August 6, 2008

From the Front: 08/06/2008

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

In their own words:
3rd Marine Aircraft Wing (Fwd): ‘Iraqi First’ - Iraqi contractor to build flight line chapel aboard al-Asad - AL ASAD, Iraq (April 2, 2008) – A ground-breaking ceremony held today marked the beginning of construction for a new chapel on the south side of the base here. The $280,000 contract, part of the ‘Iraqi First’ program, marked the first time an Iraqi construction company has performed work aboard al-Asad since the war began. The program started last year and has contracted dozens of projects aboard U.S. installations throughout Iraq. “The U.S. government is reaching out and trying to help the Iraqi companies and people find more work and stimulate their economy,” said Navy Cmdr. Roland Mina, the public works officer for al-Asad. (READ MORE)

Sgt B: The End of AT… - Well, it’s all over but the crying… The Company has made it through another Annual Training… No fights, no major injuries, the Command Post tent and its contents have been packed away, taken down, crated up for it’s journey to Wisconsin, and the next phase of our pre-MOB training. We have been billeted in a large white tent that has been called, at times: “the Taj Mahal”, “Tent City”, “the Circus Tent”… And those are the monikers that can be printed… The combat arms companies that will deploy all share this communal living space, but there has been little friction, maybe because we are all National Guardsmen, too tired from trying to cram as much information into our minds as we can before we throw our chip into the kitty in The Big Game… But it’s over now, the ranges have gone cold, and the gear that weighed us down like the armor of the crusaders of old now rests beside our bunks, to be donned again too soon, but stowed and quiet for now. (READ MORE)

Fearless 1st Marines’ blog: Ramadi citizens gather for soccer field reopening - RAMADI, Iraq – Mustafa, a 14-year-old Iraqi boy, couldn’t stand still during a recent soccer tournament at the grand reopening of the 17th Street Soccer field July 24. Donning a David Beckham t-shirt, he jokingly taunted the opposing team and passionately cheered for his own. Halfway through the game, a Marine, surprised to see a Beckham shirt, walked up to Mustafa and said, “David Beckham—zien (Arabic for good).” Mustafa, without hesitation, replied, “Beckham—koule zien,” or very good, as he jumped out of his seat and raised both arms as his team scored a goal. Soccer, often considered “the sport that brings the world together,” is a big part of every day life in Ramadi, leading the city’s officials, with the assistance of Civil Affairs Detachment 2, 1st Battalion. (READ MORE)

Long War Journal: Afghanistan: Mapping the rising violence - Afghanistan has seen its worst bout of violence since the US overthrew the Taliban government in 2002. Taliban-related attacks and incidents have skyrocketed as the Taliban seeks to destabilize and de-legitimize the weak Afghan government and break NATO's will to fight a protracted counterinsurgency campaign. The number of Taliban-related incidents per day has jumped by almost 50 percent, according to data compiled by Vigilant Strategic Services Afghanistan. The data compares the Taliban-related incidents from the Jan. 1 to July 13 time periods in 2007 versus 2008. Afghanistan experienced 18.4 attacks per day in 2008 compared to 12.4 in 2007. Much of the violence can be traced back to Pakistan's lawless border region, where the Taliban openly control wide swaths of territory. (READ MORE)

The Marching Camp: Medevac Summary - As those of you who follow the LJ know, I was medevaced from theater this week. Not for anything serious. My left eye clouded over, developing a haze which an optometrist and three ophthalmologists believe is a complication relating to the PRK I had last September. In essence, it has the same effect as cataracts. I first noticed this in Kuwait, and then after it did not clear, I went to the optometrist aboard Al Asad Air Base (being a naval installation, one is 'aboard' Al Asad rather than 'at' or 'on'). He air evacuated me to Balad for further evaluation. Note: Further evaluation. I packed a couple sets of clean underclothes and a shower bag and a towel. At Balad, they decided to send me to Landstuhl. I got to Balad early Friday morning, and by Sunday morning I was on a plane to Germany. Just over 24 hours on the ground in Balad. (READ MORE)

News from the Front:

The Long Haul - Members of the 1st Brigade Combat Team/34th Infantry Division of the Minnesota National Guard served "the longest continuous deployment of any United States ground combat military unit during Operation Iraqi Freedom." This is their story. ST. PAUL, Minn. - In the end, Chad Malmberg put his framed Silver Star on the wall and stowed away his helmet, some old uniforms and the dusty combat boots he had worn in the Iraqi desert. He was a hero, now, and proud of it. Malmberg had quickly entered his last semester of college, blending easily into the anonymity of campus life. Within months, he had his degree. (READ MORE)

Al-Qaeda being targeted, captured across Iraq - BAGHDAD – Iraqi and Coalition forces targeted al-Qaeda in Iraq elements in the central and northern part of the country Tuesday and Wednesday, detaining three wanted men and seven additional suspects. In Baghdad Tuesday, Coalition forces captured a wanted man and two additional suspected terrorists during an operation to further disrupt the AQI foreign terrorist facilitation network. (READ MORE)

Coalition forces destroy weapons caches in Lake Thar Thar region - BAGHDAD – Coalition forces discovered and destroyed two weapons caches during a mission ending Aug. 2 to disrupt al-Qaeda in Iraq operations near Lake Thar Thar in central Iraq. Intelligence reports indicate the Lake Thar Thar region is used by AQI leaders and operatives as a transit route, safe haven, and training area for foreign terrorists brought into Iraq. (READ MORE)

IA soldiers seize large weapons cache in Sadr City - BAGHDAD – An Iraqi citizen led Iraqi Army Soldiers to a weapons cache in the Sadr City district of Baghdad Aug. 4. “We saved a lot of lives tonight,” said Maj. Gen. Muzer, commander of the 11th Iraqi Army Division. “We will never know how many, but this is something of which we can be proud.” (READ MORE)

MND-B Soldiers detain three suspected criminals - BAGHDAD – Multi-National Division – Baghdad Soldiers detained three suspected criminals Aug. 6 in the Rashid district of southern Baghdad. At approximately 1:30 a.m. in the Jihad community, Soldiers from the Scout Platoon, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Battalion, 22nd Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, detained the three suspected roadside bomb emplacers. (READ MORE)

Iraqis Work to Restore Essential Services After Bombing, Vow Terrorists Will Not Win - ADHAMIYAH — A car bombing in northern Baghdad killed four residents and injured seven more shortly before 9 a.m., Aug. 3, 2008. Nearby business, buildings and power lines were also damaged in the attack. (READ MORE)

Al-Qaeda Being Targeted, Captured - BAGHDAD — Iraqi and Coalition forces targeted al-Qaeda in Iraq elements in the central and northern part of the country Tuesday and Wednesday, detaining three wanted men and seven additional suspects. (READ MORE)

Future of Ramadi Youth Looks Bright - RAMADI — Nearly 3,000 school-aged children from various neighborhoods in Ramadi joined recently for the city’s inaugural Ramadi Youth Conference; one more sign the region is on the right road to recovery after years of intense violence. (READ MORE)

Salvadoran, U.S. Military Medical Teams Help Iraqi Villagers - FORWARD OPERATING BASE DELTA — Doctors from 41st Fires Brigade and El Salvador’s Cuscatlan Battalion brought medical care to citizens of the Zuwarijat district of Kut, Iraq, last week. (READ MORE)

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