Archive for May 19th, 2008

Troop Scoop

Posted: 19 May 2008 01:22 PM CDT

Dear Interested Readers,
An encouraging story of the Iraqi Army working in partnership with the Iraqi National Police, and one of admiration for the CF leadership in Iraq visiting the 20th Engineers.  Lt. Gen. Austin is awesome and looks 7 feet tall!  With Basra more secure, residents enjoy medical assistance.  A Special Groups’ cell leader is captured, and many more criminals are captured or killed, along with the seizure of many weapons caches.

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

May 19, 2008

CF kills 6 enemy personnel with air strikes

TIKRIT –  May 17, while attempting to disarm a discovered IED,  IA soldiers received small arms and RPG fire.  The attack resulted in the death of an IA soldier.
Following the attack, CF observed 4 criminals with multiple weapons next to a house suspected of containing a weapons cache.  CFs used an Air Force jet to engage the building with precision guided munitions destroying the cache and killing the 4.
A vehicle thought to have been involved in the complex attack was engaged by a CF helicopter, resulting in 5 secondary explosions and the death of 2 suspects.


Iraqi Army, National Police join together to display mutual respect, increased capability

BAGHDAD – IA and Iraqi NP partnered together to conduct a multi-day joint op in the eastern Baghdad district of Karadah to neutralize violent extremists and safeguard their citizens.
In one such op, IA soldiers established the outer cordon while NPs conducted a search in the southeast Baghdad neighborhood of Zafraniyah.  Concurrently, a company of Jundi (IA soldiers) searched adjacent farmland and scattered homes.
The IA and NP team also met with local officials and the school principal in the muhallah to discuss an upcoming toy and school supply distribution op in the near future.
“The IA and the NP have worked together in the past but almost exclusively as part of a larger task force,” said Batschelet. “Never, to our knowledge, bi-laterally at the battalion level.  This was a demonstration of mutual respect and the Iraqi leadership set the tone.”
May 17, Iraqi NP  seized a large weapons cache while conducting security ops in the Karadah district of Baghdad, consisting of 2 EFPs, 2 IEDs, 96 AK-47 assault rifles; 19, 81mm mortar rounds, 8 hand grenades and an RPK light machinegun.
Iraqi NP with support from IA soldiers, seized a weapons cache and arrested 31 criminals in the Kadhamiyah district of Baghdad. The seized items included documents pertaining to a Special Groups extremist org., 16 AK-47s, more than 1,000, 7.62mm rounds; 68 AK-47 magazines, an RPK light machinegun, 2 RPG launchers, 3 RPG rounds, a 2.5 gallon cooler containing home-made explosives, 7 various types of grenades, a night-vision sight for an AK-47, a mortar sight, 4 bags of mixed ammo and other various military equipment.


MNC-I leaders visit 20th Engineers

By Staff Sgt. Joy Pariante

BAGHDAD – Soldiers from Fort Bragg’s 20th Eng. Bde showcased their capabilities to senior MNC-Iraq leadership at their headquarters in Balad, earlier this month.
“It’s always a privilege to have the MNC-I cmdr come and recognize deserving Soldiers,” said Col. Peter A. De Luca, the cmdr of the 20th Eng. Bde. “The fact that some of our units are in transition now made it a good send off for some departing Soldiers who made a big difference in the improving security situation in Iraq.”
“It’s nice to see someone at the top wants to learn about something regular E-4 foot Soldiers do,” said Spc. Mike Yem, with the 817th Eng. Separate Co.
“It’s good for morale,” said Spc. Scott Kreft, also with the 817th. “Not everyone can say they shook hands
with the general.”
The 20th Eng. Bde is responsible for providing combat, geospatial and general engineering and reconstruction ops in partnership with PRTs, Civil Service Corps, SoI and IA engineers. They are also responsible for training and assisting the IA and provincial engineers in the rebuilding of the infrastructure of Iraq. “During its deployment to Iraq, 20th Eng. Soldiers have built 10 major bridges, destroyed and captured IED cells in 9 Iraqi provinces and the improvement of numerous roads to reduce IED vulnerability and make them safe for travel,” De Luca said.
Although some of the 20th Eng. Bde.’s units are preparing to head home, the troops still have their heads in the game.  “I am awed by their attitude and drive as they do what engineers love to do, solve problems creatively, fix broken, but needed things, build new needed things and always take the fight to our enemies in close combat,” De Luca said.
The 20th will be replaced by the  555th in fall 2008.


Lt. Gen. Lloyd J. Austin III, left, and Command Sgt. Maj. Joseph Allen, speak to Soldiers of the 20th Eng. Bde.  Austin received briefings from the Soldiers on the capabilities of their route clearing equipment.


Lt. Gen. Lloyd J. Austin III, shakes hands with Spc. Scott Kreft.  Austin, met with Kreft and Spc. Mike Yem.


MND-C Soldiers discover caches

BAGHDAD – May 15, Soldiers from 4th BCT, 3rd ID, discovered a cache during a patrol, consisting of 12, 42 mm rockets; 3, 57 mm projectiles; 8 rocket bodies; 8, 120 mm rockets and 10 fuses.
Soldiers from 3rd BCT, 101st Abn Div (AASLT), found a cache near the Qaqa Apartments in Mahmudiyah, about 26 km southwest of Baghdad, May 16.  A tip from a local citizen led the Soldiers to the cache comprised of 450 7.62 mm armor-piercing rounds, a 60 mm mortar system, 15 RPG motors, 96 mortar cartridges and 10 pounds of mortar propellant bags.


Iraqi Army captures Special Groups IED cell leader in Husayniyah

BALAD –  IA Soldiers captured a Special Groups cell leader, who is responsible for coordinating IED and rocket
attacks against Iraqi SF and CF, in Husayniyah, approx. 20 miles north of Baghdad, May 16.
The IA conducted the op to capture the Special Groups cell leader, in addition to detaining 4 other suspected Special Groups criminals.


MND-B soldiers kill two criminals, seize munitions caches

BAGHDAD – May 16, an SoI member led Soldiers from 2nd Stryker BCT, 25th ID to a munitions cache consisting of 155 mm mortar rounds west of Baghdad at approx. 12:20 p.m.
At approx. 5 p.m., Special Groups criminals attacked soldiers from 2nd BCT, 101st Abn Div (AASLT), with an IED and small-arms fire, as the soldiers were conducting a mounted patrol in the Shuala neighborhood of Baghdad’s Kadhamiyah district, defended themselves and killed 2 criminals.
At approx. 6:15 p.m., soldiers from 1st BCT, 4th ID, discovered 82 and 60 mm mortars in the Furat neighborhood of the West Rashid district.


Tannumah District residents receive medical assistance

BASRA – IA Soldiers provided security and helped 550 patients at a public health assessment at the Tannumah District Public Health Clinic in Basra, May 11 and 14.  Medical providers have treated or assessed over 700 patients at the clinic.  Fifteen patients received referrals to the National Iraqi Assistance Center.
The IA’s efforts were part of the humanitarian portion of Op Charge of the Knights.  Ali, an Iraqi teen, who came with his mother and sister, looked at the bi-lingual medical providers and an IA major standing outside the examination room and said, “We love you.”


Since Op Charge of the Knights has helped remove criminal elements in Basra, humanitarian efforts are increasing. Iraqi women and children move about more freely.


MND-B Soldiers find mortar cache in Rashid

FOB FALCON – May 16, while on patrol in the Rashid district of southern Baghdad, Soldiers from the 1st Sqdrn, 33rd Cav Regt, assigned to the 4th Bn, 64th AR, attached to the1st BCT, 4th ID, found 21 82 mm mortar rounds and 17 60 mm rounds while on patrol in the Furat community of Rashid.


Anyone familiar with Michael Yon’s excellent reporting and photojournalism from the front lines in Iraq knows that he diligently guards his copyright on his images.  Michael Moore, propagandist for the enemy, has seen fit to illegally usurp the copyright on one of Michael Yon’s most famous and stirring images, that of Major Mark Bieger cradling the young Iraqi girl Farah after she was mortally wounded by an Al Qaeda suicide bomber.

Many readers have complained that Michael Moore, in the conduct of his latest crusade against whatever he is against this month, has illegally used one of my photos on the banner of his website. Mr. Moore is not the first to have done so, and my readers can get pretty upset when it happens.

My lawyer has demanded that Mr. Moore take it down.

I usually freely grant use of my work to truthful, peaceful, non-commercial, non-political outlets. For instance, a church group wanted to use one of my photos for their congregation. I was honored and gave it to them freely. On another occasion, a peaceful, non-profit Islamic organization wanted to use the same photo that Michael Moore has infringed upon (Major Mark Bieger cradling a little girl named Farah), and I was honored to contribute to their peaceful cause. I’ve seen grandmothers use my work in technically illegal ways, but since they’re not a big company, they probably have no idea about copyright, and usually use the work in tasteful, appropriate ways, I just smile and say “Go ahead, Ma’am.”

But frequently, big companies and individuals who are knowledgeable of copyright laws filch my work and use it in ways that many readers consider partisan, highly political or incendiary. When this happens, I usually go after the infringer, and so do my readers.

Now here’s Michael Moore, the latest infringer, using my work for his own crude political purposes. I recall some years ago watching one of his movies in Paris, and thinking how sad it was that an American would make propaganda so flagrant that it seemed pornographic. It was sad but at the same time uplifting, because Mr. Moore was able to exercise his right to free speech, rights that should never be infringed upon.

Mr. Moore is influential, rich, and could likely intimidate most photographers. But I ask my readers to please leave him be. Attacking him likely will be counterproductive. I know how to fight, and though I would fight for Mr. Moore’s right to free expression, I will fight against him if he steals my work and uses it in an inflammatory fashion.

It’s got nothing to do with the fact that Michael Moore is anti-war (he’s not just against the Iraq War, but he was also against the war in Afghanistan). I respect Moore’s opposition to the Iraq War; I might even agree with him on some particulars. But I object to the tone of many of his arguments, especially the manner in which he uses my work to further his causes. As I said above, sometimes it seems pornographic. That’s a strong word, so I’ll explain.

Read the whole thing here.

Troop Scoop

Posted: 18 May 2008 04:07 PM CDT

Dear Interested Readers,
There are an interesting variety of stories, from the opening of a most colorful bridge to Sons of Iraq graduating as Iraqi Police.  There are wonderful pictures showing much pride.  Terrorists and criminals removed from the streets, and large weapons caches seized.

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

May 18, 2008

Iraqi SOF detain four suspected terrorists in separate ops

BAGHDAD – May 14, in Baghdad, ISOF detained 2 individuals including a cell leader for ISI, a front organization for AQI.  The men are suspected of conducting indirect fire attacks against Victory Base Complex and IED attacks against Baghdad International Airport and SoI.
In Mosul, ISOF conducted ops that led to the detaining of 2 suspected IED cell members who are reportedly responsible for IED attacks against the IA and sectarian violence.


Citizen’s tip leads MND-B Soldiers to EFP-making factory in local bakery

BAGHDAD –  In the New Baghdad district of eastern Baghdad May 16, Soldiers from 4th BCT, 10th Mtn Div,
cordoned off the suspected building.
Criminals attacked the Soldiers with small-arms fire, but were driven off by MND-B Soldiers returning fire. Soldiers from another platoon rushed to the scene to provide additional security.  The search op continued and  a cache including 2 EFPs, 4 mortar tubes, 6 mortar rounds, 3 RPG launchers, 14 RPG rounds and numerous armor piercing rounds, 4 sniper rifles, an RPK machine gun, various IED making materials, 3 grenades, and a vehicle modified for a sniper to fire from unobserved were found. The vehicle also contained one of the EFPs.


MND-B soldiers keep criminals, munitions off Baghdad streets

BAGHDAD – During the early morning hours May 16, conducting intel-driven point ops against pre-identified targets, soldiers from 1st BCT, 4th ID, detained 2 individuals suspected of coordinating and carrying out violent crimes in the Rashid district of southern Baghdad.
Nearby, Iraqi NP turned over 9 60 mm mortar rounds captured during a security patrol in the Risalah
neighborhood of West Rashid to soldiers of 4th Bn, 64th AR.


Bridge linking Busayefi to Hawr Rajab opened

By Sgt. Kevin Stabinsky, 2nd BCT, 3rd ID

FOB KALSU – Brightly painted flowers, hearts and polka-dots color the new bridge with cheery symbols.  Most importantly, the bridge’s construction between the communities of Busayefi and Hawr Rajab paints a symbol of unity.
Once under the control of insurgents, the communities became isolated; they were also separated from each other by the Mercedes Canal. Thanks to the efforts of CF, IA and citizens tired of violence, the insurgents were driven away. However, the canal still isolated them from one another. Their desire to establish a relationship materialized May 13 when the bridge linking the communities officially opened.
The event was coordinated by Wasmey Khudhayer, owner of the Adwa al-Ashar Construction Co.  Besides having an Iraqi co. perform the construction, the project was funded by the GoI.
“It’s an important sign that the GoI is footing the bill to reunite their communities,” said Maj. John Brock, 2nd BCT, 3rd ID.
Once the event was over, the crowd moved to the Busayefi SoI headquarters for lunch, where they discussed the importance of working together to prevent the criminal activity that once caused division in the area.


Sheikh Salah (left), a prominent sheikh in Busayefi, cuts the ribbon.


MND-B Soldiers detain suspected IED emplacer, weapons trafficker

FOB FALCON –  At approx. 2:30 a.m. May 15, in the Rashid district of southern Baghdad, Soldiers from Co A, 1st Bn, 22nd Inf Regt, 1st BCT, 4th ID, conducted a point-specific op to detain a suspected Special Groups criminal wanted in connection with extra-judicial killings, IED attacks and weapons trafficking.


MND-B Soldiers kill 6 criminals

BAGHDAD –  During nighttime ops in the Shula area in northwest Baghdad, May 15, Soldiers from 2nd BCT, 101st Abn Div (AASLT), were attacked by criminals using RPGs and small-arms fire, returned fire and killed 1.
An AWT engaged and killed 3 criminals with a Hellfire missile after witnessing a small-arms fire attack.
At approx. 11:15 p.m., Soldiers defended themselves and shot and killed 2 more criminals who attacked with small-arms fire.


Sons of Iraq graduate Iraqi Police training in Hawija

TIKRIT – More than 300 former SoI members are now IP after successfully completing 8 weeks of
training at the Kirkuk Police Academy, during a graduation ceremony May 15.
“The province has shown tremendous progress in the last year. Events like this prove we are taking the necessary steps to show the world this province will stand together to defeat terrorists and establish rule of law,” Col. David Paschal, 1st Bde, 10th Mtn Div told the graduating class.
“This is a great day,” Badri, 22, said. “I am so grateful to the CF and Lt. Col. Vanek who gave us an opportunity to join our Iraqi SF and serve our country and our people.”
Lt. Col. Christopher Vanek is the cmdr. of the 1st Bn, 87th Inf Regt whose area of op covers the Hawijah District, which has an SOI program with more than 7,500 members.
The new recruits will be returning to fill IP vacancies within the Hawijah District, therefore, filling a critical need for police there. For many, this milestone is the direct result of the security gains in the region, specifically in Hawijah, which has seen over an 80 percent drop in violent attacks against its citizens and their SF including the CF, since December’s inception of the SOI program there, according to Paschal.
“I was once a farmer unable to earn enough to feed my family.  I had no choices,” Ghafli, 29, said. “I will now return home with my head held high with a job and in an IP uniform.”  The proud and confident attitude of ‘wearing the IP uniform in public’ is also a sign, to the majority of the ‘Hawijah 400’ who were
interviewed, that better days await them.  “I would never have considered becoming an IP a year ago,”
Badri, 22, said. “And if we did,” Ghafli added. “We would never wear the uniform. It was a mark of death.”
As to how the predominantly Sunni-Arab graduating class felt about their multi-ethnic environment at the academy, whose instructors are comprised of Kurdish, Turkman, Christian, and Arab ethnicities.
“We took an oath to serve and protect Iraqis. That is what we are and it is our responsibility to uphold the rule of law – what you are does not matter,” Monir, 28, said. “We are all brothers.”


Former SoI ‘pass n review’ in front of Brig. Gen. Robert Brown, Dep. Comm. Gen., 25th ID (visiting guest),
Kirkuk Provincial Police Chief Maj. Gen. Bakr, Col. David Paschal, 1st Bde, 10th Mtn. Div., and Kirkuk Police Academy Cmdr. Abdul-Rahman.


Former SoI prepare to pass in review.


A Kirkuk Police Academy instructor straightens the beret of one of the 318 IP recruits prior to their graduation ceremony.


Kirkuk Police Academy recruits pose with their instructor prior to their graduation ceremony.


Joint patrol yields multiple caches in Maderiyah

BAGHDAD – A joint route recon mission in Maderiyah led to the discovery of 6 separate weapons caches May 13, to include 300 anti-personnel grenades.
The first cache contained a 120 mm mortar round, a 100 mm anti-aircraft round, 12 RPG warheads, 8 73 mm rockets and a mortar tripod. All weapons were serviceable and the rockets were still in their plastic containers.
The second cache recovered consisted of 300 anti-personnel grenades, 100 meters of detonation cord, 100 rounds of PKC machine-gun ammo and 5 sticks of TNT.
“Most of the 300 anti-personnel grenades were serviceable.  Because they were found with detonation cord, these most likely would have been used to booby trap homes or areas where AQI expected U.S. or IA soldiers to search,” said Capt. Richard Aaron, a Btry cmdr. with 2nd BCT, 3rd ID.
Acting on intel provided by area residents, Soldiers from 2nd BCT, 3rd ID, and IA soldiers conducted the mission to investigate the reported cache sites.  Local SoI were on hand during the mission as well.
“These caches and every other cache are living proof of how important it is for units to build relations with the local population.  During every mission that we conduct, my platoon’s goal is to reach out to the local population, talk with them and build the trust between us,” said 1st Lt. Greg Highstrom, plt leader in 2nd BCT, 3rd ID.. “In return, Iraqis are more willing to help.”
The final caches were discovered in close proximity to each other, consisting of a 23 mm antiaircraft gun with a tripod, 200 23 mm rounds, an SS-30 M3 127 mm rocket and 3 120 mm mortars, all of which were serviceable.  Many of the munitions were in new condition, indicating they were recently placed in the area, and done so with care.  Weapons found in water were well-protected, Aaron said.