Saturday, October 2, 2010
Emblem of the United States Forces – Iraq (USF–I)
As US military was ceasing all combat operations in Iraq by September 1, 2010, and was preparing to move out of the country by December 31, 2011, it was logical at this point in my “Military Insignia” project to turn my undivided attention to Iraq-specific insignias. The first one on my list was the emblem of the newly-established command called United States Forces – Iraq (USF–I). Since my U.S. Central Command emblem was already completed and had its own gallery, I was able to proceed with its sub galleries, one of which would be a gallery of the USF–I. The timing was perfect.
Background: United States Forces – Iraq (USF–I) is a U.S. military sub-unified command, part of U.S. Central Command. It is stationed in Iraq as agreed with the Government of Iraq under the U.S.–Iraq Status of Forces Agreement. United States Forces – Iraq replaced the previous commands, Multi-National Force – Iraq, Multi-National Corps – Iraq and Multi-National Security Transition Command – Iraq from January 2010. During 2008 and 2009, all non-U.S. foreign forces withdrew from Iraq. Withdrawal of all non-US forces was complete by July 31, 2009. As of January 1, 2009, the Iraqi Government is fully responsible, through its security ministries, for maintaining and providing security and rule of law for its people. Furthermore, as of June 28, 2009, no foreign forces are stationed within any of Iraq's major cities. The United States decided after negotiations to cease combat operations, that is, patrolling, serving arrest warrants, route clearance, etc., within Iraq by September 1, 2010, and transition to a pure advise, train and assist role. The changing mission entails major troop reductions; from 115,000 on December 15, 2009, to 50,000 by September 1, 2010, and to zero by December 31, 2011.
The emblem: Technically speaking, the USF–I emblem was an almost identical version of the one of Multi-National Force – Iraq, with actual bi-lingual text being the only difference. But I have to tell you, this emblem was a serious piece of work cut out for me. See for yourself – here is the official description of the emblem:
On a black shield with a 1/8 inch (.32 cm) gold border 2 ½ inches (6.35 cm) in width and 3 inches (7.62 cm) in height overall two crossed silver scimitars points down with scarlet grips, superimposed in base by a wreath of palm in proper colors joined at the bottom with three loops of brown twine, overall a gold human-head winged bull of Mesopotamia, all below a gold seven pointed star… The star represents a vision of unity for the seven peoples of Iraq (Sunni, Shia, Kurd, Turkoman, Assyrian, Yazidi, Armenian) leading to a more secure, prosperous and free future for Iraqis. The crossed scimitars of the insignia recall the partnership between Multinational Forces and Iraqi Security Forces essential to bringing a democratic way of life to Iraq. The palm fronds symbolize peace and prosperity for a new nation. The colossal statue of the Mesopotamian human-headed winged bull recalls the rich heritage of Iraq and underscores strength and protection for the people of Iraq…
About the C.7 design: Just as I anticipated, the most challenging part of this project was recreating the Assyrian human-headed winged bull. Even though the original bulls were made of limestone, the one on the emblem, according to the official description, was supposed to be made of gold. I decided to give it an “old” gold texture and feel, which felt very appropriate for this ancient image. In addition, as usually, there were layers upon layers of details.The sabers (or scimitars), were another interesting area to work with. Textures of the blades had to be a perfect weapons-grade steel to look believable. I couldn’t resist a temptation of adding a couple of mu own minor improvements, such as golden rim, and steel-looking lettering, but that’s just me. I manage to pull this one off almost every time, without disrupting accuracy and integrity of the original design. At least I hope that I do. Well, two days later it was over. Again, I was very pleased with the result. You can find both – the United States Forces – Iraq (USF–I) and Multi-National Force – Iraq emblems in my “Military Insignia” gallery under U.S. Central Command or here and here.