Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Program Name

Military History

Capstone Instructor

Dr. Robert Young


This research examines the role of the United States’ 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit in Operation Mountain Storm, a 2004 counter-offensive to the Taliban’s annual ‘spring offensive’ in Afghanistan. Tactical, strategic, and logistical innovations made the mission a success at a time when other theaters in the War on Terror were faltering. This thesis takes advantage of interviews with Mountain Storm veterans, after-action reports, combat narratives, news reports, and witness statements to examine the mission and the innovations that ultimately did not carry over to Iraq, and were only adopted in Afghanistan after many years and hundreds of U.S. casualties later. The delay in adopting these practices in Iraqi and Enduring Freedom hampered combat efficiency, interoperability with Afghan forces, and relationships with the Afghan people, and is a stark reminder that failure to adopt and improvise is detrimental to any sound military theorem.



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