Archive for July, 2008

Troop Scoop 7/23/2008

Troop Scoop

Posted: 23 Jul 2008 08:34 AM CDT

Dear Interested Reader,
Adm. Mike Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chief of Staff, warns that a timeline for the draw down of troops in Iraq would be dangerous.  Amarah continues to show signs of peace.  Baghdad Police College graduates the largest class ever.  Many high level criminals detained, and huge weapons and munition caches are being seized based on tips from Iraqis wanting to participate in reconciliation with the GoI.  As security is strengthened, displaced Iraqis are returning to their communities.

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

July 23, 2008
Timeline for Iraq Drawdown Would Be Dangerous, Mullen Says

By Fred W. Baker III


Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, visits with a neighborhood leader in Rashid, March 1.
Pres. Bush and Iraqi PM Maliki this week agreed to set a general “time horizon” for bringing more U.S. troops home from the war, Navy Adm. Mike Mullen said in an interview on “Fox News Sunday,” but he added that to his knowledge, the agreement does not include specific dates. “I think the consequences could be very dangerous in that regard,” he said.
The admiral stressed his view that troop-strength decisions must be conditions-based, but said he wants to see more U.S. forces come home. “I think the strategic goals of having timed horizons are ones that we all seek,” he said, “because eventually we would like to see U.S. forces draw down and eventually all come home,” he said.
Though he said he worries that a “rapid” movement of U.S. forces out of Iraq could create instability, Mullen said he found during a trip there 2 weeks ago that security conditions were better than he expected they would be, and that could mean more troops can come home if the trend continues.
“If conditions continue to improve, I would look to be able to make recommendations to Pres. Bush in the fall to continue those reductions,” Mullen said.  With the return home this month of the last “surge” bde, cmdrs. will spend the next several weeks assessing post-surge conditions in Iraq, including political and economic progress, before making their recommendations concerning future troop levels.
“We’re engaged very much right now with the Iraqi people,” Mullen said. “The Iraqi leadership is starting to generate the kind of political progress that we need to make, [and] the economy is starting to move in the right direction.”
The admiral said he doesn’t know if that means more troops could be home by the end of this administration in January. Logistics and other security details would factor into that, he explained.  “There is a physical challenge with respect to moving troops around,” he said. “You just can’t do it overnight.”


MND-B Soldiers detain known Special Groups criminal in Abu T’shir

FOB FALCON – July 21 in the Abu T’shir community of Baghdad’s Rashid district, Soldiers from the 1st BCT, 4th ID, detained the criminal leader at approx. 11:45 p.m.  He is considered to be a roadside bomb expert.


Iraqi soldiers detain 3 suspected criminals in Haideriya

FOB KALSU – Iraqi Soldiers conducted an op in Haideriya, July 18, resulting in the detainment of 7 individuals, including 3 key suspected criminals.  The op, called Op Alfafiden, was aimed at eliminating extremists in southern Iraq in the vicinity of Haideriyah.
“This op targeted the boundary area between 2 (IA) brigades where insurgents had been exploiting that boundary,” said Col. Timothy Deady, team leader of the 8th IA MiTT. “The op showed the brigades have gained control over their main areas and are now focusing on the outlying sectors.”  During the op, CF provided air support. “The (IA) still have very limited air assets,” Deady said. “The Coalition will continue to provide aircraft, and (the IA) will keep gaining proficiency in ground ops.”
“It has happened all over the country, and this is just an example in the central Euphrates (River) area, where Gen. Othman and his division are aggressively taking the fight to the enemy,”  said Col. Thomas James, cmdr., 4th BCT, 3rd ID.


Col.Thomas James (second from left) confers with members of the 8th IA Div. MiTT, while Iraqi cmdr. Maj. Gen. Ferhood, listens to reports.
( photo by Sgt. David Turner)


Reconciliation efforts taking shape in Ninewa province

MOSUL – Since the Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration program began in early March, 287 petitioners have come forward to seek a cease-fire with CF in the Ninewa province.
“The goal of the DDR process is for petitioners to progress from a cease-fire phase to full reintegration into Iraqi society, including legitimate employment, in cooperation with the GoI,” said Cpt. Matt Rodano, reconciliation program mgr, MND-N.
The DDR process is designed for petitioners to provide info on weapons caches and insurgent activity.  “We are encouraged by the progress of the DDR, and look forward to continued participation from citizens displaying the courage to come forward,” said Maj. Gary Dangerfield, spokesman, for 3rd ACR.


Raiders detain criminal, remove IED in Rashid

FOB FALCON –  July 20, after receiving a tip in the Hadar community, Soldiers from Troop B, 7th Sqdrn, 10th Cav Regt, 1st BCT, 4th ID discovered an emplaced IED.
In the Bayaa community, Soldiers from the Scout Platoon, 1st Bn, 22nd Inf Regt, 1st BCT, 4th ID detained a criminal wanted for alleged murders and roadside bomb attacks against innocent Iraqi citizens and CF at approx. 10:30 p.m.


Hundreds of IDPs return to Al Khwalis

TIKRIT – More than 108 internally displaced families returned to their homes in the town of Al Khwalis, July 20. The event was celebrated by a welcome ceremony and is a significant mark in the reconciliation process.
The families left the area when tensions mounted after the IA cleared the area of Al-Qaeda last year. “Today was a ceremony that represents the reconciling of differences between Sunni and Shi’a families,” said Capt. Roger Miranda, EO, 1st Bn, 19th Bde, 5th Div, MiTT.
There were more than 500 people who returned to Khwalis in the reconciliation process that had been ongoing since January.  “I am so happy today because these families are able to come back to their homes,” said Sheik Ratif Al Sa’adi, a member of the reconciliation council for Al Khwalis.
CF Soldiers support the reconciliation council for the area of Al Khwalis by assisting with security and providing recommendations about how to move forward with the process, said Capt. Keith Miller, commander, Outlaw Troop, 4th Sqdrn, 2nd Stryker Cav Regt.  With the return of the families, there is a restored trust and unity in the town and one of the benefits is that it makes it harder for anyone to come in and disrupt it. There will be less ability for AQI to seek refuge in these villages, said Miller.
“It’s good to see that they are putting their past behind them. They were together as brothers and sisters at one point, and now they are able to come back together again,” said Miller. “The more we focus on the reconciliation councils, the more this country will come back together again.”


Heads of the displaced families are greeted by the members of the Isnod Reconciliation Council to mark the beginning of the return of the families.
( photo by Sgt. Mark Albright)


Trucks filled with the belongings of displaced families travel into the entrance of Al Khwalis


Iraqi Security Forces disrupt terrorist activities in northern Iraq

BALAD – Iraqi SF captured 3 suspected ISI and AQI terrorists and detained 18 others in separate ops in northern Iraq, July 18-20.
On July 20 in Mosul, IA captured a suspected ISI emir for the Jazeera region, specifically the Julayi area. Reports indicate that he was previously the ISI emir in Rabiyah before taking charge of cells in Jazeera. He is said to be part of an IED network that conducts IED and VBIED attacks in the west side of Mosul. Reports also indicate that he has perpetrated attacks against Iraqi Security and CF, and is involved in foreign fighter and weapons facilitation.
In Hawijah, approx. 75 km north of Baghdad, the IA captured a suspected AQI financier and weapons smuggler. The suspect is reportedly responsible for many insurgent activities in the area, including IED attacks against CF.
In Ibrat Najar, approx. 70 km west of Mosul, a Tall Afar SWAT team and Iraqi SOF detained 4 suspected ISI members in an op to disrupt AQI and ISI operations in Ninawa province.
On July 19 in Gardiglikha, approx. 100 km south of Mosul, the IA captured a suspected ISI cell leader wanted for murder. The suspect is also said to be involved with anti-Iraqi govt intimidation activities against local citizens.  IA also detained 2 other suspected ISI members during the op.
In Kareem al-Haymus, approx. 100 km northwest of Baghdad, the IA and Mandali SWAT team detained 12 armed suspected AQI fighters.  IA and SWAT were in the Nidah Tribe region conducting ops to disrupt AQI activities throughout the area when they became suspicious of a van fleeing at a high rate of speed. The suspects were tossing unidentified objects out the van windows before they stopped to hide in al-Wahda village.  ISF also confiscated a pouch containing an unknown drug. Sources indicate that the drugs may be similar to methamphetamines believed to be given to suicide bombers prior to suicide missions.
On July 18, the IA discovered a weapons cache in Garsur Village, approx. 75 km northwest of Mosul, consisting of IEDs, electronic initiating devices, and 50 pounds of home-made explosive material along with other confiscated materials, indicate foreign fighter facilitation activity throughout Ninawa province.

New Signs of Peace Continue in Amarah

By Staff Sgt. Michel Sauret


Brig. Gen. Nama, deputy cmdr for the 10th IA Div., shows Brig. Gen. Jeffery Buchanan, Camp Sparrowhawk during Buchanan’s visit, July 19.
U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Michel Sauret

BAGHDAD — During a visit to the area July 19, Brig. Gen. Jeffery Buchanan, deputy comm. gen. for ops for MND – Center, met with Brig. Gen. Nama, dep. comm. for the 10th IA Div, to discuss ops and the future well-being of Maysan Province.
In the 4 weeks since Op First Signs of Peace began in Maysan Province, the Iraqi SF are successfully maintaining just that – peace.
During their month-long presence in al-Amarah, bns from the 10th IA Div. have not seen a single gunfight, not one IED attack, nor received any indirect fire. They continue searching for caches and criminals in the area with support from the 4th BCT, 1st Cav Div.
“The most important thing out here is to cut off or interdict the flow of munitions that flow in from Iran up to Baghdad. With the ISF we can do that pretty well,” said Lt. Col. Edward Bohnemann, cmdr. of the 2nd Bn, 7th Cav Regt, 4th BCT.
Buchanan wants to help the 10th IA Div. by improving senior leadership who can mentor, teach and support their fighting forces. He also discussed bringing MiTT down to Camp Sparrowhawk to train with Jabbar’s men.
Ops in al-Amarah began June 19.  In a matter of days, IA and IP detained approx. 200 criminals and collected more than 220 weapon caches.  ISF found the caches in homes, businesses and public areas throughout the city of Amarah, containing 2,262 mortar rounds, 1,034 mines, 971 artillery rounds, 749 rocket-propelled grenades, 598 rockets, 259 missile launchers, 176 IEDs, 259 grenades, 43 DSHKA barrels, 141 EFPs and 22 missiles.  All of this without a single shot fired.
The GoI offered Shiite extremists and local citizens an amnesty period prior to the op. Citizens who turned over weapon caches to ISF would not be arrested. The GoI also gave extremist forces the option to turn themselves in peacefully. Military leaders visited with Tribal Sheikhs of the area and encouraged them to enforce tribal laws that would maintain peace.
Throughout the op, ISF took the initiative in planning and executing the mission. Now, 6 bns under the 10th IA Div. maintain stability in Maysan by manning checkpoints, performing ground recon and conducting other security measures.


Baghdad Police College Graduates Largest Class Ever of 1,698

BAGHDAD — 1,698 officers, the largest class ever, graduated from the Ministry of Interior’s Baghdad Police College, July 20, and took the loyalty oath to uphold the rule of law and protect the citizens of Iraq.
The new course is known as the 1st Qualification Course.  PM Maliki spoke of this initiative during Basrah ops as a means to promote both reconciliation and new jobs for former govt employees and other recruits who met the qualifications.  To become lieutenants in the police force, the graduates must complete the retraining and certification in the 4-month course.   Most were college graduates.
“You will share with your police brothers the challenges to defeat terrorists and continue to reduce crimes in every province in Iraq,” Minister of Interior Bulani told the large group of graduates.  “Your work will give the citizens hope and security in a free and democratic Iraq.  Keep your loyalty to your country and carry out your responsibilities with honor.  You will keep Iraq free and keep liberty for the people.  Your duty always is to defend Iraq and the people of Iraq.”
The 4-month course included instruction in English, the new Penal Law, police ops, criminal investigations, administrative duties, forensics, human rights and anti-terrorism.


Sit Down


Staff Sgt. Esteban Vazquez, of the 101st Abn Div, 1st Bn, 187 Inf Regt, sits next to a local national while maintaining a nearby securiy checkpoint in Al Sadr Yusifiyah, on July 12.
Photo by Spc Richard Del Vecchio


There is an interesting piece of graffiti on a bridge near Basra. A fleeing militiaman has scrawled “We’ll be back”; underneath an Iraqi soldier has scribbled in reply “And we’ll be waiting for you”.

Read the whole thing here.

And as Glenn Reynolds comments:

“Funny how you get this kind of thing in the London Times but not the New York Times.”

Troop Scoop 7/22/2008

Troop Scoop

Posted: 22 Jul 2008 08:01 AM CDT

Dear Interested Reader,
Iraqi NP graduate route clearance course, and the Basra Children’s Hospital site is on schedule for completion the end of the year.  Sadr City gets a special visit by Army Chief of Staff, Gen. Casey.  An important transfer of security ceremony took place in Qadasiyah province.  There’s an interesting story of a new modern Iraq school highlighting Iraq’s ancient role in education.  Huge amounts of weapons and munition caches continue to be siezed, as well as the detainment of criminals.  We must be winning the war if KFC opens in Iraq!

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

July 22, 2008
INPs graduate MND-B route clearance course

BAGHDAD – Iraqi NP graduated a 10-day route clearance course, July 19 at a COP in the Rashid district of southern Baghdad.
The course was part of the Iron Claw Academy, initially created by MND – Baghdad Soldiers to train combat engineers on the necessary techniques and procedures needed to clear roads and highways of IDs, said Capt. Scott Swilley, a co. cmdr. with the 1st BCT, 4th ID.
“It is an important day for the NP,” said Col. Marc Van Oene, a NP Transition Training Team chief with the 1st BCT.  “The 1st Mechanized Bde is the first unit to get this kind of equipment and the training on it, and they are keeping the routes secure for the Iraqi people and CF.”
“As we partnered with the 1st Mech. Bde, we identified a platoon of engineers within their organization and started training them on basic patrolling efforts,” said Swilley. “We then began working into a dedicated 10-day program of instruction to certify the platoon in route clearance ops.”
“The 1st Mech. Bde has been spectacular,” Swilley said. “They have shown great promise, and I’m very optimistic about integrating them into joint patrols and eventually independent route clearing operations.”  Swilley said he plans to continue the academy and hopes the ISF Iron Claw training will become available to other NP units working with the 1st BCT, throughout the Rashid district.


Col. Marc Van Oene awards a certificate of completion and badge.
( Army photo by Staff Sgt. Brent Williams)


GRD Corps of Engineers receive new commander


From left:  Brig. Gen. Jeffery Dorko, cmdr. of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Gulf Region Div, North District, and Col. Michael Pfenning, outgoing cmdr. of USACE GRD, listen to Col. Margaret Burcham, incoming cmdr. during the unit’s  change of command ceremony on COB Speicher, July 18.  ( Army photo by Capt. Stephen Barker)


USACE and Project HOPE officials visit Basra Children’s Hospital site

BASRA – Officials from the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers and Sharon Steele from Project HOPE toured on-going construction at Basra Children’s Hospital, July 19.  Project HOPE is in charge of equipping the hospital and training the staff, while USACE oversees construction of the building.
“We are on target for completion by year’s end,” said Arthur Bennett, project manager with USACE. “The hospital will be one of the most integral parts of the country’s healthcare system.”  The 94-bed hospital will serve southern Iraq as a referral hospital. The $163-million hospital’s focus will be child cancer care, featuring state-of-the-art equipment, 2 operating rooms, a neonatal intensive care unit and an oxygen plant.
Funding for the hospital comes from CF, Project HOPE, The Spanish Govt through the UN Development Program and Iraq’s Ministry of Health.
Basra Children’s Hospital will have a total of 63,360 square feet. The two-story medical facility will have 300 rooms on the ground floor, 200 above and a 36-bed residence area.


ISF, MND-B Soldiers seize munitions, caches across Baghdad area

BAGHDAD – July 20, Iraqi Soldiers found 3 RPGs, 12 RPG-7 rounds, a PKC machine gun, 4 RPG-7 chargers, a grenade, a 60 mm mortar tube and base, 2 drums of PKC machine gun rounds and 300 loose PKC machine gun rounds at approx. 7:30 a.m. in the Sadr City district of Baghdad.
Acting on a SoI tip, Soldiers from the 2nd Stryker BCT, 25th ID seized 7 mortar rounds and 5 boxes of anti-aircraft rounds north of Baghdad at approx. 1:15 p.m.
Later, Soldiers reported finding 15 artillery rounds, 3 57 mm rockets and IED-making materials north of Bagdad at approx. 6:30 p.m.  An EOD team counted more than 150 rounds discovered at the site.
In a separate incident, IA soldiers found a cache north of Baghdad at approx. 8:15 p.m., after receiving a tip from a local citizen. The cache consisted of 13 82 mm mortars.
Lastly, Iraqi NP found 4 60 mm mortars, 4 120 mm mortars, 3 AK-47s, 600 PKC machine gun rounds and a small rocket in north Baghdad at approx. 10:30 p.m.


Army chief of staff visits Sadr City


Lt. Col. John Digiambattista (left), ops officer, 3rd BCT, 4th ID, directs Gen. George Casey, Army chief of staff, to a map showing projects within the Sadr City district during Casey’s visit there, July 21. (U.S. Army photo Sgt. Zach Mott)


Gen. George Casey points at a map depicting market revitalization projects within Sadr City, while Brig. Gen. Jeffrey Talley (left), 926th Eng. Bde cmdr., gives a brief.


Gen. George Casey listens as he is briefed.


MND-B Soldiers detain suspected criminal in New Baghdad

BAGHDAD – July 21, Iraqi NP and Soldiers from the 66th Armor Regt conducted a combined op to detain the suspect and found him hiding underneath a parked vehicle after he ran. The suspect is believed to have carried out IED attacks in the Al Amin area and indirect fire attacks on CF during the past year.


INPs, MND-B Soldiers confiscate weapons cache in Baghdad

BAGHDAD – July 20, Iraqi NP seized a 6-inch EFP, a 120 mm artillery round, 4 RPGs and an IED. All munitions were turned in to Soldiers with the 4th BCT, 10th Mtn Div.
Since May 20, in support of Op Ironhorse Tempest, Iraqi SF and CF Soldiers have recovered 458 weapons and munitions caches, including 628 IEDs and EFPs; 991 RPGs; 5,471 rifles; 3,073 artillery, tank and mortar rounds; 291 rockets; homemade explosives and various bomb-making materials.
“Given the significance of Sadr City for Special Group criminal activities, in conjunction with the Iraqi SF, MND-B Soldiers have been conducting ops throughout the city, focused on historical Special Groups criminals and AQI support zones,” said Lt. Col. Steve Stover, spokesman for MND-B and the 4th ID.


Qadasiyah Province Assumes Control of Security from MNF-I

By Sgt. David Turner
4th BCT, 3rd ID


Iraqi children celebrate the transfer of security responsibility to Qadasiyah province from CF in a parade during a ceremony in ad-Diwaniyah, July 16.
Photo by Sgt. David Turner.

FOB ECHO —  Lt Gen Lloyd Austin, cmdr of MNC – Iraq, signed an agreement with Provincial Gov. Hamed al-Khoudari, which gives responsibility of providing security to the people of Qadisiyah and the Govt of Iraq.
Austin thanked Maj. Gen. Malinowski, Polish Army cmdr in charge of CF in the province, for helping to keep the area safe for the past 5 years, but gave credit for the transfer of security responsibility to the performance of the Iraqi SF in the area.  “The ISF have done a tremendous job in providing security for the population,” said Austin, in his remarks during the ceremony. “They have fought hard, and the freedom to celebrate today is the result of their efforts.”
Austin said that MNC-I would continue to support the ISF, as well as the GoI and provincial govt to provide “sustainable security” for the people of Qadasiyah province.  Qadasiyah is the 10th of Iraq’s 18 provinces to transfer security responsibility to the local govt. The Joint Commission, which includes members of the GoI and MNF-I, decided to transfer security responsibility. The commission based their decision on the capabilities of local governance and the readiness of ISF in the area, among other factors.
Before the official signing of the agreement, local officials spoke to the crowd and Iraqi police, IA and other groups, including Iraqi children participated in a parade. An Iraqi SWAT team demonstrated its counterterrorism capabilities as part of the parade.


Modern School Highlights Ancient Iraq’s Role in Education

By Kendal Smith

BAGHDAD — “This ancient civilization of Mesopotamia, between the 2 historic rivers, taught the world how to read and how to write,” said Ahmed Rubayee, the Director Gen. of Baghdad’s Rusafa 2 Education Dept. at al Neel school opening last week.  “That is what we are doing here today, establishing a school, and to once again, be civilized and concentrate on teaching our children to read and write.”
During the ribbon-cutting ceremony, Director Gen. Rubayee congratulated Officer in Charge of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ (USACE) Loyalty Resident Office Maj. Robert Culberson for the successful completion of the “well-constructed, attractive” elementary school.  The director gen. described the school as a treasure and a lesson in what is important.
More than 50 guests and visitors toured the modern school facilities and freshly-manicured grounds nestled in a Rusafa neighborhood that is one of the oldest parts of Baghdad.  Officials from the Ministry of Education, Baghdad’s Rusafa Governate, the Iraqi NP, the Rusafa Fire Brigade, the 10th Mtn Div and USACE Gulf Region Central district took part in the celebration.
“This is a feel-good moment for us to give this to the community,” commented Maj. Culberson.  “It is so very important for further stability, and shows the progress we’re making in Iraq.”


Iraqi National Police Takes the Lead, Enforces Weapons-free Zone

By Spc. Grant Okubo
4th BCT, 10th Mtn Div

IP lay out weapons they confiscated during a search.
Photo by Spc. Grant Okubo

FOB RUSTAMIYAH — Iraqi NP and their U.S. NP Transition Team partners took to the streets of eastern Baghdad to enforce a weapons-free zone in and around Al Amin, July 13.
Capt. Arthur Benson, an intel advisor with the 1st Bn., 4th Bde. 1st NP Div. NPTT explained that the GoI declared Al Amin an area where no weapons are allowed.  “Any household that had an AK-47 now does not,” said Benson, assigned to 1st CAB, 66th AR, which is attached to 4th BCT, 10th Mtn Div.  U.S. Forces working with NP gathered the intel that prompted the mission. Their intel indicated possible caches and Special Groups leaders living in the area, said Benson.
In a continuing positive trend, NP took the lead as U.S. Soldiers supported them through coaching, teaching and mentoring during the mission, explained Benson.  In addition, the NPTT Soldiers were there to provide backup and a little more firepower if mission conditions called for it, he said, commenting that the NP performed superbly.  “They’ve got great officers and (are) also developing a great NCO corps,” said Benson.
Overall, National Police intelligence has improved from the very basic alerting of an IED to now knowing specific info about the names and locations of IED makers, explained Benson.


Fallujah KFC


Local teenagers from the Hey Al Dubat area of Fallujah hang out during the afternoon near a KFC, July 16  Since the opening nearly 7 months ago, the business has flourished.
Photo by Cpl. Chris Mann


Troop Scoop 7/21/2008

Troop Scoop

Posted: 21 Jul 2008 08:21 AM CDT

Dear Interested Reader,
The big stories are the huge weapons and munition caches siezed, as well as many AQI terrorists and other criminals.  It’s always good to hear how criminal activities are thwarted.  It’s also good to read that training of the IA Scouts is impressive, and successful.  There’s a nice picture of architecture in Taji Qada.
Multi-National Corps – Iraq
Public Affairs Office, Camp Victory
APO AE 09342

July 21, 2008
Iraqi Army’s ‘Quiet Professionals’

By Sgt. Daniel T. West
41st Fires Bde

Editor’s Note: The names of individuals interviewed for this article could not be published due to the nature of the unit’s mission.


An Iraqi Army scout fires from cover, July 15.
Photo by Sgt. Daniel West.

FOB DELTA — A platoon of IA scouts took part in a live-fire exercise last week designed to simulate a raid and pursuit of a terrorist target in an urban environment.  U.S. Soldiers from Operational Detachment Alpha 7236 trained the IA scouts and supervised the exercise.
“In six years of training with (American) SF, we have never done training like we did today,” said the cmdr. of the IA Scout Co.  The training exercised the movement techniques the scouts have learned and updated their skills with the newest training, he added.
“They did fairly well,” said the U.S. Advisor from ODA 7236 in charge of the training. “This is what we built up to with 2 months of training, and I’m very pleased. They have improved a million times over.  “We’ve instilled the idea of being special,” he added. “They want to be here and are very motivated and ready to train.”
The IA Scouts’ mission is to pursue terrorist and criminal elements, said their cmdr.
American forces hand-picked the team members from IA training; they were named scouts after a 3-month selection course during which more than a third of the candidates dropped out, said a U.S. advisor.  Their effectiveness has not received much publicity, but the responses of the terrorist elements they target may be a better measure.
The previous cmdr. and 3 of their Soldiers were killed by terrorists while home on leave, but the scouts “did not give up,” said their cmdr.
The current cmdr. continues to receive threats and has had 3 assassination attempts against him. Their resolve remains strong.
“We’re here to keep Wasit and al Kut safe, to help make Iraq a safe place for families and children,” he said. “They are here for [a short time] training us, but it’s our country. We’ll be staying. We need to train, so we thank the Soldiers for passing the training along.  As warriors, we are motivated to always do better.”
“They do large ops, and no one ever knows about them,” said a warrant officer of ODA 7236. “They’re quiet professionals. They don’t need credit; they just want to accomplish the mission.”


INPs, MND-B Soldiers confiscate weapons cache in Baghdad

BAGHDAD – July 20, IP seized a 6″ EFP, a 120 mm artillery round, 4 RPGs and an IED. All munitions were turned in to Soldiers with the 4th BCT, 10th Mtn Div.
Since May 20, in support of Op Ironhorse Tempest, Iraqi SF and CF Soldiers have recovered 458 weapons and munitions caches, including 628 IEDs and EFPs; 991 RPGs; 5,471 rifles; 3,073 artillery, tank and mortar rounds; 291 rockets; homemade explosives and various bomb-making materials.


IA soldiers seize weapons cache in Sadr City

BAGHDAD –  July 20, IA Soldiers found 3 RPGs, 12 RPG-7 rounds, 4 RPG-7 chargers, a grenade, a 60 mm mortar tube and base, a PKC machine gun, 2 drums of rounds and 300 loose rounds.
Since May 20, the IA has recovered 230 weapons and munitions caches in Sadr city north of Quds Street, including 280 IEDs and EFPs, 2 anti-aircraft guns, 546 RPGs, 85 RPG launchers, 44 machineguns, 740 AK-47s, miscellaneous rifles and pistols, 29 mortar tubes, 925 artillery, tank, anti-aircraft and mortar rounds, 52 rockets, 44 rocket launcher, rails and tubes, 120 anti-tank mines, an anti-personnel mine, large amounts of TNT and C4, almost 400 grenades, homemade explosives and various bomb-making materials.


RPGs and RPG launchers are lined up in rows as part of the 9th IA Div’s weapons and munitions cache display at Al Rasheed Airbase June 18.
(U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Whitney Houston)


Baghdad National ERB detains two suspected Special Groups criminals, kills six

BALAD –  July 20, in Sadr City, the ERB detained a suspected Special Groups criminal leader and an associate believed to be responsible for supplying lethal weapons to other Special Groups criminals in Baghdad.  One of the suspected criminals is said to be the leader of a cell responsible for multiple attacks against CF in the area and for seeking lethal weapons from Iran.
After detaining the suspects, ERB proceeded to a suspected cache site located in the New Baghdad district and came under attack,
returning fire and killing 2. After a brief cease fire, ERB came under fire again from elements within the building and called for close air support from CF.  Coalition aircraft fired 40 and 105 mm rounds at the building, when a large explosion occurred, leading the team to believe it contained a weapons cache.
While assessing the building, ERB continued to come under attack. Three suspected criminals fled into an adjacent building while 4 others were killed during the exchange of gunfire.


ISOF kill two suspected terrorists in Diyala Province

BALAD –  July 17, during an op to disrupt AQI activity in the region, while approaching the suspects, one raised his hands while the other reached for a suicide vest.  Perceiving hostile intent, the ISOF engaged the men, killing both suspects.
The 2 suspects were allegedly part of an AQI cell with at least 20 members, including foreign fighters. The cell is said to conduct mortar attacks and murders against Iraqi civilians and IED attacks against CF. Reports indicate the cell moves at night and uses “spider holes” by the canal to emplace IEDs.  Reports also indicate many of the terrorists manning these positions wear suicide vests or control the IED triggers.


MND-B Soldiers detain known terrorist, two suspected criminals

BAGHDAD –  July 19, in the Rashid district of southern Baghdad, at approx. 5:30 p.m., Soldiers from the 1st BCT, 4th ID, detained a known terrorist in the Hadar community.
Also in the Hadar community, 1st BCT Soldiers detained 2 suspected criminals at approx. 10 p.m.


ISOF disrupts criminal activities in central Iraq

BALAD –  July 18, In Baghdad, ISOF captured a suspected Special Groups criminal working for the Ministry of Oil. The suspect reportedly uses his business earnings to purchase weapons and vehicles for Special Groups criminals.
The ISOF captured 2 additional Special Groups criminals in Basra. They are accused of murder and kidnapping as well as IED and indirect fire attacks.  One of the criminals is accused of using his position as an IP officer to transfer weapons and IP vehicles to Special Groups criminals.  He is also wanted for the extra-judicial killing of a local female.
In the New Baghdad area, ISOF detained 7 suspected Special Groups criminals reportedly associated with a known cell operating in Jisr Diyala.  Reports indicate the leader of this group was planning to conduct and film an IED attack for exploitation.


ISF, CF thwart terrorist activities, uncover weapons caches

BALAD – In the northern and western regions of Iraq, Iraqi and CF hindered terrorists and insurgents, July 16-18.
On July 18, the Salah ad-Dinh Emergency Services Unit and the Tikrit National ERU conducted a joint op to capture known insurgents and disrupt terrorists’ use of Bayji Island as a safe haven and logistical cache area. They detained 2 men believed to be members of the terrorist group in Bayji who conducted IED attacks against CF.
On July 17 in Abu Dohon Village, northeast of Baghdad, Muqdadiya SWAT Team detained 5 suspected terrorists.  One of the suspected terrorists claims to be the leader of a 13-person cell responsible for crimes ranging from extortion to attacks against the GoI and CF.  During the operation, SWAT uncovered a bag of ammonium nitrate.
On the same day in the western regions of Iraq, Haditha SWAT conducted an op to execute an arrest warrant for a suspected terrorist believed to be involved with attacks against Iraqi and CF.
Iraqi and CF also continue to uncover weapons caches in the northern region of the country, July 16 and 17,  based on info that IEDswere being constructed and stored in the area.  Reports also indicated that attacks were being conducted against CF. The caches   consisted of concrete blocks, boosters and artillery rounds, several gallons of home-made explosives, mines, rocket launchers and several sticks of explosive materials. They also detained 2 men for questioning.


Coalition forces target al-Qaeda in Iraq

BAGHDAD – CF detained 15 suspects July 20, during ops in central and northern Iraq targeting al-Qaeda leaders.
In Bayji, about 160 km south of Mosul, CF captured a suspected AQI operative. When the force entered the target building, they encountered 2 armed men. Perceiving hostile intent, CF engaged and killed them. One suspect, identified as the targeted individual, charged CF and was injured during the op. Another suspected terrorist was detained.
Two other ops in Bayji targeted AQI leaders and netted 4 suspected terrorists.
Info from an individual captured last week led CF to 2 locations in Baghdad where they captured 2 alleged AQI leaders in the Southern Belt around the city. The wanted men are believed to be behind kidnappings and attacks against civilians and the SF that protect them. CF detained 2 additional suspects during the 2 ops.
Also in Baghdad, CF targeted members of an extremist group that has been helping AQI’s propaganda network and detained 2 suspects.
In Mosul, CF used info from an op July 1 to target a senior AQI leader in the city and detained 2 suspected terrorists.


Taji Qada Patrol


Army Spc. Adam Brown patrols through a neighborhood in the Taji Qada, northwest of Baghdad, July 9.
Photo by Sgt. J. B. Jasso 111


Smith-Wever American Legion Post 651 and Joseph Kovarik American Legion Post 1146 banded together on Sunday to put on a great fund raiser for their efforts to sent care packages to the troops. Over 200 folks came and enjoyed themselves while building a war chest for troop support. Tom, Commandant of Post 651 was the master of ceremonies (and the person most requested for the dunking pool!) which duty he shared with Donna, blue star mom and member of Band of Mothers.

Special thanks to Eileen and all the ladies of Post 651 who oversaw the hall preparations, donated all the food, and rounded up the volunteers to cook all that sweet corn, hamburgers and hot dogs for the guests!

Besides the raffles, BBQ and great music, tables were provided for various organizations to lay out information for recruiting purposes. Among those who took advantage of this were; Gathering of Eagles, Patriot Guard Riders, Soldiers Angels, Band of Mothers, etc…

At the end of the day I presented Tom with a Gathering of Eagles Bike Flag in appreciation for all he has done in organizing responses to deal with anti-recruitment activity in Suffolk County and for his unwavering support for our troops.

It was a fun day in great company!

My pictures are here.

David Murphy’s pictures are here.

July 21, 2008: American troops in Afghanistan are not happy with how a July 13th battle with the Taliban was reported. In that action, some 200 Taliban attacked a U.S. “base” and killed or wounded more than half the 50 or so U.S. and Afghan troops found there. Actual U.S. casualties were nine dead and fifteen wounded (including walking wounded).

U.S. troops were irked that, once again, the mass media got lazy and didn’t bother to report the action accurately. For one thing, there was no “base”. What the Taliban attacked was a temporary parking area for vehicles used to conduct patrols of the area. These are set up regularly, and have been used for years. These are secure areas, but basically a parking lot surrounded by barbed wire and several sandbagged observation posts. This one was set a few days before the attack, and was due to be taken down soon, as the patrol activity moved to another area.

Such defensive precautions are taken any time U.S. troops stop for more than a few hours. That’s a tactic pioneered by the Romans over two thousand years ago. In this case, it paid off. The Taliban infiltrated several hundred fighters into a nearby village, and opened fire from homes, businesses and a mosque. The U.S. and Afghan troops called in air support and kept fighting until the Taliban fled, taking most of their dead and wounded with them.

Read the whole thing here.

Beware the new Moonbat Mantra!

The radical left anti-America crowd has been stripped of their last good rallying cry by our resounding success in Iraq and the efforts and resolve of the Iraqi people to embrace freedom and democracy.

In an urgent push to re-incite their fellow travelers they have come up with a new slogan and a new cause to inflame their easily manipulated followers:
Stop War On Iran. You can view their website here.

On Saturday, August 2, 2008, at Noon, they plan a massive street protest at the Armed Forces Recruiting Station in Times Square. This is the station that has been repeatedly abused by the left wing protesters, culminating in its bombing in March. It is a location we have vowed to protect at any and all costs. Join us there at 11am as we hold a massive Support the Troops Rally and establish a protective cordon of patriots and flags to prevent the radicals from abusing the recruiters and defacing the station itself.

What: Support the Troops Rally
Where: Armed Forces Recruiting Station, Times Square, NYC, West 43rd Street and Broadway
When: Saturday, August 2, 2008, 11am – 4pm

Troop Scoop 7/20/2008

Troop Scoop

Posted: 20 Jul 2008 07:59 AM CDT

Dear Interested Reader,
A girls’ high school opens new sports facilities, making for a lot of grateful students.  IP share their training with other IPs, with our troops acting as mentors. U.S. agricultural advisors monitor the progress of maize seed, and an Oil Refinery in Haditha resumes production.  Many suspected criminals are detained, and more weapons caches seized.
Multi-National Corps – Iraq
Public Affairs Office, Camp Victory
APO AE 09342

July 20, 2008

All-girls high school opens new sports facilities

BAGHDAD – An all-girls high school celebrated the opening of several sports facilities and a new generator, July 16 during a ribbon-cutting ceremony in the Rashid district of southern Baghdad.  The renovation effort stemmed from a partnership with the Rashid District Council, the Ministry of Education and CF.
Capt. Thao Reed, a 1st BCT, 4th ID co. cmdr. encouraged the Karkh II Sports Director of the Education District, Ahmed Abdullah, to establish a girls’ sports program across Rashid, and advised the school board to renovate the school.
The ceremony showcased a new indoor volleyball court, outdoor basketball and volleyball court, and a generator to provide electricity.  “I am thankful for everything and will keep my experiences here today with me for the rest of my life,” said Alia Ahmed, a student at the school and avid athlete.  “I hope we are someday equal to women from other cultures,” Majwed stated. “I hope this is the first step towards a glorious future.”

Screenshot_036 Screenshot_036

A team of young Iraqi girls prepare for a serve during an exhibition volleyball game, July 16 at the Al-Manhel High School for Girls.
(U.S. Army photo by Spc. David Hodge)


MND-B Soldiers detain five suspected criminals in Rashid

BAGHDAD – Conducting combat ops in the Rashid district of southern Baghdad, Soldiers from the 1st BCT, 4th ID, detained 2 suspected criminal cell members at approx. 11:30 p.m., July, 17 in the Shurta community.
At approx. 2:30 a.m. July 19, Soldiers from the 1st BCT, detained a suspected criminal in the Saydiyah neighborhood.
Also detained were 2 suspected AQI terrorists during an op in the Zubaida neighborhood July 19 at approx. 4:15 a.m.


MND-B Soldiers detain key suspected criminal in Taji

BAGHDAD –  Soldiers from the 2nd Stryker BCT, 25th ID, detained a highly sought after suspected criminal in Taji, northwest of Baghdad, July 18.  The suspected Special Groups criminal, accused of supporting the insurgency in Iraq by supplying intel reports with the means to target U.S. installations with rockets.


Karkh policemen share training with fellow IPs

BAGHDAD – Five IP trainers, under CF supervision, are putting their own training into action through a comprehensive one-week course focused on giving instruction to IP in the Karkh Security District of Baghdad.
The course is part of the Police Train-the-Trainer Academy Program, currently being run by Soldiers from the 2nd BCT, 101st Abn Div.  The program focuses on training Karkh Security District police on rifle marksmanship, dismounted patrolling, tactical checkpoint ops, first aid, Iraqi law, crime scene management, IED ID and reaction and searching procedures.
“The IP Training Team did an outstanding job facilitating training for the IP,” 1st Lt. Kevin Smith, a 2nd BCT, 101st Abn. Div. co. cmdr.
Staff Sgt. Christopher Garza, a Coalition trainer facilitates the policeman’s training by providing first-hand mentorship to the trainees.  “I believe the academy is a great program for these policemen,” said Garza. “It’s a part of helping Iraq grow stronger as a nation by constantly developing their SF.”


MND-B Soldiers, agricultural advisors monitor progress at Abernisha farm

BAGHDAD – MND – Baghdad Soldiers accompanied Daniel Skotnick, agriculture advisor, and Abdullah Al Asoum, economic bi-
lingual, bi-cultural advisor with PRT Baghdad-5, visited a farm in Abernisha Village to monitor the progress of hybrid maize seed delivered there recently, July 13.
The seed, donated by a co. the U.S. Agency Int’l Development sponsors, will be used for growth of high-quality feed for livestock.  The org. is working to revitalize agriculture production In Iraq. “The maize program is the first step in establishing hybrid maize production in Iraq,” said Asoum. “Hybrid strains are cultivated for specific characteristics, such as drought resistance.  When cross-pollinated the resulting hybrid exhibits the desired characteristics.”
Though the project will take some time to fully develop, they expect to see a difference within the next 4 months, said Skotnick.


A bag of hybrid maize seed lies open at a distribution point in Abernisha Village.
(U.S. Army photo by Pfc. Lyndsey Dransfield)


Daniel Skotnick, agriculture advisor, and Abdullah Al Asoum speak with a farmer in Abernisha Village.


ISF detain 2 suspected terrorists, 3 suspected Special Groups criminals in separate ops

BALAD – Iraqi SF detained 2 suspected AQI cell members and 3 suspected Special Groups criminals in ops around central Iraq, July 18.
Baghdad National ERU detained 2 suspected AQI terrorists on Ministry of Interior warrants in the Doura area.  The suspects are believed to be involved in murder, killings, kidnapping, extortion, mortar attacks and IEDs attacks.
Iraqi SF from an-Najaf, al-Hillah and Karbala conducted an op in the village of Hidariyah to capture criminal elements seeking sanctuary in the area, and detained 3 suspected Special Groups criminals and 7 others.


K3 Oil Refinery resumes production

CAMP FALLUJAH – Govt leaders and top military officials converged on the K3 Oil Refinery July 18 in Haditha to celebrate the facility’s re-emergence in the Iraqi oil infrastructure, as it resumed production after a 3 year break.
“The ability to get the crude oil from up north, bring it down here, refine it, and then have the distribution system that will take it through Anbar is absolutely a critical piece to keeping the Anbar economy moving forward,” said Brig. Gen. Martin Post, the deputy comm. gen. of MNF – West. “It’s important for Iraq, but really important for Anbar.”
The refinery is capable of processing 16,000 barrels of crude oil per day and will create new jobs for the local community. It is expected to increase overall fuel production in Anbar by nearly 40 percent.
“Life has started going back to the way it was before,” said Salah Ibrahim, a mgr. at the K3 Oil Refinery. “Iraq is already starting to recuperate.”


Troop Scoop 7/18/2008

Troop Scoop

Posted: 18 Jul 2008 08:23 AM CDT

Dear Interested Reader,
Big stories and wonderful pictures!  High level AQI leader, and Special Groups criminals captured.  Improving living conditions for our troops at JSS Ur, a priority.  Village of Hope graduates are rebuilding their community.  Marines and Sailors take part in a Combined Medical Engagement, while economic reconstruction projects help the Iraqi people.

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

July 18, 2008
Fostering Relationships for the Future

By Pfc. Jerry Murphy


Lance Cpl. Josh A. Buege, a rifleman with Co F provides overhead security at a Combined Medical Engagement (CME), July 6.

Photo by Pfc. Jerry Murphy

MUDIQ — The transition of authority in the al Anbar province from CF to the GoI is a priority in the province.  However, this cannot be accomplished without the trust and support of the Iraqi people.  To strengthen their relationship with local Iraqis, Marines of Co F, 2nd Bn, 24th Marine Regt, Regimental Combat Team 1, conducted a combined medical engagement recently.
“The people need to see our presence – know we are here to help them,” said Petty Officer 2nd Class Matthew G. McDonald, a corpsman with HQ and Service Co, 2nd Bn, 24th Marines. “Our support through (medicines), food, stickers, suckers and interaction with the children is very important.”
Throughout the afternoon, the corpsmen with the unit cared for several hundred Iraqi patients, who are recently showing more faith in CF’ efforts to secure a safe and hospitable environment for them to live in. “The Iraqis see that we are here to help them and, in turn, begin to realize that we are not here to hurt them,” said McDonald, a 25-year-old. “We’re here to bring them hope.”
Female Marines were on hand to search Iraqi women and children in accordance with Muslim traditions.  “Having us there really fostered a positive image, showing the Iraqis that we care enough about them to (respect their traditions),” said Capt. Lisa M. O’Brien, the communications officer for Marine Wing Support Sqdrn 374. “We’ve seen at least 300 people today and without the girls here helping, it would make it hard on not only the Marines, but the Iraqis as well.”
Attending her first CME, Lance Cpl. Amanda R. Carnagey, a 20-year-old Marine said she was a little nervous before coming to the CME, but calmed down eventually and had fun interacting with the Iraqi people for the first time. “It was a blast. I wasn’t sure what to expect at first, but it turned out to be a great experience,” she said. “It was funny; the Iraqi women would come at you and try to do everything they could to get us to understand what they needed, using hand gestures while speaking in Arabic. It was confusing at first, but I got it towards the end and just had fun.  If I could volunteer to go out again, I would in a heartbeat.  It was very rewarding knowing that I was actually out there helping the Iraqi people.”
At the end of the day the Marines and sailors packed their medical supplies and headed back to the respective bases only to begin planning their next op to support the Iraqi people.


MND-B Soldiers seize multiple caches in Baghdad

BAGHDAD – July 15, at approx. 4:30 p.m., Soldiers from 2nd Stryker BCT, 25th ID found 7 155 mm artillery rounds, 26 120 mm mortars, 2 PG-7 machine guns, a PG-9 machine gun, a 57 mm rocket, a 2.75 inch rocket warhead, a 5-gallon can of UBE explosive material, 22 100 mm mortars and 26 82 mm mortars north of Baghdad.
Later, Soldiers from 1st BCT, 4th ID found 10 mortar fuses at approx. 10 p.m., in the West Rashid area of Baghdad.
Soldiers from the 18th MP Bde found 5 one pound blocks of C-4 explosive material in the Kadamiyah area of Baghdad.
“Since May 20, in full partnership with Iraqi SF, U.S. Soldiers in Baghdad have seized more than 450 weapons and munitions caches,” said Lt. Col. Steve Stover, spokesman, MND-B and the 4th ID. “Dubbed Op Ironhorse Tempest, we have seized 275 EFPs, 336 IEDs, 245 rockets, 478 artillery rounds, 2,159 mortar rounds, 972 rocket propelled grenades and 5,320 rifles – a very significant achievement and good news for both the Iraqi and American people.”


ISOF detain suspected AQI leader

BALAD – In Fallujah, July 15 the suspect detained on a Ministry of Justice warrant, is reportedly in charge of 3 AQI emirs overseeing approx. 200 terrorists.  He is also accused of smuggling and storing chemicals and mortars used in attacks against Iraqi and CF, and is said to order the emplacement of IEDs.


ISF detain two suspected Special Groups criminals in central Iraq

BALAD –  July 15, in the Sadr City district of Baghdad, the Baghdad National ERU detained a Special Groups criminal on a warrant issued by the Ministry of Interior. The individual is suspected of killings and attacks against Iraqi Security and CF with IEDs, EFPs and small-arms fire.  He is also suspected of participating in a recent assassination of a MoI guard.
In a separate op in Jisr Diyala neighborhood, in southeastern Baghdad, Iraqi SOF detained a suspected Special Groups IED/EFP cell leader. The suspect is allegedly responsible for weapons trafficking and using EFPs in the area.  He is also said to be involved in an assassination plot against an Iraqi general officer.


Blackanthem Military News

JSS Ur focal point for security efforts

By Sgt. Philip Klein


Col. John Hort, cmdr., gets a first-hand assessment of barrier emplacement plans at the JSS Ur.

BAGDAD – Col. John Hort outlined the Brigade’s plans for  JSS Ur in northeast Baghdad, July 15.  Hort spoke with the Soldiers, assessed damage and discussed future plans for the outpost; to include improving conditions for Soldiers and an Iraqi Assistance Center. “My first priority for the Soldiers here is to improve their living conditions.  The Soldiers here need a place they can come back to and relax after a ten-hour patrol,” said Hort, 3rd BCT, 4th ID, cmdr. “It’s about keeping our Soldiers’ energy up.  If they have a better place to unwind, they will be more motivated to help the people of Baghdad – energy is paramount.”
Among the improvements Hort has in mind are new containerized housing units (CHUs), a Soldier support center, a gym area, and a revamped aid station.  There will be 24 40-foot CHUs scheduled to be installed along with 8 20-foot CHUs which are designated for showers and office space for a new Civil Military Ops Center.
Maj. Geoff Greene, the EO for the 1st CAB, 68th AR, 3rd BCT said that the T-wall barriers are already in place for the new living CHUs as well as the other improvements slated for emplacement at JSS Ur.  “We already have the design for the improvements to the JSS and have contractors and engineers ready to implement the upgrades,” said Greene.  “We will be setting up new generators as well as adding a Morale, Welfare and Rec. Center with phones, computers and televisions to help our Soldiers wind down after a mission,” he continued.
“My priorities are for our Soldiers safety, comfort and a place to relax,” said Hort.


Village of Hope graduates to begin rebuilding Hawr Rajab

BAGHDAD – Equipped with a new tool kit and construction skills, former SoI members of Hawr Rajab, now graduates of the Village of Hope School, will begin rebuilding the local boys’ school this week.
The boys’ school project marks the beginning of a larger plan for Hawr Rajab to include the renovation of several homes, more schools, mosques, water treatment facilities, medical facilities and police stations.
“The residents have responded well to our presence and the community has really gotten behind what we are trying to School. “The return of the homeowners is very symbolic of the hard work and effort put forth by the local Iraqis and SoI to rebuild their community.”


Economic Reconstruction Programs Boost Iraqi Payrolls, Businesses


Soldiers from Task Force Regulars, 1st Bn 6th ID, 432nd CAB and the 926th Eng. Bde conduct assessments in the Thawra 1 neighborhoods of the Sadr City District of Baghdad on July 3.
Photo by Tech Sgt. Cohen A. Young.

BAGHDAD — Two U.S.-military sponsored economic reconstruction programs are helping to put thousands of Iraqi citizens into productive jobs while boosting the country’s business activity, a senior U.S. military officer posted in Iraq said, July 16.
In March 2007, Army Gen. David H. Petraeus, cmdr. of MNF Iraq, directed his officers to find ways to provide jobs and increased opportunities for economic expansion, entrepreneurship and skills training for the people of Iraq, recalled Army Maj. Gen. Timothy McHale, director of personnel, logistics and resources for MNF Iraq. The successful Iraqi First LOGCAP and Iraqi-Based Industrial Zone programs are direct results of Petraeus’ directive, McHale said. “Both of these programs are focused on contributing to Iraq’s economic progress and security,” McHale pointed out.
The Iraqi First LOGCAP program provides a conduit for Iraqi businesses to sell their products and services to coalition customers, McHale explained. “We are striving to put Iraqis first in purchase decisions,” McHale noted. LOGCAP, he said, is the name of the military logistics contracting and purchasing system.
Today, about 3,700 Iraqi citizens are holding jobs as part of the Iraqi First-LOGCAP program, McHale said. At some installations, he noted, Iraqi citizens make up more than 50 percent of the work force. “We are working every day to open up more jobs on more bases to Iraqi citizens, and we expect to add thousands of jobs over the next several months,” McHale said, noting Iraqis are working in skilled positions such as construction, carpentry, masonry, welding, plumbing, electrical work, well-drilling as well as many types of general-labor positions.  “Iraqis also have a growing presence in both professional and administrative positions,” McHale said. A new initiative, he noted, is exploring ways to hire Iraqis through Iraqi-govt-sponsored vocational-technical schools.
Meanwhile, the Iraqi-Based Industrial Zone program, called IBIZ, continues to help Iraqi entrepreneurs to do business with the U.S. military, McHale said.  “IBIZ is a program that provides secure locations on or next to CF bases for privately owned, small and medium sized Iraqi businesses employing Iraqi workers,” McHale explained. The program, he said, injects money into the Iraqi economy while boosting social stability by providing jobs to Iraqis so that they can support their families.
Successful businesses that participate in the IBIZ program include building trades, vehicle-repair, retail shops, cement and asphalt, metal cutting, trucking and generator repair.  The IBIZ program is growing, McHale said, noting it is now being implemented on 11 coalition bases, with plans to expand it to 14 bases this summer.


Water Works


Army Pfc. Holtzhauser squeezes in next to several cases of water bottles in his Bradley Fighting Vehicle in Diyala, July 13.  Holtzhauser is assigned to the 3rd ACR Troop G, 2nd Bn.
Navy photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Paul Seeber


Copy Cats


Marine Corps Cpl. Jonathan Segovia, personnel security detail, 1st Marine Expeditionary Force, a ground combat element attached to MNF-W, relaxes with Iraqi children in Sha-ban, July 9.
Photo by Cpl. Taylor J. Schulz


Baby Face


Army Staff Sgt. Kristy Vanlanen holds an Iraqi child at the Civil Military Ops Center at FOB Hawk, July 13.  Vanlanen is assigned to the 432nd CAB, 4th ID.
Photo by Staff Sgt. Manuel J. Martinez


This is a short notice event.  A fund raiser is being held to help the family of a wounded warrior retrofit their home to accommodate their son who lost both legs in an ied attack in Sadr City on March 17, 2008.  Cpl Christopher Levi, 25, is currently at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, DC,  learning to use his prosthetic legs.  Both his parents and he are hoping to have him return to his home in Holbrook, NY, on Long Island, but they need help to make the necessary modifications to their home so he can enjoy his deserved independence.

The whole story and a video are here:,0,5717812.story?page=1

Where: Plattduetsche Park Restaurant, 1132 Hempstead Turnpike, Franklin Square, NY
When: Saturday, July 19, 2008,  5pm
Donation: $10/person at door

Live music, drinks, raffles, other fundraising chances

To mail a donation make check payable and mail to:
Christopher Levi
c/o Holbrook Fire Department

390 Terry Blvd.
Holbrook, NY 11741