FORWARD OPERATING BASE KALSU, Iraq – A Coalition Force air assault mission led to the detainment of two suspected al-Qaeda in Iraq members and the
establishment of a Concerned Local Citizen command post in the village of Aby Salman, Iraq, Dec. 9.
Soldiers from Company B, 1st Battalion, 30th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, began Operation Gladiator before daylight; a mission to search and clear homes and look for suspected al-Qaeda members.
While setting up an observation post on the roof of a house, Soldiers observed a local Iraqi ride by on a bicycle. He was stopped, searched and discovered to be a suspected al-Qaeda sniper. The Soldiers were excited about the mission.
“It’s a rush,” said Spc. Gabriel Maldonado, from New York City, a team leader in Company B, of kicking in doors and clearing houses. “This is what you train for and this gives us an opportunity to do it.”
The company hadn’t been in the area during the last month and the threat of house-borne improvised explosive devices was high.
Most of the homes searched were empty.
“The bad guys scared all the people away. We haven’t been here in a while so hopefully the people will come back,” said 1st Lt. Derrick Anderson, from Fredericksburg, Va.
One of the houses that was cleared is now being set up as a CLC command post.
The CLC members who will work from the command post will be residents from the area, said Capt. John Newman, Company B commander. “Their knowledge will help us in the area,” Newman said.
During the mission, another suspected al-Qaeda member was detained and a 57 mm IED was destroyed in a controlled detonation by an explosive ordnance disposal team.
Taking back areas formerly seized by the enemy and helping the residents to return. Another big step forward thanks to the surge tactics.