Troop Scoop 5/9/2008

Troop Scoop

Posted: 09 May 2008 11:08 AM CDT

Dear Interested Readers,
Essential services are slowly beginning to be restored to the people of Sadr City, and the region.  A most important Maintenance and Supply Symposium took place at Camp Taji, May 2  and The Yusifiyah Wholesale Farmers’ Market had a grand reopening, April 29.  Also, good news for fish farms, and the 1500 farmers that attended the Agricultural Technology Exposition!  Aside from these success stories, many criminals have been captured or killed, and large weapons caches uncovered.
Joanna
________________________________

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

May 9, 2008

MND-B soldiers detain multiple criminals in Baghdad

BAGHDAD – Soldiers from 1st Bn, 66th AR, 1st BCT, 4th ID detained a suspected criminal linked to a foiled EFP attack, in the eastern Baghdad neighborhood of Fadailliyah, May 7.
Soldiers from 1st Bn, 22nd Inf Regt, 1st BCT, 4th ID, seized an AK-47, assorted knives, and a satchel containing $15,000 and 2,450,000 Iraqi Dinar, in the southwestern Baghdad district of Rashid.
Soldiers from 1st Bn, 64th AR, 2nd BCT, 101st Abn Div, detained a suspected AQI terrorist after positively identifying him in an op in the western Baghdad neighborhood of Jamiyah.
Soldiers from 2nd Bn, 14th Inf Regt, 2nd Stryker BCT, 25th ID, detained a criminal leader  in the Taji Qada, northwest of Baghdad.

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CMOC links people to government

BAGHDAD – Providing services needed to sustain a city and the inhabitants within is a daunting task the GoI is working to solve.
The recently opened Civil Military Operations Center at JSS Sadr City is working with the local govt to repair essential services to the residents of northeastern Baghdad while IA and CF work to restore security there.
Operating out of a concrete building on the edge of Sadr City, the CMOC is run by MND-B and IA Soldiers as well as members of the local govt and an ePRT.
“We know we have the contacts in the community that we’ve worked with before in Sadr City. They’re familiar with meeting us. We have contact, and when we have a representative in the CMOC, we’re contacting the local govt as well as the higher-up portions of the Baghdad govt to come to the CMOC and coordinate,” said Lt. Col. Dennis Kennedy, a deputy team leader with the ePRT.
The ePRT has teams that focus on governance, economic development, rule of law, health and education.
Since beginning ops with only 2 members, the CMOC staff has swelled to more than 40. Slowly, essential services are being restored to this region, which point toward restoring essential needs and services that many take for granted.

Joanna02

Capt. Alex Carter, right, Maj. Mark Bailey and Lt. Col. Awany, inspect one of the food packs that will be handed out to Iraqi families in Sadr City.

Joanna04

A food pack that will be distributed to an Iraqi family is displayed on a desk along with the “Baghdad Now” newspaper.  The food pack serves a family of five for one meal.

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MND-B soldiers host ISF symposium at Camp Taji

BAGHDAD – MND-Baghdad leaders attended the 1st Sust. Bde. maintenance and supply symposium, May 3, as a follow on to the Multi-National Security Transition Command – Iraq symposium held a few days prior.
“The purpose of the conference was to gather all CF who operate in and around Taji and work with the ISF, and ensure that we are all working towards the same end state – a self-reliant ISF,” said Capt. Tim Weiser, the officer in charge of the Logistics, Training, and Advisory Team for the 1st Sust. Bde.
“We had pretty good expectations of it because of the leadership of the system from the Corp down. We’ve gotten a lot more visibility on Iraqi SF logistics issues,” said Lt. Col. Mark Collins, cmdr of the 225th Bde Support Bn, 2nd Stryker BCT “Warrior,” 25th ID.  The advantage of the forum, he added, is that it brought together all of the “key players” who can make recommendations for change that are designed primarily to create Iraqi solutions for Iraqi problems. This is important because the Iraqis have a different system for accomplishing their missions.
There was a general consensus among those attending that basic life support for the Iraqi’s is an urgent issue and will need to be addressed by the Iraqi govt soon.

Joanna05

Lt. Col. Mark Collins (right), poses a question for the panel.

Joanna06

Col. Kevin O’Connell, talks to a group of leaders.

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Raid for high-value individuals result in more than 21 detainees

TIKRIT, Iraq – May 7, the op was conducted in the Khatoon district of Baqouba during the early morning hours.
“The unit had gathered intel that indicated 2 high-level insurgent leaders were in the home,” said Maj. Mike Garcia, spokesperson for CF in Diyala. “When they entered the home shortly after midnight, they found over 20 Iraqi adult males – awake – with several illegal weapons and a notebook containing plans for future attacks against CF in the home,” said Garcia.  “We’ll identify these (individuals) through further questioning and if it is determined they are not involved in insurgent activity, be released.”

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Wholesale farmers’ market reopens in Yusifiyah

By Staff Sgt. Tony M. Lindback

BASRA – The Yusifiyah Wholesale Farmers’ Market had a grand reopening April 29, after closing 4 years ago.
After a terrorist attack on the market forced the closure in 2004, it was victimized by criminal activity and fell into a state of disrepair.  Capt. Michael Starz, cmdr. of Co C, 3-187th Inf. Regt., met frequently with the owner of the market, Turki Harridege, to coordinate support for the reopening. The IA agreed to provide security for the market, and a member of the Ministry of Sewage helped to clean the area.
To help get the market fully suitable for business, McGregor worked with Staff Sgt. Thai Starkovich, the HQ MiTT NCO in charge, Co. C, 3-187th Inf. Regt., and Michael Khatib, a bilingual, bicultural adviser for the Dept. of State, to handle micro-grant applications that will jump start to the farmers who were setting up shop.
“This is a huge event,” Starkovich said. “Having this open with minimal security and having people able to just walk in and out, speaks for itself as far as the confidence the people and the shop owners have about the security situation here in Yusifiyah. It’s a very good sign for progress in the region.”

Joanna07

First Lt. Casey Zimmerman looks over the fresh produce local farmers brought to the  Market.

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Khidr sheikh receives microgrant for aerators

BAGHDAD – A sheikh from Khidr, received a microgrant from CF, May 2 to purchase 2 aerators for fish farms in the Iskandariyah area, approx. 50 km south of Baghdad.
“It’s important to help the Iraqis stimulate their own economy so they can have financial resources available to develop their own ideas and what they view as their own economic needs in their region,” said Maj. William Kerr, with Co B, 415th Civil Affairs, attached to 4th BCT, 3rd ID.
The aerators will be used in a holding pond where they plan on putting an initial delivery of 3 million fingerlings, scheduled for May 22.

Joanna08

Sheikh Jaffar signs paperwork prior to receiving funds.

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Wolfhounds help improve economic stability

Joanna09

Second Lt. John Busuego, patrols a market in the Taji Qada, northwest of Baghdad, May 1, en route to businesses that have received financial assistance from the GoI in improving their businesses.  Busuego is the economics coordinator for the ePRT assigned to the 1st Bn, 27th Inf Regt, 2nd Stryker BCT “Warriors,” 25th ID.

Joanna10

Pfc. Edgar Gutierrez patrols, assisting the IA in ensuring the safety of the people in the area.  Gutierrez is a mortarman assigned to HHC, 1st Bn.

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Spc. Gregory Kastner  patrols, ensuring businesses and shoppers remain safe while economic prosperity increases.  Several improvements including road paving, sidewalks and individual shop improvements are being made due to the increase of businesses in this market.  Kastner is a communications specialist.

Joanna12

Spc. Gordan “Chip” Jordan III, stands guard while on patrol.  In the last five months, Jordan has escorted EOD teams throughout the area.

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Sgt. Robert Lacy, and Maj. Patrick Aspland, the task force exec. officer is focused o finding an electrician to complete an electric project for businesses in the market. Lacy is a mortarman.

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ePRT facilitates Mada’in Ag Expo

By Maj. Joe Sowers

BAGHDAD – More than 1,500 Iraqi farmers attended the Mada’in Agricultural Technology Exposition in al-Wahida, April 26-27. The expo resulted from efforts by the ePRT, attached to the 3rd HBCT, to revitalize farming and agribusiness.
Fifty-eight percent of the Mada’in citizens are farmers, and another 15 percent are in farm-related businesses, said Col. Bud Jameson, ePRT deputy team leader.
“There has been a lot of wasted water because they have been ‘flood’ irrigating their fields like they did in the old days,” Jameson said. “This doesn’t work because some of the land is not even and the water runs down into the low ground. Seed in the high ground does not get irrigated.”
Jameson said many farming communities lack diversification. “If a wheat farmer is having a bad year or wheat prices are down, they have to have another way to support their family.  There is also a reconciliation aspect to the expo.  People have talked to their local leaders and said they didn’t feel safe going out in public and doing things as a family. Now that security has improved, we are hoping they see this as something they can do as a family. We want them to see that peace has arrived.”

Joanna14

Maj. Nathan Haas, info ops officer for the 3rd HBCT, greets a local tribal leader.

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Business as usual in Basra neighborhood

BASRA – Business continued as usual while the Iraqi soldiers of Quick Reaction Force 1 moved into the al-Jumhuliya neighborhood of Basra.  Shops selling everything from fresh fruit to electronics opened up, children went to school and played soccer in the street and men sipped chai and ate kebabs at roadside cafes.
Many local citizens welcomed the soldiers into their neighborhood during the morning’s searches.  “We are happy now,” said el-Amir, a local youth.
U.S. and British MiTTs accompanied the Iraqi units during the op, as they have since arriving in Basra. The MiTTs are embedded with the Iraqi units to provide advice and mentorship, but have largely stepped back during Op Charge of the Knights and let the Iraqis accomplish the missions themselves.
Today’s searches yielded several caches and approx. 10 detainees suspected of involvement in criminal activities and attacks.  Many of those discoveries were the result of local people coming forward with info.

Joanna15

Iraqi girls on their way to school walk by an Iraqi Army humvee.

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An Iraqi soldier helps a little Iraqi girl of the top of an IA humvee where she was posing for pictures with the turret gunner.

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Iraqi Special Operations Forces detain seven Special Groups criminals in Sadr City

BAGHDAD – Iraqi SOF, advised by U.S. SF, detained 7 suspected Special Groups criminals in and around the Sadr City area of Baghdad, May 6. The Special Groups network in the area is reportedly responsible for coordinating the supply of EFPs into Baghdad and attacking Coalition and Iraqi SF vehicles with EFPs and small arms fire.  Special Groups are also linked to firing rockets into the International Zone.
These ops demonstrate the capability and determination of the GoI and ISOF to remove criminal elements from Sadr City and other areas of Baghdad.

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