In 2003, Fort Carson's 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment was deployed to join the second Iraq War. As a staff photographer for the Colorado Springs Gazette, I was embedded with the armored unit as they acclimated to their new surroundings and took on their mission in northwestern Iraq.
Soldiers from Howitzer Battery, 2nd Squadron of the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment listen to a pep speech from their commander at Fort Carson, Colo. prior to deploying for Kuwait.
Hawaiian Airlines flight attendant Nani Uehara, left, helps her co-worker Shirley Hasuike practice donning a gas mask during a refueling stop. Their flight was transporting soldiers with the 3rd ACR to Kuwait where they'll join the war against Iraq. The flight attendants must be prepared to don gas masks if they hear a warning siren while at the Kuwait airport.
Pvt. Zach Carson, right, and other soldiers of the 3rd ACR smoke and chat on the stairs leading to their plane during a refueling stop.
Soldiers from the 2nd Squadron, 3rd ACR load their bags onto a truck at an inprocessing camp after arriving in Kuwait.
Pvt. Justin Curtis enjoys the mild early-morning temperature at a staging camp in Kuwait as Sgt. Stephen Marvier reads.
Pvt. Robert Davis, left, and Pvt. Zach Carson dive for a ball during an early-morning football game in Kuwait.
Sgt. Oliver Hardin laughs while filling sandbags at Camp Victory. The sandbags would provide support to their tent against a potential approaching sand storm.
Staff Sgt. Rodney Junkins jokes about swan-diving into a bunker that soldiers were digging at Camp Victory in Kuwait. The Regiment soldiers are prearing to retrieve their bradlees, tanks and howitzers from a KuwaitI port, after which they will train on them before taking on their mission in Iraq.
Spc.Tasawur Shaheen writes letters to let his family and friends know that he is doing okay after arriving recently at Camp Victory, Kuwait. Shaheen, who is from Pakistan, practices his Muslim faith discreetly to avoid drawing attention from fellow soldiers.
Pvt. Rene Madsen of Grim Troop's Quick Reaction Force stops at a guard tower during rounds at Camp Victory. Two soldiers manning the tower reported three gun shots from a passing truck earlier in the day, the first hostile fire taken by the Regiment since arriving at the camp. There were no injuries and the truck drove away without Fort Carson troops returning fire.
Private Stephen O'Hearn has his head shaved by Sgt. Anthony Perkins. Buzzed hair is the preference of the most soldiers, as temperatures have been well over 100 degrees in the daytime and showers are rare.
Soldiers from the Howitzer Battery load a freshly dug pit with water and ice after receiving their first shipment of ice since arriving at Camp Victory in Kuwait 5 days prior.
Sgt. Mike Morrison of the 43rd Engineers climbs over piles of gear as a group of soldiers travel by bus to Camp Spearhead to retrieve their armored vehicles.
Spc. Jonathon Sasala sits on a humvee at Camp Spearhead as a fire burns at a nearby oil refinery. The squadron was preparing to launch a convoy of recently retrieved vehicles to Camp Victory in Kuwait. The Regiment is building combat power in preparation for their mission in Iraq.
Sgt. First Class Keith Russell smokes a cigar as he escapes the midday heat in a bunker at Camp Victory. Displayed in the bunker is photo taken of the World Trade Center towers just prior to the attack on Sept. 11, 2001.
Soldiers from Howitzer Battery watch a comedy on a laptop at Camp Victory. Many soldiers have brought high-tech luxury items from home in order to pass their down-time while the Regiment prepares for their mission in Iraq. Heavy, sand-bearing winds kept soldiers indoors more than usual.
Sgt. Mark Stewart waits to try to make a phone call to his wife from a phone at Camp Victory. Stewart received word from the Red Cross late on the previous night that his wife had given birth to their first child. Stewart was unable to make a phone connection, and was planning to try a different phone at the Camp later, if he could get permission.
Amid a sandstorm, Sgt. Matthew Thomas, left, Spc. Reginald Dixon, and other soldiers from Eagle Troop ready their Abrams tanks for an upcoming visit to a firing range.
Abrams tanks belonging to 2nd Squadron navigate through the sand to find a place to stop for the night after arriving at a firing range in Kuwait. The Regiment is calibrating their weapons in preparation for an upcoming mission in Iraq.
Pvt. 1st Class Abdel Jamila and Pvt. 1st. Class Darius Jennings sit in the back of a Humvee after 12 hours of transporting ammunition for Howitzer Battery.
A lizard crawls near a Bradley Fighting Vehicle in Northern Kuwait. Soldiers found the lizard under a piece of cardboard laying near their vehicle, and put it back after examining it for a few minutes.
Staff Sgt. Darrel Hilton and other soldiers from Eagle Troop listen to Chaplain Brett Navratil as he conducts an Easter church service at a Tactical Assembly Area in Northern Kuwait.
Spc. James Barrett of Predator Battery puts an American flag up on his vehicle while at the Udari Firing Range in Kuwait. The squadron is test-firing its weaponry in preparation for an upcoming mission in Iraq.
An Iraqi boy yells to soldiers as their convoy of wheeled vehicles pass through his town. The 2nd Squadron of the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment left Northern Kuwait and began its push into Iraq, where it will undertake a still unknown mission.
A bombed palace in Ramadi, Iraq is seen from the deck of another palace. The 325th Airborne Infantry Regiment of the 82nd Airborne Division is preparing to transfer control of three cities west of Baghdad to the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment, who will continue their security efforts there.
Lt. Gary Sliver and Lt. Mitch Kusmier, both of Eagle Troop, take a tour of a looted palace in Ramadi, Iraq.
A soldier from 2nd Squadron displays a gas mask found at a former Iraqi military compound in Ramadi, Iraq. The 2nd Squadron's Eagle Troop took the compound as a staging area for their security mission in the city.
Sgt. Michael Connor of Eagle Troop searches through papers left in the compound where his troop has set up their headquarters. Connor found technical manuals for soviet weaponry and some Arabic writing workbooks, which he will take home for his wife, who is a teacher.
Sgt. Michael Sismondo, a tank gunner for Eagle Troop, looks beyond the walls of a former Iraqi military compound as soldiers install concertina wire to prevent intruders.
An Iraqi man opens his car doors for soldiers to inspect at a checkpoint in Ramadi, Iraq. Vehicle Checkpoints will be a routine duty for 3rd ACR troops, who took over security and stability operations from the 82nd Airborne Division in Ramadi, Fallujah and Habbaniyah.
An Iraqi woman watches from her front gate as Lt. K.C. Hughes, left, Staff Sgt. Lance Richard and other soldiers from Eagle Troop conduct an unmounted patrol through Ramadi.
Pfc. David Beckett of Fox Troop watches a group of demonstrators as they protest U.S. military presence outside the troops' compound in Fallujah, Iraq.
Fallujah locals vie for the attention of a soldier from Fox Troop through the wall of the troop's compound in Fallujah. Violence in the city has subsided following incidents earlier in the week.
Pfc. David Beckett stands guard atop of Fox Troop's compound in Fallujah, Iraq. The previous night, seven Fort Carson soldiers were injured when someone threw two grenades over the perimeter wall.
Speaking through an interpreter, Taha Bedaiwi al-Alwani, the mayor of Fallujah, and Lt. Col. Tobin Green, commander of the 2nd Squadron of the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment, talk about means to achieve stability in the city at a U.S. controlled compound in Fallujah.
Spc. Marc Davis, left, and Spc. Juan Rios, both medics in 2nd Squadron, treat minor injuries to Pvt. Bernard Dowuona of Fox Troop at their compound in Fallujah, Iraq.
Sgt. Matthew Webster of Heavy Company, 2nd Squadron, 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment, scans the area from atop a moving Abrams tank as it patrols Habbaniyah Airfield in Iraq. The airfield is home to numerous abandoned Iraqi weapons caches, which have been threatened lately by local arsonists.
Soldiers from the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment pay their respects to Pfc. Jesse Givens, a tank driver for Heavy Company, 2nd Squadron, during a memorial ceremony in Habbaniyah, Iraq. Givens was killed 3 days prior when his tank slid into a river while its crew attempted to stomp out an arsons' blaze. The fire was threatening to detonate abandoned Iraqi explosives in the company's area of operation. Other members of the tank crew were able to escape, however Givens was trapped in his driver's compartment.
Soldiers from the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment pay their respects to Pfc. Jesse Givens.
Spc. Tjuan Burt of Heavy Company says goodbye to his fellow tank crew-member Pfc. Jesse Givens.
Lt. Jason Webb, of Heavy Company meets with Wisam 'George' Naomi at his home in Habbaniyah, Iraq. Webb has been working with locals like 'George' to gather information about threatening activity in Habbaniyah and determine how best to help the city redevelop its government.
Spc. Christopher Swofford watches over two of four Iraqi men after they were detained under suspicion of igniting an unexploded weapons cache earlier in Habbaniyah, Iraq. The men were taken to squadron headquarters for questioning. Arson's fires intended to ignite unexploded ordinance have become common in Habbaniyah since Heavy Company began its mission in the city. A soldier was killed earlier in the week in the course of trying to battle one of the blazes.
Mechanics from Outlaw Troop perform maintenance on a Mast Mounted Sight of an OH-58D Kiowa Warrior helicopter at their base of operations in Habbaniyah,
Lt. Adrineh Shahijanian, left, Chief Warrant Officer Mike Rathe and Chief Warrant Officer Tracy Forehand, all of Outlaw Troop, 4th Squadron, relax at the beach on Habbaniyah Lake in Iraq. The helicopter pilots spotted the lake during their flights and dubbed it Outlaw Beach. Their future plans include building a volleyball court using mosquito netting and having an MRE hamburger barbeque.
Adrineh Shahijianian, a Kiowa Warrior helicopter for Outlaw Troop, lifts a set of home-made dumbbells at the troop's base of operations at Taqaddum Air Base in Habbaniyah. She is one of only three women in the 30-soldier troop.
A soldier climbs the stairs at Heavy Company headquarters, an abandoned building at Habbaniyah Airfield.
A representative of the Mujahedin-E Khalq sorts through dozens of AK-47s and other weapons collected for soldiers of the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment, who seized the paramilitary group's compound in Fallujah. Detained members of the group, made up of Iranians dedicated to the overthrow of Iran's religious government, will be held by Fort Carson soldiers for a few days before being taken to another camp elsewhere in Iraq.
Soldiers from Fox Troop break open a door in a theater suspected of serving as a weapons market in Fallujah.
Soldiers question a man detained during the raid of a theater suspected of serving as a weapons market in Fallujah, Iraq. The soldiers from Fox Troop found no weapons or ammunition in the theater and the man was released.
Pfc. Andrew Sherman of Grim Troop guards an Iraqi man who was among a group who fired AK-47s on troop tanks in Fallujah, Iraq. This man surrendered while the other shooters fled the tanks. None of the soldiers or Iraqis were shot during the incident, and the man was taken into custody for questioning.
Spc. Brandon Exel, left, Sgt. Gregory Bousley, Staff Sgt. Thomas Nordeng and other soldiers from Killer Troop direct women and children to exit the home of a suspected Fedayeen member near Hit, Iraq prior to clearing the building. The troop conducted raids on two homes, capturing two suspected Fedayeen members who had allegedly put a bounty on the heads of American soldiers. They also confiscated some weapons and explosives.
Sgt. Fredrick Miller and other soldiers from Killer Troop raid the home of a suspected Fedayeen member near Hit, Iraq.
Soldiers from Killer Troop search the bedroom of suspected Fedayeen member near Hit, Iraq, as the man looks on.
Soldiers from Killer Troop, 3rd Squadron, 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment, find a poster of Sadaam Hussein as they search the home of a suspected Fedayeen member near Hit, Iraq.
Soldiers from Killer Troop search a man who was present at the home of a suspected Fedayeen member during their raid.
An Iraqi trucker attempts to convince Spc. Shannon Sullivan of Ironhawk Troop, 3rd Squadron, that he should be allowed to cut into the front of a four-plus mile long line to cross into Jordan from Trebeil, Iraq. Soldiers from the 3rd ACR are controlling crossings at the Jordanian and Syrian borders.
Cpl. Andrew Whitfill of Apache Troop, 1st Squadron, stands guard at the Syrian border checkpoint in Husaybah, Iraq. Soldiers from Tiger Squadron are performing security duties in western Iraq and have encountered the most hostility in Husaybah, which shares a border with Syria.
Iraqi workers are crowded together as soldiers from 1st Squadron try to get them to form orderly lines in front of a phosphate plant in Al Qaim, Iraq. The workers were receiving their first pay in months from soldiers from Tiger Squadron, who confiscated about 200 million denar of government money from a local bank to give to government employees. Each man received 25,000 Iraqi denar, the equivalent of about 25 U.S. dollars.
Pvt. James McKeehan of 1st Squadron guards a group of Iraqi workers as they wait to be paid at a phosphate plant in Al Qaim.
Maj. Paul Gass, a civil affairs officer with the 490th Civil Affairs Battallion, speaks through an interpreter to a group of Iraqi workers gathered at a phosphate plant in Al Qaim.
Spc. Seth Daughters, left, attempts to call his wife on a morale phone as Spc. Daniel Mendez waits in line at Roughrider base camp near Haditha, Iraq. "The phones today are not friendly," Mendez says. Daughters said he had been trying for 20 minutes to get through to find out about an emergency concerning his one-year-old son.
Pfc. Jason Hills questions a man being held in a 1st Squadron jail in Qaim, Iraq. The man was found with a firearm concealed in the bed of a truck that was following a U.S. Army convoy.
Three men are held captive in a jail belonging to 1st Squadron, 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment, in Qaim.
A memorial is chalked onto the nose of a Black Hawk Helicopter belonging to the 571st Medical Company "Air Ambulance" parked at Al Asad Air Base in Iraq3. The writing honors three soldiers who were killed and one who was seriously injured in action during a recent flying mission.
Sgt. Raymond DeRoche, left, and Spc. Wesley Carlile take down a memorial display at Al Asad Air Base in Iraq after a ceremony to honor Maj. Matt Schram, who was killed when his convoy was attacked near Haditha, Iraq.
Sgt. Yvonne Welsh listens to a speaker as Support Squadron soldiers prepare for a 21-gun salute during a memorial ceremony to honor Maj. Matt Schram.
A sand storm obscures soldiers from the 3rd ACR's Support Squadron as they gather outside of their headquarters in preparation for guard duty at Al Asad Air Base in Iraq.