Archive for April 15th, 2008

Troop Scoop 4/15/2008

Troop Scoop

 

 

Posted: 15 Apr 2008 09:07 PM CDT

Dear Interested Readers,
The major story today is of capacity building in communities south of Baghdad.  Key criminals continue to be captured, along with huge weapons caches.  Great progress in Kirkuk, where IP are taking over from IA.  Celebrating an Iraqi hero, who says that the real heroes are the American Soldiers.
Joanna
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Multi-National Corps – Iraq
Public Affairs Office, Camp Victory
APO AE 09342

April 15, 2008

Two key suspects detained in Seddah

BAGHDAD – Iraqi SF detained 2 key suspects April 13 and April 14 in Seddah and turned them over to CF in Mussayib. The key suspects are believed to be responsible for multiple attacks on CF and IP during the first week of April to include an IED attack on the IPs April 3, transporting weapons and explosives and burning a Badr Corps building April 1.
The joint effort between the Seddah IPs and Soldiers with 2nd Plt, Co C, 3rd Bn, 7th Inf Regt, 4th BCT, 3rd ID, was directed specifically to capture the battalion-level key suspects.  The battalion has captured 30 key suspects, with 11 of those being at the brigade-level, since taking over operational control of the area in December.
“Overall, the people of Seddah have completely rejected the attempts of criminals to incite violence in their town,” said Capt. James R. Fournier, 3-7th Inf. Regt. intel officer. “Almost immediately following an attack that occurred on the IP in Seddah, a number of citizens came forward and provided the info that allowed the IPs and CF to detain these 2 criminals, who were responsible for the attack.”
Additionally, more than 200 citizens held a demonstration in Seddah April 14, to further enforce their rejection of criminals and their support for Iraqi SF and Coalition efforts, said Fournier.

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MND-C launches major capacity-building operation

CAMP VICTORY – MND-Center began the main phase of its first major op  devoted primarily to capacity building in communities south of Baghdad, April 15.
Op Marne Piledriver is an op to expand governance, economics and infrastructure taking place in the area of ops of 3rd BCT, 101st Abn Div (Air Assault).  While the focus of the op is on capacity building, Iraqi SF will simultaneously target remaining insurgent pockets with the help of CF.  “Marne Piledriver will not only showcase Iraqi SF-led ops, but also the establishment of a JSS at Yusifiyah, the development of Iraqi-run radio stations, the injection of funding by the GoI to refurbish 2 major water treatment plants and the infusion of funds and expertise into the poultry and agricultural industries,” said Col. Dominic J. Caraccilo, cmdr. of 3rd BCT.  Providing training to GoI officials in the area is another key component of the operation.  The U.S. Agency for International Development is providing training on free-market economics.
Governance will go beyond the classroom during Marne Piledriver. Local officials will lead the establishment of a major water pipeline into Mahmudiyah, which has seen a shortage of potable water. The contract will be put out to bid in the Iraqi economy, with local leaders overseeing the process and construction.  “If you can bring fresh water into Mahmudiyah, potable water, you eliminate sanitation problems,” Johnson said. “That would be a huge win for the GoI because then, everybody in Mahmudiyah is going to know the govt made this thing happen.”
Another major project is the revitalization of the poultry industry. Poultry farms in the area will receive 35,000 eggs, and the chickens will be raised and processed for consumption. It is estimated that poultry industry revitalization alone will create 1,000 jobs.
Marne Piledriver is a comprehensive op spanning several months.  Other improvements include improving the Yusifiyah market, renovating fish farms and erecting cell phone towers and billboards.  “This is really a test-bed for how successful capacity-building ops can be,” Johnson said. “After spending a lot of the tour focused on lethal ops, the conditions are such that we can really begin to discuss the people’s needs so we can impact their lives in a very positive manner.”

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Pfc. Kristen George, a Soldier with HHC, 3rd BCT, provides security for key leaders discussing plans for Operation Marne Piledriver.-30-

Kirkuk transfers security from Iraqi Army to Police

KIRKUK – Responsibility for the traffic control point in Kirkuk was handed over from the IA to the IP in a ceremony at the Irbil TCP, April 14.
The ceremony signified the official transition for overall Kirkuk security to the police, and marks a critical shift from Marshal Law to the Rule of Law enforced by the local law enforcement authorities.

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Iraqi DBE discover anti-tank mines after attack from dismounted insurgents

TIKRIT – The Iraqi Department of Border Enforcement discovered a cache of anti-tank mines after taking small arms fire from an unknown number of terrorists, April 14.
The DBE soldiers returned fire in self-defense, driving the terrorists toward the Iranian border.  More than 160 anti-tank mines were found after the terrorists broke contact.
The Iraqi DBE in northern Iraq includes more than 8,700 agents and covers 9 points of entry. The DBE in northern Iraq is part of the overall 150,000-person Iraqi SF.

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MND-B Soldiers seize munitions in Rashid

BAGHDAD – April 12, while patrolling the streets of the Rashid district in southern Baghdad, Soldiers from Troop C, 7th Sqdrn, 10th Cav Regt, 1st BCT, 4th ID unearthed 5 rounds of unexploded ordnance during the continued effort to provide security and stability to the 1.2 million Iraqi citizens who reside in the district.
The 1st BCT, 4th ID, continues to conduct daily combat patrols with Iraqi SF to minimize violence, and the “Raider” Bde remains committed to providing a safe and secure environment for the Iraqi nation and the Iraqi people as a whole.

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National Police seize cache southeast of Baghdad

An IP unloads a 107 mm rocket from a truck seized southeast of Baghdad, April 13. The NPs seized the cache southeast of Baghdad after receiving a tip from a local citizen.  More than 540 anti-tank mines, 29 120 mm mortars, 7 107 mm rockets and 5 RPGs were hidden on the truck under piles of hay.

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IP  inventory anti-tank mines seized.Joanna03

Lt. Col. John Kolasheski, cmdr of 3-1st Cav. Regt., congratulates  Col. Emad, Iraqi cmdr., following the brigade’s seizure of the large cache.-30-

Suicide Bomber Solidifies SoI’s Resolve in Hawijah
By Staff Sgt. Margaret C. Nelson
115th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment

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Capt. Quinn Eddy, cmdr, Bravo Co, 1st Bn, 87th Inf Regt, 1st Bde, 10th Mtn Div thanks Khalaf Ali, a SoI leader in Hawijah, for his efforts and those of his men during a recent visit.
HAWIJAH —  Ali had just finished checking up on his fellow SoIs around the city.  It was April 2. The day was turning out to be another hot one in Hawijah, located approx. 60 miles south of Kirkuk City in the Kirkuk province.  He had just sat down to cool-off with an ice cream when a young man he did not recognize approached. In a blink-of-an-eye, Ali would be wrestling with a suicide bomber bent on killing him.
Ali noticed how nervous this person appeared, sweat visible on his face and clothing, and how one half of his body did not appear normal…”much larger and bumpy,” is how he described it. “I looked into his eyes, and saw fear.” Ali’s gut told him to react to a threat. “I saw his arm moving by his side and his hand was squeezing something.”  What Ali saw was the suicide bomber’s failed attempts to trigger an IED strapped to his upper body. It malfunctioned. This opportunity allowed Ali to fire a round from his weapon into the attacker’s chest, and kill him.
Ali was back to work the next day.  Undaunted by this and other failed attempts on his life in recent months…these attacks and those against other SoIs in the area, seem to fuel his determination further. “If those that try to kill me think that I am afraid…they are wrong,” the father of 11 children said. He believes it is the extremists that fear the SoI’s who number over 7,000 in Hawijah. “They are trying to stop Sahwah efforts here. They will not,” he said. Sahwah is what the locals refer to reconciliation efforts here, also known as Musalaha elsewhere. “When the cowards kill us, they give us more reasons to go forward.”
While his men consider him a hero, Ali considers his coalition brothers the heroes, referring to Soldiers of the 1st Bn, 87th Inf Regt, whose area of op includes the city of Hawijah. “Lt. Col. Vanek and Capt. Eddy are the heroes. Their Soldiers continue to risk their lives to help us establish peace here and are always doing good for our people and assisting in their efforts to rebuild…we owe them so much…they are the true heroes,” he said.
Since Sahwah’s inception in December 2007, overall violence in this Sunni-Arab dominated portion of northeastern Iraq has experienced nearly an 80 percent drop in activity…SoI continue to sign up throughout the Kirkuk Province numbering over 9,000 to-date, according to Maj. Sean Wilson, 1-10th Mtn. Div., public affairs officer.

Brotherly Love

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Ali greets Capt. Quinn Eddy, cmdr. Co B, during a recent visit.-30-

On Memorial Day, Monday, May 26th, a Memorial Statue will be dedicated to Lt. Michael P. Murphy, the Medal of Honor recipient who was killed in action in Kandahar, Afghanisatan in 2005. The statue will be dedicated in the Veterans Memorial Park at South Ocean Avenue and Baker Street at the conclusion of the annual Memorial Day Parade.

The parade begins at 10:30 11:00 am. The parade route begins at Medford Road (Rte 112) and East Main Street. The parade will proceed west on East Main Street to South Ocean Avenue and then turn south to Baker Street.

Maplink: http://tinyurl.com/4axnde

To view pictures of last year’s parade go here:

http://www.patchogue.com/photos05.htm

Troop Scoop 4/14/2008

Troop Scoop

 

 

Posted: 14 Apr 2008 09:09 PM CDT

Dear Interested Readers,
Our troops take pride in donating soccer uniforms; Iraqi Soldiers work well at securing Quibla; Iraqi SF continue progress in Basrah, and many large weapons caches continue to be uncovered, and more criminals brought to justice.  Kudos to 6 Soldiers from the 768th Eng. Bn. for receiving Impact Bronze Star Medals.
Joanna
______________________________

Multi-National Corps – Iraq
Public Affairs Office, Camp Victory
APO AE 09342

April 14, 2008

School Receives Soccer Uniforms   

1st Lt. William Perdue
3-7th Inf. Regt., 4th BCT, 3rd ID

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Soccer players at the Jurf Secondary School in Jurf as Sahkr, pose for a photo in their new uniforms.FOB ISKAN — One of the first things Soldiers noticed on the ground in Jurf as Sahkr,  was how much local residents loved soccer.  In area businesses, soccer posters adorned the walls, while children made soccer fields out of empty lots and played heated matches.
Soldiers from 3rd Plt, Co A, 3rd Bn, 7th Inf Regt, 4th BCT, 3rd ID, gave the local secondary school a boost in pursuit of their favorite sport.  1st Lt. Kevin Brown, along with members of his platoon, presented the headmaster of the Jurf Secondary School a complete set of soccer uniforms; enough to outfit a 16-man team, including a goalie and referee uniform.  The intent was to help the school build pride, motivation and ethics through the dedication and competition that is associated with school team sports, said Brown.
Enthusiasm beamed on the faces of the young players as they hurriedly started kicking the ball around in the school courtyard, wearing their new uniforms.  The headmaster thanked the Soldiers for the gift and the care they have shown the school.
“These young adults are very important because they are the next generation of Iraq and the future, and because of that we are very willing to help the school out as much as possible,” Brown said.

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Iraqi Army Quick Reaction Force secures Quibla

BASRA – Iraqi Soldiers from QRF 1 began a highly successful house-by-house search for illegal weapons in the town of Quibla, April 12.
The QRF 1 deployed from al-Anbar Province on April 1 in support of Op Charge of the Knight. In the past 2 weeks, these response forces and local police, along with elements of the Iraqi Army, cordoned off the city and established strategic points on the Quibla perimeter.
Op Charge of the Knight is the first large-scale push into known strongholds of local militias and other criminal elements.  “Today’s op is very good,” said Sgt. Qadir of QRF 1.  “It is very necessary to provide security to the people of this area.” The brigade immediately began working with local citizens to collect heavy weapons, explosives and other contraband items.
The combined efforts of QRF 1 and other IA and police units resulted in the detention of more than 50 suspected militia members and other criminals, as well as the seizure of more than 80 mortars and rockets, more than 70 RPG warheads and dozens of launchers, numerous machineguns and more than 6,000 rounds of ammo, as well as artillery shells and other explosives.

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SOI repel checkpoint attack, kill 2 AQI near Balad

BALAD – 2 AQI terrorists attacked an Abna al-Iraq, or SoI, checkpoint near Balad, April 14.  Acting in self-defense, the SoI repelled the small arms fire and RPG attack, engaging and killing the terrorists.
Maj. Johnpaul Arnold, 1st BCT, 101st Abn Div spokesman. “These SoI acted bravely, defending the people’s safety in a populated area, while under heavy fire from terrorists.  They did very well.”

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MND-B Soldiers defend themselves, kill 6 criminals

BAGHDAD –  April 13, Soldiers from 3rd BCT, 4th ID, were attacked by RPGs while conducting a patrol in their M1A2 Abrams tank.  A rotary-wing AWT was called in to assist the soldiers on the ground.
The aircrew witnessed armed criminals hiding behind a parked vehicle and another in an open field. The AWT engaged and killed the lone individual.  Moments later, soldiers in the M1A2 identified additional armed criminals on the rooftop of a nearby building. The criminals then attacked the soldiers with RPG fire.  In self defense, the tankers engaged the armed men, killing 5 criminals.

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Operation Charge of Knights continues progress in Basrah

BASRAH – Op Sawlat al-Fursan, or Charge of the Knights, entered a new phase of ops in Basrah, April 12.
To date, CF involvement has been minimal, reflecting the ever increasing ability and resolve of the Iraqi SF to enforce the rule of law.  Iraqi ops in al-Qiblah to date have yielded an IED factory, numerous weapons handed over by locals, in addition to 2 significant arms cache finds with numerous IEDs, mortars and RPGs.
Ops have not been limited to Basra.  A senior AQI leader was arrested at an IA checkpoint in the small town of Abu al-Khasib 20 kilometers southeast of Basrah.  CF continue to provide 24-hour-a-day airborne surveillance over the city for the ISF.
Elsewhere, UK and US MiTTs, are embedded with Iraqi SF.  These teams are providing advice and support to the units they work alongside.  The atmosphere inside the city has generally been calm over the past two weeks. The people of Basrah are proud of what the Iraqi SF, both Police and Army, have achieved in the city.  Many Iraqis feel positive progress has been made against criminal elements, as life returns to normal.
The Port of Umm Qasr opened a few days after the start of Op Charge of the Knights, having been secured by the Iraqi Army.  The port is now operating, with the GoI working to bring it up to recognized international standards.  An Iraqi Navy detachment has taken over port security from the Army.
“Basrah is one step closer to realising its true potential,” said Maj. Tom Holloway, a spokesman for MND-Southeast. “There is much further to go, but recent ops in the city have been described by locals as the most significant events since 2003. The sense of optimism is palpable, and the desire by Basrawis to seize the moment is evident.”

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MND-B CG presents 6 impact Bronze Star Medals to 768th Eng. Bn. Soldiers

By Capt. Patrick Jenkins
MND-Baghdad

CAMP LIBERTY – It had been only a few hours since the Soldiers of 769th Eng. Bn, 35th Eng. Bde, MND-Baghdad, returned from the monumental task of installing approx. 130,000-square feet of RPG fencing and sniper-screen material over a 1,200 foot distance, with heights measuring up to 40 feet, at JSS Ur in the Sadr City district of Baghdad to veil the aerostat and its docking station.
Unbeknown to them this morning, with most of them receiving very little sleep, would be the surprise of a lifetime as Maj. Gen. Jeffery Hammond, the comm. gen. of the 4th ID and MND-B, took a moment from his packed schedule April 12, to honor 6 of the battalion’s Soldiers for their accomplishments, as he presented them with impact Bronze Star Medals.
“The sniper screen will enable us to protect Soldiers and provide us the ability to see and disrupt insurgents,” said Hammond.  “Do you realize what they did? asked Hammond. “They put up this screen under fire, day and night, and under terrible conditions. You’ll have something to talk about a couple of years from now.”
Indeed, the Soldiers would have something to speak about. “The mission took 13 days to complete despite several setbacks caused by high winds, indirect fire or enemy small-arms fire directed at crews as they worked suspended at heights up to 40 feet in the air,” said Capt. James Hoover.  “Although the mission presented challenges, these Engineers lived up to the regimental motto: ‘Let Us Try!'”
Soldiers presented the Bronze Star Medal for their achievements were: Staff Sgt Stephen Choat, Staff Sgt Lee Given, Sgt Shawn Griffith, Spc Raymond Myers, Spc Jasper Stull, and Spc Zachary Whitlatch.
The Soldiers placed their lives on the line to accomplish this important mission, and Hammond proudly thanked the team for their bravery and service to their nation.

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Iraqi National Police discover cache, detain five

BAGHDAD – Iraqi NP discovered a weapons cache inside a truck southeast of Baghdad, April 13, after receiving a tip from a local citizen.
The cache included 541 anti-tank mines warheads, 100 rocket fuses, 29 120 mm mortars, 5 RPGs and 7 107 mm rockets.
Five suspects are being held for questioning in connection to the cache.

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Air Weapons Team kills IED triggerman, wounds one

CAMP VICTORY – One criminal was killed and another wounded after being engaged by an AWT in Jabella, April 12.
The AWT was providing aerial protection for a CF convoy when an IED struck one of the vehicles.
The AWT observed the strike and identified 2 individuals near the scene as the triggermen. Once the triggermen were positively identified, the AWT engaged them with their primary gun system, killing 1 and wounding the other.
The use of AWTs enhances the safety of CF personnel and provides additional lethality in taking the fight to the enemy.

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MND-B Soldiers detain suspected criminal ringleader, 8 other suspects

BAGHDAD – MND-Baghdad Soldiers captured a suspected criminal leader in southern Baghdad, April 12.
The criminal suspect is accused of conducting crimes against Iraqi SF and CF operating in the Rashid district of Baghdad.
Soldiers from the 1st BCT, 4th ID, conducted the search and seizure op based upon a tip provided by a SoI.  8 others were detained, suspected of being involved with the suspected ringleader in conducting crimes against the GoI and MND-B.

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Troop Scoop 4/13/2008

Troop Scoop

 

 

Posted: 13 Apr 2008 08:54 PM CDT

Dear Interested Readers,
We have some great pictures of our Inf. Soldiers keeping Mosul secure.  It’s encouraging seeing the Port of UMM Qasr busy receiving and shipping supplies all over Iraq.  There are other stories of huge weapon caches uncovered, and many terrorists captured or killed.
Joanna
________________________________

Multi-National Corps – Iraq
Public Affairs Office, Camp Victory
APO AE 09342

April 13, 2008

Infantry Soldiers keep Mosul secure

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Sgt. Cameron Duffy, an Inf. Soldier with 1st Bn, 8th Inf Regt from Fort Carson, Colo., pulls security in front of a market, April 12.

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Sgt. Ian McPherson provides security on a combat patrol.Joanna03

Cpl. Marcus Owens provides security. Soldiers maintain 360 degree security at all times, ensuring they can react to any given situation.Joanna05

Soldiers provide security while their platoon leader talks with local market vendors.Joanna06

Spc. Jeff During provides security on a combat patrol, as he moves through the streets of Mosul.Joanna08

Pvt. Cameron Pedersen sprints across the street.Joanna09

As Iraqi children peek out their front gate Spc. Vencent Hashimoto provides security.

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Fourth cache discovered within 10 days in Kirkuk

KIRKUK – Iraqi Soldiers discovered a weapons cache, April 12. This is the fourth large cache found in this area within 10 days and the largest of the four with over 600 munitions of varying sizes, including approx. 20 projectiles, more than 600 mortar rounds and dozens of rockets as well as several grenades.
The location of this cache and the 3 others found earlier, indicate that they were likely used to stockpile munitions for distribution to smaller cache sites closer to routes frequently traveled by CF.

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Port of UMM Qasr stays busy

Commodities are offloaded from ships at the UMM Qasr Port, from all over the world to be distributed throughout Iraq, April 11. These goods will be transported to different provinces throughout the country.  The Port of Um Qasr, is a small port city southeast of Basra.

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IA, MND-C Soldiers disrupt IED cell, detain suspects

BAGHDAD – A joint air assault and search op netted 7 detainees and the subsequent disruption of an IED cell in the Saedat tribal area, April 9.
Iraqi Soldiers detained 4 men with suspected ties to AQI while Soldiers with Batt A, 3rd Bn, 320th FA, 3rd BCT, 101st Abn Div (Air Assault) detained 3 individuals connected with the IED cell.

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MND-C Soldiers aid residents, remove weapons cache

By Spc. Ben Hutto, 3rd HBCT, 3rd ID

BAGHDAD – The SoI in Nine Nissan, a village east of Baghdad, led Soldiers in Batt A, 1st Bn, 10th FA, to a weapons cache buried at a remote location near FOB Hammer, April 10.  The cache contained 18 rockets, 14 mortars, 10 105 mm shells, 10 103 mm shells and 2 tank rounds.
The SoI in Sabbah Nissan have found and led the 3rd HBCT to multiple caches since their group formed 2 months ago.  Earlier that day, MND-C Soldiers from Batt A and local Iraqi leaders conducted a humanitarian mission to deliver food, medicine, water and supplies to the people of Najidat, southeast of Baghdad.

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Local cooperation brings in multiple suspects

BAGHDAD –  Soldiers from 3rd Sqdrn, 1st Cav Regt, conducted a clearing op with IP in Jisr Diyala, southeast of Baghdad, April 11.
The op resulted in the detaining of 8 suspects, including a key individual connected to IED attacks, sectarian violence, indirect fire attacks and weapons smuggling in the Mada’in Qada.
The combined force cleared 35 houses and confiscated several weapons and ammo drums. “It was a very good combined op,” said Capt. Brian Gilbert, cmdr. of Co D, 1st Bn, 15th Inf Regt, currently attached to 3-1st Cav. Regt. “There was excellent communication between our air support and our troops on the ground. We were able to track down people who were trying to run. Our cordon was very effective. Everything went perfectly.”
“The people of Jisr Diyala have sent a loud and clear message to the combatants there: ‘We no longer support you. We only support progress,'” said Capt. DaMond Davis, the fire support officer for 3-1st Cav. Regt.  “The numerous tips that we received validate that the people of this area are fed up with violence.”
Gilbert said the NP brigade has made tremendous strides.  “Our cooperation is a perfect example of the relationship the surge created between Iraqi SF and CF,” Gilbert said. “This police brigade is a perfect example of what right looks like and should be used as a model. These guys definitely do the right things when no one is looking … I will fight with them every day. They performed well during this op.”

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5 AQI killed, 2 wounded at terrorist camp during joint air assault in western desert of Salah ad Din Province

TIKRIT –  In the western desert of the Salah ad Din Province, April 12, MND-N Soldiers and Iraqi forces came under enemy fire as they approached the camp and were able to seize multiple items linked to AQI and their network.
During the informant-based raid on the complex, an individual was detained. In an effort to deny MND-N Soldiers his identity, one AQI member detonated a suicide vest, killing himself.
IP and MND-N Soldiers found hand grenades, mortar rounds, detonation cord, propellant, 60 mm rockets, blasting caps and a suicide vest at the site.
“Today’s op was a perfect example of the progress the Iraqi SF have made in Salah Ah Din Province,” said Capt. John Gabriel, 1st Special Troops Bn, 1st BCT
ops officer. “The Iraqi police developed their own intel and plan; we only assisted their air travel and some coordination of movements. They performed in a superb manner resulting in the 5 enemy KIA.”

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Soldiers from the 56th MP Co comb the Western Desert in the Salah ad Din Province during Op Marauder Harvest, April 12.Joanna14

Soldiers from 56th MP Co provide security for other MND-North and Iraqi forces.Joanna15

Four UH-60 Blackhawk helicopters fly over from the 1st BCT, 101st Abn Div (Air Assault) in route to their pickup zone.-30-

Troop Scoop 4/12/2008

Troop Scoop

 

 

Posted: 12 Apr 2008 03:43 PM CDT

Dear Interested Readers,
Our top story today showcases 259 service members in Iraq from 71 countries, become US citizens.  There are still folks who believe that America is A-OK!  There’s a great story out of Mosul, tracking and capturing a sniper, and Lightning Troop making friends with the citizens.  Complex attack in Sadr City ends well.  Iraqi Media Day in Baghdad offers a positive direction, that would be beneficial happening in our country.
Joanna
_________________________________

Multi-National Corps – Iraq
Public Affairs Office, Camp Victory
APO AE 09342

April 12, 2008

Service members in Iraq become U.S. citizens

Story and photos by Staff Sgt. Jeremy D. Crisp

CAMP VICTORY – The largest US naturalization ceremony to be held overseas took place April 12 at the Al Faw palace here.  259 service members representing 71 countries held up their right hands and pledged their allegiance to the country which they already defend – thus becoming America’s newest citizens.
“I am deeply honored to be here with you today,” said the ceremony’s presiding officer, Lt. Gen. Lloyd J. Austin III, cmdr, MNC-Iraq.  “Our nation’s unique quality is that it weaves the world’s cultures into a great American tapestry, and our military benefits from their strengths,” Austin said. “Thank you all for sacrificing so much for the United States and for the Iraqi people.”
Service members from across the Iraq theater of ops gathered at the palace to take part in the ceremony, representing the Army, Navy and Marines.  The age group of the new Americans spans decades, with the youngest naturalized citizen being 19, the oldest 47.
“This is just amazing,” said England-born Spc. Matthew J. McCallum, a personal security detail Soldier with the 82nd’s 1st BCT. “There are so many more doors open for me now.”
“My family doesn’t even know that I did this,” said Spc. Jose L. Mandario with 3rd Sqdrn, 73rd Cav Regt, 1st BCT, 82nd Abn. Div.  Mandario’s family originally emigrated from the Philippines and now resides in Long Beach, Calif.  He plans to surprise them tonight with an email of his new citizenship certificate. “They will be very happy,” he said.
The servicemembers raised their right hands –  and recited the oath that bears some exact verbiage in which all said upon joining the military:  “… I will support and defend the Constitution of the US against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same …”
Then rounds of applause erupted from all 3 levels of the palace as America’s newest citizens succumbed to smiles, laughter and tears.  One Soldier in attendance succumbed to her overwhelming experience and was at a loss of words for how she felt.  “This is all so overwhelming,” said Pfc. Zully L. Schaeffer with HHC, 20th Eng. Bde, Fort Bragg.  Schaeffer’s family is originally from Peru and they now reside in Allentown, Penn.  She could only come up with one word for how she felt about becoming a U.S. Citizen: “Happy.”

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New U.S. citizens.Joanna05

Spc. Vivek Mishra (right) with the 101st Abn Div, shakes hands with Pfc. Henry Michael, 72nd MP Co.-30-

Tracking a sniper in western Mosul

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Pvt. 1st Class Kareem Aktari of Lightning Troop, 3rd Sqdrn, 3rd Armored Cav Regt, advances on a sniper’s position, using a wall for cover, after coming under fire in western Mosul, April 10.

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Pvt. 1st Class Jared Bottorff and Sgt. Robert Johnson track a sniper as he moves from rooftop to rooftop.Joanna08

Pvt. 1st Class Anthony Humphries breaches a door while in pursuit of a sniper, as Pvt. 1st Class Jared Bottoff prepares to enter the building with the remainder of the squad.Joanna09

Pvt. 1st Class Jared Bottoff moves from room to room while clearing a structure during the pursuit of sniper that has just fired on his squad.Joanna10

Sgt.1st Class Barry Taylor motions to a suspected sniper, telling him to exit a building with his hands in the air, while Pvt. 1st Class Jared Bottoff keeps the individual covered.-30-

Coalition forces return fire after complex attack in Sadr City

BAGHDAD – MND-Baghdad soldiers, in a combined op with IA soldiers, killed several criminals in eastern Baghdad after their convoy was attacked by multiple road side bombs, and small-arms fire from adjacent high rise buildings, April 11.
Soldiers from 1st CAB, 68th Armor Regt, 3rd BCT, 4th ID soldiers, supporting IA soldiers  killed 2 criminal snipers, 2 criminals firing RPGs, and multiple others from a nearby building where soldiers were taking RPG and machine gun fire.
At the same time, soldiers from 1st CAB, 68th AR were transporting barriers, in support of IA soldiers establishing a checkpoint, when 2 vehicles in the convoy were damaged when they struck more than 6 IEDs.  Small-arms fire, including sniper fire, machine-gun fire and RPGs were fired from buildings overlooking the road. IA soldiers and 1-68 AR soldiers
immediately returned fire with 7.62mm and 25mm small arms, killing at least 4 Special Groups members.  Secondary explosions were observed from the building immediately after, possibly indicating arms and munitions were stored in the building.
Small-arms fire continued to come from nearby buildings until 1st CAB, 68th AR engaged the buildings with 2 122mm rounds from a M1A2 Abrams tank, killing 2 criminals and ending the small-arms attack.
Airmen assigned to HHC, 3rd BCT, operating an UAV recon platform identified 3 criminals emplacing additional IEDs. The UAV fired one Hellfire missile, killing all 3 criminals.
“The most important part about what happened is that this was a combined mission, only 2 vehicles were damaged, no U.S. or IA soldiers were seriously injured, and we went on to complete our mission,” said Maj. John Gossart, exec. officer, 1st CAB.  “We are ever vigilant against criminals who commit random acts of violence and we will relentlessly hunt down these criminals who hide among Iraq’s law-abiding people.”

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Lightning Troop, 3/3 ACR patrol Mosul’s al-Zeira neighborhood

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First Lt. Kyle Hoisington of Lightning Troop, 3rd Sqdrn, 3rd Armored Cav Regt and his interpreter, stop to speak to some young men during a presence patrol in the al-Zeira neighborhood of Mosul, April 10.

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First Lt. Kyle Hoisington chats with some boys.  Sgt. 1st Class Barry Taylor provides security for Hoisington.Joanna16

Spc. Alex Evans pulls security in a produce market.-30-

MND-N hosts Iraqi Media Day in Baghdad

TIKRIT – The cmdr. of MND-North held a round table meeting with several major Iraqi media outlets in Bagdad, April 11.
Maj. Gen. Mark P. Hertling, along with the Iraqi spokesman for the Baghdad Security plan, Tahseen Sheikhly, 9 broadcast, 4 print and 1 radio agency discussed security, economics and provincial govt development in northern Iraq.
The event provided an opportunity for Iraqi media to coordinate future embed opportunities with CF in the area.  “This was a great step in the development of relationships between Iraqi journalists and CF in northern Iraq,” said Maj. Peggy Kageleiry, spokesman for MND-N.

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Maj. Gen. Hertling, discusses issues with several major Iraqi media agencies.-30-

Significant caches found North of Habbaniyah

Habbaniyah – Marines of 2nd Bn 24th Marines, RCT 1 discovered 9 caches north of Habbaniyah, April 8, 2008. They included more than 29,000 small arms rounds, 170 mortar rounds and assorted fuses, 104 artillery rounds, 47 grenades, 86 rocket propelled launchers, 15 anti-personnel and tank mines and 2 SA-7 surface-to-air missiles.  Also found at the sites were several compressed gas cylinders, 10 pounds of high explosives and an assortment of detonation cords, triggering devices, electrical blasting caps, fuses, primers and several cell phones.
The sites also included more than 35 rockets, rocket launchers, igniters, propellants and several AK-47s with magazines and 50cal machine gun.
“2nd Battalion 24th Marines brings a unique skill set to the fight, being reservists they apply knowledge from their civilian jobs to today’s battlefield.  Numerous Marines in the battalion are law enforcement officials, they know how to work the streets. They know how to work with the local citizens.   Finding this cache is an example of a well trained battalion working with the locals to accomplish the mission,” said Maj. Matthew Reid, current ops officer, RCT 1.

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Iraqi Border Patrol discovers large mines cache in Diyala Province

TIKRIT – The Iraqi Department of Border Enforcement discovered a large weapons cache in the eastern desert of Diyala Province April 11, containing more than 100 anti-personnel mines as well as anti-tank mines and a 155mm projectile.
The Iraqi DBE in northern Iraq contains more than 8,700 agents and covers 9 points of entry into the country. They also patrol the border and conduct other assigned law enforcement duties.

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National Police, MND-C Soldiers, capture key criminal

BAGHDAD – Iraqi NP and MND-Center Soldiers on a joint op captured a key criminal in Jisr Diyala, April 11.
The detainee is a known criminal leader in the area responsible for IED attacks, indirect fire attacks and weapons smuggling. This criminal is also suspected of recent violence in the area.

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Third cache discovered within seven days

TIKRIT – Iraqi Soldiers discovered 3 weapon caches of various munitions and explosives northeast of Kirkuk, April 10.
The caches included 60mm Chinese mortars, 82mm Chinese mortars, 57mm Chinese projectiles, 120mm Chinese mortar high explosives, 60mm Iraqi mortars, more than 50 85mm Iraqi rocket motors, 105mm Iraqi projectiles, 40mm projected fuses, 130 Russian projectiles, Russian fuses and an 85mm Russian projectile.
This is the third large cache found in this area within a week.

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By Tom Sears in the Daily Star, Oneonta, NY April 15, 2008

It was fun watching the Democrats leave another televised hearing with egg on their faces. I’m talking about the congressional hearings last week involving Gen. David Petraeus and Ambassador Ryan Crocker. They withstood the nasty barrage from the Democrats, while calmly, professionally, and repeatedly restating the facts to these rather thick-headed Senators, although probably unsuccessfully.

However, they weren’t unsuccessful with the Americans who watched the proceedings. Most of them had the common sense and ability to distill the information and see clearly which side was presenting the facts correctly.

Let’s see, on one side, we have Sen. John McCain, a veteran who served for 23 years in the U.S. Navy and spent 51/2 of them in a North Vietnamese prison camp, never abandoning his fellow soldiers even when he was given the chance to do so. In other words, an American hero.

Then you have Petraeus, who has been serving in the U.S. military since 1974 and has a very distinguished career. He graduated from West Point in 1974 in the top 5 percent of his class. He was the top graduate in the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College. He is a four-star general with a master’s degree in public administration and a doctorate in international relations from Princeton University. He was confirmed unanimously by the Senate to be the commanding general in Iraq. His list of achievements goes on and on.

On the other side, you have Hillary Clinton, who has zero military service or experience and an utter disdain for our military, with the same being true of the fourth-year senator from Illinois. They have a lot in common in that they simply want to bring everyone home without considering the consequences. They don’t seem to care about the security of our country, nor the honorable service put in by our brave men and women in the military. They will instead do whatever is politically expedient for their own self-aggrandizement.

The facts that were presented by Petraeus and Crocker were numerous and impossible to refute. Basically, the surge is working. As Republican Congressman John Boehner points out, “the rate of civilian and coalition deaths has declined by 70 percent since last June, security incidents in the once-dangerous Anbar province have decreased approximately 90 percent.”

On top of this, the Iraqi government has made substantial strides. It has met 12 of the 18 benchmarks set for it and has made impressive progress on five others. What more does the Democratic leadership want? The Democratic leadership can’t come close to the number of accomplishments made by the Iraqi government. Can someone on the Democratic side please tell me what accomplishments have been made since taking power in 2006? Naming of bridges and buildings as well as harassment of Bush administrative officials don’t count.

David Bellavia, a soldier who won both the Bronze and Silver stars for his service in Fallujah, said it quite clearly. “No one sober can look at the progress in Diyala and Anbar and argue that the surge is not working. All the evidence points to many good things happening in Iraq.”

Read the whole article here.

Other Tom Sears editorials you may want to read:

From The Right: To enhance appeal, Dems rely on lies 

Pelosi’s acts bordering on treason 

Sympathy for money borrowers unnecessary

Democratic mess only helps GOP

Today is big, but not the end

Changing climate isn’t man’s fault

From The Right: Books point out fallacies of atheism

Thomas’ book is a must-read

On the Right Side: Limbaugh supports U.S. troops