Laurie Rush: Planning and Training for Cultural Resources and Property Issues During Contingency Operations, Iraq and Afghanistan

Dr. Laurie Rush, archaeologist and cultural resources manager for 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry), Fort Drum, New York will be at Cornell to speak about cultural awareness training methods for troops deploying to Iraq and Afghanistan. Dr. Rush's projects created in partnership with the Center for Environmental Management of Military Lands (CEMML) and funded by the Department of Defense's Legacy Resource Management Program, train soldiers how to prevent inadvertent damage to archaeological sites and help check the illegal traffic in looted artifacts in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Dr. Rush's most publicized project is the development and distribution of playing cards with images of historic sites/ archaeological digs, artifacts, heritage preservation information and tips to win hearts and minds of the area civilians through recognition of cultural practices. With support from the DoD's Legacy Program, the project received the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation's Chairman's Award for Federal Achievement in Historical Preservation in the fall of 2007. Dr. Rush has also worked to develop training scenarios that will help deploying personnel anticipate situations that may be complicated by heritage issues in theater, such as insurgents using an archaeological or sacred site as a cache for weapons or explosives.

In addition Dr. Rush and her team have created simulated historic and archaeological sites at Ft. Drum which train aerial gunners to use certain firing techniques to avoid or mitigate site damage. Fort Drum was recently awarded the Secretary of Defense Environmental Award for Installation Cultural Resources Management.

Sponsored bye the Preservation Studies Student Organization