Troop Scoop 5/11/2008

Troop Scoop

Posted: 11 May 2008 10:49 AM CDT

Dear Interested Readers,
Happy Mother’s Day, especially to all the Moms of our Warrior Heroes!  Our feature story is of MSgt. Brendon O’Connor receiving our nation’s 2nd highest award for valor.  A huge progress story is a Women’s Committee reps conference.  Large weapons caches seized, and many criminals captured or killed.

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

May 11, 2008

Bragg Soldier Awarded DSC
May 01, 2008

FORT BRAGG, N.C. – A SF Soldier who crawled 200 feet while being fired upon to save wounded colleagues, then led a group of besieged Soldiers to safety, received the Army’s second-highest award for valor, April 30.
Master Sgt. Brendan O’Connor received the Distinguished Service Cross in a ceremony April 30 at Fort Bragg for his actions in Afghanistan. The award is second in achievement only to the Medal of Honor.
“He made a conscious decision to do whatever it took to get to our wounded Soldiers,” said Maj. Sheffield Ford, the team’s cmdr during the June 2006 battle in southern Afghanistan.
O’Connor, 47, doesn’t believe he is a hero. He said that police officers and firefighters are courageous every day and that he was only completing his mission.  “I am being recognized for a moment of courage,” said O’Connor, whose wife and four children attended the ceremony. “I firmly believe other Soldiers in my place would have done the same thing.”
With his SF team surrounded by Taliban fighters, O’Connor volunteered to lead a relief force to rescue 2 wounded colleagues. He got to the edge of a field, but intense Taliban machine-gun fire made him turn back. After shedding his body armor so he could press himself flat in a ditch, he crawled the last 200 feet to the wounded Soldiers.  Taliban fire was so close that it sheared off the blades of tall grass around the ditch as he crawled.  Finally reaching the 2 wounded Soldiers, he stabilized them and led the relief force back to safety.
Admiral Eric T. Olson, cmdr. of U.S. Special Ops Command, and Lt. Gen. Robert W. Wagner, comm. gen, of the Army Special Ops Command, presented the award to O’Connor.
Olson, who recounted the battle in his speech, described O’Connor’s actions as legendary.  “Master Sgt. O’Connor exemplifies the spirit and ethos of these warriors,” Olson said. “We stand in quiet awe and in the deepest admiration.”  The ceremony marked only the second time the award has been presented to a Soldier for actions in Afghanistan.
O’Connor is assigned to the 7th SF Group. The unit is based at Fort Bragg, home to the Army’s Special Ops Command and the 82nd Abn Div.


ISF, MND-B kill 8 criminals, seize four caches in separate operations

BAGHDAD –  May, at approx. 11:30 a.m., MND-B soldiers discovered an IED and a 122 mm rocket off a tip from Iraqi NP.
At approx. 2 p.m., soldiers from the 3rd BCT, 4th ID, killed 3 criminals who attacked their patrol with small-arms fire and RPGs.
At approx. 2:20 p.m., soldiers from 1st BCT, 4th ID, discovered a weapons cache in southern Baghdad. The cache was discovered on a combined security patrol with IA soldiers, consisting of rifles, more than 400 rounds of ammo and more than 50 mortar fuses.
At approx. 2:30 p.m., soldiers from 4th BCT, 10th Mtn Div, killed 2 criminals in the New Baghdad district of eastern Baghdad after the criminals fired an RPG at their patrol and missed.
At approx. 3:15 p.m., soldiers with the 1st BCT, 4th ID, discovered pipe bombs, a PKC light machine gun, more than 600 PKC light machine guns rounds, a 60mm mortar round, and a grenade, based on a tip from an Iraqi citizen.
At approx. 4:15 p.m., IA soldiers working with NP officers confiscated an RPG, grenades, a machine gun and ammo.
At approx. 4:45 p.m., soldiers from the 3rd BCT, 4th ID were struck by 2 EFP IEDs in northeastern Baghdad.  Following the IED strikes, 3 criminals attacked the soldiers with small-arms fire, and were killed.


U.S. SOF kill 11 Special Groups criminals in Sadr City

BALAD – Responding to attacks on Iraqi and CF, U.S. SOF killed 11 Special Groups criminals in the Sadr City area of Baghdad, May 9.
U.S. SOF were providing security for CF who were making safety infrastructure improvements in Sadr City.


Women’s committee reps meet in Mahmudiyah

By Sgt. David Turner

BAGHDAD – Representatives from 4 local women’s committees in the Rasheed Nahia met in Mahmudiyah, 20 miles south of Baghdad, May 5.
Among those attending the gathering were soldiers of MND-Center, and the U.S. State Dept’s ePRT Baghdad-7, who helped organize the committees.
Women’s issues are nothing new to the GoI, and now, after years of turmoil and the rebuilding of the nation’s institutions, the committees have provided many women a support channel, said Capt. Trista Mustaine, ePRT women’s assistance group leader. Mustaine, said getting women involved in govt and giving them better economic opportunities fosters stabilization and a return to normalcy.
One of the ways ePRT achieves this is with microgrants, up to $2,500 per person, to help women start businesses. Those businesses include anything from internet cafes to agriculture, but sewing cooperatives have been the most popular. These co-ops provide major employment opportunities in their neighborhoods, giving women the means to buy materials and sell their goods collectively. Sewing co-ops, in turn, provide revenue for the women’s committees, Mustaine said.
Chairwomen from the 4 committees addressed several issues at the meeting, but the foremost topics included the need for grass-roots level assistance from CF and the needs of widows and orphans.  Zaytoon  Mraad, showed a placard with pictures of more than 30 children in her village orphaned by recent violence.  Fifteen of the children, all from Shiite families in Sunni majority region, lost both parents to criminal activity and sectarian violence.
Aieda  Aziz, chairman of the Busayefi women’s committee, said her husband was kidnapped months ago and she doesn’t know where he is. Insurgents also stole her livestock, depriving her of an income.  There are 62 widows in her town and even more orphans, she said.  Education, she said, was what citizens in her village need most.
The chairwoman from the Hawr Rajab women’s committee, Manal Mahmood, offered some words of strength and hope. “AQI killed, kidnapped and destroyed. We stood strong with the help of CF, IA and the local councils. We’re here to stay,” she said.  Mahmood said profits from her women’s committee’s sewing co-op would go to help the 215 widows and numerous orphans of her town.


Zaytoon  Mraad holds photographs of wounded and orphaned children from her village. Trista Mustaine (sitting), attended the meeting to assess progress in the development of local women’s committees.


MND-B soldiers foil criminal rocket teams

BAGHDAD – May 8, at approx. 6:30 p.m., MND-B soldiers monitoring an aerial surveillance system witnessed 2 Special Groups criminals gathering around a rocket rail that had been used for an indirect fire attack earlier in Sadr City. The criminals then loaded 2 carts and pushed them down a street.  An AWT was called in, engaged the individuals with a Hellfire missile and killed both criminals.
Soldiers from 4th Bn, 64th AR, attached to 3rd BCT, 4th ID, were attacked by criminals using small-arms fire at approx. 8:35 p.m. in Sadr City.  Acting in self-defense, the soldiers fired a M1A2 Abrams tank round and machine gun fire, and 2 criminals were killed.
At approx. 10:45 p.m., soldiers from 3rd BCT, 4th ID, operating an UAV witnessed 4 Special Groups criminals load a rocket rail into a vehicle and drive away in New Baghdad. The UAV followed the vehicle until it stopped and parked inside a garage in Sadr City, then engaged the garage with a Hellfire missile. Two criminals were killed, and the rocket rail, garage and vehicle were destroyed.
“The partnership between the Iraqi SF and U.S. soldiers is strong, and we share a common goal:  Protect the people, defeat AQI and enforce the rule of law,” said Col. Allen Batschelet, chief of staff, MND-B and 4th ID.  “We are working toward transition and setting conditions for economic growth.”


ISF detain criminal cell leader, three al-Qaeda in Iraq

BAGHDAD – May 8, Iraqi SOF conducted an op in Baghdad and detained an al-Bayaa district Special Groups cell leader believed to be responsible for kidnapping ops and indirect fire attacks on Iraqi and CF. Two additional suspects were detained.
In Ramadi, an Iraqi SWAT team detained 3 AQI terrorists known to be involved with coordinating IED attacks against Iraqi and CF and the facilitation of foreign fighters.



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