Task Force IED: Iowa National Guard Fight Against IED's in IRAQ

Curt Swarm

Outskirts Press
22 July 2022

Task Force IED: Iowa National Guard Fight Against IED’s in IRAQ

Curt Swarm

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Captain Kurt Dingman and Sergeant Dwight Jones of the Iowa National Guard did something no one else in the entire military operation in Iraq were able to do. They devised a computer program that would predict within 80% accuracy where, when, what type and how many IED’s (Improvised Explosive Devices) were placed, waiting to explode and take the lives or limbs of U.S. soldiers.

The war in Iraq rapidly changed from gun battles and kicking in doors to one of finding, removing and avoiding IED’s. The IED’s themselves rapidly changed from pressure activated (stepping on or running over with a vehicle) to remote controlled devices connected to a wire and push button, to wireless devices using a cordless telephone as the detonator.

Task Force IED is the story of one of the Iowa National Guard’s deployments in Iraq, and the success they had in prosecuting this war against IED’s. In the 13 months they were there, they successfully found and removed over 800 IED’s.

But this fictionalized rendition of Task Force IED is about so much more than IED’s. Based on a true story, it is about the men and women in National Guard uniform, and the trials and tribulations they had before, during and after deployment. They found and removed more IED’s than any other battalion, yes, but five soldiers lost their lives, and they had the highest rate of suicide following deployment than any other unit. Drug and alcohol addiction, divorce, bankruptcy, PTSD and depression plagued these veterans like a disease.

Why? This book attempts to answer that question because it is not unique to the war in the Middle East. The Vietnam War also found more soldiers dying by suicide following the war than were killed in the war. War is hell.

There is a bright spot to this conundrum, however. The men and women of Task Force IED do find a way to address their issues of self-destruction, come to terms with the war, and find peace, happiness and even success.

Task Force IED follows the lives of half a dozen soldiers, both officers and enlisted, female and male, before, during and after deployment. There is hope, even with a government that sends troops to war poorly equipped and constantly spinning in the squirrel cage craziness of endless wars.

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