Episode 002: Iraqi Army Trainer – Operation Iraqi Freedom

Staff Sergeant Chris Adams at a training site in Kuwait prior to moving into Iraq in October 2006. (Photo Credit: Gabriel Suarez)

Chris is a US Army veteran who served 13 years on active duty as a communications specialist before being medically discharged in 2009. During his time on active duty, Chris deployed twice to Iraq. His first deployment was to Anbar Province in eastern Iraq from 2004-2005 and his second was to Baghdad during The Surge from 2006-2007.

What You’ll Get From This Episode

Chris tells us a little about his early life growing up and the circumstances that led him to joining the Army.

Chris recalls some of his most vivid memories of going through basic training as a slightly older recruit and assignment to his Army career field as a communications specialist.

Assigned to a mobile response unit in Washington D.C., you’ll hear Chris’ experience on the scene at the Pentagon in the days following the 9/11 attacks.

Chris shares a little of what life was like for a soldier stationed in South Korea in the early 2000s with 1st Battalion, 9th Infantry Regiment (1/9IN), 2nd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division (2/2BCT).

In what was probably a first, 2/2BCT, already forward deployed, was alerted and ordered to deploy from South Korea to Iraq. Chris recalls that period of shock and surprise of getting told the news.

Chris relates some of his experiences with 1/9IN in Iraq’s volatile Anbar Province during his unit’s 2004-2005 combat deployment.

Fresh from his deployment to Iraq, Chris relates his journey straight to a new home in the United States at Fort Carson, Colorado.

1/9IN transforms from a heavy combined arms battalion with Abrams Tanks and Bradley Fighting Vehicles to a light reconnaissance squadron, now designated 3rd Squadron, 61st Cavalry Regiment (3/61CAV), equipped with only HMMWV (Humvee) trucks and heavy machine guns.

Chris describes his experiences during the train up period with 3/61CAV in Colorado and then back to Iraq for what would eventually become a 15-month long deployment to eastern Baghdad in 2006 during The Surge.

Chris shares some of his experiences from his second Iraq deployment, explaining how it was different from his previous deployment a year earlier.

Chris reflects back on his Army experiences, some of the strong friendships made, and his sometimes difficult transition back to civilian life after a medical discharge.

Resources for Topics Discussed in the Episode

9/11 Inside the Pentagon. A 2016 PBS documentary that tells the story of the 9/11 attack on the Pentagon including interviews with survivors and responders.

The U.S. Marines in Iraq, 2004-2005: Into the Fray. An official publication about the history of the U.S. Marines in Al Anbar Province during 2004-2005 from the Marine Corps University, History Division.

The U.S. Army Campaigns in Iraq: The Surge 2007-2008. An official publication about the history of the Iraq Surge campaign from the Army Center of Military History available to the public for free.

Ghost Riders of Baghdad by Daniel Sjursen. A book written by another member of 3/61CAV about his experiences during the same 2006-2007 deployment Chris describes in his interview.

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