April 6, 2008

From the Front: 04/06/2008

News and Personal dispatches from the front lines.

In their own words:
Sergeant Grumpy: Short Update - Heya hi all, Grump's still kickin' but I have been working nearly non-stop up until last night. Me and my little band were rapidly deployed to another part of the country and have been neck deep in it. For now things have quieted down, and everyone is getting some much needed rest. For those trying to follow for home, forget it - you aren't getting much of the truth. Things are both better and much worse than what's on the news. I'll say for my part all I care about right now is that all my buddies get home to their families safe. (READ MORE)

Iraq: The Purgatorium: Any DAY NOW - I went back and started reading some of the original posts on the old site. Who wrote that? Not me. Young and dumb, the enthusiasm dripping off of the page almost makes me nauseous. Guess you gotta touch the stove to know for sure. All's the same. Same as it ever was. Griiiiiiiiiiiind. Couple of days and things are going to get really monotonous for me, but don't let me ruin that surprise just yet. Looks like everything is going to come full circle. I started this deployment doing FOB details, I just may be finishing it that way too. Sounds great to me. (READ MORE)

Yellowhammering Afghanistan: Prayer packing list - It is an essential part of most soldiers' preparation, but you won't find it in any Army manual or on any checklist. The inspections we do before a mission don't include checking for it and it's not Army-issued. But if you ask me what saved me or members of my team from serious injury or death yesterday, I'll tell you prayer. The obvious answer for some is it was the Route Clearance Package that lead our convoy to the Waghez District Center here in Ghazni. The RCP did a terrific job. As the name implies, the RCP is a group of soldiers in special vehicles with enhanced technology designed to find and destroy IEDs and mines. (READ MORE)

Yellowhammering Afghanistan: Soaps not clean enough - It's good to see the Afghanistan government taking on the major problems of the day. I'm not talking about the Taliban spring offensive, the economy, women's rights or corruption. I'm talking about Afghan men and women dancing on television. In 10 days, the Afghanistan Parliament wants the country's private television stations to stop airing Indian soap operas because they are "un-Islamic." Last time I checked, theft (corruption) and oppression of women were also un-Islamic. Despite what the Taliban would have you believe, terrorism is un-Islamic, too. But apparently the greatest un-Islamic threat here is sari-clad women. (READ MORE)

IraqPundit: Mookie and His Fan Club - For all his anti-U.S. rhetoric, Moktada Al Sadr should be thanking his lucky stars that so much of the media, especially in the U.S., present him in such a favorable light. His speechwriters (or rather, in his case, his puppeteers) should reword his distributed statements to reflect a little gratitude. The NYT, the same paper that before 2003 was certain that Saddam Hussein had WMD and Ahmad Chalabi was a reliable source, tells us today that at least a thousand Iraqi soldiers and policemen deserted during the Basra assault. “The desertions in the heat of a major battle cast fresh doubt on the effectiveness of the American-trained Iraqi security forces.” (READ MORE)

LT Nixon: Iraq News (6 April) - The Good: Sahwa members have located an Al-Qaeda hideout near Samarra, where 1500 weapons were seized. There is wide political support in the Iraqi Government to disband all of the militias. The Badr Corps, militia of the Supreme Iraqi Islamic Council (SIIC), has already been largely incorporated into the Iraqi Security Forces. This is clearly a jab at the Mahdi Army, and it will be interesting to see what form this takes. Iraqi Parliament is working on reorganizing the state-run oil companies, which has the potential to curb corruption and smuggling. The Bad: An Assyrian Orthodox Priest was shot to death in the Karrada district of Baghdad. (READ MORE)

LT Nixon: McHenry's "Two-Bit Security Guard" Remark - There has recently been some justifiable outrage in the blogosphere over Rep. McHenry (R-NC) calling one of the sentries inside the Green Zone a "two-bit security guard" during a CODEL visit. ThinkProgress, Agitprop, and Hot Air all initially postulated that he was referring to a US soldier, but later corrected themselves. In the spirit of the blogosphere being a self-regulating entity, the "two-bit" security guard in question was not a US soldier, but rather a Peruvian sentry hired by the private security contractor, Triple Canopy. McHenry's frustration in the fact that he couldn't get to the gym does not consider that security in the Green Zone is no fuckin' joke. (READ MORE)

Fearless 1st Marines’ blog: Iraqi locals tip off 2/24, Marines find explosives cache - SAQLAWIYAH, Iraq (Mar. 31, 2008) – With the help of local Iraqis and engineers from 4th Engineer Support Battalion, Marines of 2nd Battalion, 24th Marine Regiment, Regimental Combat Team 1, uncovered homemade explosives (HME) strewn about the rubble of an old schoolhouse Mar. 28. The Marines received intelligence from local Iraqis that there was possibly two buckets of explosives scattered throughout the remains of the school. “The Iraqis helping us out like this all the time (ensures) the fact that they’re not all terrorists,” said Lance Cpl. Corey A. Gress, a rifleman with Co. E., 2nd Bn., 24th Marines. “They do help us out a lot out here, all the time.” (READ MORE)

Fearless 1st Marines’ blog: Hawaii Marines construct improved security for IP station - SITCHER, Iraq (March 29, 2008) – The sun suspended high in the sky, beating down on all who did not seek shelter from its rays. But the mid-day heat did not stop Iraqi workers and the Marines of Company G, 2nd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, Regimental Combat Team 1. Hawaii Marines, in partnership with Iraqi Police and Iraqi civilian workers, continued with a two week project March 29, to build up security around the IP station here. The IP station is being fortified so that the Marines can conduct joint operations and work even closer with their Iraqi counterparts, said 2nd Lt. Husein Yaghnam, platoon commander, second platoon, Co. G, 2nd Bn., 3rd Marines. (READ MORE)

Toy Soldier: How Easily Life Changes - It's funny isn't it? How one minute things seem to be going swimmingly or horribly, and the next your whole situation has flipped 180 degrees. I see it often here, sometimes in my own life, but most often I watch it in the lives of my fellow soldiers. The most common reversal pertaining to marriage, relationships, engagements. I've had my share of tough times in that neck of the woods, but I doubt I can comprehend (being never married) how it must feel to be half a world away and over the phone hear "I don't love you anymore." from the woman I said "I Do" to. Even worse for a soldier I know: Soldier: I'll be home soon Wife: I'm pregnant Soldier: Wow...8 months in then? That's outstanding! Wife: I'm 5 months pregnant... Soldier: I've been gone for 8 months... (READ MORE)

The Angry American: So Close but so Far Away - The last couple of days have been really busy. 2nd Platoon's done there left and right seat rides and traded places with our replacements. We've turned in our gear and other equipment. Today me and my roomie just finished field daying our room. Earlier this morning Val and I were out burning left over junk when suddenly the incoming alarm went off. The burn barrel was only mere feet from the bunker so both of us calmly made our way to the bunker. That is until the rocket landed on the other side of us and a huge chunk of shrapnel made a whirring sound as it flew over our heads. We then leaped into the bunker and started laughing. (READ MORE)

In Iraq: "Are you scared of those guys?" - An Iraqi soldier approached over a sandy gulf. Two American soldiers raised their rifles and shooed him off. Another Iraqi came towards them wearing a green combat uniform. The U.S. soldiers began to shout him away. “Are you scared of those guys?” Major Jack Rebolledo, 36, asked the young soldiers. “I got the gun sir,” the private said. “We’re on the same side,” Maj. Rebolledo said, “Remember that. “They’re on the same side, sir?” “That’s the Iraqi Army,” Maj. Rebolledo said, “We’re on their base.” The exchange came as about 30 soldiers of Indiana’s 1/293 Infantry Battalion convoyed out to an Iraqi firing range for weapons practice. For some of the Indiana National Guardsmen who had just arrived in Iraq, it was their first time off base. (READ MORE)

Back or Coming Back:
That Krazy Korean: Generators - Apparently, Harley Davidson is branching out from making their world renowned motorcycles and delving into the generator market for lightsets in Kuwait. They have installed a few here at Camp Virginia. While the wheeled contraptions lack the signature chrome or the orange blazing eagle that we've come to signify with Harley's, the generators do posses the patented exhaust that make the Harley brand motorcycle so popular. It gives one the impression of sleeping at a biker-rally in say someplace sandy, like Daytona, minus the bikini clad women. So, waiting in Kuwait is not very fun. Before I go down this tirade, let me start by saying that yes, I am happy not to be in Iraq anymore. (READ MORE)

Marissa: Out of Iraq... - That's right. The best view of Iraq can be seen through the rearview window - or, in my case, craning your neck as the ramp of the C-130 closes. I am so relieved. The last week of my time in Baghdad was decidedly unpleasant, as anyone who reads the national headlines can surmise. I'm now in Kuwait, enjoying the fact that I have nothing, literally nothing, to do. Although it's pretty warm here, there's a stiff breeze blowing constantly, which makes us feel as though we're enjoying spring again. I've watched more movies in the last three days than I have in the last six months. And I'm not complaining! I should be back in Kansas in a few days, and if I'm lucky, in just over a week, I'll be back where I belong - in my house, in Newburgh, with the world's greatest husband. (READ MORE)

Eighty Deuce on the Loose in Iraq: Reunited!!! - Well this past week has been pretty awesome. The main reason for that is because of a cute little 4 legged friend that I have been able to spend time with again, CHARLIE! Last weekend, I finally was able to make the trip up to Washington DC to reunite with our dog that we had brought back from Iraq. He had been in the States since Feb 14th, and it had been almost a month and a half since I had seen him and was anxiously awaiting this day. When I finally got to the house and started to go around back to see him, he was already waiting by the fence. I had left Thursday immediatly after work so I was still in my ACUs, and when I got close enough for him to see my face, he stopped, looked up at me and if for a minute he had this look on his face like he couldn't believe what he was seeing. (READ MORE)

Heading Out:
Big Tobacco: Blame it on the Rain - I smoked an El Rey Del Mundo while composing this and I smoked a Fincks Maraviloso during the events described. It's raining. I'm outside with a private and God is pissing on the Infantry. The private is a bundle of nerves. He knows that he did something wrong. All that exists for him is a muddy field, and at the other end of it, a rucksack. I puff on the cigar and speak: "You know, (OPSEC), we need to talk about the events that transpired today. Relax." The soldier goes from a stiff parade rest to a nervous at ease. He takes the opporunity to look at the mud-soaked field and the lone rucksack at the end of it. I can see that he knows what is coming. (READ MORE)

News from the Front:
Iraqi Army humanitarian mission attacked in Sadr City - BAGHDAD – Iraqi Army soldiers and innocent Iraq civilians were attacked by small-arms fire and rocket-propelled grenades during a humanitarian mission in the Sadr City district of Baghdad at approximately 10 a.m. April 5. Iraqi Army soldiers were handing out water and food to local residents when the attack from criminals occurred. Two innocent civilians were wounded in the attack. (READ MORE)

IP detains 2 launching Iranian-made rockets (Baghdad) - BAGHDAD – Iraqi Police detained two criminals preparing three Iranian-made rockets for an attack south of Baghdad April 2. The apprehension came following tips from an Iraqi citizen and the local Abna al-Iraq, or Sons of Iraq. The rockets have been secured and turned over to Coalition forces. (READ MORE)

Coalition forces conduct airstrike in Basra, one criminal killed - BAGHDAD – Coalition aircraft conducted a precision strike in support of Iraqi Security Forces in Basra Friday, killing an armed criminal. After receiving reports that Iraqi Security Forces were under attack and taking small-arms fire from a building, Coalition forces employed an unmanned aerial vehicle to observe and confirm the target in Basra’s Haiyaniya district. A rotary-winged aircraft then conducted the strike. An armed criminal was confirmed killed in the precision airstrike. (READ MORE)

Two terrorists killed West of Samarra - BAGHDAD – Coalition forces killed two terrorists in central Iraq Friday, during an operation targeting al-Qaeda in Iraq regional leadership. Intelligence sources led Coalition forces to the terrorists' location west of Samarra. As Coalition forces approached, the terrorists attempted to evade capture by driving off a paved road and into a rural area. Coalition forces pursued them and engaged the terrorists' vehicle to stop it, killing the terrorists and igniting the vehicle. Explosions from weapons and ammunition came from inside the vehicle. (READ MORE)

Insurgents destroy Afghan school in Faroq - BAGRAM AIR FIELD, Afghanistan – Insurgents blew up a school built by Afghan citizens and sponsored by Coalition forces in Farouq, Pakitka Province, April 3. School was not in session, and no one was hurt in the blast. Afghan National Police responded to the incident and began an investigation, talking with villagers and collecting evidence. (READ MORE)

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