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Alumnus credits soldier with building connections in Iraq

This post was written by Hatchet reporter Nicholas Rosato.

Alumnus and author William Doyle said Capt. Travis Patriquin was central to earning the trust of the Iraqis. Shannon Brown | Hatchet Photographer

With the U.S. presence in Iraq drawing down, author and GW alumnus William Doyle spoke Thursday evening about his new book chronicling the life of a U.S. soldier hailed as a martyr by local residents.

Titled “A Soldier’s Dream,” the book highlights the efforts of the late Capt. Travis Patriquin to help stem the tide of insurgency in 2006 by building a relationship with tribal leaders in Iraq’s Anbar province.

A Special Forces soldier with experience in Afghanistan and knowledge of Arabic, Patriquin was well-suited to build the trust that eventually led to the Sunni’s rejection of Al Qaeda, Doyle said. Patriquin was killed by an IED explosion in December 2006.

“Travis Patriquin was a key player at a key moment in the war,” he said, adding that the soldier’s journey may be critical to understanding America’s journey today.

Doyle’s praise was echoed by a panel of fellow soldiers and other men who knew Patriquin from service in Iraq and Afghanistan.

“He wanted to understand our culture,” said Mayor Najim al-Jibouri of Tal Afar, one of the first towns Patriquin was stationed in.

The sheikhs working alongside Patriquin considered him a brother, Doyle said.

Lt. Col. John Church, the senior civil affairs officer for the Marine Corps in the area, agreed that Patriquin focused on “building trust and confidence” with the Iraqis.

Capt. Mike Murphy, who was in charge of training and hiring Iraqis to police Anbar’s capital Ramandi, credited Patriquin with changing the local perception of police.

“He won the marketing effort,” Murphy said.

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