Small Wars Journal

MacFarland and McMaster to Get First Star

Heroes of Ramadi, Tal Afar to Get First Star by Jeff Schogol, Stars and Stripes.

Army Cols. Sean B. MacFarland and H.R. McMaster Jr. have been selected for brigadier general pending Senate confirmation, officials said.

MacFarland was commander of the 1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division in May 2006 when the unit was sent to Ramadi, then one of the worst places in Iraq for US troops.

During his tenure in Ramadi, MacFarland's troops worked with local tribes and established combat outposts to take the initiative away from the insurgents...

McMaster, then commander of the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment, ordered his troops to treat detainees humanely, reached out to local Sunni Arabs to separate them from the insurgents, and he established patrol bases throughout the city, The Washington Post reported in 2006.

In late 2005, he launched Operation Restore Rights to take back the city from insurgents.

By the time the unit left in early 2006, the mayor of Tal Afar wrote a letter to the commander of US troops in Iraq praising the regiment...


Christian Moore

Sun, 02/24/2013 - 12:11pm

I'm doing some research for my dissertation on the sources of change driving the COIN strategy in Iraq.

There was evidence of emulation between McMaster and MacFarland. Does anyone know if anything similiar happened between Petraeus and McMaster? Did they interact/share ideas before their time in Iraq?


Schmedlap (not verified)

Fri, 07/18/2008 - 6:37pm

I recall banter a while back about COL McMaster being passed over for promotion, perhaps on account of not having filled a joint billet or some similar hoop that one must jump through. What changed?

Gian P Gentile

Tue, 07/15/2008 - 8:50pm

Congratulations to both officers; well done, well deserved, and most importantly indicative of potential for future service.