As the country prepares to mark the 10th anniversary of the start of the Iraq War this week, we take a look at Georgia's role in the conflict.
Thousands of the soldiers deployed to the war zone over the years came from two Army bases in the state... Fort Stewart, near Savannah, and Fort Benning, near Columbus. Many of them were deployed more than once and some units from the state played a key role in the fighting from the beginning. In addition, many Georgia National Gard members and military reservists were activated and spent time in the war zone.
"Shock and awe" was the phrase injected into our vocabulary with the initial attack on Baghdad. According to encyclopedia.com, it is a term "for a military strategy based on achieving rapid dominance over an adversary by the initial imposition of overwhelming force and firepower." The campaign against Iraq by the U.S.-led coalition began with a massive nighttime bombing of Baghdad. (See first link below.)
An Associated Press report shows that 151 members of the military, either from Georgia or stationed in Georgia, were killed in Iraq between the time hostilities began on March 19, 2003, and the time the war "officially" ended in December 2011.
Six of them were from northeast Georgia:
*Staff Sgt. Bobby Franklin, an Army National Guard member from Mineral Bluff
*Lt. Noah Harris, Army, of Ellijay
*Spc. David Collins, Army, of Jasper
*Sgt. 1st Class Dexter Wheelous, Army, of Winder
*Sgt. Jason Harkins, Army, of Clarkesville
*Staff Sgt. Shaun Whitehead, Army, of Commerce
By the time the U.S. military pulled out of Iraq in December 2011, nearly 4,500 Americans and more than 100,000 Iraqis had lost their lives. The war cost American taxpayers hundreds of billions of dollars. (See separate story. Second link below.)
(The Associated Press contributed to this story.)