Chapter 4:
The Way Ahead

Future Operating Environment Challenges
Army Transformation
Transforming Today
Changing Army Culture
Balancing Risks
What Does Not Change
Summary


The condition of the Army today can only be understood when one considers where we have been and where we are going.. The changes in the world have made us realize that to ultimately be successful in the Global War on Terror, we must transform our capabilities. We will not be ready and relevant in the 21st Century unless we become much more expeditionary, more joint, more rapidly deployable and adaptive, as well as enhance our capability to be successful across the entire range of military operations from major combat to the condition of stability.

Dr. Francis J. Harvey Secretary of the Army

4-1. The strategic environment, national guidance, and operational requirements demand that today's Army forces conduct operations of a type, tempo, and duration that differ significantly from those of the past. The late twentieth century required a force able to execute a fixed number of deliberate war plans and prepared to provide small forces for infrequent contingencies. The twenty-first century requires a force able to conduct sustained operations against several ongoing contingencies while remaining prepared to execute a number of deliberate war plans. Sustained operations and readiness to meet both old and new threats will be normal for the foreseeable future. This situation requires changes in both structure and mindset. The Army is rapidly transforming itself to meet both requirements.

4-2. The War on Terrorism has given the Army a strategic opportunity to reshape itself. It is leveraging its wartime focus to build campaign quality Army forces with joint and expeditionary capabilities. It is shedding inefficient processes and procedures designed for peacetime and reexamining institutional assumptions, organizational structures, paradigms, policies, and procedures. This ongoing transformation is producing a better balance of capabilities. When complete, Army forces will be able to deploy more promptly and sustain operations longer to exercise decisive landpower across the range of military operations. The Army's goal is to transform itself into a more responsive, effective expeditionary force capable of sustained campaigning anywhere in the world. Meanwhile, it continues to sustain operational support to combatant commanders and maintain the quality of the all-volunteer force.

FUTURE OPERATING ENVIRONMENT CHALLENGES

4-3. The Army is preparing today to meet the four types of challenges outlined in chapter 2:

4-4. To address traditional challenges, the Army is extending its mastery of major combat operations. It is maintaining the ability to counter today's conventional threats while preparing for tomorrow's antiaccess environments. The ability to prevail in major combat operations is a crucial responsibility and primary driver of capabilities development. Many capabilities required for major combat operations apply across the range of military operations. Those capabilities include-

4-5. The Army is broadening and deepening its ability to counter irregular challenges. However, because the Nation cannot afford two armies, the Army is meeting this requirement by increasing the versatility and agility of the same forces that conduct conventional operations. In many situations, the combination of traditional and irregular threats presents the most demanding challenges to military effectiveness. This combination requires Soldiers and units able to transition between the operations required to counter conventional and irregular threats.

4-6. Preempting catastrophic threats includes deterring the use of or destroying weapons of mass destruction. To accomplish these tasks, the Army is continuously enhancing its expeditionary capability. It is increasing its ability to rapidly project forces and decisively maneuver them over both global and theater distances. It is seeking minimal reliance on predictable, vulnerable deployment transition points (intermediate staging bases) or ports of entry.

4-7. To prepare for disruptive challenges, the Army is maintaining and improving a range of capabilities, minimizing the potential for single-point strategic surprise and failure. It is also developing intellectual capital to power a culture of innovation and adaptability, the Army's most potent response to disruptive threats.

4-8. While preparing for irregular, disruptive, and catastrophic challenges, the Army is retaining its ability to dominate land operations in traditional conflicts. American land forces clearly occupy a commanding position in the world with respect to defeating traditional military challenges. The Army must retain a superior position, particularly in the face of modernizing armies that might challenge U.S. partners and interests. Failure to maintain a qualitative edge over these traditional threats would promote instability and create vulnerabilities that adversaries might attempt to exploit. 4-9. While technology will be crucial to achieving greater operational agility and precision lethality, the human dimension will continue to be the critical element of war. The Soldier will remain the centerpiece of Army organizations. As the complexity of operations increases, well-trained, innovative, and disciplined Soldiers and leaders will become more important than ever. Recruiting, training, educating, and retaining of Soldiers is vital to maintaining landpower dominance in all forms of conflict.

ARMY TRANSFORMATION

4-10. Transformation describes the process by which the current force is becoming the future force. (See figure 4-1.) It occurs as the Army incorporates new capabilities into its force structure and trains Soldiers to use them. The future force is what the Army continuously seeks to become. It will be strategically responsive and joint interdependent. It will be capable of precision maneuver and able to dominate adversaries and situations across the range of military operations envisioned in the future security environment. The future force will be lighter, more lethal and agile, and optimized for versatility. It will be capable of seamlessly transitioning among the different types of military operations.

Figure 4-1. Current to future force

4-11. Army transformation is more than materiel solutions. Adaptive and determined leadership, innovative concept development and experimentation, and lessons learned from recent operations produce corresponding changes to doctrine, organizations, training, materiel, leadership and education, personnel, and facilities (DOTMLPF). DOTMLPF is a problem-solving construct for assessing current capabilities and managing change. Change is achieved through a continuous cycle of adaptive innovation, experimentation, and experience. Change deliberately executed across DOTMLPF elements enables the Army to improve its capabilities to provide dominant landpower to the joint force.

4-12. The Army Campaign Plan is the authoritative basis that sets into action the Army's transformation strategies. It provides specific objectives, assigns responsibilities for execution, and synchronizes resources. It directs the planning, preparation, and execution of Army operations and Army transformation within the context of the Nation's ongoing strategic commitments. These commitments and resource availability dictate the synchronization and pace of change. The Army Campaign Plan also sustains operational support to combatant commanders and maintains the quality of the all-volunteer force.

THE ARMY'S TRANSFORMATION STRATEGIES

4-13. The Army's comprehensive restructuring combines four interrelated strategies. These strategies are centered on forces, people, quality of life, and infrastructure. Together, they enable the Army mission: Provide to combatant commanders the forces and capabilities necessary to execute the National Security, National Defense, and National Military Strategies. The Army's transformation strategies are-

These interrelated strategies unify the Army's transformation effort. Properly implemented, they will produce an Army able to meet everything asked of it.

ESSENTIALS OF ARMY TRANSFORMATION

4-14. The Army Campaign Plan establishes eight campaign objectives that enable the Army to achieve its transformation strategies. (See figure 4-2.) These objectives are clearly defined, measurable, decisive, and attainable goals.

4-15. The Army is undertaking a significant shift in emphasis and priorities with respect to its near- and midterm focus and resourcing. This shift is driven by a reassessment of the strategic and operational environments. It is also driven by the Army's responsibility to provide relevant and ready landpower to combatant commanders now and in the future.

 

  • Support global operations. Organize, train, equip, and sustain a campaign capable joint, expeditionary Army to provide relevant and ready landpower to combatant commanders.
  • Adapt and improve total Army capabilities. Organize Army forces into modular, capabilities-based unit designs to enable rapid force packaging and deployment, and sustained land combat.
  • Optimize Reserve Component contributions. Transform Reserve Component force structure and continuum of service paradigms to optimize Reserve Component capabilities and provide relevant and ready forces and Soldiers to combatant commanders.
  • Sustain the right all-volunteer force. Recruit and retain competent, adaptive, and confident Soldiers and Army civilians to meet immediate and long-range multicomponent personnel and family readiness requirements.
  • Adjust the global footprint. Adjust Army stationing and support infrastructure in accordance with integrated global presence and basing strategy to better execute the National Defense Strategy and support operational deployments and sustained operational rotations.
  • Build the future force. Develop future force capabilities to meet future landpower requirements of the combatant commanders.
  • Adapt the institutional Army. Transform the institutional Army and associated processes to responsively execute Title 10 responsibilities to sustain a campaign quality Army with joint, expeditionary capabilities.
  • Develop a joint, interdependent logistic structure. Create an integrated logistic capability responsible for end-to-end sustainment to joint force commanders across the range of military operations.

 

Figure 4-2. Army campaign objectives

TRANSFORMING TODAY

We will not be effective and relevant in the 21st century unless we become much more agile but with the capacity for a long-term, sustained level of conflict. Being relevant means having a campaignquality Army with joint expeditionary capability. It must be an Army not trained for a single event like a track athlete, but talented across a broad spectrum like a decathlete.

General Peter J. Schoomaker

4-16. To respond to the contemporary strategic challenges, the Army has accelerated its transformation. During times of peace, change is generally slow and deliberate, conducted at a pace supported by limited resources. In wartime, however, change must occur faster to strengthen operational forces and provide the best available resources to deployed Soldiers. Thus, Army transformation is not an end in itself; it contributes to accomplishing today's missions as well. To improve its ability to provide forces and capabilities to combatant commanders, the Army is undergoing its most profound restructuring in over 50 years. Key aspects of the transformation already affecting the current force include the following:

RESETTING THE FORCE

4-17. Operations in Iraq and Afghanistan are placing tremendous demands on Army equipment and Soldiers. As a result, the Army has initiated a program to reset units returning from deployment. Resetting refers to actions taken to prepare redeploying units for future missions. Resetting units is not a one-time event, for either the Army as a whole or individual units. It is required for all units, regardless of component, every time they return from a deployment. The reset program consists of five elements. Each addresses different unit deployment requirements:

Through its reset program, the Army is simultaneously supporting current global commitments and transforming itself for future challenges.

4-18. Two programs geared for both redeployed and deployed units complement the reset program: the rapid fielding initiative and the rapid equipping force program. These programs are designed to quickly integrate combat systems and equipment for Soldiers into the current force.

4-19. The rapid fielding initiative is designed to fill Soldier and unit equipment requirements by quickly fielding commercial, off-the-shelf technology rather than waiting for standard acquisition programs to address shortages. Soldiers receive individual equipment, such as, body armor and ballistic goggles. Units receive equipment based on operational lessons learned, such as, grappling hooks and fiber-optic viewers. Soldiers and units of all components are equipped to a common standard.

4-20. The rapid equipping force program uses commercial and field-engineered solutions to quickly meet operational needs. It provides both simple and sophisticated equipment. Examples range from lock shims that open padlocks nondestructively to robotic sensors that explore caves, tunnels, wells, and other confined spaces.

4-21. These programs are directly aligned with the Army's people and force transformation strategies. They reflect how the Army cares for its people and prepares units for upcoming training and deployments. They also position the Army to be more responsive to emerging threats and contingencies.

RESTRUCTURING THE FORCE

4-22. The Army is restructuring from a division-based to a brigade-based force-the modular force. Modular force brigades are strategically flexible. The major combat and support capabilities a brigade needs for most operations are organic to its structure. This modular organization simplifies providing force packages to meet operational requirements. It also increases brigades' tactical independence. It enhances integration with Army, joint, other-Service, and multinational forces. This organizational transformation is making the operational Army more powerful and responsive.

4-23. Transforming to the modular force will increase Regular Army combat capability to as many as 48 combined arms brigade combat teams. It will increase the size of the Army's overall pool of available maneuver organizations to no fewer than 77 brigade combat teams. Having a larger pool of available brigade-based forces will enable the Army to generate forces in a predictable rotation. This enlarged force pool will also give Soldiers and units more time between deployments. Further, this stabilization will allow higher quality training and better support to combatant commanders.

4-24. The modular force includes five types of multifunctional support brigades that complement and reinforce brigade combat teams: aviation, battlefield surveillance, maneuver enhancement, fires, and sustainment. These brigades are also organized as combined arms units. Each accomplishes a broad function, such as, protection in the case of maneuver enhancement brigades. In addition, theater-level single-function commands or brigades (such as, Army air and missile defense commands) provide additional capabilities for the campaign quality modular force.

REBALANCING THE FORCE

4-25. The skills and organizations required for operations against today's threats are different from those of the recent past. The twentieth century required an Army with a large capacity focused on combat capabilities. Today's operational environment requires an Army with more diverse capabilities as well as the capacity for sustained operations. The Army is developing these diverse capabilities through a process called rebalancing.

4-26. Rebalancing involves retraining Soldiers and converting organizations to produce more Soldiers and units with high-demand skills. It will result in a substantial increase in infantry capabilities, with similar increases in military police, civil affairs, military intelligence, and other critical skills. It will also relieve stress on the relatively small pool of Soldiers and units currently possessing these high-demand skills. Additionally, rebalancing increases the Army's ability to conduct sustained stability and reconstruction operations.

4-27. The Army has already begun rebalancing the Regular Army and Reserve Components. The objective is to prepare the Regular Army to be able to execute the first 30 days of an operation without augmentation from the Reserve Components. This is increasing Army capabilities available for the first 30 days of an operation. Ultimately, rebalancing the force will realign the specialties of more than 100,000 Soldiers.

STABILIZING THE FORCE

4-28. The Army is now assigning Soldiers to brigades for longer periods. This policy increases combat readiness and cohesion as it reduces turnover and eliminates repetitive training requirements. With Soldiers and families moving less frequently, more Soldiers are available to train or fight on any given day. This initiative is a major step in transitioning the Army from an individual replacement system to a unit replacement system. It allows Soldiers to train, deploy, fight, and redeploy together. Unit replacement lessens the strain of the high operational tempo and creates greater stability in the lives of Soldiers and their families.

INTEGRATING COMPONENT TECHNOLOGY OF FUTURE COMBAT SYSTEMS

4-29. Also key to Army transformation is the fielding of future combat system technologies. These form the foundation for long-term Army transformation. The future combat systems are not platforms; they are a family of networked land- and air-based maneuver and supporting systems built around Soldiers. Networked future combat system capabilities will integrate sensors and information systems. They will also include manned and unmanned reconnaissance and surveillance systems. This network will improve commanders' situational understanding. Future combat system-equipped units will have superior joint interoperability and be more rapidly deployable and survivable than current force units.

4-30. The operational Army is benefiting from future combat system programs today. The Army is integrating component technologies into the current force as they become available. It is not waiting until all future combat system elements are completely developed. This strategy allows the operational force to use the best equipment and latest technological enhancements available. In addition, the experience gained in using these technologies is helping improve future force decisions. A continuous cycle of innovation, experimentation, experience, and change is improving the Army's ability to provide dominant and sustained landpower to combatant commanders. It is getting newly developed technology to Soldiers faster then previously envisioned.

DEVELOPING NETWORKED INFORMATION SYSTEMS

4-31. Also important to Army transformation is providing networked information systems down to the lowest level, including individual Soldiers. These networked systems support command, control, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance. They are transforming how Army leaders make decisions and operate. They are improving commanders' connectivity within the collaborative information environment necessary for joint operations. Networked systems will contribute to information superiority by providing leaders access to online knowledge sources and interconnecting people and systems independent of time, location, or Service. Disciplined information sharing over this network will improve commanders' situational understanding. This collaboration will facilitate the human art of command and ultimately shorten commanders' decision cycles, contributing to decision superiority.

MODERNIZING INSTITUTIONAL ARMY PROCESSES

4-32. The institutional Army is reengineering its business, force-generation, and training practices to improve its support of the operational Army and other Services. Initiatives include eliminating irrelevant policies, processes, and practices. Other improvements include increasing institutional agility by developing a joint, end-to-end logistic structure and fostering a culture of innovation. The institutional Army is seeking to improve effectiveness and identify efficiencies that free people and money to better support the operational Army.

CHANGING ARMY CULTURE

4-33. When large, complex organizations pursue transformational change, a key measure of success is leaders' ability to reorient peoples' attitudes and actions. For Army leaders, these people include Soldiers, Army civilians, and families. The Army is changing policies, training, and behavior to create a culture that embraces the operational and organizational challenges of a turbulent security environment.

4-34. The Army's success in changing its culture will be a significant measure of its success in transforming itself. This cultural change will build on the existing Army culture and beliefs as expressed in the Army Values and Soldier's Creed. This effort has four major dimensions:

INCULCATE A CULTURE OF INNOVATION

4-35. The Army's practice of learning and changing continually while performing its mission has historical roots. Since the 1980s, the Army has been a national leader in anticipating and leading change. Its deliberate study of technical and professional developments, focused collection and analysis of data from operations and training events, free-ranging experimentation, and transforming processes have made it a model of effective innovation. Army leaders are continuing to foster creative thinking. They are challenging inflexible ways of thinking, removing impediments to institutional innovation, and underwriting the risks associated with bold change.

4-36. Innovation seeks engagement by all Soldiers. Engagement fosters and improves communication among Soldiers and leaders throughout the force. It tests new ideas, concepts, and ways of conducting operations. Engagement includes methodically collecting and analyzing data and conducting informed discussions. It experiments with new ideas and creates opportunities to learn from critics. Army leaders are seeking to innovate radically. They want to move beyond incremental improvements to transformational changes. They continue to identify and test the best practices in industrial and commercial enterprises, the other Services, and foreign military establishments. They review history for insights and cautions. Consistent with security, they share information and ideas across organizational, public, private, and academic boundaries.

4-37. Engagement begins with a flexible doctrine adaptable to changing circumstances. The Army is enhancing its doctrine to address enemies who deliberately avoid predictable operating patterns. It is incorporating lessons learned from ongoing operations to equip Soldiers for today's security environment and prepare them for tomorrow's. Doctrine cannot predict the precise nature and form of asymmetric engagements; however, it can forecast the kinds of knowledge and organizational qualities necessary for victory. The Army is applying its intellectual and physical resources to refine its doctrine to accomplish that task. Effective doctrine fosters initiative and creative thinking. In so doing, it helps adaptive and flexible leaders make good decisions and stimulate a culture of innovation.

REALIZE THE IMPLICATIONS OF JOINT, EXPEDITIONARY WARFARE

4-38. Recent adversaries have achieved strategic surprise by operating against the United States from remote locations. Other adversaries may seek refuge in similar formidable environments. Thus, future conflicts are likely to involve joint, expeditionary operations. These conflicts will be characterized by rapid deployments with little to no notice, contingency operations in austere theaters, and incomplete planning information. Operations are likely to involve fighting for information rather than fighting with information against adaptive and creative adversaries. Future force organizations are designed to prevail under these circumstances.

4-39. However, victory in future conflicts requires more than redesigned organizations, materiel, and facilities. The Army is also changing its mindset to better cope with the implications of an uncertain and ambiguous security environment. Joint, expeditionary warfare places a premium on adapting to the unique circumstances of each campaign. Operational success depends on flexible employment of Army capabilities and different combinations of joint and interagency capabilities. No military force in history has had the range of capabilities available to today's joint force. However, there is no standard formula that fits every operation. Land warfare will always generate unexpected opportunities and sudden risks.

4-40. It is important that Soldiers have the training and experience to recognize what tactics and techniques might fit a particular situation. It is equally important that they have the imagination to recognize and initiative to adapt to new conditions and unforeseen events. It is therefore critical to view themselves through enemy eyes. To accomplish this, the modular force will include a "red-teaming" capability. Red team-trained personnel will actively participate during planning to ensure proper consideration of both conventional and asymmetric threats. Other red team personnel will be available to review plans and address commanders' areas of concern. Red team personnel are one resource commanders will be able to use to increase their Soldiers' self-awareness and knowledge of adversaries.

4-41. Although planning provides a necessary forecast for any operation, it cannot predict the actual course of events. The operational environment of the early twentyfirst century requires Soldiers and units to adapt and execute in order to win. The Army is enhancing its training, education, and Soldier and leader development programs to develop the flexible, adaptive mindset needed to prevail in joint, expeditionary operations.

COMMIT TO THE IDEALS OF THE WARRIOR ETHOS

4-42. The Army prepares every Soldier to be a warrior. Army training seeks to replicate the stark realities of combat. The Army has changed its training systems to reflect the conditions of the current operational environment and better prepare Soldiers for them. The goal is to build Soldiers' confidence in themselves and their equipment, leaders, and fellow Soldiers.

4-43. Mental and physical toughness underpin the beliefs established in the Soldier's Creed. Army leaders develop them in all Soldiers. The Warrior Ethos inspires the refusal to accept failure and conviction that military service is much more than a job. It generates an unfailing commitment to win. The Warrior Ethos defines who Soldiers are and what Soldiers do. It is derived from the Army Values and reinforces a personal commitment to service.

4-44. Commitment to the ideals of the Warrior Ethos is deeply embedded in the Army's culture. The Warrior Ethos instills a "mission first-never quit" mental toughness in Soldiers. Training as tough as combat reinforces the Warrior Ethos. Soldiers who demonstrate it are promoted. Soldiers combine the Warrior Ethos with initiative, decisiveness, and mental agility to succeed in the complex, often irregular, environments in which they operate. Soldiers and leaders who exemplify the Warrior Ethos accomplish the mission regardless of obstacles.

PROMOTE RESILIENCY

4-45. To complement the "mission first-never quit" spirit of the Warrior Ethos, the Army is emphasizing the importance of resiliency. Resiliency enables Soldiers to thrive in ambiguous, adverse situations. It allows units to respond aggressively to changes and setbacks. Resilient Soldiers overcome the stress, confusion, friction, and complexity of the environment to accomplish the mission. They are mentally prepared to deal with uncertainty. They can absorb the effects of unexpected developments without stopping or losing their orientation. Tough, realistic training develops Soldiers and leaders comfortable with uncertainty. This self-confidence produces a willingness to innovate and accept risk. Resiliency-underpinned by the ideals of the Warrior Ethos-allows Army forces to exploit adversaries less capable of dealing with ambiguity.

BALANCING RISKS

4-46. Before 11 September 2001, the absence of a peer competitor shaped the Army's strategic investment decisions. The Army's investment strategy accepted risks in numerous current force procurement areas to allow investment in the future force. After 11 September, the War on Terrorism changed Army requirements dramatically. The Army had to "buy back" many of the deferred capabilities required for current operations. Doing this has reduced operational risk and improved Army forces' firepower, force protection, mobility, and sustainability. While these decisions have produced dramatic, immediate improvements for Soldiers and increased current force capabilities, the monetary costs have been substantial.

4-47. To reduce the risks associated with fighting the War on Terrorism, the Army has made deliberate choices in several areas. These include allocating resources, assigning missions to its units and components, altering stationing, and procuring new weapons and equipment. These decisions accommodate urgent wartime needs and have better enabled Soldiers to accomplish their missions. The months and years ahead will challenge the Army to balance current and future investments to keep risk at moderate levels as it executes current requirements and prepares for future challenges.

WHAT DOES NOT CHANGE: THE HUMAN DIMENSION

Above all, we must realize that no arsenal or no weapon in the arsenals of the world is so formidable as the will and moral courage of free men and women.

President Ronald Reagan

4-48. As the Army moves into the future, two things will not change-the primacy of Soldiers and Army Values. Appropriately, this manual begins and ends with Soldiers. Well-trained Soldiers are fundamental to realizing any improvements in technology, techniques, or strategy. It is Soldiers who use technology, execute techniques, and accomplish strategies. It is they who bear the hardships of combat, adapt to the demands of complex environments, and accomplish the mission. Their collective proficiency and willingness to undergo the brutal test of wills that is combat remains the ultimate test of Army forces.

4-49. American Soldiers-exemplifying the Army Values of loyalty, duty, respect, selfless service, honor, integrity, and personal courage-remain the centerpiece of Army organizations. The Army will continue to recruit, train, equip, and retain physically fit, mentally tough, high-quality Soldiers. It is quality people that make the Army what it is-the world's premier landpower force. An example of what quality Soldiers do-day in and day out-is in the story of the 724th Transportation Company deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. (See page 4-14.)

SUMMARY

4-50. The Nation has entrusted the Army with preserving its peace and freedom, defending its democracy, and providing opportunities for its Soldiers to serve their country and develop their skills and citizenship. To fulfill its solemn obligation to the Nation, the Army will continue to be the preeminent landpower on earth-the ultimate instrument of national resolve.

4-51. The Army will remain a values-centered, doctrine-based profession of Soldiers, rooted in the fundamental principles expressed in the Declaration of Independence and Constitution of the United States. George Washington's moral courage and selfless leadership preserved the ideal of civilian control of the military. Washington's actions at Newburgh show what selfless service to the Nation means-enduring personal sacrifice for the greater common good and rejecting personal gain that comes at the Nation's expense. Today's Soldiers continue his legacy of sacrifice and selfless service.

4-52. The Army's proud history and traditions point to countless men and women who have been and are committed to defending the American way of life. They are citizens who answered the call to duty. Many made the ultimate sacrifice. Today's Soldiers, bound together through the trials of service and combat, hold fast to the professional standards embodied in the Army Values and Warrior Ethos. In so doing, they will continue to inspire the Nation and the next generation that answers the call to duty.

 

724th Transportation Company in Iraq

The 724th Transportation Company, an Army Reserve unit, mobilized on 8 November 2003 and deployed for Operation Iraqi Freedom on 18 February 2004. They served in Iraq until February 2005. On 327 missions, they traveled more than 728,000 miles and delivered nearly 9 million gallons of fuel. That much fuel would have supplied a World War II field for more than three weeks.

The 724th spent most of its time in the Sunni Triangle, the most dangerous part of Iraq. Delivering fuel was a dangerous mission. Every convoy was a combat operation. The mission of 9 April 2004 was particularly memorable. It was the anniversary of the fall of Baghdad. A 724th convoy carrying fuel to al Asad was attacked as it traveled a four-mile stretch along Alternate Supply Route Husky. Insurgents subjected the convoy to a gauntlet of fire from built-up areas dominated by two- and three-story houses and narrow side streets. Nearly 200 enemy fighters engaged the convoy with rocket-propelled grenades, command-detonated improvised explosive devices, machine guns, and assault rifles. The Soldiers of the 724th responded as American Soldiers have done for over 200 years; they fought through and accomplished the mission. Specialist Jeremy Church, driving the lead vehicle, distinguished himself by engaging targets with his rifle and treating his wounded lieutenant without stopping the vehicle. He was awarded the Silver Star for exemplary courage under fire.

The 724th Transportation Company is typical of the many units that have served and are now serving in the War on Terrorism. The action of 9 April 2004 was not an exceptional occurrence. Similar engagements happened every day. The Soldiers of the 724th responded as all Soldiers do—in a selfless, professional manner. However, the 724th Transportation Company was exceptional because what Soldiers do in service to the Nation is exceptional.