When Lieutenant Colonel Jim Crider arrived in the Doura neighborhood of Baghdad in February of 2007 as the commander of 1st Squadron, 4th Cavalry Regiment out of Fort Riley, Kansas the Sunni neighborhood appeared beyond hope. The streets were largely empty of life and the air was filled with the foul smell of burning trash and open sewage. Improvised explosive devices, small arms fire, hand grenades, and dead bodies were a normal part of every 1-4 CAV patrol in the spring and early summer of 2007. However, through the ruthless implementation of the counterinsurgency principles outlined in Army Field Manual 3-24 and several pragmatic decisions along the way, the neighborhood began to turn in July of 2007. By the end of September, the unit had seen the last attack on its forces. Businesses reopened, the streets were full of people, and there was hope. This paper contains some of the primary lessons learned during their 14 month combat tour. In his foreword to the paper, CNAS Senior Fellow and author of the New York Times best-seller Fiasco Tom Ricks calls Crider’s work “the first in-depth review offered by an American battalion commander about post-invasion operations in Iraq.”
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