By Spc. Kimberly Browne, 1st Cav. Div. PAOApril 7, 2010
FORT HOOD, Texas - With the swing of a cavalry saber, the 1st Cavalry Division Museum unveiled its newest exhibit "Back to the Neighborhoods" at Fort Hood's Soldier Family Readiness Center March 30.
Over a year and a half in the making, the exhibit is a maze full of pictures and artifacts from Operation Fardh al-Qanoon; better known as the"Surge."
Operation Fardh al-Qanoon, also known as Operation Law and Order, was a joint Coalition-Iraqi security plan enforced within Baghdad. The surge was a massive push of troops to support Iraqi forces to clear Baghdad of Shiite militias and Sunni insurgents and establish joint security stations midst Operation Iraqi Freedom 06-08.
"The pictures and artifacts are from a combination of combat camera, public affairs and individual Soldiers," said Steve Draper, the museum's director. "Probably over 50 percent of the photographs here are from Soldiers."
Photographs and illustrations line the first several walls of the exhibit. Toward the exit is a street scene with artifacts from the area and mannequins dressed as American Soldiers, Iraqi Soldiers and Iraqi civilians.
"The memorial definitely reminds you of being there," said Pvt. Rich Philips, a Soldier with Company A, Division Special Troops Battalion, 1st Cav. Div. "Being a part of "The Surge" made me proud and I'm happy to see my guys get recognized."
Several Soldiers walked through the exhibit glancing at the images as they went by, while others stopped and starred.
"I was very impressed by [the exhibit]," said Staff Sgt. Steve Buero, with the 1st Cav. Div. "Since I was there (in Baghdad), [the exhibit] looks almost the same to me."
Planning for the exhibit began more than 18 months ago with the $168,000 price tag funded by the Center of Military History in Washington, said Draper
The placement of the exhibit in the SFRC was due to the museum being full.
"We are either going to have to renovate old spaces or renovate new spaces to make room for this memorial exhibit and for 08-10 exhibit," he said.
"The exhibit being placed at the SFRC gives the Soldiers a better opportunity to see it because of its location," added Draper.
"The division's partnership in Baghdad, which is and always will be, the decisive point for the battle in Iraq," said Brig. Gen. John Murray, deputy commanding general, 1st Cav. Div.
For more information visit, www.hood.army.mil/1stcavdiv/1CDmuseum/index.htm.