Iraq in 2009 was a strange netherworld, not quite war but not yet peace. The country teetered on the threshold of great change with the impending national elections and the promised withdrawal of all US combat forces. These changes would usher in either an era of irreversible stability or a return to the sectarian carnage that nearly destroyed Iraq in 2006. It was during this period of uncertainty that Task Force Patriot arrived to take over as the last US combat force to occupy Saddam Hussein’s hometown of Tikrit. In this gripping first-hand account of the final months of combat operations, author Pat Proctor brings his unique, insider perspective to reveal the circumstances that put this battalion in a position to turn the tide of the Iraq war.
Despite resistance from insurgents, intransigent Iraqi politicians, and, occasionally, the US interagency team, this artillery-turned-infantry battalion found itself in a position to not only improve conditions in its area, but solve the last unsettled problem of the Iraq war, the sectarian divide. Task Force Patriot, through the confluence of lucky circumstances and innovative thinking, had stumbled upon a unique approach—a combination of hardball politics, economic investment, and a nuanced application of force—that could potentially end Sunni separatism in Iraq. This book tells the untold story of this critical period during the second national elections, which, eight months later, was only beginning to yield a government. More importantly, however, this book tells the story of the last crucial days of the Iraq War.