This is Vassar: The newsletter for Vassar College Alumnae/i and Families

McCary with Associate Professor of Sociology and Director of International Studies Pinar Batur

Iraq Veteran John McCary ’98 Speaks on Campus

On December 11, Vassar’s International Studies Program invited Sgt. John McCary ’98 to campus to discuss his experience as an intelligence officer in the Iraq War in a lecture titled “A Warrior’s Tale: To Iraq, Back and Beyond.” McCary graduated from Vassar with a degree in French and Francophone Studies, but he is also fluent in Arabic — a skill that helped him as lead interrogator and human intelligence collector for Task Force 1-34. Beginning in fall 2003, McCary was stationed in the al Anbar province, known as the most hostile territory to American forces (it is located halfway between Fallujah and Ramadi). He was involved in the first siege of Fallujah during his tour, among other major events in the war. As an intelligence collector, McCary led a range of tactical operations and extensive coordination with local military, political, and religious leaders. He also interacted with Iraqi citizens on a daily basis, including everyone from insurgents to farmers.

McCary left active duty in 2005 and returned to the United States to record his experiences, which have been widely published. One of his letters home, “To the Fallen,” was published in Operation Homecoming: Iraq, Afghanistan, and the Home Front in the Words of U.S. Troops and Their Families(2006). The letter and a personal testimony are also featured in the Oscar-nominated documentaryOperation Homecoming: Writing the Wartime Experience (2007). He recently completed a master’s degree in international security from Georgetown University and has covered international trade for theWall Street Journal. He currently runs his own security-consulting firm in Washington, DC.

January 2009

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