As expected, the Iraqi-Americans and Iraqi exiles recruited to act as interpreters and negotiators for American troops in Iraq proved very useful. If possible, such a program will be used even more in future conflicts or peacekeeping situations. The interpreters wore Army uniforms without rank insignia (they were technically civilian employees of the Department of Defense) and were armed with (and trained to use) 9mm pistols (for self-defense). But the uniform, the gun and their Iraqi accents gave them authority and familiarity to overcome qualms many Iraqis had about dealing with the American troops. This made it much easier to make contact with unofficial local leaders (usually religious or tribal) and find armed members of the Baath Party that were still lurking about. Most importantly, the good will these interpreters created spread rapidly. As exiles, they all had stories of their own family losses to Saddam, and their enthusiasm for America (many were already naturalized citizens.) Most of the men were also middle aged, and experienced in dealing with people in general. Finally, they could not hide the fact that they were very glad to be back in an Iraq that wasn't run by Saddam Hussein.