In August 2010, the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment deployed to Southern Iraq in support of Operation New Dawn, having returned from a 15-month deployment to Northern Iraq just 18 months earlier. Conrad Brown — who had deployed with 3rd Squadron, 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment to Mosul for 2007–2009 and completed the captains career course in the interim — redeployed this time with 1st Squadron, 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment to Babil province. He found that the canals, farm land, and types of enemy threat were starkly contrasted with the urban warfare he encountered in Mosul. Serving as the assistant operations officer for the squadron was also much different than serving as a scout platoon leader for the previous deployment. While Brown hated riding a desk and put in long hours every day, the monotony and routine allowed him one respite — getting to the mess hall early and sitting facing the door so he could smile at the beautiful physical therapist who had been assigned to the regiment for the deployment when she walked into the mess hall.
Benjamin Franklin nailed it when he said, "Fatigue is the best pillow." True story, Benny. There's nothing like pushing your body so far past exhaustion that you'd willingly, even longingly, take a nap on a concrete slab.
The only person who died during my deployment to Iraq in 2003 to 2004 was U.S. Army Sgt. Landis Garrison. Other people, such as Brandon Ramsey of the 933rd Military Police Company, died, but they were not from my unit, the 333rd. Still, the manner in which both Ramsey and Garrison died is similar. They were not shot by insurgents. They were not blown to bits by mortars or improvised explosive devices. No, none of that. They died from preventable causes. They died from accidents.