By Michelle Butzgy/ParaglideJuly 13, 2012
The XVIII Airborne Corps Public Affairs Office, as part of the United States Forces-Iraq staff responsible for concluding Operation New Dawn in Iraq by the end of 2011, was given a final mission for the history books, literally.
The staff, along with photographers and contractors, worked on an historic project chronicling the Iraq War from the international debate over weapons of mass destruction to the final combat Soldier crossing the border into Kuwait.
The result of their year-long effort is 'The Iraq War 2003-2011,' a 159-page, full color, glossy, soft-bound book detailing eight years of combat, training, advising and reconstruction work in Iraq by American servicemembers, Department of Defense civilians, contractors and coalition partners.
"We wanted it to be a book that chronicled the entire war because we knew we were transitioning from a military-led operation to a State Department-led operation. It was important to us to accurately document how we reached our zenith in US-Iraq relations so others could someday look back and reflect upon all that was actually accomplished, and the sacrifices made, to help Iraq," said Col. Kevin V. Arata, XVIII Abn. Corps public affairs officer.
The book is filled with photographs, maps and charts about different events that occurred during the war. Two historians from United States Forces -- Iraq, Lt. Col. Les Melnyk and Col. Jerry Brooks, helped the public affairs specialists organize the book into a pictorial timeline.
"I think anybody with an interest in what happened during the war in Iraq, to include those who served there, would be interested in this book," said Arata.
"We tried to show a balanced, factual account, which was why we worked closely with the historians and relied on their expertise, to provide an all-encompassing, but easily digestible, retrospective to fill the book."
The book, selling for $33, is available for purchase through the Government Printing Office online at http://bookstore.gpo.gov/actions/GetPublication.do?stocknumber=008-020-01620-9.
Advertising for the book is being done on a grass-roots level, said Arata. "If you've got friends who've served in Iraq, or want to share with others what took place over the course of the eight-plus years U.S. forces were deployed to Iraq, tell them about the book -- share the link to the GPO site so they can order one for themselves," he said.