In March 2004, Caleb S. Cage and Gregory M. Tomlin deployed to Baquba, Iraq, on a mission that would redefine how conventional U.S. military forces fight an urban war. Having led artillery units through a transition into anti-insurgent rifle companies and carrying out daily combat patrols in one of the region’s most notorious hotspots, Cage and Tomlin chronicle Task Force 1-6 Field Artillery’s year on the ground in Iraq and its response to the insurgency that threatened to engulf their corner of the Sunni Triangle.
Rather than presenting a snapshot dominated by battle scenes, The Gods of Diyala presents a wide-angled view of the experiences of Cage and Tomlin and their comrades-in-arms. They assess the implications of their experiences, starting with their pre-deployment training in Germany and ending with the handing over of duties to their replacement brigade at the close of their tour of duty. They discuss frankly their impressions of the benefits and liabilities of working with embedded journalists and relate both their frustrations with and their admiration for the fledgling Iraqi security forces. From chaotic security planning to personal debates on the principles of democracy, both authors discuss how Iraqis perceived the value of their first post-Saddam elections and the political future of their country as it tries to reinvent itself in the wake of a dictator’s fall.
The Gods of Diyala gives a new and personal perspective on the second stage of the ongoing war in Iraq. Students and scholars of military history will find its insights meaningful and informative, and general readers will enjoy its thoughtful, well-measured narratives of a year spent trying to protect a fragile nation as it struggled toward democracy.
CALEB S. CAGE currently lives in Reno, Nevada, and serves as a senior policy advisor to the lieutenant governor of Nevada.CAPT. GREGORY M. TOMLIN commands a Paladin firing battery in the 2nd Infantry Division at Camp Hovey in South Korea.
What Readers Are Saying:
“As a memoir, this is an extraordinarily important work that will find an audience from several different types of readers. Scholars of the war will read it to understand the mechanics of counter-insurgency in 2004/5. Those in the military will read it to compare their experiences to those of Cage and Tomlin. The reading public, who enjoys military history, will be fascinated by a first person account of combat in the 21st century.”--James T. Seidule, Colonel, U.S. Army, Academy Professor and Chief, Military History Division, Department of History, United States Military Academy, West Point
“The Gods of Diyala addresses the Iraq occupation from the sharp end: the perspective of the junior officers who have had to make policy as they go-and at times make bricks without straw as well. It is best understood as a study of growth and development. The missions, the ambushes, the fire-fights that initially blur into each other begin to form an evocative platoon commander's view of fighting an urban insurgency with limited resources in an asymmetric war. The chapters discussing the preparations for the national elections in January 2006, in particular read like a thriller even though the outcome is known.” --Dennis Showalter, professor of history, Colorado College