Eight months in Iraq 'life-altering' for Ironwood attorney

August 22nd, 2006  
Team Infidel

Topic: Eight months in Iraq 'life-altering' for Ironwood attorney


I served with Doug.... Great guy... just got used and worked like a dog over there....

IRONWOOD -- Just before Mother's Day, Capt. Doug Moore came home from Iraq.
Moore, a lawyer, describes his eight months serving as a member of the Judge Advocate General corps in Iraq as exhausting, dangerous, frustrating, exciting and life-altering.
"You can't help but come back changed," Moore said last week in his office at Jacob McDonald Silc & Moore in Ironwood.
"Little things that used to bother me -- they're not that important any more."
Those eight months altered the lives of Moore's family -- wife Kathy and daughters Sydney, 7 next month, and Maddie, 4 -- as well.
Kathy Moore said it was "just like being a single parent. You feel a lot more responsibilties."
Kathy, who teaches middle and high school English at Mercer (Wis.) K-12 School, said, "my main goal was my children. They were No. 1."

Deployed to Iraq
Doug Moore's deployment began in July 2005 when he was activated by the Wisconsin Army National Guard and sent to Madison as a legal assistance officer.
For two months, he counseled soldiers and their families on legal matters such as credit and employment issues.
In September, he went to Fort Bliss in El Paso, Texas, for two weeks of preparation before deploying to Iraq. It included marksmanship, convoy safety training and how to recognize Improvised Explosive Devices.
Moore flew out of Bliss to Kuwait, where incoming troops were issued additional equipment and sorted out by where their orders said they were going.
He bypassed additional briefings when a colonel in a hurry to get to Baghdad picked him out of the crowd.
Moore was assigned to Task Force 134, created to deal with detainee issues after the scandals of Agu Ghraib. He was stationed at Camp Victory, working with a Combined Review and Release Board.
His job was to review files of detainees and present them to the board, which included Iraqi government officials and U.S. military officers.
"It was a great experience," Moore said.
Iraqis explained tribal relationships and cultural nuances.
The differences between Iraqi and U.S. judicial systems sometimes made it a frustrating experience.
"There weren't enough judges," Moore said. "To be a judge, you're pretty much taking your life in your hands."
It was dangerous, although Moore was not on street patrol.
Twice a week, he convoyed into the Green Zone to meet with the board at a government building.
Before leaving Camp Victory in an armored humvee, the occupants, in full battle dress including bullet-proof vests, would "stop, lock and load" their weapons, Moore said.
Their goal was to finish up a day's work and get back to Camp Victory before rush hour hit.
Although today's widespread secular violence had not started when Moore was in Iraq, he said, they were "always on the lookout for IEDs."
Moore worked 16 to 20 hours a day, six days a week. He was one of five attorneys on duty when he arrived at Camp Victory.
He tried to take Saturday mornings off. That let him stay up late Friday to call home around 6 p.m. Ironwood time and talk to his wife and daughters.
Then he could sleep in, rather than reporting for work at 7 a.m.

At Home, Life Goes On
Cathy Moore e-mailed funny stories about their girls to her husband in Iraq. They did not watch the news on TV.
"We talked about him every day," she said. "In a sense, he was with us -- or we were with him."
She told the girls Daddy should be home by summertime.
"I never talked about when Doug was coming home," she said. "Kids do things by holidays."
After Christmas, the girls asked if it was summertime. No, Cathy told them, Valentine's Day, then Easter came before summer.
When one daughter asked if Daddy went out and killed people, Cathy told her, no, "your Daddy helps the Iraqi people."
The girls' favorite photo from Iraq showed Doug at Thanksgiving dinner.
They talked endlessly about what he was eating, Cathy said.

Special Duty
In Iraq, JAG officer Moore was selected to assist in drafting policies for the Joint Detention Committee. He was picked to individually brief
Maj. Gen. John D. Gardner -- the deputy commanding general for detainee operations -- on detainee release issues.
Moore also served as magistrate for the Cropper interment facility and attended meetings with the International Committee of the Red Cross.
"I got the broad spectrum" of experience, Moore said. "I got to see another aspect of things ... areas most captains don't get involved with."
At Moore's farewell in Camp Victory, Maj. Gen. Gardner presented him with the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Iraqi Campaign Medal, Armed Forces Reserve Medal and -- as a member of Task Force 134 -- the Joint Meritorious Award.

Landing in Milwaukee
Early in May, Capt. Moore flew to Milwaukee from Fort Bliss.
There were no military bands, no crowds of dependents dressed in red, white and blue waving American flags. That happens when a whole unit comes home, he said.
His wife, his daughters, two of his lieutenants and his former colonel met the returning JAG officer.
His younger daughter, seeing him in desert uniform, hesitated.
In Ironwood, Moore put the briefings he'd received about reintegrating into the family into practice.
"We had talked about my role coming back," he said. "I took a back seat, slowly worked my way back."
The girls were used to looking to Cathy for direction.
"All three of us, we tried to give Doug his space," Cathy said.
School was still in session, and Maddie went to day care, so Doug had time alone. In June, his return to legal practice was announced in an ad in the Daily Globe bearing his photo in uniform.
"It's made us all stronger as a family," Cathy said.

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