FORT STEWART, Ga. - Hundreds of Marne Soldiers from past and present turned out at Club Stewart to celebrate the book debut, "Surging South of Baghdad," Jan. 10.

The history book, written by senior historian in the Histories Division of the U.S Army Center of Military History, Dale Andrade, notes the accomplishments of 3rd Infantry Division and its Soldiers during a critical and challenging moment in recent history.

"The 3rd ID's accomplishments during the surge were significant," said Brig. Gen. Jeffrey E. Phillips, 3rd ID deputy commanding general. "Placed in a slice of territory between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers near Baghdad that had become a insurgent safe haven, the 3rd ID secured, stabilized and began rebuilding there; the history book unveiled today tells that important story in great detail."

One may wonder, just how does a civilian gain access to a war to write a history book'

Lieutenant General Rick Lynch, 3rd ID commanding general during the surge and current Installation Management Command commander, traveled to Fort Stewart for the book's debut. He said that he realized that his division of Soldiers was about to make history when the president decided to surge combat power into Iraq , so he contacted the Center of Military History and recommended that they send someone to join the deployment and document the divisions actions. The Center's leadership agreed and sent Andrade.

Andrade, a civilian historian, witnessed the surge firsthand as he resided, traveled and attended key strategy meetings with 3rd ID's leaders and Soldiers throughout Iraq.

"I saw the way (Lt. Gen.) Lynch planned,'' Andrade said."I was in the meetings. Having the division open those doors for me gave me a perspective that would not have been there with just the documents.''

The book, many feel, is an important piece of not only the history of the 3rd ID, but the Army as a whole.

"This book is a snapshot of a 15-month period of time in an ever-changing environment," said Brig. Gen. Phillips. "Our Army's mission in Iraq continues today, and history continues to be made in that ancient land... Mr. Andrades book, however, is an important part of the big picture that our Army's history in Iraq, a slice of history that is also now woven into the rich tapestry that is the Marne Division's legacy."

For some members of the audience, the book will signify not only pride of military accomplishments, but a mark in their own Family history.

"I plan to read it and keep it,'' said Sgt. 1st Class Inez Armas, of the 3rd Brigade Support Battalion, 1st Brigade Combat Team."I had it autographed and I'm going to show it to my kids and hopefully they'll read it also, just to know what I did.''