January 21, 2009

From the Front: 01/21/2009

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

In their own words:
Embrace the Suck: So It's Good To See How The Other Half Lives... - So first of all let me say thanks to my pal, Spray on, for getting me on a chopper that only made one stop prior to hitting Bagram. That was a beautiful thing. I left on the 19th and I made it to Bagram on the 19th. Which for anyone even remotely familiar with travel in this country knows that is lightning speed. Now I am sitting here waiting for the "death by power point" briefing that we all have to go through prior to being allowed on R&R or leave. I am so looking forward to that. However, it is the 21st now and I am getting to see Bagram in all its glory. The first question that comes to my mind is this. How many troops are here? And do any of them have jobs? I am being serious. Now up here I have no job, my job is to wait and attend this briefing and then leave. (READ MORE)

Blogs Over Baghdad: Team spirit: creature comforts vs. a long haul - What would you do if you were offered lodging in a comfortable trailer, but had to drive a long way to get there and back from work? For the soldiers of the 314th, the answer was simple: give us a tent. When our unit arrived at FOB Prosperity a couple weeks ago, we knew we would have to live in tents “for a while.” Originally, we thought that might be 2-3 weeks. So, we moved into two very large tents and made the best of it until we got those trailers (called Containerized Housing Units, or CHUs). A couple days later, we had the chance to drive to the location of those much more comfortable CHUs. Although they were nice, they were also in a remote location with few of the services needed to keep a soldier happy. (READ MORE)

Two Brothers, Two Countries, One Army: Answers... - Hello again! Well, here i sit just chilling. Waiting and counting the days down to leaving this crazy place! Thank you again for all of your continued support while we have been overseas. Thank you for continuing to visit our blog. Answers...I'm not too sure where to start this. Well...my mom commented and asked if all of those things and times where I said "if I told you, I'd have to kill you" would ever be finished...will the other half of the story that you never heard ever be told? Well...I guarantee not on here. And, she's probably right. She'll not find out for years to come. I'm not sure if anyone will know the other half of those stories, well, other than those that were here of course. It's kinda hard to explain. The other half of those stories are there....but will I ever want to re-live those days and events...probably not. At least not for a while. (READ MORE)

S4 at War: A New Boss - I just watched the inauguration in our DFAC (thats army for dining facility). It was full of Ugandan and Sri Lankan workers all glued to the television and about 10 Americans, one with his face buried in his plate of food. Inaugural quote of the day: An Iraqi Army Colonel on the election, “Congratulations on your 44…the uhh, first one with the dark skin.” (READ MORE)

News from the Front:

When new commander in chief mentions sacrifice, military families know what he means - President Barack Obama, in his inaugural address in Washington, talked of the need for sacrifice from all Americans. For the early morning crowd at Miramar Marine Corps Air Station in San Diego, sacrifice has been a way of life for several years. Even as Obama spoke, hundreds of family members were waiting for 250 Marines and sailors to return from Iraq, many from their second, third or fourth deployment. (READ MORE)

ISF, MND-B Soldiers confiscate weapons, detain nine suspected criminals in Rashid district - BAGHDAD – Iraqi Security Forces and Multi-National Division – Baghdad Soldiers discovered a weapons cache and munitions, and arrested nine suspected criminals Jan. 19 in the Rashid district of southern Baghdad. The Sons of Iraq members found a rocket launcher in a field at approximately 1:30 p.m. in the Jihad community of west Rashid and turned the weapon over to Iraqi Army Soldiers. (READ MORE)

U.S. military signs over Camp Ramadi - AR RAMADI, Iraq – Camp Ramadi was signed over to the Iraq government in a memorandum of agreement signed by Iraqi army and U.S. military officials at Camp Ali, Iraq Tuesday. Camp Ali, which is a segment of Camp Ramadi occupied by the Iraqi army, is located about 70 miles west of Baghdad in Ar Ramadi, the provincial capital of the Al Anbar Province. The MOA was signed by Staff Brig. Gen. Adel, the commander of the First Quick Reaction Force Brigade, Iraqi army, headquartered at Camp Ali, and U.S. Army Col. Ronald Kapral, the commander of Camp Ramadi and the 81st Brigade Combat Team, Washington Army National Guard. The memorandum was a tenant agreement of sorts. It outlined the areas that will be used by Coalition forces through 2011. (READ MORE)

Ministry of Defense opens Al Muthana Hospital & Prosthetics Clinic - BAGHDAD - The Iraqi Ministry of Defense took a giant leap forward in improving health care for its wounded warriors with the grand opening of the MoD Military Hospital and Prosthetics Clinic at Al Muthana Jan. 19. The hospital is comprised of 50 ward beds, an ER/Trauma bay in the core building, five ICU beds, three operating rooms, a laboratory, pharmacy and x-ray services in attached trailers. The hospital staff numbers 130, consisting of four physicians, one dentist, 85 other health professionals and 40 medical administrative support personnel. (READ MORE)

Iraqis Learn About Business Development, Opportunities at Dhi Qar Conference - COB ADDER — Amidst cell phone rings and conversations, 17 Iraqis from Dhi Qar province received micro-grant instruction from Coalition forces at a small-business conference here Saturday. Ten Iraqi women and seven men attended a joint seminar hosted by the Dhi Qar Provincial Reconstruction Team, finance personnel from the 4th Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division and the members of the 287th Sustainment Brigade Civil Military Operations cell. (READ MORE)

Iraqi Doctors, U.S. Army Special Forces Give Iraqi Boy Chance to Walk Again - TAJI — A 13 year-old boy from a remote area in southeast Iraq will soon learn how to walk again after using crutches for more than five years, with the help of Iraqi doctors and U.S. Army Special Forces. A Special Forces team medic met the boy, named Abbas, in June during a medical assistance visit to the region. Abbas’ right leg was broken during a vehicle accident. At the time of the accident, he was treated but the device holding the bones in place was removed too soon and the bones never fused. (READ MORE)

IA Receives Combat Gear, Conducts Training at Besmaya Range - CONTINGENCY OPERATING BASE ADDER — The 41st Brigade, 10th Iraqi Army Division celebrated the completion of their Unit Set Fielding program and month-long training during a graduation ceremony at the Besmaya Range Complex, Jan. 14. U.S. Soldiers, assigned to 4th Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Div., have partnered with the 41st IA Brigade since early October 2008. They trained the Iraqi Soldiers on the new tactical equipment and combat gear prior to the fielding process. (READ MORE)

Troops kill 60 militants near Afghan border - PESHAWAR: Pakistani soldiers backed by warplanes and helicopter gunships killed 60 militants in a major offensive waged against insurgents near the Afghan border, a security official said yesterday. Pakistani forces launched the crackdown in Mohmand district as early as the weekend but a paramilitary official told AFP “60 hardcore militants” were killed in the last 24 hours, including local insurgent commanders. (READ MORE)

Tackling Qaeda and Taliban top priority for Obama Admin - Tackling the Al-Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan and Pakistan would be the top priority for the new Obama Administration which took over the reins of power in the US. Listing Afghanistan and Pakistan on the top of new administration's foreign policy agenda, the White House said yesterday, "Obama and Biden will refocus American resources on the greatest threat to our security -- the resurgence of Al-Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan and Pakistan." (READ MORE)

Overland route into Afghanistan opened - General David Petraeus, the US Commander in Afghanistan, has said NATO supplies will now be transported via another overland route. He has said an agreement was reached for the new route into Afghanistan through countries other than Pakistan, where NATO convoys were coming under attack. (READ MORE)

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