July 21, 2008

From the Front: 07/21/2008

News and Personal dispatches from the front and the home front.

In their own words:
Mike T @ Bouhammer: The demons stay here - So everyone has been following the news, especially about our brothers back east from the 173rd (may they rest in peace). There is a state of panic and anxiousness where I am at. There are big plans in the works for things all across the country as I type this, but so far little response after the incurring attacks on US/Coalition Forces. We have officially become the “old” guys here on the teams and we are under our 60 day mark. All of us are trying to find our own ways to deal with our short-timers attitude and well to simply stay alive. I have been sidelined by an unexpected injury, a hamstring tear. My days of running missions for the last month are out of the question. The weird part is I do not feel guilty or as if I am missing out on something. My brethren here have been very supportive and well I think a bit happy about it. (READ MORE)

48th Combat Support Hospital - FOB Salerno / Khowst, Afghanistan: Talk about a Happy Birthday!!! - That special wife of mine has done it again! I was planning on today being just another day over here at Salerno. Sure, 31 years ago today I joined the world as a newborn, but that was no cause for celebration today since I couldn't celebrate with my family....right? WRONG!!! I got greetings from everyone that I work with which I wasn't expecting. Then, to top it all off, I got called into the office and was wondering, "Now what is this all about". My friend Rick said, "I have to talk to you in private. Lets go somewhere quiet." I'm thinking to myself, "Now what in the world is this all about?" However, knowing Rick as well as I do, I decided that the serious look on his face must mean that this is really important. I followed him into the conference room. As soon as the door opened, I heard a loud "SURPRISE!!!!!!". (READ MORE)

Back In the Army Now (at 54): More PT and My Sister's Wedding - This weekend I switched my training from avoiding the heat 90+ heat to running and riding in the worst of it. The reason gos back to my sister's wedding in 1982. She got married on a Saturday in October near Boston. I had a drill weekend with the reserve tank unit I was in: 6th Battalion, 68th Armor, Reading PA. I got Satuday off, but I had to be at the firing range at Fort Indiantown Gap PA at 0700 on Sunday. I left my sister's wedding at 9pm, so I had to drive all night to get to the range. I made it a half-hour early, changed into my uniform, and went to the firing line. That Sunday we were firing the 45-caliber pistol and the M3 "Grease Gun" submachine gun, the personal weapons of armor crewmen. The M3 was a piece of cake. but the 45 is a moving range with weapons that were more than 40 years old with loose parts. (READ MORE)

Cheese's Milblog: Ok, so I lied... - I guess I don't have better things to do than post. Actually, that's not true at all...my leave has been absolutely amazing. Like last time, time actually went slowly enough for me to enjoy it. Two weeks is the perfect amount of time to be home...well, forever would be perfect, but you know what I mean...it gives you time to actually slip into a sort of routine, to be able to act like a normal person instead of just being that guy who's headed right back to Afghanistan. People tell you about how hard it is to reintegrate, and I agree with that when it pertains to coming home for good, but when you're home on leave the change from soldier to civilian is instantaneous. This is aided by the fact that I had been flying for about a day and that my last act in Kuwait had been to stand in 130 degree heat for about an hour, requiring my first act in the US to be a shower and fresh set of civilian clothes! (READ MORE)

Doc in the Box: Kuwaiting Take 8 - Once again I’m hanging out in this hot and sandy place, we flew in early one morning and I said to Swear, “it’s not too bad today” and he replied with “it’s only 8:30 in the morning” and I said “Oh”. One of my Marines had injured their back during the unloading process so I made a trip over to medical where they kindly provided some medical care and on my dime, I took her over to Taco Bell for the first time in 6 months. Who knew Taco Bell would taste so good? Got back to the barracks and crashed out due to the lack of sleep I’ve had over the last couple of weeks only to wake in a blast furnace. The power had gone off and it felt like it was 140 degrees inside and I crawled out into the 117 degree day and it was cooler out there. To think, there are people live like that all of the time. I had it good. (READ MORE)

Bill Roggio: Iraqi, US forces keep pressure on the Mahdi Army - Iraqi and US troops continue to press the offensive against the Iranian-backed Mahdi Army during a series of raids throughout Iraq. Since July 18, US and Iraqi forces have killed six Mahdi Army fighters and captured 18 during operations in central Iraq. Scores more have been captured, including senior leaders, weapons smugglers, financiers, trainers, and cell leaders. The raids have been driven by intelligence, much of it gleaned from captive Mahdi Army fighters, according to information contained in Multinational Forces Iraq press releases. Captive Mahdi Army leaders and cell members are providing US and Iraqi forces information on leaders and cells throughout central and southern Iraq. (READ MORE)

Bill Murray: Mosul's IED hunter wounded in attack - MOSUL, IRAQ: More than once, the cell phone rang in Iraqi Army Major Fakhir Ibrahim Mohammad’s hand seconds after he’d pulled wires away from the phone’s battery, disarming the remote-controlled Improvised Explosive Device that insurgents had buried in a street in the hopes of killing Iraqi police, Army or Coalition forces. "Hello, this is your IED, come save me," he would usually answer. Insurgents at the other end of the phone line were always speechless; bombs don’t normally talk back. Other times he would add a little taunt before getting hung up upon. "Come save me if you’re man enough to come out of hiding and fight me the open." (READ MORE)

Omar: In the Middle East, Diplomacy = Weakness - In a matter of just a few days several important developments have taken place in the Middle East, all likely to have negative repercussions on the already tense situation in the region. The first development was the awkward prisoner exchange between Israel and Hezbollah. Then there were the unprecedented decisions by the American administration to take part directly in negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program, and reportedly to resume some level of diplomatic ties with the country. Finally, we had the White House agreeing to set a “time horizon” for troop withdrawal from Iraq. Such decisions may be viewed by many in the West as steps in the right direction since they offer more room for diplomacy in resolving outstanding issues in the Middle East. And in Iraq, this “time horizon” may be seen by the public as a reassertion of progress towards restoring full sovereignty, and by Maliki as an easy PR gain in election season. (READ MORE)

The Marching Camp: AQ and the SecDef and Acronyms - Ralph Peters makes the argument that, having largely lost Iraq, al-Qaeda is returning to a strategy of open confrontation in Afghanistan because that is the only place in the world where al-Qaeda can still gather enough force to fight without getting stepped on hard, because al-Qaeda is discredited in the rest of the Arab world. I certainly haven't had a chance to survey the mythical "Arab in the Street" in the rest of the Arab world. On the other hand, I am bored off my ass in al-Anbar, once the centerpiece of the Media's attempts to "prove" we were "losing" in Iraq, due in no small part to the support which AQI used to have here. So as far as I can see, he has a point. Argghhh! makes the argument that this was an intended consequence of our invasion of Iraq. By forcing AQI to fight for Iraq, we managed to kill lots of them and discredit them pretty completely. (READ MORE)

Big Tobacco: Running With the Devil - I had a choice after the PT test. I could accept the platoon that I was given, or turn them into the platoon that I want them to be. I decided to mold the platoon instead of accept what I was given. Playtime is over. Squads used to do PT on their own. Not anymore. Now we run every other day at MY pace for two miles. At night, we run again. This tactic worked. Private Applesauce, the tiny, tearful soldier from “Job Security” finally ran two miles in formation today, at my pace, without falling out. This may seem like a trivial matter to active-duty soldiers but if you could have seen the smile on her sweat-drenched face when we finished, it would have melted your heart. I am finally pulling her away from the comfortable light of shamdom and back toward soldering. Every one of my soldiers, with the exception of Private Invisible Boy, finished the run without walking once. But there were other problems... (READ MORE)

News from the Front:
Baghdad residents and businesses receive quality water - Baghdad – Serving more than 2000 homes and businesses, two water networks at a cost of $2.6 million are almost complete in the Kadamiyah area of Baghdad. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Gulf Region Division and the Baghdad Water Authority are working together to replace the old and damaged pipeline system in the Kadamiyah district to supply a better quality and quantity of water. According to the Gulf Region Central districts International Zone project engineer, Malath Al Rawas, approximately 17,000 linear meters of ductile iron water pipe was laid at each of the sites. (READ MORE)

ISF, MND-B Soldiers seize munitions, caches across Baghdad area - BAGHDAD – Iraqi Security Forces and Multi-National Division – Baghdad Soldiers seized munitions and caches while working to preserve security throughout the Baghdad area July 20. Soldiers with the 3rd Brigade, 1st Iraqi Army Division found three rocket propelled grenades, twelve RPG-7 rounds, a PKC machine gun, four RPG-7 chargers, a grenade, a 60 mm mortar tube and base, two drums of PKC machine gun rounds and 300 loose PKC machine gun rounds at approximately 7:30 a.m. in the Sadr City district of Baghdad. (READ MORE)

MND-B Soldiers detain suspected criminal in New Baghdad - BAGHDAD – National Police and Multi-National Division - Baghdad Soldiers detained a suspected criminal in the New Baghdad security district of eastern Baghdad July 21. Police from the 4th Brigade, 1st National Police Division and Soldiers from the 66th Armor Regiment conducted a combined operation to detain the suspect and found him hiding underneath a parked vehicle after he ran. The suspect is believed to have carried out improvised explosive device attacks in the Al Amin area and indirect fire attacks on Coalition forces during the past year. (READ MORE)

Coalition forces target Al-Qaeda and affiliated extremists (Baghdad) - BAGHDAD – Coalition forces captured an alleged senior adviser for al-Qaeda in Iraq’s Mosul network and detained 10 additional suspects in two of Iraq’s largest cities, July 20 and 21. An alleged AQI senior leader is in Coalition forces’ custody after an operation in Mosul on Monday. The alleged leader, who was detained with two additional suspects, is reportedly a senior adviser to the Mosul terrorist network. In that position, he is believed to conspire with other terrorist leaders to conduct attacks and impose extremist ideals on Iraqi civilians in Mosul. (READ MORE)

Baghdad Police College graduates largest ever class of 1,698 new police officers (Baghdad) - Baghdad – 1,698 officers, the largest class ever, graduated from the Ministry of Interior’s Baghdad Police College here Sunday and took the loyalty oath to uphold the rule of law and protect the citizens of Iraq. The new course is known as the 1st Qualification Course. Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki spoke of this initiative during Basrah operations as a means to promote both reconciliation and new jobs for former government employees and other recruits who met the qualifications. To become lieutenants in the police force, the graduates must complete the retraining and certification in the four-month course. Most were college graduates. (READ MORE)

Coalition forces capture suspected Hezbolla Brigades propaganda expert (New Baghdad) - BAGHDAD – Coalition forces captured a suspected propaganda specialist of the Hezbollah Brigades early Monday morning in the New Baghdad district of Baghdad. Based on intelligence information, Coalition forces targeted the location of a suspected propaganda expert affiliated with the Hezbollah Brigades in Iraq. Information taken from suspected criminals already in custody indicate that the man uploads web sites with imagery and video taken from attacks on Iraqi Security and Coalition forces. (READ MORE)

INPs, MND-B Soldiers confiscate weapons cache in Baghdad - BAGHDAD – Iraqi National Police and Multi-National Division – Baghdad Soldiers seized a weapons cache in the New Baghdad district of Baghdad July 20. Police with the 1st Brigade, 1st National Police Division, seized a six-inch explosively formed projectile, a 120 mm artillery round, four rocket propelled grenades and an improvised explosive device at 11 a.m. All munitions were turned in to Soldiers with the 4th Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division. (READ MORE)

IA soldiers seize weapons cache in Sadr City - BAGHDAD – Iraqi Army soldiers working to secure the area in the Sadr City district of Baghdad uncovered a weapons cache July 20. Soldiers with the 3rd Brigade, 1st IA Division found three rocket propelled grenades, twelve RPG-7 rounds, four RPG-7 chargers, a grenade, a 60 mm mortar tube and base, a PKC machine gun, two drums of rounds and 300 loose rounds. (READ MORE)

Modern School Highlights Ancient Iraq’s Role in Education - BAGHDAD — “This ancient civilization of Mesopotamia, between the two historic rivers, taught the world how to read and how to write,” said Ahmed Rubayee, the Director General of Baghdad’s Rusafa 2 Education Department at al Neel school opening last week. “That is what we are doing here today, establishing a school, and to once again, be civilized and concentrate on teaching our children to read and write.” (READ MORE)

Upgraded Substation Provides Reliable Power to 300,000 in Al Kut - FORWARD OPERATING BASE DELTA — The people of al Kut are receiving more reliable electricity, thanks to the upgrade of the Old al Kut substation 33kV switch gear, which increases the availability of power for transmission and distribution. Two sections of the antiquated substation were replaced and came online approximately two weeks ago. Government officials celebrated its completion during a ribbon cutting ceremony, July 16. (READ MORE)

Iraqi Army’s ‘Quiet Professionals’ - FORWARD OPERATING BASE DELTA — A platoon of Iraqi Army scouts took part in a live-fire exercise last week designed to simulate a raid and pursuit of a terrorist target in an urban environment. U.S. Soldiers from Operational Detachment Alpha 7236 trained the IA scouts and supervised the exercise. “In six years of training with (American) Special Forces, we have never done training like we did today,” said the commander of the Scout Company, 1st Battalion, 32nd Brigade, 8th Iraqi Army Division. (READ MORE)

Several militants killed in Farah province airstrikes - BAGRAM AIR FIELD, Afghanistan (July 20, 2008) – Afghan National Security and Coalition forces used precision airstrikes to eliminate several militants in Farah province early this morning. One of the militants targeted in the airstrikes was an area leader. He was a weapons facilitator and planned militant operations. The strike was called while the militants were in an open area to prevent harm to non-combatants and civilian structures. (READ MORE)

Militants killed, detained in Kandahar province - BAGRAM AIR FIELD, Afghanistan (July 19, 2008) - Afghan National Security Forces, with support from Coalition forces, killed a few militants and detained more than a dozen during an operation to disrupt militant activity in the Kandahar District, Kandahar province, July 18. A large cache of artillery rounds, grenade fuses, and small arms ammunition were discovered during the operation. These items were destroyed in place to prevent future use. (READ MORE)

Congressional delegation visits American forces in eastern Afghanistan - BAGRAM AIR FIELD, Afghanistan (July 19, 2008) — A Congressional delegation including senators Jack Reed (R.I.), Chuck Hagel (Neb.) and Barrack Obama (Ill.) visited Regional Command-East, Afghanistan, and other American forces under that command today. The delegation received a briefing from Maj. Gen. Jeffrey J. Schloesser, commanding general, RC-East and Combined Joint Task Force-101 at Bagram Air Field. (READ MORE)

Commandos, SOF forces rescue kidnap victim - A young Afghan man’s prayers were finally answered July 17 when a team of Afghan National Army Commandos and U.S. Special Operations forces freed him from captivity after discovering him shackled near a Taliban jail in the village of Parmakan in Western Afghanistan’s Herat province. The Commandos, with assistance from the SOF troops, were searching a compound where Taliban commander Nangialia Khan was known to have been when they discovered a building the Taliban had been using as a jail. Locals say that Khan and his men routinely take hostages from the villages and then demand a ransom for their release. (READ MORE)

Ky. Guardsmen deliver donated toys to Afghan children - FORWARD OPERATING BASE SALERNO, Afghanistan (July 17, 2008) – Charlie Company, 201st Engineer Battalion, Kentucky National Guard, showed skill in multi-tasking by reaching out to the Afghan people on a personal level while ensuring routes in Khowst province were safe from improvised explosive device threats, July 13. The combat engineers, based in Cynthiana, Ky., are tasked with escorting groups to ensure that the IED threat is kept to a minimum. They use special equipment to detect and disarm explosives before they become a threat to the mission. This trip was different from their usual outings, thanks to support from home. (READ MORE)

Coalition forces respond to attack, 8 civilians killed in Farah - BAGRAM AIR FIELD, Afghanistan (16 July 2008) – A coalition convoy on a routine patrol yesterday in Bakwa, Farah province came under sustained attack from machine gun and indirect fire from a number of houses adjacent to the road. The coalition convoy returned fire and called for close air support on the enemy positions. A house was hit; eight civilians were killed, two others injured. Coalition forces never intentionally target non-combatants, and deeply regret any occurrence such as this where civilians are killed and injured as a result of insurgent activity and actions. (READ MORE)

1 comment:

Bookmark said...

Thank you