupiers, or has that changed for the worse up to the present time?

    Captain SAVAGE. Dr. Gingrey, sir, to address that question, our second rotation from March 1st to July 12th was out in the Al Anbar Province. And that was a new area for us. They had not seen—they did not get the attention that a lot of areas in Fallujah and Baghdad and Ramadi had gotten. And initially we were greeted with skepticism, because there wasn't a great coalition process out west initially. Once we demonstrated to them that we were serious about the various civil affairs projects, the water treatment plant, a slaughterhouse, the things that were important to their community—once they saw us getting to work getting those things established, the skepticism gave way to support.

    And it may have just been passive support. And in some cases it was active support, be it intelligence support, or just, if nothing else, a change in mood from, let's say, a patrol in March to a patrol later on in May, a dismounted patrol through the city.
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    That, I hope, answers your question as far as a change in attitude. And then the fact that it just took time. It just took time being a new battalion on deck to start implementing these projects. But once the projects got underway—

    Dr. GINGREY. little slower after a year had transpired. But once they could see what you were doing, the support was there.

    Captain Costello, your experience.

    Captain COSTELLO. Congressman Gingrey, I only spent one rotation there for a year. So I can only speak to the change, or perceived change in attitude during my time there.

    At first, people were all over the streets. I think what happened was the excitement died down as they got used to seeing Americans over there. You know, I don't think their hope for a change ever died.

    I do think there was a lot of impatience. A lot of people expected things to change overnight, a magic switch that would turn on all of the electricity in the country, start digging sewers and the sewage system to help clean the streets and things like that.

    Captain COSTELLO. But would see the excitement again when we would repair a medical clinic or reopen a hospital or a school or a government building. You would have thousands of townspeople out there, and it was like when we first came into the different cities.
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    Dr. GINGREY. I know I am well beyond my time. I thank you for your patience with me.

    Thank you, gentlemen, for your service.

    Mr. WILSON OF SOUTH CAROLINA [presiding]. Thank you, Dr. Gingrey.

    And, indeed, there is a Last Mohican. I am Congressman Joe Wilson from South Carolina, and I would like you to know how much I appreciate your service. And in lieu of a question, I just want to let you know, I appreciate your service as a Member of Congress, as a veteran of 31 years with the Army National Guard and as the parent of three children who are serving in the military. And so, what you have done is so important for our country, and I am very, very grateful.

    I am particularly grateful because I think it is historic, the service in Afghanistan, in Iraq, liberating two countries, over 50 million people. And all of it, from my perspective, really is to protect the American public. And you are protecting the American people.

    And as you well know, there are no longer any training camps in Afghanistan or Iraq where terrorists could be trained. And we had the chilling reminder of what terrorists can do with the action in Russia just this last week. How horrific and how barbarous these terrorists can be to target innocent children.

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    And, of course, they would not hesitate, as they did on September 11th, 2001, to target the civilian population of the United States, who they have declared as their enemy.

    Additionally, I have had the opportunity to visit Iraq three times. A year ago, I am very grateful that the Ranking Member here, Ike Skelton, included me on his delegation. And we saw firsthand the civil action projects. It was just so inspiring. And I know that there have been 27,600 civil action projects working with the people of Iraq to build a civil society, which, again, benefits the American public.

    Another highlight that you all reiterated is that, on our visits to Iraq and also to Afghanistan, we had the opportunity to meet with all ranks from our home state, had breakfast, lunch and dinner. And they stated, just as you did, that they were patrolling by foot, not speeding through communities. They were talking with the people. They were finding support, ranging from 70 to 90 percent. As an elected official, we are very happy with anything over 50 percent. So I can assure you, the number 70 to 90 had an impact on me.

    Another point I wanted to make, too, my older son is serving in Iraq. I am very grateful for his service there. He is, in fact, joined by the son of the Chairman of our Committee, Duncan Hunter. And so we are very grateful that our sons are there. And I receive daily e-mail photos from Iraq. I receive satellite phone calls from him, e-mail every few minutes practically on the progress that is being made to build a civil society.

    And what you did today—I regret the media coverage—but being a former reporter, the statement is that good news has no feet, and bad news has wings. But putting it all in perspective, I grew up my whole life being told that we couldn't win the Cold War, that communism, in fact, was the wave of the future. But we persisted and persevered. We won.
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    The irony to me—I had the opportunity to visit Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, Karshi-Kanabad, Uzbekistan, Bagrami, Afghanistan, former-Soviet air bases designed to destroy the United States, now American and coalition bases fighting terrorism.

    And I have had the opportunity to travel to Bucharest, Romania, and seeing people living in democracy who did not have a chance 15 years ago. So I am just really encouraged, and I want to thank you for your service.

    At this time, I believe Congressman Taylor may have another question. Then, I would certainly want to consult further with Congressman Skelton.

    Mr. TAYLOR. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.

    And I do want to thank the panel for staying so long. You have been very generous with your time.

    Colonel, I mentioned at the beginning that I had a chance to visit with one of our mutual friends when I was in Mosul, and I would prefer to not mention his name over the air for a couple of reasons. But I do know him well enough, and I know that he wants to spend a career in the Army, and he is a great soldier.

    Something that he said in September—I took him at his word—was something to the effect that, ''Well, we got this place—how is it—and he said something to the effect, ''We got this place licked,'' or something like that.
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    I don't think he said it in an offhand manner. I think he meant it. I am just curious if you could kind of walk me through, and I would ask the panel to walk me through. We have had several highs and lows. Several of us happened to have been over there shortly after the capture of Saddam Hussein. At that time, there was an increase in the level of violence. It was attributed to some of the hot heads, maybe one last dash, on their part, trying to do something, their frustration at the capture of Hussein. And obviously, like every American, grief at the 14 young Marines that have died just in the past few days.

    I would very much appreciate the comments of some of the panel that said, ''Well, we see a rise in casualties to correspond with the swapping out of unison, and that stands to reason.'' But I guess what I would like to know—and what I think the American people would like to hear from you experts, not the folks in the media, but you people who were actually there—what do you attribute the most recent rise in the level of violence to? Do you see this as a short-term thing? And if you were sent back tomorrow, would you feel safer or less safe than on your previous tour?

    Colonel LINNINGTON. Congressman, I will take the question. I haven't been in Iraq in several months. I can only get—I can only tell you my experience, and I do still have contact with those who are in Iraq. I can tell you how they feel.

    I think, as we progress to Iraq for Iraqis and putting an Iraqi face on the success of that country—and this is my opinion again, but it is based on firsthand experience of watching Iraqis step up and take charge of their own affairs—I think things will progressively get better.
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    I am not sure why the attacks have spiked or even if the percentage of attacks have spiked recently as compared to what it was six months ago. It may be a percentage thing. I am not sure. There may be a whole host of different reasons. The only thing I can say is that the guys that are in Iraq right now, the soldiers that are in Iraq right now, they have the same enthusiasm for the mission and the same dedication that we had when we were there. And that is palpable, tangible and documented. And their morale is as high as our morale was.

    So they are prepared to do the mission for as long as it takes. But I don't know how long it will take. I can just tell you that soldiers, Marines, airmen, will be there until it is over.

    Mr. TAYLOR. Since you were in Mosul back a year ago and since you, in my estimation, had a very firm hand on what was going on there and things under control, would you have that level of confidence in the Mosul area today as you had about a year ago?

    Colonel LINNINGTON. I would, because I think the way we had co-opted a governing council for the Mosul province and the way we had co-opted the tribes and ethnicities in our area collectively to work for solutions is still in place.

    Our biggest challenge was the multiple ethnicities—Kurd, Arab, Yizidi, Turkamen—and all those different tribes and all those ethnicities were all vying for power when we got there, because they all wanted to hold primacy in the governing body that was elected by Iraqis.

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    The same city council that we elected—that Iraqis elected—when we left is still in place. A few members have stepped down, and a few others have stepped up, but I am confident that the framework that we built when we departed is still in place and operating well. And I think that is clearly indicated by the fact that we were replaced by a smaller force, yet it is still, in relative terms, seen as a safe and secure environment in the northern portion of the country.

    Mr. TAYLOR. Again, I had an opportunity to visit the colonel over there in the area where he was, so I am going to ask each of you again to talk about your most recent deployment there and whether you would feel as safe, less safe or more safe, if you were sent back to that area today.

    Colonel MCCOY. Congressman, I returned 12 July of 2004. I would feel as safe going back today as I did the day I left. As I mentioned in my statement, it is much like a tide coming in. So success is almost imperceptible. It is in bits and pieces. As Captain Savage said, we are doing it one individual, one family at a time. And I believe we are winning. And I believe that with all my heart.

    Why are we winning? We have demonstrated to the Iraqi people there is a better way of life. And the insurgents that we are up against do not have a better message than we do. They haven't painted one school. They haven't repaired one bit of infrastructure. And the people see that, that their way is another life of terror and repression. And they understand that.

    Why is there a spike in violence? I think, every day the Iraqi government exists, the insurgency is one day further from accomplishing their objective. They—once the elections are done and there are free and fair elections, they are even that much further away from their goal of upsetting the balance there.
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    I think that that is why we are seeing a spike in it. Part of it is because there are new units rotating in, and it is an opportunity there because there is also going to be increased traffic out as units are conducting reconnaissance of their area. So their percentage of opportunities for the enemy to hit folks is greater. And they not as attuned to the area.

    But I feel that you are going to see a spike, not based on U.S. elections but—that is speculation—but based on their own elections, that you will see a spike there as they try and derail the democratic process that is going on in Iraq right now. And every day it is alive and well, they are further and further away from their objective.

    Mr. TAYLOR. Thank you.

    Colonel SPRINGMAN. Sir, I left in March of 2004, and can only speak about my area while I was there. I can tell you, if I went back now, especially with the same soldiers I served with there, I would feel just as confident if not more confident.

    What caused spikes in attacks in our area? It varied. Some were tied to money. And thanks to good work from a captain on patrol, Captain Loren Johnson, something looked strange about a chicken coop, and we went in and found a money-making machine and the people operating it. Some of that stopped some of the attacks.

    Some of them are young men wanting to prove their manhood. They were not very good at it, but that caused some of the attacks. And also, if they had some success, that would inspire some other young men to do it. So the quicker we put it down, the more the other young men knew that was a bad idea and to stay away.
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    I also feel we are winning. In the town of Dhuluiya, when I got there, stores had very few products. People were hungry. Rice shipments, other grain shipments, were not regular. Gasoline shipments were not regular.

    They were at the time we left. Stores had an abundance of both food and products, from cell phones to satellite dishes to cars. The economy was picking up. And a lot of that was just generated on the economy's success on its own, sir. I felt and would feel very confident going back there.

    Mr. TAYLOR. Thank you, sir.


    Captain SAVAGE. Congressman Taylor, I can't recall at any time that anybody ever took—speaking for Kilo Company—the area as being safe. But we were secure and staying offensive, staying active, actively patrolling. Actively conducting raids against the anti-Coalition and anti-Iraqi forces was our greatest safety and security. Having the opportunity to spend over 5.5 months there, you could see the progression from the day we got there, March 1st, to the day we left on July 12th, the change in what the civilian population had done in western Iraq. And that, if nothing else, I think, should give everybody greater confidence that these people are well on their way to getting back on their feet.

    Mr. TAYLOR. So you would feel the area is as safe or more safe? I realize that is a relative term. Would you ask your Marines to be more alert than they were then?
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    Captain SAVAGE. Sir, I don't know if our approach would change because we always approach it from the highest threat, and if it turns out that we are not engaged, we are not engaged. I think what happens is, when met with successes, when coalition forces are successful, or the Iraqi authorities, legitimate Iraqi authorities, are successful, then that puts, perhaps, the ball back in the enemy's court to do something desperate to counter that success. And it may be Iraqi elections coming up, and it also may be things strategic, surprises, things that occur like—we were surprised in Kilo Company on June 28 at 12 when the transfer of authority had occurred, and we were all scratching our heads like, ''Wow, that was pretty good.'' And things that we do at the tactical level that just totally threw a curve ball to what enemy forces can expect.

    I would feel no more threatened or no less threatened going back over there tomorrow if tasked to do so; it is just something that you are also on your highest level of alert, and you take everything, everyone seriously. Because each of your Marines, all of our lives, depend on it.

    Mr. TAYLOR. Thank you, sir.


    Captain COSTELLO. Congressman Taylor, to answer your first question, I got back in February of 2004, and I can't really speak to the recent resurgent violence over in Iraq. If I went back today, I think I would feel safer than I did the first time I went for a couple of reasons, the most important, just having the knowledge that I know after being there for a year. I picked up a lot. It is an adventure, learning for the first time, going through, as it is, the first time going through anything.
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    With that being said, you never become comfortable or complacent with anything over there, and as Captain Savage said, you are always at your highest state of alert.

    But between the knowledge and the equipment that is overseas now, the things that we are just getting and just getting fielded as we began to leave, I would definitely feel safer going back now.

    Mr. TAYLOR. Again, thank all of you gentlemen for what you have done for your country and, I presume, what you will do in future years. Thank you very much.

    Mr. Chairman, thank you for giving me a second chance.

    Mr. WILSON OF SOUTH CAROLINA. Thank you, Congressman Taylor.

    And before we conclude with Congressman Skelton, at his approval, I would like to recognize a guest that we have with us in the audience.

    We are pleased to have with us a person who has been a member of the Senate of the Republic of Romania. Indeed, this was a country that was a dictatorship like Iraq and, just within the last 15 years, has emerged, obviously, into a developing democracy, a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), an ally of the United States. And so, with us today, we have Ms. Norica Nicolai.

    Please be recognized. Thank you.
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    And at this time, Congressman Skelton.

    Mr. SKELTON. Just a special thanks to each one of you, to those troops you have commanded, those with whom you work; you make us proud.

    Mr. WILSON OF SOUTH CAROLINA. And at this time, as we conclude, we have been joined by our Chairman, Chairman Duncan Hunter, from the State of California.

    The CHAIRMAN. Well, thank you Mr. Chairman. You did a great job by running this hearing.

    Many thanks gentleman. It has been an excellent hearing for our Members. Please excuse my absence in the early part of this hearing.

    Mr. WILSON OF SOUTH CAROLINA. There being no further business, the meeting is adjourned. Thank you.

    [Whereupon, at 1:15 p.m., the committee was adjourned.]