Fred Wellman stalked the cluster of small buildings in the last few years while using online satellite photos, and his main fear of what could have befallen the Iraqis he established friendship with here during the US- led invasion in 2003.
Wellman, as an Army major, was responsible for making media appearances to tout the US successes in and around Jaddalah Ismail, the dusty village, to help it to turn into an early symbol of hope in the US work to rebuild Iraq and to win its people over.
Fred Wellman got more afraid for the fate of the village after more than a decade of getting no feedback.
He was wondering if it remained a struggling seedbed for hopes and the many dreams or had it turned into becoming a graveyard instead when he’s helped to secure Jaddalah and the neighboring airfield fell to the Islamic State in 2003 as it swept across Syria and Iraq in 2014.
With him watching the signs of the village disappearing from overhead imagery, he had to be anxious and angry. He lost hope and publicly complained on war’s horrors.
Just as that of his fellow service members, his wartime experiences and doings were linked to his working where he had mostly ventured and exposed, in Iraqi villages and most often he was armed with nothing less than a sidearm to have conversations on locals’ concerns and needs over tea or lunch that was shared with the company of leaders.
Fred Wellman said that the real story of Iraq was not necessarily about guys kicking down doors, but guys like him just sitting down and dining on sheep.
His post- war experiences, though, has been simply of him watching, most often at helpless distance, and their shared accomplishments and hopes having turned into ruin and agony.
On July 2016, he posted on Facebook that they had visited an approximate of 40 villages in the area during the 2003 and 2004 period and made constructions of roads and built clinics and schools but he really doubted if anything was left.