Writer's Guide to Government Information

Resources to inject real life detail into your fiction

Archive for the tag “iraq war”

Office of Medical History (Army)

Office of Medical History (Army) – http://history.amedd.army.mil

Representative questions that can be answered with this resource:

  • What were some preventative measures taken by the US Army in the American Revolution?
  • When were US soldiers first vaccinated for smallpox?
  • What was considered typical care during the Civil War?
  • What were World War I base camp hospitals like?


This site is divided into a number of sections, but the most helpful will be:

Books and Documents – materials from Revolutionary times to the the Iraq War. Some representative titles are:

  • The Evolution of Preventive Medicine in the United States Army, 1607-1939
  • Medical Men in the American Revolution, 1775-1783 by Louis C. Duncun
  • Thesis: A Study of the Medical Support to the Union and Confederate Armies During the Battle of Chickamauga: Lessons and Implications for Today’s U.S. Army Medical Department Leaders by David A. Rubenstein
  • The U.S. Army Medical Department in the San Francisco Earthquake of 1906
  • Women in the Army Medical Department in World War II
  • Battle Casualties in Korea: Studies of the Surgical Research Team, Volume II, Tools for Resuscitation
  • In Their Own Words: The 498th Air Ambulance Company in Iraq, 2003

Historical Art Work – Captioned images and photographs from WWI through the Iraq War. The Office of Medical History discourages the use of this imagery for commercial or partisan publications, but does not disclose their authority for prohibiting these uses.

Medal of Honor recipients – Short citations of medical personnel awarded the Medal of Honor.

AMEDD Unit Patches and Lineage – Patches and organization histories from Army Medical units.

As you might gather from the title of this resource, it will be most helpful in determining what level of field medicine is available to your military characters in a given period of time.


Marines in Iraq 2004-2008: An Anthology and Annotated Bibliography

Marines in Iraq 2004-2008: An Anthology and Annotated Bibliography

(Paper – http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/670246464)


Representative questions that can be answered with this resource:

  • What challenges did US Marines find in Iraq?
  • What Marines units participated in the early occupation of Iraq?
  • When did Grand Ayatollah al-Sistani negotiate a truce in Najaf?


From the introduction:

This anthology presents a collection of 21 articles describing the full range of U.S. Marine Corps operations in Iraq from 2004 to 2008. During this period, the Marines conducted a wide variety of kinetic and non-kinetic operations as they fought to defeat the Iraq insurgency, build stability, and lay the groundwork for democratic governance.

The selections in this collection include journalistic accounts, scholarly essays, and Marine Corps summaries of action. Our intent is to provide a general overview to educate Marines and the general public about this critical period in the history of the U.S. Marine Corps, the United States, and Iraq. Many of the conclusions are provisional and are being updated and revised as new information and archival resources become available.

The accompanying annotated bibliography provides a detailed overview of where current scholarship on this period currently stands.

The annotated bibliography runs from page 269 through page 294 and includes primary and secondary sources. The articles and bibliographies offer many differing viewpoints. Between the essays and the bibliography, you ought to be reasonably informed about many aspects of the Iraq War from 2004-2008.

In addition to the articles and annotated bibliography there is a useful “Chronology of Events” starting at page 261.

The web version of the book is presented in seven PDF files. If you’d like a paper copy try interlibrary loan through your local public library.

Iraq And Vietnam: Differences, Similarities, And Insights

Iraq And Vietnam: Differences, Similarities, And Insights (2004) – http://www.strategicstudiesinstitute.army.mil/pdffiles/00367.pdf

Representative questions that can be answered with this resource:

  • How did the scale of the Vietnam War compare to that of the Occupation of Iraq?
  • What tactics did the US use under the pacification of Vietnam?
  • Who were allies of North and South Vietnam?


This 76 page study from the Strategic Studies Institute is a compare and contrast to the wars in Iraq and Vietnam and provides a useful background to each conflict. From the introduction:

The authors conclude that the military dimensions of the two conflicts bear little comparison. Among other things, the sheer scale of the Vietnam War in terms of forces committed and losses incurred dwarfs that of the Iraq War. They also conclude, however, that failed U.S. state-building in Vietnam and the impact of declining domestic political support for U.S. war aims in Vietnam are issues pertinent to current U.S. policy in Iraq.

Pages 64-76 of this volume consists of endnotes and references to other works.

Insurgency In Iraq: An Historical Perspective

Insurgency In Iraq: An Historical Perspective (2005)

Representative questions that can be answered with this resource:

  • What tactics did Menachem Begin’s resistance group, Lohamei Herut Yisrael use in the 1940s?
  • What were the main causes of death among US soliders in Iraq 2003-2004?
  • What were some earlier examples of IEDs used against Western soldiers?


This 27 page work offers a sketch of insurgent movements from around the world from the 1920s forward with particular emphasis on the Middle East. There is significant coverage of the tactics used by the Stern Gang in British Palestine prior to the formation of Israel. There is also some coverage of Iraq’s 1920s insurgency against the British Empire.

Pages 18-21 of this work consists of endnotes and references to other works.

Improvised Explosive Devices in Iraq, 2003-09: A Case of Operational Surprise and Institutional Response

Improvised Explosive Devices in Iraq, 2003-09: A Case of Operational Surprise and Institutional Response – http://ssi.armywarcollege.edu/pdffiles/pub1064.pdf

Representative questions that can be answered with this resource:

  • When was the first IED causality in Iraq?
  • What is “hillbilly armor?”
  • Were ways to defend against IEDs available prior to 2003 and who pioneered them?


The bulk of deaths and injuries to US forces in Iraq came from Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs). This book provides a high level overview of the responses of the United States and Australia to this reality. The section dealing with the American response provides some detail on the armor and vehicles that were offered to try and reduce the casualties from IEDs. It also offers thoughts on how slowly institutional militaries react to surprise changes in tactics.

In addition to having some value in stories dealing with the Iraq War, this book might have some value in illustrating institutional reactions in science fiction or other military situations.

A bibliography on pages 50-57 has articles on a number of topics, mostly about damage from IEDs and efforts to reduce damage from them, but also about other surprises in US history like submarine warfare.

This book is available in PDF, ePub and Kindle formats for free.

Battleground Iraq : journal of a company commander

Battleground Iraq : journal of a company commander by Todd S Brown; United States. Dept. of the Army – http://www.history.army.mil/html/books/070/70-107-1/index.html

Representative questions that can be answered with this resource:

  • What was a night raid like in Iraq?
  • What was the routine of an occupying force?
  • How did some Americans see the Iraqis they encoutered?
  • How did US servicemembers pass the time in the field between assignments?


This book is the journal of company commander (then Captain) Todd S. Brown who led an army company in Iraq from April 2003 through March 2004. From the editor’s introduction:

There is a lot that Todd Brown’s journal is not. It is not an official account, nor does it purport to be. It is not consistent. Todd experiments with his writing style–he was a civil engineering major at the US Military Academy–and bounces around with respect to structure, organization, and delivery. He also bounces through mood swings reflecting good days and bad days. Reading a paragraph in isolation might cause one to believe that the war was winnable or hopeless depending on the exigencies of the moment rather than upon some overarching theory of campaign progression. Sometimes he speaks casually of breathtaking courage, and other times he seems almost whiny.

Captain Brown’s account is supplemented by editor supplied background material at the beginning of each monthly chapter. The work has a glossary and an index as well as five appendices, all of which will be helpful to the writer of stories set in this period:

  • A. Command and Control at the Brigade and Below
  • B. The Samarra Paper
  • C. Civil Samarra
  • D. Countermortar Operations around the LSA
  • E. Life Aboard the Bradley

Some of the relations with the Iraqis might be helpful in occupation stories set on other worlds.

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