BY MIKE LEONARD, PHOTOGRAPHY BY TYAGAN MILLER
Two days into his deployment in eastern Baghdad in October 2006, United States Army Major Mike Ogden’s deputy brigade commander was killed in an enemy attack.
The tragedy quickly reverberated far beyond the battle zone.
“The families back home recognize what that means right away,” Ogden explains. “They know that if your second in command gets killed less than 48 hours into the mission, that’s as real as it gets. If someone more senior to their loved one can get killed, how likely is it that their own husband or wife may not come home?”
An aviator by training, Ogden served as chief of operations for the 2nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, in Iraq through the end of 2007. “We had an offensive mission every night,” he says. “My responsibilities included making assessments to go after high-value targets, rescue operations, neutralizing any threats that would initiate contact with the brigade, and, defensively, making decisions when we’d come under attack.”