From Boot Camp to al-Baghdadi: How One Junior Intel Marine Helped in the War Against al-Qaida in Iraq
Coby Criste, author
This is a story of my greatest professional accomplishment. It is a telling of how one Marine can indeed make a difference. I am nobody important—I was just a lowly E-4 with the Marines in Iraq—but because of my attention to detail, personal background, affinity for names, research skills, and perhaps even some Divine Intervention, I was able to solve one of the most complex riddles plaguing our intelligence personnel in Iraq: I was able to identify the mysterious Abu Umar al-Baghdadi, leader of al-Qaida’s Islamic State of Iraq. In doing so, I like to think I helped the targeting efforts which ultimately led to his demise.