Major remembers time spent in Iraq as he retires from Guard
After serving 30 years with the Rhode Island National Guard and the United States Army Reserves, Raymond Gallucci has retired at the rank of Colonel.
Gallucci’s career with the Guard started as a college student.
After graduating from Bryant University in 1984, he was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant Field Artillery through Army ROTC.
“I think 30 years was good. It’s time for someone else to step up,” Gallucci said in a recent interview.
He said even if the retirement weren’t mandatory, he would’ve retired himself.
While he won’t be wearing his military uniform, Gallucci still is in uniform. He is a major with the Warwick Police Department.
When Gallucci initially began his guard training in Fort Sill, Okla., in 1985 he did not expect to be sent overseas.
“We were training for a different kind of warfare,” said Gallucci.
He said training focused on Cold War tactics on a symmetrical battlefield, a more conventional, one-to-one battlefield.
Gallucci joined the Warwick Police Department in December of 1986. When deployed, he left his lieutenant position in the Warwick Police detective division to support Operation Iraqi Freedom as Lieutenant Colonel while a member of the 103rd Field Artillery. He was deployed to Baghdad in September 2004 as Chief of Staff for the Base Defense Operations Center and later as Iraqi Police Team Chief when the unit received a change of mission to Mosul, a northern city in Iraq.
In Baghdad, the brigade headquarters was assigned three battalions, each of 500 personnel, to secure their complex.
In Mosul, he said their job was to train Iraqis to provide security on their own. They oversaw the training of Iraqi police, replacing equipment, and the reconstruction of demolished structures.
Gallucci said he brought the training he learned on civilian employment skills from the police department to Iraq.
He and other senior officers dealt with the Iraqi Provincial Chief daily.
“Our focus was also to keep him safe,” said Gallucci.
Gallucci said he interacted with Iraqis every day. He said, “The people were very receptive to us being there. Our presence was very well received.”
Gallucci’s assessment of the time he and troops spent there is of nine years ago.
The deployment was a highlight of Gallucci’s military career where his civilian skill sets lent measures in the act of duty and dealing with Iraqis.
In 2007, Gallucci was selected to attend the resident program at the Naval War College in Newport. In 2008 he graduated from the Naval War College with a Master Degree in National Security and Strategic Studies.
For the last three years, Gallucci has served as the emergency preparedness liaison officer for the state of Rhode Island. Gallucci has deployed in support of several disasters throughout New England, including Hurricane Irene and Super Storm Sandy, leading the Department of Defense coordination efforts at the Joint Field Office.
“I’ll miss the people I worked with who were doing the right thing day to day,” said Gallucci. “I had the opportunity to command in every level dealing with professionals.”
Gallucci said he still keeps in touch with some of the senior officers who he spent time with in Iraq.
He said he is excited for his son, Matthew Gallucci, 21, who is graduating this June from the United States Merchant Marine Academy, where he will be commissioned a Navy Reserve and receive his Coast Guard captain’s license.
“I thank my family for my success,” said Gallucci. “I would not be where I am today without them.”