BAGHDAD — Racing through crowded streets to the site of a car bomb, gunners atop the Humvees pivot side to side, scanning for threats. The drivers
zigzag through underpasses, to make it hard for someone who might drop a grenade on the far side. Radios hiss as troops pass the word about suspicious
items on the roadsides that could contain bombs.
2nd Lt. Leslie Waddle's platoon is escorting bomb-disposal experts into some of Baghdad's most dangerous neighborhoods. It's not what they trained
for. Yet they handle their mission with the attention to detail of combat veterans, which they now are. They've had the windows blasted out of their
vehicles and driven into scenes of carnage draped with body parts.
"We see it all," says Waddle, 23, quiet and petite with a soft rural Kentucky accent.
Waddle's platoon is trained to drive convoys of trucks, ferry ammo, and run fuel stops behind the lines on a more conventional battlefield. It's
attached to the 1st Battalion, 9th Field Artillery, part of the 3rd Infantry Division.
But there is little demand for cannons in the fight against the shadowy insurgency in Iraq. And so they have been deployed on what amounts to the
front lines of an insurgency. Iraq has forced the Army to reorganize on the go, changing a force designed for large tank and mechanized battles in
Europe into one more suited for hunting a dispersed and hard-to-see foe. The military is taking soldiers ranging from cooks to tank gunners, and
putting them into the fight.
"The U.S. Army is finally moving in the direction that the British Army moved years ago," says retired Army colonel Doug Macgregor, author of two
books on modernizing the Army's organization. British soldiers are trained to be more generalist. The U.S. Army is more specialized.
this shows that the military which is burdened by the bureacracy and still is to me, and that this war helps speed things up for the needs of the
grunts to fight a war successfully.