Troop Scoop 5/26/2008

Troop Scoop

Posted: 26 May 2008 02:25 PM CDT

Dear Interested Readers,
We have a special Memorial Day story, honoring the life and memory of a fallen Marine.  We also have an array of special stories, including teaching safe driving to Iraqi Soldiers; a very special ophthalmologist; and physical therapists dedicated to caring for the well-being of our troops.  Large weapons caches seized, and criminals captured or killed.

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

May 26, 2008

IA Soldiers seize caches in Sadr City

BAGHDAD – IA discovered a number of caches in Baghdad’s northeastern district of Sadr City, May 24.
The caches consisted of a 155 mm artillery round, 10 rocket-propelled grenades, 21 AK-47 assault rifle,  2 Simonov automatic rifles, a 122 mm tank round, and 5 EFPs.
“Iraqi SF remain focused on securing the streets of Baghdad and the Sadr City district,” said Col. Allen Batschelet, MND-Baghdad chief of staff. “All of these efforts are Iraqi led, planned, and executed showing the precise ability to independently carry out complex police missions.”


Iraqi Army seizes caches in mosque, hospital

BAGHDAD – 3 weapons caches were found in a mosque and a hospital during Op Peace in Baghdad, May 23.
The 2 caches contained more than 360 AK-47 assault rifles, approx. 12 Dragonov sniper rifles, anti-tank mines, flak vests, more than 100 RPG rounds, and multiple RPG launchers.
The third weapons cache found in a local hospital in Sadr City, contained more than 100 RPG rounds, rocket sleds, more than 60 home-made grenades, more than 50 fuses, TNT with cortex, hundreds of rounds of ammo and several mortar tubes corresponding to multiple mortar sizes.
To date, Op Peace in Sadr City has seized 38 caches.


MND-SE holds memorial for fallen Marine

CAMP FALLUJAH – More than 400 Coalition Soldiers and Marines paid their respect to a fallen Marine at Basra Air Base, May 23.
Marine 1st Lt. Matthew R. Vandegrift, was honored in a memorial plaque dedication service. The service was presided over by Marine Maj. Gen. George J. Flynn, the dep. comm. gen. of MNC-Iraq, and Reverend Padre Mark Christian, the chaplain to the forces at MND-South East.
Lt. Vandegrift was killed while conducting combat ops in Basra. He was assigned to the MiTT in support of the 1st Bn, 1st Bde, 1st IA Div.
A plaque commemorating the selfless service of Lt. Vandegrift was placed on the memorial wall in front of MND- Southeast HQ honoring British and CF killed in Southern Iraq.
The gravity of the ceremony was all the more reflected in the eyes of the Marines as Memorial weekend approaches.  “It is heartening to know that, back in the States, there will be that moment in time where people get together and reflect on the sacrifices made by those who have gone before us,” said Marine Maj. Andrew S. Burchfield, 1st Marine Expeditionary Force Liaison Officer to 1st IA Div MiTT.


Marine Maj. Gen. George Flynn, Maj. Gen. John Kelly, comm. gen. of MNF-West, Brig. Gen. Julian Free, British Cmdr., 4 (Mechanized) Bde, Dep. Cmdr of Ops, MND-South East, and Col. Justin Maciejewski, British Army Chief of Staff, MND-South East.


Two Scots Guards pipers play “Amazing Grace” during  memorial ceremony.


A lone Marine pays his respects to a fallen comrade.


Delaware MPs heading home as KY Guard MPs take over


Delaware National Guardsmen from the 153rd MP Co stand tall and proud as the unit cases the guidon during a Transfer of Authority Ceremony at Camp Liberty in Baghdad, May 24.  After a 12-month deployment, the 153rd prepares to return home after completing the unit’s mission of training IP. The unit is part of a Police Transition Team assigned to the 18th MP Bde in Iraq.


Kentucky National Guardsman from the 223rd MP Co salutes the American Flag as the U.S. National Anthem is played. The 223rd will take over the mission from the 153rd MP Co. of training IP and participating in Police Transition Team ops.


MND-N Soldiers host driver training course for Iraqi Army Soldiers

By Spc. Rick Rzepka
1st BCT, 101st Abn Div (AA)

TIKRIT – Soldiers from 426th BSB, 1st BCT, 101st Abn Div (AA) teamed up recently with the IA for a driver training course at FOB Dagger.
As the IA begins to assume a larger role in securing the people of the province, they are looking more and more to their Coalition partners as mentors and teachers.
The “Taskmaster” decided its mentorship and teaching contribution would be to hold the driver training course after witnessing a few accidents in the motor pool, according to Master Sgt. Derek Cook, 426th BSB.  “We’re here to give them the tools they need to become safe, successful drivers,” said Cook as he watched Iraqi Soldiers practicing their parking skills. “The biggest challenge is getting their attention. They pick things up better doing it hands-on.”  Accident prevention and humvee familiarization are critical to helping the IA mature, said Cook.
“We are getting good instruction from our American teachers,” said Cpl. Beston, an IA Soldier.


Staff Sgt. Calvin Avant, watches an IA Soldier practice hand and arm signals.


ISF, 1st BCT, 4th ID. Soldiers seize multiple munitions caches in southern Baghdad

BAGHDAD –  Soldiers from Co A, 1st Bn, 22nd Inf Regt, 1st BCT, 4th ID, discovered a munitions cache at approx. 3:30 a.m. May 23 in the Rashid district of southern Baghdad. The Soldiers seized 107 mm rockets, plastic explosives and fuses inside an abandoned house in the Bayaa community.
Iraqi NP seized RPGs with a launcher, an RPG booster, hand grenades, AK-47 rifles, and a PKC machinegun.
Soldiers from Co A, seized a weapons cache at 2:15 p.m. in the Bayaa community, consisting of  RPGs, approx. 600 rounds of 7.62 mm ammo, an AK-47 rifle, various IED-making materials, and detonation cord and firing wire.
“The 1st ‘Raider’ Brigade Soldiers work day in and day out with their Iraqi counterparts enforcing the Rule of Law on behalf of the citizens of the Rashid district,” said Olson.


U.S., Iraqi ophthalmologists administer eye care to locals

By Sgt. 1st Class Gary L. Qualls Jr.
1st BCT, 82nd Abn Div

COB ADDER – U.S. and Iraqi ophthalmologists teamed up to provide eye care to approx. 100 Iraqi citizens as part of a U.S. and Iraqi medical engagement at Camp Mittica, May 19-20.
Dr. Stephen G. Waller, an ophthalmologist from Wilford Hall Medical Center in San Antonio led a team of local Iraqi and Aegis Defense Services medical personnel in administering care to the Iraqi people.
The team performed surgeries on the surface of the eye, such as cancers and other growths as well as eyelid deformities during the medical engagement. The team also provided eye check-ups and handed out scores of prescription glasses, sunglasses and bottles of artificial tears.
Waller is a retired Air Force colonel, who, among many other duties in his 31-year career, was a flight surgeon in Korea and the Philippines. He performed the first refractive laser surgery in the Air Force.
Waller was impressed with his Iraqi counterparts, ophthalmologists from Nasiriyah Hospital.  “They are in every way my peers,” Waller said.  Stavros Yiannakis, a reconstruction team liaison officer, said it was a good experience working with the Iraqi doctors because of their skill. These doctors often have to work without the all resources they need in their job.
Khalid Shaheed, an anesthesiologist from Nasiriyah, said it was also a good experience to work with Waller because of his “professionalism,” saying that it was additionally beneficial to be able to work with some tools they do not have at Nasiriyah Hospital.
“I hope they see us working here and see that we have good hearts – that Christians can be good people, too,” Waller said.


Dr. Stephen G. Waller and his Iraqi team partner up to perform surgery.  Waller has performed eye surgery in 15 countries and on four continents throughout the world.


Ophthalmologist Dr. Stephen G. Waller examines the eyes of a young Iraqi girl.


Iraqi Security Forces seize weapons cache

BAGHDAD –  May 23, Iraqi SF discovered a weapons cache in the Bayaa area of Rashid consisting of 4 EFPs, 4 claymore mines, 10 RPGs, an AK-47 and 600 AK-47 rounds, 50 pounds of homemade explosives, a 152 mm Yugoslavian projectile, a detonation cord, and firing wire and caps for IEDs.
Northwest of Baghdad, MND-B Soldiers acted on a tip from a local citizen and found a weapons cache, seizing 4 81 mm mortar rounds and a 120 mm mortar round.
Criminals attacked MND-B Soldiers with RPGs in the Shawra area of New Baghdad. The Soldiers called in an AWT, fired a Hellfire missile, killing 4 criminals. Soldiers from the same unit later spotted armed criminals approaching a JSS and killed one criminal.
MND-B Soldiers found an additional weapons cache May 24 in the Risala area of Rashid, seizing 180 mortar rounds, a 105 mm mortar round, an Iranian 107 mm rocket, shot gun shells, fuses and 2 grenades.


Bastogne physical therapists keep soldiers on their feet

By Spc. Rick Rzepka
1st BCT, 101st Abn Div (AA)

TIKRIT – It is not a game, it’s combat. Yet many of the physical tolls professional athletes face are mirrored in professional Soldiers.  Pulled muscles, back pains and sprains are just a few injuries Soldiers face while conducting day-to-day ops in Iraq.
Enter the Army physical therapist, a mobile, hands-on medical professional, who works with Soldiers to alleviate Soldier’s neuro-musculoskeletal problems in the thick of the fight here.
“We see our guys on the line as professional athletes,” said Capt. Christine Iverson, a physical therapist with the 1st BCT, 101st Abn Div.  Iverson, who has been an Army physical therapist since April 2006, earned a Doctorate of Physical Therapy from Baylor University, and has been helping the Screaming Eagle Soldiers reach their peak performance ever since.
She and her mobile physical therapy team have helped more than 2,500 Soldiers get back on their feet since being deployed here in September 2007.  Iverson said her team spends an average of 20 days a month traveling to FOBs here providing treatment and giving advice to Soldiers on how to avoid injuries.
A large portion of the cases Iverson’s team deals with is back pain. As Soldiers are being asked to carry a heavy burden here, so too they carry equally heavy loads on their backs.
“It’s awesome because you don’t have to go through a whole deployment in pain,” said Spc. Thomas Heppler, who is suffering from chronic back pain.  Heppler said that he appreciates having a physical therapist at the brigade level instead of having to seek help elsewhere.  “It makes it easier on me to have them here,” he said.  “They make themselves real accessible.”
For Iverson, there is no better place for a physical therapist to be, than at the heart of the fight.  “We belong down at the line units,” she said.  “We owe them that.”


Staff Sgt. Rebecca Gaither, physical therapist NCOIC, 1st BCT, 101st Abn Div (AA), helps a Soldier stretch out his foot.


National Police seize weapons cache

FOB LOYALTY –  In eastern Baghdad, May 22, Iraqi NP found the cache while patrolling New Baghdad to clear the area of illegal weapons and bomb-making materials. The cache included more than 20 AK-47 assault rifles and a long rifle. Additionally, NPs detained a suspect and seized an Iranian passport belonging to the detainee’s brother.
Following the op, NPs detained 3 suspected IED emplacers.



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