Turning the Corner by James Dietz
Task Force Baghdad
In early 2003, select divisional units were designated to deploy in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom through the initial phase of combat culminating in the liberation of the Iraqi people from the tyrannical rule of Saddam Hussein. In the fall of 2003, the division as a whole was ordered to prepare for deployment to Operation Iraqi Freedom II. In January, division elements began deploying to the theater of operations and in April 2004 the division assumed command and control of Task Force Baghdad. During the divisions tour of duty, Task Force Baghdad’s ranks swelled to more than 39,000 uniformed members including active duty, reserve, national guard Soldiers, US Marines, and international coalition partners. The division engaged the enemy across multiple lines of operation, helping the Iraqi people forge a new, democratic government—the first in that nation’s history. Task Force Baghdad fought numerous engagements with the insurgents throughout the city. On several occasions division units were called on to conduct or support major offensive operations, which further stabilized a country striving for a return to peace. Two major events in the march toward true democracy occurred during the division’s year in the Iraqi capital: first, the coalition returned sovereignty to the people of Iraq in June 2004; and second, the national elections of January 2005 proved illustrative of the resolve of the Iraqi people to gain control of their country. The division transferred authority to the 3rd Infantry Division in February 2005 and completed redeployment on April 2. As a commemorative to the division’s tour of duty, this painting by James Dietz captures the essence of a street scene in Baghdad with Cav troopers and the equipment they used in the effort to help the Iraqi people “turn the corner” on the road from tyranny to democracy.
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