A Year in Command in Afghanistan

Journal of a United States Army Battalion Commander, 2009–2010


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About the Book

During his 2009–2010 combat tour in Afghanistan, battalion commander Lt. Col. Michael J. Forsyth kept a daily journal. In it he candidly wrote about his daily interactions with the Afghan government, citizens, security forces, and his intermittent conflict with the enemy. As the deployment progressed, the journal reveals that his initial expectations for peace in Afghanistan were tempered by his experiences and encounters. In the process, Col. Forsyth learned critical lessons in leadership and changed his thinking about realistic goals that can be accomplished in Afghanistan. The journal, and its subsequent annotations, also provides a glimpse into how the U.S. Army functions at the unit level and what America’s soldiers do on a daily basis.

About the Author(s)

Colonel Michael J. Forsyth (U.S. Army) formerly commanded the 196th Infantry Brigade and now serves as chief of staff of the Alaskan Command and is a Ph.D. candidate at the Royal Military College of Canada. He writes articles for Gettysburg Magazine, Field Artillery Journal, Small Wars Journal and Military Review.

Bibliographic Details

Michael J. Forsyth

Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 364
Bibliographic Info: 21 photos, 3 maps, glossary, notes, index
Copyright Date: 2017
pISBN: 978-0-7864-7287-1
eISBN: 978-1-4766-0109-0
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix
Preface 1
Abbreviations and Definitions 5
Introduction 17
I. Preparations and Perceptions, 4 April 2008 to 1 June 2009 25
II. Execution: The Reality from Arrival through the Afghan Presidential Election, 2 June 2009 to 23 August 2009 77
III. Execution: Mounting Frustrations and a Change in Outlook, 24 August 2009 to 6 December 2009 150
IV. Sustaining the Fight and Making a Difference, 7 December 2009 to 3 April 2010 225
V. Change of Mission: Pressing to the Finish Line, 4 April 2010 to 31 May 2010 286
VI. Possibilities 334
Chapter Notes 343
Index 345

Book Reviews & Awards

“A valuable resource for those who want a vivid firsthand account of what it is like to have responsibility for a 1,200-square-mile section of rough terrain, trying to quell a growing insurgency while working alongside less-than-adequate partner forces reporting to often corrupt political officials.”—H-Net Reviews