Commemorating D-Day 6 June in Baghdad

[June 6, 2020]  The anniversary of D-Day, the most famous battle of the twentieth century occurred this date, 6 June 1944.  Sixty years later, 6 June 2004, my unit was stationed in Baghdad, Iraq – it was still early in our war.  Our day began hot and dry with clear skies, a forecast that would not change until sometime in late October.  Here are some of my thoughts that day, taken from my handwritten notebook #2:

“Ronald Reagan died yesterday – surprised us all despite knowing he was in poor health.   He did much to get the country straight after the deplorable, whiny Carter years.  Got the military back on track, eliminated the USSR and put us on a positive glide path.”

Troops in war zones are better informed than one might initially believe.  We followed the news from America and discussed it among ourselves, and that is how I found out about President Reagan’s death.  “Peace through strength” is what he said, and we believed in him, not President Jimmy Carter.  But war is what we were about.

“Much on the news about anniversary of D-Day.  Coverage by media generally pretty good.  Some significant distortion of reality by liberal media.  Interesting note on what German ppl are taught.”

But the Iraq War would not wait for us to sit back and pay our respect to those who were part of the Greatest Generation.  We were in a tough fight with people who would not wear a uniform and not adhere to any code of conduct while fighting.  WWII troops left a legacy we tried to honor and to never let them down.  But it was the “liberal” media that was giving us hell back in the states, and we noticed.

“Long day of combat convoys.  Went first to War Eagle base.  Some concern that Sadr’s army (gang of murderers) has moved from Fallujah back to the slums of Sadr City.”

The “gang of murderers” was precisely what I wrote at the time.  Any member of our coalition that was captured would surely be tortured, forced to confess their unholy crusade against Shia Muslims, and then beheaded.  We had no hesitation in calling them murderers because they were not soldiers.  We had a chance to take out Muqtada al-Sadr in early 2004 but were held back from doing so.  This decision was a strategic mistake.

“Got haircut.  Day started off at 82º F.  At 7am temp was 109º F so midday must have been over 110.  Very hot temps.  Received 7 incoming mortar rounds just before we left Victory North base.”

I wrote down this quote from a great Catholic Bishop, later Archbishop and renowned theologian.  There was something about this quote that got my attention.  Our education as good human beings never stops.  That is why those of us in the military will always value freedom:

“Freedom is the right to do what you ought to do.” – Bishop Fulton J. Sheen

The 6th of June 2004 was a long, hot, dangerous, and challenging day.  We were in Iraq to help free the Iraqi people from the rule of brutal dictators.  How they would come out of this conflict, we did not know because the war was starting to heat up.

But we all knew we had it easy compared to the men who stormed the Normandy beaches sixty years earlier.

Author: Douglas R. Satterfield

Hello. I'm Doug and I provide at least one article everyday on some leadership topic. I welcome comments and also guests who would like to write an article. Thanks for reading my blog.

24 thoughts on “Commemorating D-Day 6 June in Baghdad

  1. Jonnie the Bart

    Excellent article honoring those who served.

  2. Jonathan B.

    I’ll be remembering my dad and uncle who were part of the D-Day landings and also their friends who died that day. I’m here because my dad survived, unlike many of his buddies.

    1. Tony B. Custer

      Yes, I remembered my family members who were part of WWII and Korea as well.

    2. Benny

      Super, you must be proud. My dad served in Afghanistan and he tells me stories of those times.

  3. Shawn C. Stolarz

    Excellent article and appropriate way to remember WW2 and this particular battle.

  4. Eric Coda

    The Normandy beaches were chosen by planners because they lay within range of air cover, and were less heavily defended than the obvious objective of the Pas de Calais, the shortest distance between Great Britain and the Continent. Airborne drops at both ends of the beachheads were to protect the flanks, as well as open up roadways to the interior. Six divisions were to land on the first day; three U.S., two British and one Canadian. Two more British and one U.S. division were to follow up after the assault division had cleared the way through the beach defenses.

    1. Tom Bushmaster

      Right, let’s not forget the planning part and why this area was chosen. It gives us some insight into what some of the most senior leaders in the world were thinking at the time.

    2. Mikka Solarno

      Right, this was an allied effort that included significant contributions from the UK and Canada.

  5. Gil Johnson

    The point of today’s article by Gen. Satterfield is to commemorate the invasion of Nazi-occupied France on this date in WW2. Let’s not forget that today is more than special. We can actually learn something about bravery, steadfastness, and resilience.

    1. Willie Shrumburger

      Precisely. Thanks Gil. Keep us on track. Today is about remembering those special events in history that we can measure ourselves against and see where we are lacking. Then, and only then, can we begin to make improvements in our selves.

  6. Douglas R. Satterfield Post author

    A number of readers have written me to say they enjoyed reading my”dairy” exerts that I kept during my wartime service. Many asked if I would publish more. Unfortunately, I will only release selective passages because some of the information contained in these books is still sensitive (although officially unclassified). Thank you all for reading my leadership blog.

    1. Harry B. Donner

      Thanks Gen. Satterfield. I understand.

    2. Darryl Sitterly

      Good reason. Much appreciated. Thanks for sharing what you have done so far.

  7. JT Patterson

    People forget what the reason for the Iraq was.
    “We were in Iraq to help free the Iraqi people from the rule of brutal dictators. ”
    That was it. We can argue all day long that this was a good enough reason but that is the bottom line. It worked. They still have trouble there but not like under Dictator for life Saddam Hussein.

    1. Yusaf from Texas

      … a common affliction, ignoring reality and rewriting history to fit a current narrative.

  8. Max Foster

    We can pussyfoot around all we want and talk the PC talk about war being unnecessary and all that bunk. But war is the normal condition of mankind. If you think differently, okay, just keep drinking your alcohol and taking drugs. That works! War stomps on the international bully. It kills and so it should be to rid the world of evil.

    1. Tony B. Custer

      The world is indeed full of evil and all good men (and yes women too) should stand up to it. But – and this is big – you must know the difference in evil and good. Too many do not know the difference.

      1. Kenny Foster

        Right Tony, just look at the Antifa agitators (now “domestic terrorists”). They are the brownshirt fascists who claim they are against fascism. They would know it of course because they are it.

      2. lydia truman

        Understanding and knowing the difference determines those who lie, cheat, and steal in the name of the an ideology.

    2. Greg Heyman

      War is hell and it is on a rare occasion necessary. But to know evil, one must experience it. Looking the ‘devil’ in the eye requires courage. Political correctness (as an ideology) is, by definition, cowardice in the making.

  9. Doc Blackshear

    When the day starts off at 82 degrees, you know it’s going to get hot. “Hot” from the heat and hot from the enemy. The bad guys never attack when you’re ready. This is one of the rules of battle.

  10. Otto Z. Zuckermann

    Some powerful words of a soldier in combat. Gives us another look at how our troops see the world.

    1. Janna Faulkner

      Yeah, I was thinking the same. I always appreciate it when you occasionally (very rare) quote from your wartime diary. Book#2 (you must have a lot of them). Thank you Gen. Satterfield for your insight and for your service to our nation.

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