March 28, 2008

From the Front: 03/28/2008

News and Personal dispatches from the front lines.

In their own words:
LTC Rich Phillips: Last Day in KAF - Today, Friday, 28 March should be my last full day in KAF. Of course, around here you just never know how the schedule will work out so it pays to remain flexible. Hopefully, I'll fly to BAF tomorrow to begin another stage of the redeployment process. All "my" Jordanians are gone. They flew home to Jordan last night. Now I am truly out of a job. The new liaison officer for the Jordanian Armed Forces, LtCol Tom Collins, is in place at FOB Apache and doing a great job. While I am waiting here I was thinking back over the last 18 months, from Camp Atterbury to FOB Apache. I didn't really start taking pictures until I began the trip to Afghanistan, but once I started I've managed to document the last 15 months pretty well. Here are just a few pictures of me from my time here in Afghanistan. (READ MORE)

Yellowhammering Afghanistan: Much sexes - I have a terrific terp. When he's not translating for me or other members of our team, he is constantly learning new English words and even slang in a desire to master the nuances of our language. He not only translates the words to match their appropriate meaning, but he uses the proper inflection, mimicking my emotions if I am happy, angry, appreciative. So when he makes a mistake, it is not only rare, but sometimes funny. The word that has been giving him trouble is "success." When he says it, it comes out "sexes." (READ MORE)

Kaboom: A Soldier's War Journal: A Cold Spring - The pale curtains of the desert sun loom softly every dawn. Spring has arrived, bringing with it a heat eager to oppress. It’s the same everywhere we go in this (insert writer's misleading and skewed adjective here) country. Same confused mixture of anger, sadness, and hope. Same matching black pools of the wild browbeaten, same bottled mistrust that could quench even this nation’s thirst. Caged, hellbent on survival if only to see you gone from their sight so they can focus this sensual wrath on something new. The only difference over here is that the poor aren’t afraid to openly cast it. Not jaded, like the homeless back home. Too vacant for that, and more hostile in intent. More like a junkie without the hallucinating hope for another fix. When there’s nothing to lose, it’s easy to be honest. (READ MORE)

Omar: Iraqis and US Presidential Elections - While common sense suggests that Iraq would be very interested in the U.S. presidential race — given the immense influence of U.S. decision-making on the situation in the country — we see that the local media in Iraq have largely been ignoring the developments of the Democratic and Republican primaries. Moreover, we have hardly heard any comments from the political class, and the average person on the street is not as interested about the American election as they were in 2004. What could be the reasons for this? The first, I believe, is that the clock in Baghdad ticks slower than the clock in Washington. It’s very likely that the media and politicians are not yet interested in the American election simply because there’s still plenty of time left until Americans get to make their final decision. Meanwhile, everyone in Iraq is busy living with immediate domestic challenges and issues of daily life. (READ MORE)

Doc in the Box: JUST A CORPSMAN By HM2 (DOC VADER) Benitez - (note, I didn't write this, just using it by permission, it tells a bit about what I do) I recently was engaged in a heated argument with a young sergeant during this argument the sergeant said to me “You are just a corpsman” This angered me to no end, as we continued with the patrol I thought about his statement. You are just a Corpsman. I realized that even though he may have thought he was disrespecting me he paid me one of the highest complements that could be given to a warrior. Yes I am just a Corpsman. (READ MORE)

The Angry American: Not Out of the Woods Yet - I told Kum to grab the AT-4 (medium anti-tank rocket launcher) and sling it on his back. With the recent spike in violence I wasn't about to start taking chances. My team leaders checked their men and prepped them to step out of the gate. No trucks were coming with us tonight. It had been a while since we moved dismounted through the sector and it was welcome stretch of the legs. The big iron doors squealed open and my men and I made our way out into the street. It was by my account just a familiarization walk as we had officers from the unit relieving us in our formation. We got our spacing and moved silently into the night. Checking roof tops and the sides of the roads through the green hue of the night vision for any signs of unwanted company or things that go BOOM. (READ MORE)

Toy Soldier: Dealing With Corruption - Before I post the pictures from the kids I want to touch on a subject that is at the very heart of this conflict here in the Middle East, Corruption. No, not American corruption, Iraqi. The last thing left to do to complete our mission here is to help the IA and IP establish themselves as a legitimate, capable, and competent force; but sometimes they seem so dead set against it. We arrested a known ASA Leader a while ago, and we were finishing our evidence on him and preparing to send it off to the IA Brigade. Nope, IA Brigade released him suddenly and with out explanation or word. (READ MORE)

That Krazy Korean: Odd - We get sent all kinds of crazy things here, from 5 gallon buckets of hand sanitizer, to crates of Slinkies, to bullet proof vests (seriously, somebody sent one of the captains here body armor!). Despite the absurdity of the contents of the countless care packages, they are all great gestures of kindness and thoughtfulness meant to make you smile or brighten your day (or stop a bullet). In light of the current situation here, I figure I’d share this one obscure item that was stuffed away in a box. (READ MORE)

Heading Out:
Navy Gal: The Final Countdown - The final countdown is on for our departure. All the training is done, the packout is complete. Now, we will sit through some B.S. waste-some-time crappy briefs AGAIN on what not to do in country. If I have to hear that I can't even so much as look at a guy, let alone talk to one or even worse, befriend one or else the evil troll monkeys will fly out of my butt and the mythical OZ will show himself from behind the curtain and send me to military jail, I'm going to scream! AND for gosh sakes, don't let them catch me with my collection of kitty cats in the buff on my computer, I'll go to hell for that one too! (READ MORE)

Big Tobacco: The Cigars they Carried - Ironically, I didn’t smoke while I was composing this. (By the way, Tim O’Brien, you are an elitist schmuck. If you want a real war memoir, read Jarhead by Anthony Swafford.) The things they carried were largely determined by their rank. They carried the necessities, Laptop, iPod, digital camera, cellphone with charger, PSP or Game Boy Advanced. The smarter NCOs packed power strips so their whole squad could recharge off of the lone outlet in the barracks. They carried their LBV and rucksack, wondering why they had to pack their fleece bottoms. They carried a duffle bag that they would live out of for the next three weeks. Some carried books, all carried guns. (READ MORE)

News from the Front:
IRAQ: Guns for money - Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Maliki's hopes of forcing Shiite militiamen to hand in their weapons has fallen flat, so he has extended a disarmament deadline and sweetened the deal by offering money in exchange for guns. A spokesman for the government's Interior Ministry, Abdul Kareem Khalaf, acknowledged today that not a single weapon had been turned in since Maliki ordered the disarmament Wednesday and gave fighters a three-day deadline. The call came as Shiite Muslim militias battled Iraqi security forces in the aftermath of Maliki's crackdown on militiamen. The offensive was launched Tuesday in the southern city of Basra and has since spread to Shiite strongholds across Iraq. (READ MORE)

Iraqi Security Forces, Coalition forces target terrorists, kill 26 - BAGHDAD, Iraq – Multi-National Division – Baghdad soldiers killed 26 terrorists during operations March 27 in Baghdad. While patrolling in Adhamiyah, soldiers from 1st Squadron, 2nd Stryker Cavalry Regiment were attacked by small arms fire. The soldiers returned fire in self-defense, killing five terrorists and wounding an additional five terrorists. The wounded were treated and detained by Iraqi National Police. (READ MORE)

ISF, CF defend checkpoint, kill 8 militants (Baghdad) - BAGHDAD – Iraqi Security Forces and Multi-National Division – Baghdad Soldiers killed eight militants after they were attacked at an Iraqi Army checkpoint with rocket propelled grenades and small-arms fire in northern Baghdad at approximately 2:30 p.m. March 27. An MND-B aerial weapons team provided air support and engaged the terrorists, killing eight. (READ MORE)

Mass grave discovered near Muqdadiyah - TIKRIT, Iraq – Acting on a tip from a local Iraqi, Multi-National Division – North Soldiers and Iraqi Policemen discovered 37 bodies buried in a mass grave north of Muqdadiyah, Iraq, March 27. All the bodies were badly decomposed and appear to have been there anywhere from two to eight months. Some of the bodies showed signs of torture. (READ MORE)

Coalition forces kill five terrorists, capture car bomb cell leader - BAGHDAD, Iraq – Coalition forces conducted operations throughout Iraq Tuesday and Wednesday targeting suspected terrorists who are believed to be associated with al-Qaeda in Iraq senior leadership and others suspected of organizing suicide bombings for the terrorist group. In Tikrit, intelligence sources led Coalition forces to a building and called for the occupants to come out. When the occupants did not comply, the ground force approached the building and came under a heavy small-arms attack. Coalition forces called in supporting aircraft to suppress the fire. (READ MORE)

Terrorists launch eleven indirect fire attacks, other unrest (Baghdad) - BAGHDAD – Terrorists launched eleven indirect fire attacks against civilians, Iraqi Security and Coalition forces in Baghdad March 27. Five indirect fire attacks struck in the vicinity of the International Zone, killing one civilian and wounding 14. Three indirect fire attacks struck two U.S. forward operating bases and one joint security station east of the Tigris River injuring four U.S. Soldiers. And, five mortar rounds struck two joint security stations and an Abna al-Iraq, or Sons of Iraq, check point in West Rashid wounding three SOI. (READ MORE)

Afghan school gets new library and science lab for opening day - BAGRAM AIRBASE, Afghanistan – The first day of school at Jan Qadam Elementary School, Parwan Province, was alive with the throngs of excited children, dignitaries, government officials and Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force-Afghanistan soldiers who dedicated a new school library and science lab, March 24. Just after 9 a.m. on Monday, the Head of the District Development Council welcomed everyone to the event, noting the importance of the relationship between the school and all those who helped make it a great place to learn. (READ MORE)

Coalition forces disrupt weapons facilitation in Helmand - BAGRAM AIRFIELD, Afghanistan – Coalition forces were attacked while conducting an operation, March 26, to capture a Taliban leader and disrupt facilitation networks in Helmand Province resulting in insurgents’ deaths and the wounding of a civilian not involved in hostilities. Coalition forces searched of compounds in the Kajaki district targeting a Taliban insurgent linked to weapons facilitation operations in the area. “Coalition forces received small-arms fire from several insurgents armed with AK-47s, machine guns, hand grenades and rocket propelled grenades during their search...” (READ MORE)

No comments: