July 7, 2008

From the Front: 07/07/2008

News and Personal dispatches from the front and the home front.

In their own words:
A Major's Perspective: Pakistan and the Taliban - Last week I wrote an article that discussed some of the new actions that Pakistan was taking against the Taliban and Militia elements within the Federally Administered Tribal Areas, and the North West Frontier Province. A gentlemen by the name of Jerjes Talpur from that area of Pakistan wrote in the comments section about the article, and there is much I agree with and some I disagree with. The discussion was much too good to just keep in the comments section and deserves its own post entirely. Jerjes wrote, "1st of all let me clear one thing, it is not necessary to abuse power, or show strength , if things without abusing power can get ok than why should we attack and spread war, and disturb peace." I completely agree with you, if you can accomplish your objectives without resorting to military force then I am all for it. (READ MORE)

A Battlefield Tourist: 24th MEU Extended in Afghanistan - The 2,200 members of the 24th Marine Expeditionary Force (MEU) will be in Afghanistan a month longer than expected and are now due home in November instead of October. That announcement came from Marine Colonel David Lapan to the Associated Press July 3rd. The confirmation follows weeks of rumors that the Marines would be extended. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates also reiterated that the unit is a surge force and there are no plans to immediately replace the Marines when they finish their mission. In 2004, the 22nd MEU was also extended a month before departing Afghanistan without replacement. (READ MORE)

A Battlefield Tourist: Afghans, Spanish Hit Taliban in Baghdis - 25 Taliban fighters, including a local commander, were killed in Muqur district, Baghdis Province, by Afghan Security Forces (ASF) backed by Spanish International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) troops. Provincial Police Chief Mohammad Ayub Nearzyar told the Pak Tribune the ten hour fight went into the early morning of July 3rd after a joint patrol was attacked. One Afghan was wounded. While Baghdis Province is a relatively quiet province that lies in the northwest of the country, there is an active Taliban presence there. (READ MORE)

Back in the Army: 200 Days and a Wake Up...Or Less - Up till now I have been planning with the assumption that we will go to our US training base in mid February. But now the latest date has been moved up to February 1. In addition we will be packing and confined to the base for the last several days of January. Then today I called my squad leader, a full-time National Guard worker. He said I should be packed and ready to go anytime from the beginning of our next training cycle in November. He is pretty sure we will be home for the holidays, but won't bet after that. Until now the deployment has been so far off it seemed like halfway to forever. But now that we are close to 200 days to go (or maybe less) it seems much more real. I don't know why 200 seems so different than 300, but it does. (READ MORE)

The Calm Before The Sand: "Call It." - It's cool today in Hanau, Germany. Partly cloudy, with a stiff breeze from the west. Pioneer Kaserne is nearly empty. The Hanau Community is in the final stages of base closure, and with all but an MP detachment remaining in the area, the Kaserne, maybe the size of my hometown, is strangely empty. I don't even have a unit anymore. They left for the states months ago. For a while, I was attached to the local JAG office, but now they're closed down too. Having chosen not to re-enlist, I've been left here to finish out my time. I finaled out yesterday. (READ MORE)

From the 'Stan: Extension - As all of you know, the MEU will be staying in Afghanistan longer than originally planned. Here’s the official word from Maj. Dave Nevers, who is with public affairs at Headquarters Marine Corps (some of you may remember him, he used to be the PAO for the MEU): “The 24th MEU will continue conducting full-spectrum operations in Afghanistan for an additional month at the request of the International Security Assistance Force, and with the approval of Secretary Gates. This will afford the MEU the opportunity to continue building on the tremendous success it has achieved during its tour there. The Marines are now scheduled to return home in early to mid-November.” (READ MORE)

Fearless 1st Marines’ blog: Fallujah badges key to the city - FALLUJAH, Iraq (June 25, 2008) – Marines with 3rd Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, Regimental Combat Team 1 and Iraqi Police (IP) in southwest Fallujah set up a remote identification badge operation June 23-25, providing badge issuing services to more than 700 outlying residents of the city. Every resident of Fallujah is issued an identification badge to allow them access into the city and to identify themselves to Iraqi Security and Coalition forces. The idea of extending the ID services came after Marines noticed many outdated badges during patrols, said 2nd Lt. John Gabriel Sanchez, platoon commander, 3rd Platoon, Company I, 3rd Battalion, 6th Marines. (READ MORE)

Fearless 1st Marines’ blog: A broken heart mending - FALLUJAH, Iraq (July 1, 2008) – Sounds of joy and laughter resonate through a police station’s narrow hallways. A young boy slowly enters through a doorway at the end to greet the boisterous group of Marines, but the sounds of excitement quickly diminish as they see him gasping for air after walking just a short distance. The boy, five-year-old Ahmed, is the son of Warrant Officer Othman Mallouki, an Iraqi policeman with Fallujah Headquarters District. Since his birth, Ahmed has suffered from a rare but fatal heart condition that if left untreated, will eventually kill him at an unthinkable, young age. (READ MORE)

IraqPundit: Iraq's a "distraction" for Obama - Sure Barack Obama says the Iraq war is not the top of his foreign policy agenda. He calls the Iraq war a "distraction." In recent months, he has been talking about the importance of Afghanistan and Pakistan -- who can forget his plan to bomb Pakistan? Americans know the economy is more important. But isn't the economy linked to the war? If Obama's plan to withdraw U.S. troops from Iraq and abandon the Iraq and its oil to al-Qaeda and the Iran-backed militias, $4 a gallon for gasoline will be a fond memory. By promising troop withdrawal from Iraq before the job is done, the candidate reveals his weak judgement. (READ MORE)

Omar: Sadr movement, Mahdi army shrink under pressure - Over the space of several days in early June, Muqtada al Sadr has issued two consequential orders that will affect the future of his movement and that of Iraq. Sadr has ordered the reorganization of his infamous Mahdi Army and has forbidden the Sadrist movement from participating in the upcoming provincial elections. Sadr’s first declaration addressed the organization and operations of the Mahdi Army, the military arm of the Sadrist movement. Sadr ordered his militiamen to halt the fighting and announced that a small, specialized unit will have the exclusive right to fight the “occupier.” The unit, ironically called the “special groups,” is forbidden to attack Iraqi security forces or government officials. (READ MORE)

Omar: Iran and the Coming War - The possibility of military action against Iran’s nuclear facilities is increasing every day: some even expect it could happen as early as the end of this year. The strange thing is that Iran has been directing most of its recent rhetoric not against the most likely attacker — Israel — but against the United States. On Monday, General Meer Faisal Baqir Zadeh of Iran’s armed forces general command declared that Iran will be digging 320,000 graves in a number of provinces bordering Iraq and the Gulf to bury dead American attackers. One wonders: why Americans and not Israeli attackers? (READ MORE)

IN-iraq: 76th Infantrymen lift wounded soldiers on their down time - Joint Base Balad - A lot of soldiers play video games on their time off. Many don’t have an opportunity to do much else. But Specialist Aaron Fox, of Elkhart, IN and Corporal John Villegas, of Portage, IN, both of Alpha Company of 1st/293rd Infantry, volunteer at the landing pad as stretcher bearers on their days off. They wait on call for hours and rush wounded soldiers from the medivac copter to the emergency room. “We usually go over to the pad at 16:30 and stay until 22:30,” Fox said, “If we were the typical Army dudes chilling in our rooms I wouldn’t have met all these people. I used to joke about the Air Force, now I got a lot of respect for them.” (READ MORE)

IN-iraq: "Part of me is going to stay here"- Indiana soldier reflects on his time in Iraq - Samarra, Iraq - Steven McCue, 24, of Fort Wayne, IN has been training to be a soldier since he was in grade school. His dad died when he was young, and his mother had difficulty controlling him, so she put him in the Young Marines program. "I threw my first grenade when I was fifteen," McCue said, and he later joined the Army explorer program. "I was a freshmen going out to the firing range.” (READ MORE)

Kaboom: A Soldier's War Journal: Important Name Change - I had hoped to break this news sooner, but it seems certain readers have spoiled the surprise in their comments. LT G is no longer a lieutenant. On July 1, he was promoted to the rank of captain. Yes, despite the drama with the blog and his turning down the XO position, LT G is now CPT G. I suppose his pseudonym is sort of useless now, huh? The ceremony honored multiple members of the Gravediggers, as the entire platoon received awards for actioning into a firefight (I was unaware that actioning was a real word, but I am only passing on what CPT G told me). The cavalry guys received Combat Action Badges, while the infantry guys received Combat Infantry Badges. Same award, just different names for different branches. Either way, the Gravediggers were told they were awesome, something we all already know. (READ MORE)

Bill Roggio: US forces kill 20 Taliban on Pakistani border - US forces killed 20 Taliban fighters during airstrikes in Nangarhar province today in the latest in a series of attacks along the Pakistani border. The US military targeted “a large group of militants” with “precision airstrikes” in the mountains of the Deh Bala district in Nangarhar, a press release from Combined Joint Task Force – 101 reported. Intelligence report indicated the Taliban were operating in the area. Geo TV reported 20 Taliban were killed in the attack. Nangarhar is home to Tora Bora, the location of the last major battle of US and Afghan allies aginst the Taliban and al Qaeda in the winter of 2002. Osama bin Laden and numerous senior al Qaeda leaders slipped the cordon and escaped into Pakistan. (READ MORE)

Bill Roggio: Pakistan suspends Khyber operation, peace negotiations underway - The Pakistani government has halted military operations in the tribal region of Khyber and has opened up negotiations with extremist groups in the region. "The operation has been put on hold on the request of the tribal jirga [committee]," an unnamed official told Dawn. "They wanted a truce in accordance with tribal customs in order to hold talks with the other side. We have selected targets and the operation will resume if the jirga fails." The military has halted search operations and relaxed a curfew imposed in the Bara region, a stronghold of Lashkar-e-Islam, one of the two main extremist groups in the region. A government official said the cease-fire would last for 36 hours. (READ MORE)

Matel-in-Iraq: A Perfect Al Asad Day - I spend some considerable time complaining about the weather here in Iraq and who can blame me if you look at the pictures of the nearly opaque red air? But Al Asad has pleasant weather much of the year. November is very nice around here. Winters are a bit chilly, but never cold and usually clear. It is churlish to complain all the time. You just have to adapt. For example, in the summer it is much too hot for any strenuous activity during the middle of the day. The local Iraqis are active early in the morning and in the evening. They hunker down in the shade in the middle of the day. This bimodal activity optimal is probably the origin of the siesta. If you follow a similar pattern, (IF you can) you too are okay. I have been getting my running in before 0700. (READ MORE)

manrymission.com: MAO BBQ - GRD officially celebrated Independence Day with a day off on Thursday, 3 July. The best thing about a day off in Iraq is sleeping late. So I decided to plan a game of soccer starting at 0600 to try to beat the heat. On FOB Marez, there is a caged soccer field with an artificial surface. It’s about one fourth the size of a regulation soccer field, fortunately! In the days leading up to the soccer game, Sarah periodically tried to convince me it was a bad idea. She frequently reminded me that the Aegis security personnel are primarily British and actually know how to play soccer. Additionally, she pointed out that they generally play to win, no matter the cost. That’s a pretty good point, since the typical Aegis team member in Mosul is prior service with either the Royal Marines or the Parachute Regiment. (READ MORE)

Navy Gal: What to do to make the time go by.... - Well here I sit on the 4th of July in Balad, Iraq. I never in a million years would have thought at this time last year that one year later I would be here. Tonight, my unit is having a pool party cook-out that is not "mandatory" but you better be there. I like to call that "mandatory family fun". HAHA!! Hey you will never guess but we had yet another dust storm! Ha! Who would have thought such a thing. Can you hear the condisention in my tone??!! Anyway....been pretty much the same crap up here. With the exception of finally working the heli pad at the hospital and taking off a wounded local with a gunshot wound to the head. I was scared to death when I heard what was coming off the helo and I had no clue what I was about to see. I was told I would be the "driver" which means I would be the one to drive the gurney out the the helo following the strong arms and the helpers. (READ MORE)

One Marine's View: How did you spend the 4th of July? - Your Marines continued kicking ass while completing long convoys today among other patrols and missions. No marching bands, no, fireworks. In fact the men were pretty much happy to hit the rack when they arrived back at our out post late in the evening. Covered in dirt with that 'I've been in that damn hummer too long' look. Conducting effective missions that do more good than most will realize well after they have returned home. No fancy napkins donned the tables at chow as a few Marines cook some steaks 'acquired' out side on a 55 gal grill. It's not about the 'holiday' as I'm sure most probably took a few minutes to think what was being conducted back home with their families. (READ MORE)

Up Country Iraq: Looking for bombs - This should be my last catch-up post. Rain, anyone? Just a couple of months ago I was reading an article on how global warming was going to turn the center of the US back into a dust bowl comparable to the 1930’s. I’m thinking that this will not be the major problem this summer. On the topic of rain, it actually began to rain here a couple of weeks ago during a sand storm. The result was basically mud globs falling from the sky. The rain part didn’t last very long. Everyone is probably already aware of the fact that IEDs are the main killer of our troops over here right now, with 80% of US casualties being caused by IED strikes. My guess is that I don’t even have to define what those initials stand for, but just in case, they stand for Improvised Explosive Device. There are now several variants on the IED term. A VBIED is a vehicle borne IED, while a SVBIED is a suicide vehicle borne IED. (READ MORE)

Big Tobacco: Shabbat in the Sand - I wrote this while smoking a Fincks Mexican Fiesta. "The Shabbat Angels...." The sun goes up, the sun goes down. What day is it? How should I know? It's Groundhog Day. Time has no meaning. I call home. The kids are asleep. Whoops! I forgot about the time difference. Damn it, wife, don't you know that you are supposed to be waiting by the phone every spare second of your day for a call from me? "Are peaking through my window..." A soldier comes to me with a pay problem. I ask him if he printed out his leave and earnings statement. He didn't because there is only one printer in the company and it is guarded by senior leadership like the Conch in "Lord of the Flies." The problems never end: "Hey platoon sergeant? Platoon sar’nt? Where's the platoon sergeant at?" (READ MORE)

Zen Traveller: One Tick Closer - We spent yesterday at Camp Victory, a sprawling military outpost adjoining the Baghdad airport. The camp is one of the largest bases in Iraq and home to some thousands of soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines, and contractors. While our media team went off with the military to cover a massive re-enlistment ceremony, my partner and I retreated to what is known as the Green Bean; the local coffee spot. I passed most of the day sitting in the makeshift, air conditioned coffee shop that is ever so popular with Victory’s inhabitants. The structure is comprised of twin trailers joined together, air conditioners mounted every five feet on the white metal walls, and leather couches and tables surrounding the massive coffee bar. Over the hours I watched hundreds of military personnel and civilian contractors come and go; the very lifeblood of the reconstruction effort in Iraq. This was how they were spending their 4th of July as well. It seemed like any other day on Camp Victory. (READ MORE)

Back and still writing:
Bill and Bob's Excellent Adventure: Chai - I saw a picture the other day of a soldier and his terp having chai with a couple of Afghan men. The men were Pashtun; you can tell by the black turban with the tail hanging down the back over one shoulder. The turban isn't always black, but the tail is a Pashtun thing. Black is a standard color, but not a rule. This is my observation. In any case, I've written before about having chai, but it's always been part of another story. I've always wanted to describe, in detail, the uniquely Afghan experience of having chai. One of the key tenets of the Pushtunwali, the code of conduct of the Pashtuns, is hospitality. Hospitality is not just a Pashtun value, though. It is an Afghan value. It is shame to be considered inhospitable, and as O and I discussed over the weekend, we have both been offered chai by families whose khalats we were either searching or had just searched. (READ MORE)

Eighty Deuce on the Loose in Iraq: A free man! - Well my 4th of July celebrations just ended yesterday when I returned from the lake where I spent a few days with my girl and her family, just enjoying the fresh air and beautiful scenery. The city we were in put on a fireworks show over the lake, which I didn't hold much hope for, but it turned out to be pretty damn good. They even had a band playing, that was rocking out and had so many people up there dancing, to include the 2 of us! :) So anyways, to make a real quick post for now, I returned yesterday, and after a 2 1/2 hour drive I made it back to Ft Bragg/Fayetteville, but instead of going straight to my house, I had to make a quick detour. I entered Ft Bragg, with my soon to be expired ID card, and made the short little drive to my Battalion head quarters so that I could officially sign out of the Army! It was a great feeling and I had the biggest smile on my face as I was walking out of there, knowing that after all these years, my time is finally up. (READ MORE)

LTC Rich Phillips: Posting Again - Well, no one may be reading anymore, but I'm back to blogging. I hope I can shed some light on the pre and post deployment Army, both Active Duty and Army Reserve. Of course, I'm home from Afghanistan and settled in at Fort Lewis, WA., but I'm actively working deployments and redeployments of Soldiers to and from Iraq and Afghanistan. Today, July 4th, seems like a good day to get back into the blogging business. So, even if it's just for my family and friends, I'll relate the view from my foxhole and try to illuminate and entertain and enlighten. (READ MORE)

News from the Front:

Coalition forces increase pressure on al-Qaeda in Iraq bombing networks, operatives - BAGHDAD – Coalition forces captured a wanted man and a dozen additional suspects during operations in central and northern Iraq targeting al-Qaeda terrorists. Coalition forces disrupted al-Qaeda operations in northwest Iraq Monday when they captured a wanted man in Mosul. The suspect, who was detained with six other suspected terrorists, is assessed to be a liaison between senior terrorist leaders in an area about 115 kilometers west of the city. Monday in Balad, about 80 kilometers north of Baghdad, Coalition forces targeted members of an AQI cell that conducts bombing attacks in Salah ad-Din province. (READ MORE)

Hawijah’s literacy program gains national attention in Iraq - HAWIJAH, Iraq – Iraq’s Deputy Minister of Education, Nehad Al-Juburi, and the Prime Minister’s Education Advisor, Zaid Chaid, paid a historic visit to Hawijah to bring national attention to its pilot literacy program July 5. Five-hundred Sons of Iraq members in four of the sub-districts of Hawijah, Iraq--Zaab, Abassi, Riyadh and Hawijah city--are currently participating in this program, which teaches students at a 3rd to 4th grade reading level. “Education is the foundation to rebuilding,” Dr. Nehad told the audience, which included close to 100 of Hawijah’s SoI students in the program in Hawijah. (READ MORE)

MND-B Soldiers detain known criminal, discover weapons in Rashid - Baghdad Soldiers detained a known criminal and discovered two weapons caches July 5 -6 in the Rashid district of southern Baghdad. After receiving a tip from a concerned Iraqi citizen at approximately 7:30 p.m., July 5, Soldiers from the 1st Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, detained a known criminal in the Jaza’ir community. The patrol returned to a combat outpost to question the suspect. (READ MORE)

One killed, 10 wounded in Adhamiyah car bombing - BAGHDAD – An explosion occurred in the Adhamiyah district of Baghdad July 6, killing an Iraqi, wounding six others and wounding four National Police. The wounded were transported to medical facilities. Due to the method of the attack, it is believed to have been orchestrated by militias. “The type of attack seen today is becoming more common by criminals attempting to direct attacks against government officials,” said Col. John Hort, commander of the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, Multi-National Division – Baghdad. (READ MORE)

Coalition forces capture suspected criminal in Karadah - BAGHDAD – Coalition forces captured one suspected Special Groups criminal Sunday during operations in the Karadah district of Baghdad. Based on intelligence information, Coalition forces targeted the home of a suspected senior member of Iranian-trained Special Groups leadership in the Baghdad area. According to suspected Special Groups criminals already in custody, the suspect has conducted rocket attacks on Coalition and Iraqi bases, facilitated weapons from Iran, and sent members of his evil militia to Iran for training. (READ MORE)

Al-Qaeda bombing and foreign terrorist facilitation networks disrupted in precision operations - BAGHDAD – Coalition forces disrupted an al-Qaeda in Iraq bombing cell and captured four suspected terrorists during operations around Iraq Saturday and Sunday. An operation Saturday near Iskandariyah, about 45 kilometers south of Baghdad, targeted a man believed to coordinate suicide car bombings. Coalition forces detained seven suspected terrorists. Four precision operations Sunday targeted wanted men for their alleged ties to al-Qaeda in Iraq. In Sharqat, about 90 kilometers south of Mosul, Coalition forces targeted a weapons facilitator who led a cell of terrorists in the area. (READ MORE)

MND-B Soldiers discover munitions in east Rashid - BAGHDAD – Multi-National Division – Baghdad Soldiers discovered munitions July 5 in the Rashid district of southern Baghdad. Acting on a tip, Soldiers from the 4th Infantry Regiment, attached to the 1st Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, seized a 155 mm artillery round at approximately 1:30 p.m. in the Jaza’ir community of southern Baghdad. At approximately 5 p.m., Soldiers from the 1st BCT, 4th Inf. Div., discovered three 80 mm rounds, a 152 mm round and two rocket rails during a patrol in the Zubaida neighborhood. An explosive ordnance disposal team responded to both events and recovered the munitions. (READ MORE)

Operation Cougar Storm Denies AQI Staging Area for IED Attacks - BAQUBAH — With beads of sweat rolling down their neck, Soldiers from 2nd Squadron, 2nd Stryker Cavalry Regiment, labored away alongside members of the Iraqi Army and Sons of Iraq sweeping suspected Al-Qaida forces out of two separate villages south of Baqubah during Operation Cougar Storm recently. The operation was designed to deny Al-Qaida forces a place to stage Improvised Explosive Device attacks along key routes that Coalition forces and Iraqi civilians use, as well as establish an Iraqi Army presence in the area, said 1st Lt. Fernando Pelayo, a platoon leader with 2nd Squadron, 2nd Stryker Cavalry Regiment. (READ MORE)

Helmick Takes Over Training Mission in Iraq - WASHINGTON — Army Lt. Gen. Frank Helmick assumed command of Multi-National Security Transition Command - Iraq and the NATO training mission in Iraq during a ceremony at the Iraqi Cultural Center, July 3. WASHINGTON — Army Lt. Gen. Frank Helmick assumed command of Multi-National Security Transition Command - Iraq and the NATO training mission in Iraq during a ceremony at the Iraqi Cultural Center, July 3. Helmick relieved Army Lt. Gen. James Dubik, who will retire after 37 years of service. (READ MORE)

Leaders Break New Ground in Baghdad - FORWARD OPERATING BASE FALCON — Leaders from Multi-National Division – Baghdad, the Iraqi security forces and the government of Iraq broke new ground July 5 in the median of a major thoroughfare in Baghdad. Prominent Iraqi leaders manned three honorary shovels each to move a small piece of Earth that signaled the start of a large revitalization effort for a stretch of highway leading from the Baghdad International Airport east into the heart of the city. (READ MORE)

Iraqi Healthcare Providers get Hands-on Training from U.S. Medics - CAMP TAJI — Three Soldiers from the 225th Brigade Support Battalion recently visited with the doctors, nurses and physicians of the Taji Health Clinic to provide the staff with hands-on training on some new medical equipment. Due to the devastating consequences of war, healthcare in Iraq has suffered severely over the past seven years. Coalition forces have joined with the Department of State and United States Agency for International Development to help put an end to the poor health conditions by providing health clinics with much needed repairs, supplies, education and up-to-date equipment. (READ MORE)

Civil Affairs teams bring security, development in Konar province - KONAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan (July 4, 2008) - Capt. Roman Skaskiw, 451st Civil Affairs Battalion, is responsible for the five southern Konar districts of the province, which are Narang, Nurgul, Sarkani, Khas Konar and Chowkay districts. Although these districts differ in the quality of governance and development, they all suffer from a lack of security, power and infrastructure. "The overall security situation is becoming more stable. The reason for the fighting is local animosities influenced by people who feel they are not getting their share of the redevelopment,” said Skaskiw. (READ MORE)

KCC graduates first class - KONAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan (July 4, 2008) – The Konar Construction Center graduated its first class during a recent ceremony in Shaikal Shate District, near Asadabad, Afghanistan. The graduates were awarded certificates as a skilled craftsman in their chosen field of study: masonry, carpentry, plumbing, or electrical. Also upon graduating, the students became members of the local apprenticeship council and builders association, where they can progress from apprentice to journeyman. (READ MORE)

Several militants killed with precision airstrikes Nangarhar province - BAGRAM AIR FIELD, Afghanistan (July 6, 2008) – Several militants were killed today when Coalition forces conducted precision airstrikes in Nangarhar province. Intelligence revealed a large group of militants operating in Deh Bala District. Coalition forces identified the militants in a mountainous region and used precision airstrikes to kill them. (READ MORE)

Militants killed, detained in Ghazni province - BAGRAM AIR FIELD, Afghanistan – (July 5, 2008) - Several militants were killed and two were detained Friday during a Coalition forces operation to degrade militant operations in Ghazni province. Coalition forces searched several dwellings in Jaghatu District targeting a militant leader that has conducted attacks on Afghan and Coalition forces in the area. Coalition forces identified and killed several militants with small-arms fire, as they maneuvered against the force. (READ MORE)

Coalition helicopters destroy militant mortar teams - Bagram Air Field, Afghanistan (July 5, 2008) -- Coalition forces killed more than a dozen militants following an attack on a combat outpost in Nuristan province yesterday afternoon. Ground forces at the combat outpost observed militants firing at friendly positions. Ground forces defended themselves with small arms-fire. The insurgents then entered two vehicles and began travelling away from the firing position. Ground forces called Coalition attack helicopters for support. (READ MORE)

Korean hospital reopens to aid Afghans - BAGRAM AIR FIELD, Afghanistan (July 3, 2008) -- Doctors and nurses, eager for the day to come, stood outside a small hospital that will be used once again. With the cutting of the ribbon, the Korean Medical Vocational training center was reopened June 30, to provide medical treatment to the treatment of the local individuals and families surrounding Bagram Air Field. “This Hospital is an important symbol of the strong and sustained commitment of the Korean Republic to the people of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan,” said Korean Ambassador Song Woong-yeob. (READ MORE)

Konar base renamed after fallen hero - BAGRAM AIR FIELD, Afghanistan (July 2, 2008) – Forward Operating Base Naray in Konar province, Afghanistan, was renamed FOB Bostick to honor and remember a fallen Soldier who died leading his men. Soldiers, Marines, Airmen and Afghan National Army soldiers gathered near FOB Naray’s helicopter landing zone June 28, to officially rename their forward operating base in memory of Maj. Thomas Bostick, the former commander of Bravo Troop, 1st Squadron, 91st Cavalry Regiment (Airborne), from Llano, Texas. (READ MORE)

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