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Two Novice Gumshoes Charted The Capture Of Saddam Hussein
Wall Street Journal via Early Bird ^ | December 18,2003 | Farnaz Fassihi, Staff Reporter Of The Wall Street Journal

Posted on 12/18/2003 5:50:19 AM PST by Ispy4u

Their Mission: Make a List Of People With Links; On It Was 'The Source'

TIKRIT, Iraq -- The capture of Saddam Hussein began with four names Maj. Stan Murphy scribbled on three pieces of paper and ripped from a small green notebook.

The 41-year-old intelligence officer with the First Brigade of the Fourth Infantry Division knew these names were just a small part of a much larger web of names and families likely to be hiding Mr. Hussein.

He handed the names to two junior U.S. military-intelligence analysts in Tikrit: Lt. Angela Santana, 31, and Cpl. Harold Engstrom, 36, both with Alpha Company, 104th Military Intelligence Battalion. The unit's job in Tikrit was to support the Fourth Infantry Division with intelligence data, helping the troops break up the resistance cells threatening the postwar stability of Iraq -- and ultimately to arrest Mr. Hussein.

The two officers say Maj. Murphy's orders to them were: "Figure it out, draw the lines, make me a chart and find every crucial person connected to Saddam."

Their first thought: "Is he joking? This is impossible. We can't even pronounce these names," says Lt. Santana.

But soon Lt. Santana, a former executive secretary in Ohio and Cpl. Engstrom, a former high-school English teacher in Phoenix, started poring over about 9,000 other names.

By mid-September, after many sleepless nights spent sifting through tens of thousands of pages of information, Lt. Santana and Cpl. Engstrom had narrowed their list to 300 names.

The two say the task of creating Mr. Hussein's Who's Who chart was beyond the scope of their training. "Completely surreal," is how Lt. Santana describes the job. "Like we are detectives suddenly."

Indeed, this was the pair's first field experience in military intelligence. Their formal training included making charts and putting together intelligence data. But making sense of complicated Arab tribal culture and Mr. Hussein's strange ties wasn't part of it.

The duo read through sheaves of interrogation reports from detainees and interviews with local Iraqis. They plumbed a huge database provided by central military intelligence. Eventually, they created what they nicknamed "Mongo Link," a four page, 46-by-42-inch color-coded chart with their 300 names on it. It was basically a family tree, with Mr. Hussein's picture at the center, and lines connecting his tribal and blood ties to the six main tribes of the Sunni triangle: the Husseins, al-Douris, Hadouthis, Masliyats, Hassans and Harimyths. The military believed members of these clans shielded Saddam for eight months, financed the resistance, and planned assassinations and attacks against Iraqis and coalition forces.

Next to each of the names, Lt. Santana and Cpl. Engstrom scribbled down bits of information they were able to gather about individuals: their ages, home village, spouses and children, where the names came from, whether people on the list were in custody and how they got there.

Lt. Santana and Cpl. Engstrom's chart, the contents of which are classified, eventually came to be known in military circles for its accuracy and has even made its way to the commander of the coalition forces, Gen. Ricardo Sanchez in Baghdad.

As the chart grew, the pair started to see patterns. They realized the resistance was multilayered, as they pieced together who was related to whom among the tribes. The tribal leadership was tightly linked through a web of marriages and intensely loyal to Mr. Hussein, the analysts concluded. Below that level were a number of other people clearly part of the insurgency. These fighters were likely in it for the money.

The two sleuths noticed how few of the resistance fighters who had been caught planting bombs or carrying out raids were relatives of the tribal principals. They concluded that the bosses were distancing themselves from the rank and file.

"We learned about the Iraqi army, structure, history and tribal culture before we got here, but it wasn't until we started working on the chart that it really hit us. The extent and depth of how much the tribes were intertwined and integrated was beyond our expectation and frankly shocked us," says Cpl. Engstrom.

He says he quit his teaching job after the Sept. 11 attacks to join the Army. He was sent to Iraq soon after graduating from boot camp. He was chosen for intelligence training and in that capacity learned data collection, making charts and trying to understand the enemy. "We were trained a bit about guerrilla warfare but obviously not enough for this task," Cpl. Engstrom says.

Lt. Santana and Cpl. Engstrom built the chart around target No. 1: Saddam Hussein. A picture of him is printed at the center. Above it is his chief of staff, and below is his personal secretary. To his left and right are men labeled as chief of operations and chief of security.

Next to every name on the chart is a physical description -- hair and eye color, height, facial features that stand out -- as well as details about where they were last seen or any other information that might lead to their arrest. Several dozen of the names are already in custody of the coalition forces and color-coded with red ink. The main people around Hussein are then linked to dozens of others, many of whom the military believes to be ringleaders for resistance cells plotting attacks against Americans in Tikrit, Samarra, Fallujah, Ramadi and Baghdad.

"His inner circle was tied to families, it was tied to tribes and to money," says Maj. Murphy. "I felt like if I looked at those three things, sooner or later we were going to figure a nugget that would bring us closer to Saddam."

That nugget came with the man the military calls "the source," who led an army of 600 troops to a farmhouse in the village of ad Dawr where Mr. Hussein was hiding. His name, which the military hasn't disclosed, first appeared on Lt. Santana and Cpl. Engstrom's list in early summer, when several detainees named him as an influential leader financing the resistance.

Lt. Santana and Cpl. Engstrom spent many hours mapping his ties to Mr. Hussein and others on their list. When they were finished, they knew he wasn't an ordinary suspect. If captured he could offer substantial clues to Mr. Hussein's whereabouts. They alerted the Fourth Infantry Division to hunt him down. The informant, who is described as middle-age and from an area near Tikrit, escaped capture several times. Finally, he was arrested in a house raid in Baghdad last Friday and immediately brought to Tikrit for interrogation. Mr. Hussein was captured the next day.

"When I heard this source was captured, I knew we were onto something. We had someone who was very close to Saddam talking so there was a great chance we would find him that night," says Lt. Santana, who has been in service for 11 years and served in the Gulf War in 1991. She says she joined the army "because I was hyper and wanted a good outlet for my energy."

On Saturday night, Lt. Santana and Cpl. Engstrom sat inside an operations room at the military's headquarters in Tikrit and waited anxiously for news of the search. They listened to one of the commanders speaking to Col. James Hickey, who led the Fourth Infantry Division's First Brigade, on the radio. Shortly after 8 p.m., Lt. Santana heard Col. Hickey's voice announcing, "We got him."

She was ecstatic. "We got him?" she recalls screaming, throwing up her arms and jumping to her feet. "We got him, we got him!" she continued shouting as she ran from room to room in Saddam Hussein's former palace.

The two have many more names on their chart still at large. They know more will trickle in over the next few months. They have printed a life-size photo of Mr. Hussein's face taken minutes after his capture and now use it as a cover for their chart.


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Foreign Affairs; Government; News/Current Events; War on Terror
KEYWORDS: 104thmi; army; intelligence; prequel; reddawn; saddam; viceisclosed; viceisclosing
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If the CPL was a school house trained 96B he should have been familiar with Link analysis. The training period for it was short, but it is really a simple tool. Analyzing 9,000+ links with physical descriptions is a long process these two soldiers performed exceptionally. Hooah! Army Intel, Always Out Front!
1 posted on 12/18/2003 5:50:20 AM PST by Ispy4u
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To: Ispy4u
A 31 year old, 11 year service lieutenant? A 36 year old E-4?
2 posted on 12/18/2003 5:55:39 AM PST by MindBender26 (For more news as it happens, stay tuned to your local FReeper Network station)
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To: Ispy4u
The duo read through sheaves of interrogation reports from detainees and interviews with local Iraqis. They plumbed a huge database provided by central military intelligence. Eventually, they created what they nicknamed "Mongo Link," a four page, 46-by-42-inch color-coded chart with their 300 names on it.

It helped them separate the Known Knowns from the Known Unknowns and the Unknown Unknowns.

3 posted on 12/18/2003 5:57:12 AM PST by martin_fierro (Holder of an M.A. degree in The Obvious)
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To: LurkedLongEnough
intelligence ping
4 posted on 12/18/2003 6:01:54 AM PST by leadpencil1
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To: Ispy4u
Impressed, grateful, thankful, nostaligic and just a tad jealous

Cpl. Harold Engstrom, Lt. Angela Santana, and Maj. Stan Murphy,

Well done !

Your country thanks you.

I thank you

5 posted on 12/18/2003 6:02:07 AM PST by af_vet_1981
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To: Ispy4u
104th Military Intelligence Battalion.

Go 104!!

6 posted on 12/18/2003 6:03:11 AM PST by mylife
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To: Ispy4u
Nice article. A tribute to the skills of our military and America's very great ability to learn and adapt.
7 posted on 12/18/2003 6:05:10 AM PST by rhombus
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To: Ispy4u

"And I would have gotten away with it if it hadn't been for those darn kids!"

8 posted on 12/18/2003 6:05:14 AM PST by Jonah Hex (Free Republic - the Truth Shall Make You Fret)
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To: Ispy4u
The informant, who is described as middle-age and from an area near Tikrit, escaped capture several times. Finally, he was arrested in a house raid in Baghdad last Friday and immediately brought to Tikrit for interrogation. Mr. Hussein was captured the next day.
The skill of the interrogators. Now being turned on the big guy himself.
9 posted on 12/18/2003 6:05:17 AM PST by samtheman
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To: MindBender26
... which means she was an executive secretary at the age of 20.
10 posted on 12/18/2003 6:05:38 AM PST by Cultural Jihad
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To: Ispy4u
The two say the task of creating Mr. Hussein's Who's Who chart was beyond the scope of their training. "Completely surreal," is how Lt. Santana describes the job. "Like we are detectives suddenly."

I have to wonder why we are paying billions upon billions for professional intelligence bureaucracies. Where were they?

11 posted on 12/18/2003 6:07:01 AM PST by Moonman62
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To: MindBender26
A 31 year old, 11 year service lieutenant? A 36 year old E-4?

LOL that's what I was wondering...

12 posted on 12/18/2003 6:07:49 AM PST by Drango ("To Serve Man" ... IT'S A COOKBOOK!)
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To: af_vet_1981
Impressed, grateful, thankful, nostaligic and just a tad jealous

Me too. I had the pleasure ? of deploying with the 104 during advanced war excersises

13 posted on 12/18/2003 6:09:53 AM PST by mylife
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To: MindBender26
"A 31 year old, 11 year service lieutenant? A 36 year old E-4?"

They done good, huh?

14 posted on 12/18/2003 6:10:03 AM PST by OldEagle (Haven't been wrong since 1947.)
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To: MindBender26
"A 31 year old, 11 year service lieutenant? A 36 year old E-4?"

The Cpl. joined the Army after 9/11. Says so in the article. Also says that he was sent to Iraq shortly after boot camp. IOW, he has been in the military approx. 2 years. Or less.
15 posted on 12/18/2003 6:12:14 AM PST by elli1
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To: MindBender26
The 31 year old might be a Mustang. The 34 year old is a puzzle.
16 posted on 12/18/2003 6:13:23 AM PST by Eric in the Ozarks
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To: af_vet_1981
nostalgic
nostalgic
17 posted on 12/18/2003 6:15:31 AM PST by af_vet_1981
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To: Ispy4u
Must be a West Point colonel there somewhere that will get a box of medals for really doing the brain work.
18 posted on 12/18/2003 6:17:21 AM PST by cynicom
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To: MindBender26
It appears that they at an excellent plan. ...oops, the 9 dwarves have said that they have no plan in Iraq. One wonders what Kerry's plan would have been.
19 posted on 12/18/2003 6:17:40 AM PST by HairkingNH
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To: Cultural Jihad
Unless she was a reservist, perhaps enlisted, who then went to officer ranks or as an LDO went on active duty full time and augmented the force as an individual.

Story indicates the Cpl joined later.
20 posted on 12/18/2003 6:17:57 AM PST by Cvengr (0:^))
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To: elli1
Good catch. I missed that on the first read. And good for CPL Engstrom and the LT.
21 posted on 12/18/2003 6:18:00 AM PST by leadpenny
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To: Moonman62
"two junior U.S. military-intelligence analysts in Tikrit"

   "junior" (without preconceived notions)
+ "in Tikrit" (local experience and presence)
________________
"WE GOT HIM"

Congratulations, analysts! You've helped to change the course of history!

22 posted on 12/18/2003 6:18:56 AM PST by LurkedLongEnough
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To: Moonman62
I have to wonder why we are paying billions upon billions for professional intelligence bureaucracies. Where were they?

Are you kidding? They could get killed over there in Iraq. -Tom

23 posted on 12/18/2003 6:19:37 AM PST by Capt. Tom (Anything done in moderation shows a lack of interest. - Capt. Tom)
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To: MindBender26
The corporal joined after 9/11, so he has been in only two years. But why he didn't try for OCS (too old?) when he had a degree, I don't know. As for the Lt., perhaps she joined as enlisted, got her degree and then went to OCS.
24 posted on 12/18/2003 6:26:17 AM PST by Blood of Tyrants (Even if the government took all your earnings, you wouldn’t be, in its eyes, a slave.)
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To: Ispy4u
I do not think it is possible to overstate the magnitude of what was accomplished here. For all we knew, Saddam wasn't even in Iraq anymore yet that didn't stop our military from tracking him down anyhow. Finding one man in a spider-hole in a country the size of California is sort of like trying to find a particular grain of sand at the beach (without knowing whether or not the grain of sand you are looking for was moved to another beach altogether).

I hope this capture of Saddam takes the wind out of the anti-war "Where's Saddam?" crowd that taunted us for months. But I doubt it. They will simply switch back into the "Where's the WMD's" mode. Of course, we could have cannisters of nerve gas buried 20 feet under the ground under a children's hospital or out in the desert and it could well take thousands of searchers a hundred years to find them. These nimrods have no clue how difficult it is to find these kind of things. I have an acre of land in back of my house. If I was to bury a baseball out there, I would bet $100 that any one of these jerks couldn't find it even if I gave them the whole weekend to search for it. And we are just talking one acre here. Iraq consists of many millions of acres.

25 posted on 12/18/2003 6:28:05 AM PST by SamAdams76 (Merry Christmas!)
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To: Blood of Tyrants
Who cares? Obviously they had the smarts to get the job done.
Sure beats the hell out of the mental midget officer material on these threads abusing Col West and spouting rules and regulations.
26 posted on 12/18/2003 6:33:23 AM PST by Publius6961 (40% of Californians are as dumb as a sack of rocks.)
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To: Blood of Tyrants
That's the kind of Army we had pre-73. Vietnam gave the Draft a bad name, but even then most who were called did their duty and many made a career of it.

In the early 60's I served with the draftees and for the most part they were older, had more life's experiences, and made better leaders (informal and formal).

General Shalikasvilli and Elvis Presley were drafted in 1958. Didn't hurt their careers.
27 posted on 12/18/2003 6:34:29 AM PST by leadpenny
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To: Publius6961
Amen...
28 posted on 12/18/2003 6:34:53 AM PST by cynicom
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To: Blood of Tyrants
Isn't the cut-off age for OCS, 32 years old?
29 posted on 12/18/2003 6:35:39 AM PST by Lion in Winter
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To: Ispy4u
"Their first thought: "Is he joking? This is impossible. We can't even pronounce these names," says Lt. Santana. "

I hate to say it, but if that quote is true - that is what is wrong with the Army!

If we got that same request in the NSG/MarSptBn (USMC) we would have simply said "Can Do!" and done it.

Gotta jab - can't have the army get a swelled head.

30 posted on 12/18/2003 6:36:02 AM PST by steplock (www.FOCUS.GOHOTSPRINGS.com)
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To: Lion in Winter
I don't know. It has been a while ('86) since I got out.
31 posted on 12/18/2003 6:39:11 AM PST by Blood of Tyrants (Even if the government took all your earnings, you wouldn’t be, in its eyes, a slave.)
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To: Blood of Tyrants
OCS age requirement 19-29. Age waivers on a case by case basis up to age 34. Sounds like the Cpl could well have missed the cutoff.
32 posted on 12/18/2003 6:45:57 AM PST by elli1
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To: Ispy4u
Over the years, I have discussed with friends many of the Clinton scandals involving many different people. It had occurred to me this kind of analysis of the who's and where's would be useful in documenting and maybe proving many of the scandals ignored by the media. For instance, how many know the owner of a small Chinese restaurant in Little Rock became acquainances of Barry Seal and Terry Reed. Later he was named to an important post by Clinton where he would attend CIA economic briefings then walk across the street and fax the information to China. Give you a hint, his first name is Charlie. How many know Webb Hubbell's father in law was Seth Ward - the same man that strong - armed Terry Reed into having a piece of the machine gun manufacturing project used to send guns to the contras.
33 posted on 12/18/2003 6:50:03 AM PST by tang-soo
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To: MindBender26; Drango; OldEagle
More than likely they are reservists. The CPL may not be, it states in the article he joined up after 9-11 leaving his teaching career. The LT with 11 Years is probably a direct commission LT, more than likely she spent the last 9-10 years enlisted.

Exceptional performance under pressure, two of the best this country has to offer.
34 posted on 12/18/2003 6:51:18 AM PST by Ispy4u
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To: Jonah Hex
"And I would have gotten away with it if it hadn't been for those pesky kids!"
35 posted on 12/18/2003 6:54:39 AM PST by Principled
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To: steplock
......jarheads........yukyukyuk
36 posted on 12/18/2003 6:56:31 AM PST by gdc61
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To: Ispy4u
There are computer programs that greatly assist in the process, too.

I can't believe that a national agency hadn't already produced such a product. I would not be surprised if they never thought of disseminating it down to someone who could actually use it.
37 posted on 12/18/2003 6:57:05 AM PST by IGOTMINE (All we are saying... is give guns a chance!)
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To: martin_fierro
"It helped them separate the Known Knowns from the Known Unknowns and the Unknown Unknowns."

V-e-r-y Good, Rummy!


38 posted on 12/18/2003 6:58:24 AM PST by TRY ONE (NUKE the unborn gay whales!)
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To: Moonman62
"Next to every name on the chart is a physical description -- hair and eye color, height, facial features that stand out -- as well as details about where they were last seen or any other information that might lead to their arrest. "


Where do you think this list of names and information came from that was in the database?

"They plumbed a huge database provided by central military intelligence."
39 posted on 12/18/2003 6:59:27 AM PST by ironman
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To: Capt. Tom
They've over there, but they just don't talk to those stinky people in uniform. (At least that was my experience in Somalia.)
40 posted on 12/18/2003 6:59:33 AM PST by IGOTMINE (All we are saying... is give guns a chance!)
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To: IGOTMINE
There are national agencies working on the same thing. But these two have direct access to the arrest/interrogation process and utilized it exceptionally well.

Their original data came from a national database that hundereds of analysts have been working on for years.

But none of those analysts have ever looked a single person on that list in the eye. That is the difference.
41 posted on 12/18/2003 7:00:37 AM PST by Ispy4u
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To: TRY ONE
"It helped them separate the Known Knowns from the Known Unknowns and the Unknown Unknowns."

Thats the tricky part!

42 posted on 12/18/2003 7:03:32 AM PST by mylife
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To: Ispy4u
There is no substitute for having the intel weenies tied directly into the guys conducting the operations.
43 posted on 12/18/2003 7:03:32 AM PST by IGOTMINE (All we are saying... is give guns a chance!)
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To: steplock
I think you mean the USMC would have said "can do" and proceeded to point and grunt at the computer.

Gotta jab back. ; )
44 posted on 12/18/2003 7:03:44 AM PST by Ispy4u
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To: MindBender26
" A 31 year old, 11 year service lieutenant? A 36 year old E-4?"

Rank is a little tougher to come by now, than way back when I was in. I kept getting promoted because I had a pulse and didn't smoke dope.

45 posted on 12/18/2003 7:03:51 AM PST by cookcounty (Howard Dean, mayor of a picturesque small town in New England.)
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To: Principled
Point taken.

:-)

46 posted on 12/18/2003 7:06:54 AM PST by Jonah Hex (Free Republic - the Truth Shall Make You Fret)
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To: Ispy4u
The OTHER side of the story.... eat you're heart out Paul Harvey.... Hoo Ah!..
47 posted on 12/18/2003 7:09:47 AM PST by hosepipe
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To: Ispy4u
The two officers say Maj. Murphy's orders to them were: "Figure it out, draw the lines, make me a chart and find every crucial person connected to Saddam."

Great article but "cpls" are not officers.

48 posted on 12/18/2003 7:10:45 AM PST by aculeus
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To: Ispy4u
I just checked the army White Pages. Both of these soldiers are Active duty, not reservists. It is quite apparent due to time in service that 1LT Angela Santana is a mustang, hard charger.

49 posted on 12/18/2003 7:11:33 AM PST by Ispy4u
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To: Ispy4u
What was it you did the Corps? I see from your profile that you did three years before switching.
50 posted on 12/18/2003 7:11:41 AM PST by IGOTMINE (All we are saying... is give guns a chance!)
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