A proud participant in the Yellow Ribbon GI Bill Program, Widener Law is committed to providing a positive learning environment to the dedicated service members of the United States armed forces. The Yellow Ribbon series highlights the students, faculty, and programs that connect the Widener Law community with the brave veterans who have served their country so admirably.
“I love Widener, and I loved my time here,” said Captain William Obringer ‘05 of the Army JAG Crops on his return to Widener Law’s Wilmington campus. “I wanted to be able to share my experiences as a lawyer in Iraq with the students here.”
Deployed to Iraq in November 2007, Captain Obringer served as an Operational Law Attorney for the 4th Infantry Division and Multi-National Division-Baghdad or MND-B until he returned to the United States in February of 2009. The Operational Law division of MND-B supported over 40,000 soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines, advising the command staff of 4th Infantry Division on International Law, the Law of Armed Conflict, Rules of Engagement, Detention Operations, ethical responsibilities, Escalation of Force, and the Iraqi reconstruction. In September of 2008, he became Chief of Operational Law for MND-B supervising several attorneys who dealt with such important issues as the transition from lethal targeting combat operations to warrant-based targeting under Iraqi law and the implementation of the Status of Forces agreement with Iraq.
Describing his deployment as “more rewarding” than he imagined, Captain Obringer noted that Baghdad is “becoming a vibrant city despite 30 years of war and mismanagement. You could see signs of hope.” Discussing the path forward for Iraq, he said, “The rule of law needs to be strengthened in Iraq. That’s what the U.S State Department and the military will be focusing on.”
Captain Obringer talked to students about his experiences as an attorney deployed overseas and the legal questions posed to him about International Law and the Law of Armed Conflict. He noted that the most frequent questions he received while deployed were “about the Rules of Engagement, detainees, and psychological operations.”
Of his experiences as a member of the JAG Corps, Captain Obringer says, “It’s not like being a civilian lawyer at all. Flexibility is the key. You get to try different areas of the law and you get to see parts of the country and the world that you wouldn’t otherwise. I feel very lucky.”
Captain Obringer was awarded a Bronze Star for his actions in a forward deployed environment. The entire Widener Law community wishes him well in his next Army deployment this time in Alaska where he will now be trying cases.