April 15, 2009

From the Front: 04/15/2009

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

1st Marine Logistics Group: Communication is Key - MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. - Communicating in the warzone can be as easy as sending a text message. Battlefield text messages are just one aspect Marines with 1st Marine Logistics Group's Military Police Company, Combat Logistics Regiment 17 learned about in the two-week Incidental Radio Operators Course, April 2. "This is a course operating units need to go to," said Cpl. Daniel A. Anchondo, 21, Brescott, Ariz., MP Co., CLR-17, 1st MLG. "What if the operator gets hurt or killed and nobody else knows how to use the radio. Who's going to report back to the command? Everybody in the unit should know how to use the radio, not just the radio operator." The Signal Channel Ground and Airborne Radio System, or SINCGARS, family of radios uses technology similar to Bluetooth to bring this trendy means of communication to the battlefield. Bluetooth is a technology that uses wireless protocol for exchanging data over short distances. (READ MORE)

A Battlefield Tourist: The People of Afghanistan - A year before the Iraq War started, I ventured off toward the Honduran/Nicaraguan border in what would be my first excursion into a volatile area of the world as an adventure traveler/journalist. I’d just lost my job as a TV reporter and wanted to expand. I wanted to do more with my profession. And true to my nature, I wanted to do it my way. Back then, the concept “Battlefield Tourist” included humanitarian issues like the “War on Poverty” and ecological issues like “War on the Aral Sea”, so when I went to Honduras, the idea was to find basic, ground level stories dealing with poverty. In doing so, I found myself taking all sorts of pictures of children. I learned that if you can make the children laugh and smile, the adults around them would do the same - regardless if you spoke a common language. The next thing you know, I have hundreds of pictures of children and “regular people” from all over the world, and Afghanistan is no exception. (READ MORE)

Knottie's Niche: Finding a Smile Again - So here I am a little over a year since the knock on the door and my world fell apart. Some days I have learned to smile and even laugh again. Not as completely as I once did but still they smiles come now. And sometimes they come with guilt. Two very wise men have touched my life in the past month or so. One gentleman was with the SAS and he spoke of how he lives his life so that in the next he can look into the eyes of those friends he fought beside who did not come home and tell them without a doubt he did his best to honor them. The second gentleman was a WWII veteran, Medal of Honor recipient and 99 yrs old. His words struck my heart through. " We can only mourn our fallen. We honor them by taking care of those who come home especially our wounded" It is those two thoughts, beliefs, that I have tried to live this past year by. Although only recently put into words for me. We knew the moment they spoke the words that day there was no more we could do for Micheal but mourn and grieve. (READ MORE)

Bill Roggio: Terrorists rally in Swat, march through region - The Pakistani government's peace agreement with the Swat Taliban and the subsequent approval of the sharia regulation have bolstered Islamist terrorists in northwestern Pakistan and created a new safe haven for al Qaeda and other terrorist groups. The peace agreement, known as the Malakand Accord, was implemented in the Malakand Division in mid-February. It has provided a victory for the Taliban. The agreement calls for the withdrawal of the Pakistani Army from Swat, the release all Taliban prisoners, the withdrawal of any criminal cases against Taliban leaders and fighters, and the imposition of sharia. The Malakand Division is an administrative region that encompasses more than one-third of the Northwest Frontier Province and includes the districts of Malakand, Swat, Shangla, Buner, Dir, Chitral, and Kohistan. President Asif Ali Zardari, the leader of the secular Pakistani Peoples Party, signed the sharia bill into law yesterday following the military's failure to restore the government’s writ in Swat after three attempts since 2007. (READ MORE)

News from the Front:
Reconcile This - ABU SAIFEEN – On Saturday we got word from one of my Iraqi colleagues that Shiite-on-Shiite clashes had supposedly broken out between militiamen loyal to Moktada al-Sadr and members of an Awakening Council in Baghdad’s Abu Saifeen neighborhood. My colleague said the militiamen were allegedly fighting over a base at a local husseiniya, or Shiite house of worship. (READ MORE)

Partnership Continues as Soldiers Meet With Iraqi Counterparts - BAGHDAD, April 13, 2009 – In their first engagement on Camp Liberty, Multinational Division Baghdad leaders serving with the 1st Infantry Division’s 2nd Heavy Brigade Combat Team met April 11 with the staff of the 6th Iraqi Army Division’s 24th Brigade. The leaders, who help to secure the population west of Baghdad, ate dinner together before a joint meeting focused on nonlethal efforts. (READ MORE)

Logistics Battalion Keeps Supply Lines Open in Iraq - BAGHDAD, April 14, 2009 – Logistics soldiers here may not be clearing routes of roadside bombs, but they are taking the fight to the enemy in a different way. Without a steady supply of food, fuel and ammunition, an army cannot sustain itself for long. Soldiers of the 82nd Brigade Support Battalion keep the supply lines open for the 82nd Airborne Division’s 3rd Brigade Combat Team. (READ MORE)

U.S. Troops Could Stay in Mosul Past June Deadline - WASHINGTON, April 14, 2009 – U.S. soldiers could remain in Mosul, Iraq, past June 30, when Iraqi forces are scheduled to assume full security responsibilities for the entire country, a senior U.S. military commander in the area said today. Army Col. Gary Volesky, commander of the 1st Cavalry Division’s 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, said in a video news conference from Iraq that the Iraqi government will make that determination. (READ MORE)

Operation Iraqi Children delivers school supplies to children in Iraq - BAGHDAD – An initial delivery of school supplies from Operation Iraqi Children arrived in the hands of local school kids after a trip of over 7,000 miles which originated from Dallas, Texas. Operation Iraqi Children is a combined effort of the Department of Defense and American Airlines to deliver school supplies to school children in Iraq. The shipment included the “Magic Box” which consisted of pencils, paper, pens and letters of well wishes from American school children. (READ MORE)

Royal Marine saves life of a Iraqi oil worker - UMM QASR, Iraq – Onboard Khor Al Amaya Oil Terminal on April 13 an accident occurred when a crane dislodged a pile of very large pipes. As they went over the side of the platform one of them injured the leg of an Iraqi oil worker, and knocked him overboard. Royal Marine Cpl. Gregory Llewellyn, Coalition Naval Advisory and Training Team, Marine Advisor was training Iraqi marines when the incident occurred. (READ MORE)

Combined military operation nets wanted individuals - FORWARD OPERATING BASE WARRIOR, Kirkuk, Iraq— seven criminals in several villages near Kirkuk were detained through cooperation between Iraqi Police, Iraqi Army and Soldiers from 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, April 7. The individuals were suspected of engaging in insurgent activity and various other crimes and were detained based on outstanding warrants. (READ MORE)

Iraqi SWAT bring justice, arrest suspected murderers - TIKRIT, Iraq – Mosul Special Weapons and Tactics, with Coalition forces advisors, conducted a two-part operation April 8 in southeastern Mosul, which ended in the arrest of two suspects for their alleged participation in murderous activities. The suspects, arrested on warrants issued by the Ninewa Investigative Court, were wanted by authorities for disrupting the safety and security of Iraqi civilians, said the ground forces commander. (READ MORE)

Iraqi Military Police Graduate Criminal Investigation Course - An Numaniyah, Iraq – The Iraqi Military Police Academy here at the an Numaniyah Military Training Base (ANMTB) continues to professionalize the Iraqi Army Corps with the graduation of the Military Police Criminal Investigation Course here on April 1. The graduation ceremony of 45 Military Police soldiers from the 1st, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th, 14th, and 17th Iraqi Army divisions continues to show the effectiveness of the cooperation between coalition forces assigned to Multi National Security Transition Command- Iraq and Iraq Army trainers in implementing the Security Agreement between the United States and Iraq. (READ MORE)

Joint Effort Brings Electricity to Agurquf - BAGHDAD — Not long after arriving here and settling into their battle space, the Soldiers of the 2nd "Paxton" Battalion picked up where their predecessors left off with numerous projects aimed at improving the quality of life for the citizens of Abu Ghraib. One such project aimed at improving the dependability of electricity for the residents of the Agurquf area was recently completed, giving Iraqi and Coalition leaders the chance to celebrate the event at the new power station. (READ MORE)

Reading Program Benefits Iraqi School Kids - COB ADDER — A U.S. Civil Military Operations (CMO) team recently visited the Soonobar School in Dhi Qar province to read to the children, foster good will and deliver school supplies. Sgt. 1st Class Chris Baker, 287th Sustainment Brigade postal supervisor, and Capt. Traci Earls, the 287th support operations plans officer in charge, were two team members who volunteered to read to the students. (READ MORE)

Iraqi Special Forces Continue Training, Safeguard Basrah Citizens - BASRAH — For the last year, Iraq's second largest city has been experiencing something it hasn't known since the war began... safe streets. Prior to January 2008, Basrah was known for being a dangerous city to live in, with corruption and fear an everyday part of life for its citizens. (READ MORE)

Iraqi School Thanks Coalition Soldiers - BAGHDAD — School officials and students took part in a ceremony at Michal al-Hurria, a small school in the Abu Ghraib district here, to honor the hard work of Coalition Soldiers who were instrumental in renovating the school. “The building was constructed in 1970 and has not received any repairs or upgrades since its opening,” a spokesman for the school principal said. (READ MORE)

U.S., Afghan Forces Kill 32 Insurgents in Southern Afghanistan - WASHINGTON, April 10, 2009 – Coalition and Afghan forces killed 32 insurgents today during operations in southern Afghanistan, military officials reported. In the Lashkar Gah district of Helmand province, 15 insurgents were killed after opening fire on a U.S.-Afghan patrol. The coalition troops returned fire, killing all 15 attackers with small-arms, heavy weapons and aviation weapon support. (READ MORE)

Twelve Militants Killed, Suicide Bomber Thwarted in Afghanistan - WASHINGTON, April 13, 2009 – Twelve militants were killed and a suicide bomber was stopped in Afghanistan during weekend operations. On April 11, Afghan and coalition forces conducting a combat reconnaissance patrol in the Shinkay district of Afghanistan’s Zabol province killed four armed militants who attacked them using rocket-propelled grenades and small-arms fire. The forces responded with smallarms and heavy-weapons fire and close-air support, killing the militants. (READ MORE)

U.S., French, Afghan Forces Team Up to Aid Afghan Villages - KAPISA PROVINCE, Afghanistan, April 14, 2009 – U.S. forces participated with French and Afghan forces recently in three days of humanitarian missions to bring medical treatment and necessary supplies to residents of isolated villages here. The Alasay District Clinic in Kapisa treated more than 670 patients April 5-6 with the assistance of multinational doctors, surgeons and medical teams. (READ MORE)

Route-clearance Team Clears Way to Commerce in Afghan Province - WARDAK PROVINCE, Afghanistan, April 13, 2009 – The responsibility of making Afghan roads safe for civilian and military traffic is a daily reality for soldiers of the route-clearance team attached to 2nd Battalion, 87th Infantry Regiment, known as Task Force Catamount. A subordinate unit of Task Force Spartan, Task Force Catamount has undertaken several projects in Afghanistan’s Wardak province designed to stimulate and facilitate economic growth. (READ MORE)

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