Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Perspective: Naming the operation

A sargeant pulls security from a boat as he travels down the Euphrates River on Dec. 8. The Soldiers of 4-31 participated in a complex air, land and water operation into the Quarghuli Village dubbed 'Operation Polar Valor'.

YUSAFIYAH, Iraq — Shakespeare once asked, “What’s in a name?”

It’s a question Capts. Matt Dawson, 29, of Milwaukee, and Tom Garvey, 26, of Cleveland, often ask themselves.

The officers are the masterminds behind the operation names for the 4th Battalion, 31st Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division out of Fort Drum, N.Y. And to Dawson and Garvey, there is equal parts art and science to the task.

A good mission name is memorable, descriptive of the operation, and, if it works, boosts morale, they say.

“There is a method to the madness,” Dawson said.

They wouldn’t, for example, send soldiers from the unit — nicknamed the Polar Bears — on a combat mission dubbed “Operation Polar Petunia,” Dawson said. “You have to think to yourself, if this mission goes down in history, how will it be remembered.”

Read the rest at Stars and Stripes