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



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