Archive for May 14th, 2008

Troop Scoop

Posted: 14 May 2008 09:44 AM CDT

Dear Interested Readers,
Kudos to the Warrior Sappers – best Engineering Co. in the Army!  Enjoy positive stories of Iraqi Highway Patrolmen training to enhance skills; 200 students graduate from a Vo-tech; Basra comes back to life with improved security, and substantial weapons caches seized across Baghdad, and many terrorists killed or captured.
Joanna
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Multi-National Corps – Iraq
Public Affairs Office, Camp Victory
APO AE 09342

May 14, 2008

Raiders conduct clearing operations, net weapons cache and detainees

FOB FALCON –  At approx. 5:30 p.m., May 10, in the Bayaa neighborhood, soldiers from Co A, 1st Bn, 22nd Inf Regt, 1st BCT, 4th ID, detained a suspected criminal wanted for attacks against CF and the killing of innocent Iraqi citizens.
At approx. 12:11 a.m., May 11, soldiers from Co. A, 1-22 IR, seized 2 RPGs, a hand grenade and a high-explosive anti-tank round while conducting a combat patrol in the al-Amil neighborhood.
Soldiers from Co B, 4th Bn, 64th AR, attached to the 1st BCT, 4th ID, detained 3 suspected criminals while conducting point-specific ops in the al-Risalah neighborhood, May 11.
Soldiers from Co. C, 4-64 AR, attached to the 1st BCT, 4th ID, detained 3 known criminals while conducting clearing ops in the al-Risalah neighborhood, May 11.
“Info from concerned Iraqi citizens greatly contributed to the finds made by Iraqi SF and the Raider Brigade,” said Maj. Dave Olson, spokesman for 1st BCT, 4th ID. “The Iraqi citizens are a powerful source in stopping the violence.”

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ISF, MND-B finds seize substantial weapons caches across Baghdad

BAGHDAD – May 12, at approx. 10 a.m. IA soldiers informed their MND-Baghdad partners that they had discovered a weapons cache in east Rashid that contained several mortar rounds. The IA soldiers cordoned off the area to protect the local populace and awaited an EOD team to clear the site.  54 82 mm mortar rounds and 27 60 mm mortar rounds were uncovered.
At approx. 10:40 a.m., MND-B Soldiers discovered a weapons cache in the Mansour district of Baghdad that contained 5 grenades, 5 grenade fuses, 3 pounds of TNT, 3 rocket motors, an AK-47, a 9 mm sub machinegun, and various types of bomb-making materials.
At approx. 3:20 p.m. a SoI leader informed MND-B Soldiers of the location of a weapons cache in east Rashid, containing 7 RPG rounds, a propane cylinder filled with an unknown explosive, a PKC light machinegun and assorted ammo.
At approx. 4 p.m., a SoI leader informed MND-B Soldiers about the location of a weapons cache in Adhamiyah, containing 2 57 mm rockets and 2 60 mm mortars. Further investigation of the site revealed a 122 mm illumination round and 20 to 25 pounds of an unknown explosive.

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Multiple caches discovered, seven suspected AQI detained in Mosul

MOSUL – IA and CF Soldiers discovered 4 weapon caches and detained 7 suspected AQI members during ops, May 12.
The caches consisted of more than a dozen pipe bombs, IEDs, mortar rounds, a mortar fuse, multiple circuit boards, over 200 pounds of explosives, detonators, several blasting caps, fuses and a timer.  Seven suspected AQI members were also detained in a house where one of the caches was discovered.

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Iraqi Army helps improve education

BASRA – Iraqi Soldiers helped local schools in Basra by delivering school supplies to children, May 7.
Children returned to school after Op Charge of the Knights cleared criminal elements out of the city making the streets safer for children to travel to and from schools.

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Iraqi girl gives a smile and a thumbs up.

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AQI caches, staging site destroyed

BAGHDAD – CF destroyed a known AQI weapons cache and staging site in Arab Jabour, about 5 km southeast of Baghdad, May 12.
The area was known to have been used by AQI to manufacture and emplace IEDs, stash weapons caches, for training, and to launch sniper attacks at CF convoys.  The area itself was rigged with pressure-plate IEDs and tree-borne IEDs, emplaced in palm trees. Two U.S. Air Force F-16s dropped 8 GBU-38 500 pound bombs on the area, destroying the munitions.

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Punisher 3 conducts skill training with Dhi Qar IHP

By 1st Lt. Kyle Schreifer
1st BSTB, 1st BCT, 82nd Abn Div

BALAD – COP 9’s Punisher 3 Route Security Team’s continued partnership with the local Iraqi Highway Patrol has been an advantage to area security with the mission aimed at enhancing the skills of the local Iraqi Highway Patrol.
Punisher 3 RST, comprised mostly of MP, conducted classroom training and practical exercises beginning May 2. The five-day course involved more than 50 of the Iraqi Highway Patrol’s NCOs.
“I felt better finally being able to put a name to all the Iraqi faces I see at the checkpoints every day.  It makes it easier to trust them to watch my back,” said Pvt. Christopher Freeman, a gunner with Punisher 3 RST.
During the fourth day of training, Punisher 3 RST Soldiers had lunch with the IHP. First Lt. Hanni, a shift cmdr. with the IHP, took the opportunity to thank all of the Soldiers. “All of my men want you to know how much this training means to them,” Hanni said. “For many, it is the first formal training they have received, and it has made them much more confident in their ability to help protect the Iraqi citizens and American convoys that travel the road each day.”
At the conclusion of the training, all the Soldiers shook hands with the IHP members and promised them the training would continue on a weekly basis.  All of the IHP members who attended the training were presented with a certificate of achievement signed by the COP 9 cmdr and first sgt.

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An Iraqi Highway Patrolman conducts a personnel search of Spc. David Angstadt.

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Sgt. Derek DeVeau, NCOIC of the Punisher 3 Route Security Team, covers a training point with the Iraqi Highway Patrol.

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200 students graduate from Iskandariyah vo-tech

FOB KALSU – Approx. 200 students from the Vocational-Technical School in the Iskandariyah Industrial Complex (IIC) graduated May 4 amongst friends and family members.
“I’d like to say congratulations to the vo-tech director and his staff but most of all to the students of this graduating class,” said Lt. Col. Jeff McKone, MND-Center Iskandariyah Industrial Complex liaison, Team Iskan officer in charge. “It’s an honor to be a part of the success in the rebuilding of the Iskandariyah vo-tech.”
Graduates received a certificate of training along with a gift — sewing machine or computer repair kit — to help them get started in the business world.
Back in May 2007, only 32 students were enrolled at the technical school, but now there are more than 700, said Jabar, vo-tech director.  He said by June they’re hoping to have 1,000 students enrolled per quarter, which is open to Iraqis wanting to learn job skills and trades.
The IIC is a business incubator similar to the Job-Corps program in the U.S., dedicated to young start-up businesses.  It has the space required for manufacturing, research and development and administration for young and established enterprises.
At the same time, the vo-tech is intended to produce a steady stream of qualified workers for the industries and business, providing a further base of economic stability in the region.

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Lt. Col. Jeff McKone, presents an Iraqi student with a certificate and gift.

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Basra comes back to life

Story and photos by Marine 1st Lt. Brian Block
1st Iraqi Army Quick Reaction Force MiTT

CAMP FALLUJAH – The security environment here has improved dramatically since the 1st IA QRF fought their way into the city on April 1.
Criminal elements had taken over parts of the city from local Iraqi SF, and imposed their own rule on a city that had once been a cultural and commercial beacon for all of Iraq.
“This city was being held hostage by a small group of criminal militias,” said Col. Robert F. Castellvi, 1st IA (QRF) MiTT senior adviser.  Music and western influence were prohibited, women faced death threats if they ventured outside their homes dressed in anything other than a full burkah, and intersections were used as mortar positions.
In less than a month, life in Basra couldn’t be more different.  “The people are happier now,” said Maj. Robert S. Washington, 2nd Bn, QRF-1 MiTT senior adviser. “They can go out; they can go to the markets.”
There is more to be done in Basra.  With the criminals gone, the GoI and CF are working together with local leaders to address issues with sanitation, infrastructure and economy that will provide long-lasting improvements to the quality of life for local residents.  Recently, local officials opened an open-air market in the neighborhood of al-Jameat in an effort to boost the local economy.
Local Iraqi SF continue to hold the ground taken by the 1st IA (QRF) to guard against a possible resurgence of the criminals.  But, boosted by the confidence of success, they are ready for whatever may happen.

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An Iraqi soldier stops to talk with a local shopkeeper.

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An Iraqi soldier poses for a picture with a local boy.

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Warrior Sappers lead way for engineers

BAGHDAD – The engineers from the 66th Eng. Co, 2nd Stryker BCT “Warrior,” 25th ID, are the 2007 winners of the Lt. Gen. Emerson C. Itschner award, recognizing them as the best engineer company in the Army.
Spc. Jose Diaz, who is a combat engineer, joined the Army two years ago as a combat engineer. He said the job wasn’t really what he wanted to do, but it was
a good option and he doesn’t regret the decision. “I was told I was going to build and blow stuff up, and that sounded interesting so I took it,” he said.
The prestige of the award is something which will travel throughout the engineer regiment.  “Every year, you hear about the unit who won the Itscher Award,
and they are a unique company or a company who has done awesome things,” said Maj. Anthony Barbina, the unit’s cmdr.
To be considered for the competition, each engineer company was required to submit a book highlighting the unit’s accomplishments. For the 66th En. Co., the book was 180 pages.
While deployed to Iraq in support of Op Iraqi Freedom, the 66th Eng. Co.’s mission is route clearance. The Soldiers tirelessly travel the roads used by Iraqi Security and CF and Iraqi civilians – clearing them of IEDs.

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Sgt. John Yost (center), provides feedback to IA engineers during a lane exercise designed to teach the IA soldiers about how to spot IEDs and indicators.

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First Sgt. Jonathon White, talks to an IA engineer about leadership practices as part of on-going training that teaches the Iraqi Soldiers about route-clearance ops northwest of Baghdad.

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Sgt. 1st Class Jeffrey Goodman, hands a shirt to a child in Sab al Bour, northwest of Baghdad, May 9.  The platoon completed its route-clearing mission with a stop to hand out toys to the children there.

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Staff Sgt. Steven Garrido, a native of Yigo, Guam, arm wrestles a child in Sab al Bour.

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Vets for Freedom Supports Revised GI Bill

STATEMENT FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 14, 2008
Contact: Judy Mayka (202) 338-4070

(Washington DC) Vets for Freedom urges Senate members to work together to pass a GI Bill that not only addresses the immediate need for increased financial and educational benefits, but that also takes into account the unique dynamics of today’s all-volunteer force. The US military is working hard to increase its ranks in order to meet strategic needs across the globe; and as a result, it is imperative that recruitment and retention are both addressed as part of any GI Bill.

The Webb Bill correctly recognizes the rising costs of secondary education, and the importance of pegging yearly benefit increases to educational inflation indices, rather than the Consumer Price Index, which would require Congress to revisit the issue in a few years. The Webb Bill also allows for the accrual of Active Duty benefits for Reservists and National Guardsmen, many of which have seen repeated deployments.

On the other hand, the McCain-Graham Bill substantially increases monthly educational benefits and could be implemented immediately; while the Webb Bill would take over a year to implement and would require a new layer of Pentagon bureaucracy. The McCain-Graham Bill also rewards troops who remain in the military, providing strong incentives for our best and brightest to continue their service and support a growing force.

“Both the Webb and McCain-Graham bills have valuable aspects that address the needs of our military and our men and women in uniform.” said Pete Hegseth, Executive Director of Vets for Freedom. “Vets for Freedom trusts that those involved will work toward a compromise to integrate the best aspects of both bills, and ensure its passage and implementation in a timely manner.”

Vets for Freedom is a nonpartisan organization established by combat veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Its mission is to educate the American public about the importance of achieving success in these conflicts by applying our first-hand knowledge to issues of American military strategy. For more information, please visit www.vetsforfreedom.org.

Troop Scoop

Posted: 13 May 2008 05:18 PM CDT

Dear Interested Readers,
There’s a tremendous success story by our 74th Engineering Co.  They’ve completed work on a Mabey-Johnson float bridge.  Working alongside Iraqi engineers will help train other Iraqi engineers in this type of bridge building.  A mid-level terrorist captured as well as other criminals captured or killed.  Large weapons caches uncovered every day.
Joanna
_______________________________

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

May 13, 2008

Coalition Soldiers find weapons cache

FOB KALSU – Near Maderiyah, May 9, on a joint mission with the Iraqi Army, a tip from an area citizen led Soldiers from Btry B, 1st Bn, 9th FA, 2nd BCT, 3rd ID, to the home where 2 suspected weapons dealers were staying. They gave the location of 4 separate weapons caches during questioning, containing 16 57 mm rockets in their original packaging, an operational 23 mm anti-aircraft gun, 2 PKC machine guns in excellent condition, 2 operational AK-47 rifles, a RPG round, 3 full AK-47 magazines, 800 AK-47 rounds, 1,000 PKC rounds, 9 ammo vests and 4 ski masks.
“Although most of the AQI leadership was detained, killed or fled the area late last year, men who helped AQI and some of their lower-level fighters have blended back into the local population,” Aaron said. “They maintain the caches because they are prepared to fight U.S. and IA forces if AQI leaders return.”  Aaron said the IA played a major role in taking the weapons out of the hands of enemy fighters. “They … have a gifted ability to obtain info by understanding the people,” he said. “We have worked hard to ensure citizens in the area trust the IA and are willing to work with both them and U.S. forces.”

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Capt. Richard Aaron, and Capt. Nazir, Iraqi cmdr., inspect weapons cache.

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IP, CF detain 2 in Mussayib area off local tips

FOB KALSU –  “I have never felt more confident heading into a detainment op than this,” said 1st Lt. Zachary Boes, a plt leader with 4th BCT, 3rd ID. “We were sure that the targets were at their locations because we had informants keeping eyes on them until we got there.”
Boes said the mission, May 6, was a success because of the local citizens’ actions to inform the ISF and CF in the area. “If it had not been for them, it is possible these suspects would still be on the streets.”

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Iraqi Special Operations Forces detain terrorist in Mosul

BAGHDAD – Iraqi SOF, advised by U.S. SF, detained a terrorist wanted for murder in Mosul, May 11.
ISOF conducted the operation to detain the suspect who is a mid-level leader for Islamic State of Iraq, a front organization for AQI.  The man is suspected of murdering 4 women and an IP Brigadier General.  He is also the group’s spokesperson and is reported to use his influence to spread terrorist propaganda and recruit for ISI.

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MND-B Soldiers seize munitions, detain criminals

BAGHDAD – MND-Baghdad Soldiers detained 5 criminals and 13 suspected criminals in separate events in the West Rashid and Kadhamiyah districts of Baghdad, May 11.
At approx. 7 a.m., Soldiers with the 2nd BCT, 101st Abn Div, detained a known criminal and 6 other suspected criminals while conducting a population engagement op in Kadhamiyah.
At approx. 7:45 a.m., Soldiers with the 1st BCT, 4th ID, detained a suspect and 3 others during Op Tusker Chamberlain in West Rashid.
At approx. 8:00 a.m., MND-B Soldiers detained another suspect and 3 others  allegedly involved in planning IED attacks.
At approx. 11:20 a.m., Soldiers with the 2nd Stryker BCT, 25th ID, seized a munitions cache, west of Baghdad, consisting of a 55-gallon drum filled with more than 300 pounds of homemade explosives.
At approx. 11:50 a.m., Soldiers from the 2nd BCT, 101st Abn Div detained a person of interest and an alleged criminal suspected of attacks in the area, while conducting a search op in Kadhamiyah.
At approx. noon, IP detained 2 individuals. Both are suspected of criminal activities in the area in Kadhamiyah.
At approx. 2:50 p.m., Soldiers with the 18th MP Bde seized a cache of 122 mm rockets in East Rashid. “U.S. Soldiers, in full partnership with the Iraqi SF, will never cease in the efforts to protect the people of Iraq from terrorists and criminals,” said Lt. Col. Steve Stover, MND-B and 4th ID spokesman. “It is a never ending, never changing contract between U.S. Soldiers and the people of Baghdad.”

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Al Fatah Bridge to improve relations, economy

LSA ANACONDA – Soldiers of the 74th Eng. Co, along with 8 Iraqi engineer soldiers, completed work on a Mabey-Johnson float bridge recently. The bridge will be used to cross the Tigris River and join the cities of Beiji and Kirkuk, in an effort to continue to improve the local area.
“The purpose of the bridge is to maintain and improve the transportation network along the Tigris River,” said 1st Lt. Jeremiah Manning, a construction engineer with the 20th Eng. Bde. “This is vital to the economic health of Iraq because it facilitates oil, agriculture, commercial and civilian traffic throughout MND-North.”
“The Iraqi engineers are from a school in Taji,” said Staff Sgt. Brian White, a bridge crewmember with the 74th. “They seem quite knowledgeable on the Johnson float bridge. They have trained on it (during their schooling), but this is the first one these guys are helping to build.”
White also said once the engineers are trained and are comfortable building the bridge, they will be able to take their knowledge back to the engineer school and train other Iraqi engineers. This will eventually allow the Iraqis to build the bridges that are needed across Iraq, which will also help improve the local economy, White said.
“The building of this bridge helps to reinforce economic development and improve the relationship between CF and the GoI,” said Canadian Brig. Gen.  Matern, who was at the construction site for the bridge representing the MNC-Iraq comm. gen.

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Spc. Calvin Barber, a member of the 74th Eng. Co, shows an Iraqi engineer one part of putting together a Mabey-Johnson Float bridge, April 25.

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MND-B soldiers return fire, engage bomb emplacers

BAGHDAD – MND-Baghdad soldiers continue to deny criminals freedom of movement in and around the Adhamiyah and Sadr City districts of Baghdad, May 10-11.
At approx. 7:30 a.m. May 10, soldiers with Co D, 4th Bn, 64th AR, returned precision fire and killed a criminal who attacked them with small-arms fire in Adhamiyah.
At approx. 10:50 a.m., soldiers from Co C, 1st CAB, 68th Inf Regt, returned precision fire and killed a criminal who attacked them with small-arms fire in Adhamiyah.
At approx. 4 p.m. May 10, soldiers from Co E, 1-68 CAB, engaged and killed 4 criminals after a failed EFP attack, in Sadr City.
At approx. 10:20 p.m. May 10, soldiers from Co. E, 1-68 CAB, who while on a patrol interacting with the local populace, were provided a tip about 2 criminals emplacing a roadside bomb. The soldiers moved to intercept the bomb emplacers, engaged the criminals and killed one. The second fled the scene in Adhamiyah.
At approx. 12:15 a.m. May 11, an MND-B AWT responded to the site of a roadside bomb attack, positively identified the 2 triggermen and engaged the pair with a Hellfire missile. One criminal was killed, their vehicle was destroyed, and the second criminal fled into a surrounding neighborhood in Adhamiyah.

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MND-B soldiers rescue kidnap victim

CAMP TAJI –  May 8, near Ibrahim Bin Ali, northwest of Baghdad,  Soldiers from the 1st Bn, 21st Inf Regt “Gimlets,” 2nd Stryker BCT “Warrior,” 25th ID, acted on tips from IA soldiers, in addition to tips provided by IP and SoI members.
The suspected kidnappers were detained and are being held for further questioning.

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