In August 2004 I was one of the 98th Division Iroquois soldiers call up to deploy to Iraq as part of MNSTC-I. I went to work with the soldiers mentioned in the book Iroquois Warriors in Iraq published by the Combat Studies Institute Press, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. The book was put together by Steven Clay. As noted in the forward to the book:
Prior to 2004, a US Army Reserve institutional training division had never deployed overseas to a theater of operations, nor were they designed to function as unit trainers and combat advisors. The author highlights the challenges faced by the 98th Division as it trained for and deployed to Iraq for this unusual mission. Among those challenges were how to train and prepare for the mission, who to send, how to integrate reservists into the new Multi-National Security Transition Command-Iraq (MNSTC-I), and whether to deploy the 98th as a unit or as a collection of individual soldiers.
Throughout the turbulent period of 2004 and 2005 in Iraq, the soldiers of the 98th Division added to the proud legacy of the US Army Reserve. Iroquois Warriors in Iraq tells the story of the history of the 98th Division (IT), it is a compelling narrative of the earliest phases of the Army’s efforts to build the Iraqi armed forces,
Steve did a good job laying out the state of affairs that we as Reserve soldiers faced with the lack of information and a quick deployment to all manner of conditions and challenges. In the book he illustrates several individual 98th Division Soldier’s incredible contributions to the MNSTC-I mission with an honest and frank narrative that pulls no punches. The reading is focused on one Reserve Unit deployment, but provides some insight into the flexibilities and capabilities of a well led organization in a combat theater. I know many of the contributors and their stories are true and really encapsulate the year we spent in country.
Steve provides a fair analysis of the deployment and concludes the book with sound conclusions in chapter 8. He has some great ideas that he floats in this chapter. I particularly like the thoughts on greater infusion of the active and reserve component. As he notes many of today’s senior Active Duty Leadership has more knowledge of the Navy and Airforce as a result of joint assignments that they posess of 2/3rd of the Army in the Reserves and National Guard.
The last note here is the quote attributed to Gen Petraeus
I think they should be justly proud of what they did. In some cases they did missions for which they were completely suited; in other cases, just like everybody else in Iraq, they did missions that were not familiar to them and they responded admirably in each case. . . . To say we couldn’t have done it without . . . the 98th would be a huge understatement, so they ought to look on this episode in their history with pride.12
Yes, I’m proud of the work done by the 98th Division Reserve Soldiers and all those that preceeded and have served since – Thanks to Steve Clay – one story of Reserve Component success has been told.