August 12, 2008

From the Front: 08/12/2008

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

In their own words:
Sgt B: Ten Days… - Ten days… What do you do with ten days, knowing that, at the end of it, you face a period of tribulation which contains an unknown level of risk; possibly nothing, possibly everything..? What do you do? Do you spend the time cocooned with your loved ones, pushing away the rest of the world for a short time, denying what is to come? Do you seize the day? Taking from life all that it has to offer, and damn the consequences? Do you spend the time in contemplation of your past, or do you feverishly plan for the time beyond that tribulation? (READ MORE)

Fearless 1st Marines’ blog: A new chance at life - FALLUJAH, Iraq (Aug. 4, 2008) –Five-year-old Ahmed, an Iraqi boy from Fallujah, Iraq, can now exhale sighs of relief after finally conquering a long and lingering battle against heart troubles that had left the young boy with chronic breathing and cardiovascular complications. The condition, if left untreated, would likely have killed Ahmed at an early age. Thanks to members of Police Transition Team 8, Regimental Combat Team 1, and Iraqi Police, Ahmed was able to travel to Ahman, Jordan, to get the medical care he desperately needed and he now has a new chance at life and a bright future. (READ MORE)

Bill Roggio: Coalition forces capture 9 Hezbollah Brigades operatives in Baghdad - Coalition forces, likely the special operations hunter-killer teams of Task Force 88, have captured nine Hezbollah Brigades operatives during three raids in the Adhamiyah district in Baghdad over the past 24 hours. The first intelligence-driven raid netted a Hezbollah Brigades cell leader who operated in Basrah. "According to information from suspects already in custody, he is believed to be involved in smuggling weapons and fighters across the Iraq-Iran border," Multinational Forces Iraq reported in a press release. Three other suspected Hezbollah Brigades associates were captured. The second raid resulted in the capture of Hezbollah Brigades operative behind improvised rocket-assisted mortar (IRAM) attacks in Baghdad. (READ MORE)

Bill Murray: The Chai count - The U.S. military loves metrics to measure success or failure. Vietnam had its dubious enemy body counts, the Gulf War its measure of smart bombs accuracy. Troops today in Iraq may have come across their most accurate technique to gauge the current campaign: the Chai count. “Do you know how many times I drank Chai in Anbar in 2005 and 2006,” asked US Army Captain Scott Polasek asked Hussam Alwan Abed, the head of the Sons of Iraq program in Miqdadiyah, 60 miles north of Baghdad in the Diyala province. “Once -- only one cup of Chai. We were too busy shooting and killing people.” (READ MORE)

Matel-in-Iraq: A Quick Look Around Western Anbar - We discussed the state of our districts at our recent team meeting. The good news is that progress across Western Al Anbar has been astonishing, but it is still uneven and each of the sub-districts has its own particular conditions. Here is a general look. Al Qaim: The saying around here is that the sun rises in the west, since Al Qaim was the first district to throw off the insurgents. Al Qaim, which includes the regions of Husaybah, Ramanan, Karbilah and New Ubaydi, was the most advanced economically and politically, but its progress has slowed in recent months. (READ MORE)

ManryMission: Farewell in Mosul - The deployment countdown shows that I’m at 100% done with my time in Mosul. Sometime tomorrow I’ll be on a C130 headed to Kuwait. COL Burcham is in Mosul for a command visit, so this evening, we had a mandatory dinner in the VIP room at the DFAC. She agreed to present Sarah’s end of tour award. If you haven’t heard the big news, Sarah is going home to Texas in September. She’s been here in Mosul for the past two years. Before that, she was in Kuwait starting at the end of 2003! After that, COL Burcham presented my end of tour award. It’s always humbling to stand up in front of a group of people while someone else says nice things about you. (READ MORE)

Back and still writing:
Bouhammer: And this is news? - Great article about how behind the times the ANP are in Afghanistan. In January 2007, Task Force Phoenix was told to shift its priority mission from training the Afghan Army to training the Afghan Police. We had been embedded with and training the Army since 2002, and now we were supposed to turn on a dime and get the police up to speed with the Army (who we had been with for 5 years). Most of my Army training ETT team were ripped from our Army training unit and placed on this newly form Police training unit. The goals told to me was to have the Police up the standard in one year what it had taken us to get the Army in five years time. It was at this point that I knew someone up the food chain had their head stuck up somewhere dark, and had no clue what it was really like on the ground. (READ MORE)

News from the Front:
Election date confusion contributes to low voter registration - Even before Iraq’s election law stalled in parliament last week, registration numbers were low for the country’s as-yet-unscheduled provincial elections. Faraj Haidari, the head of Iraq’s election commission, told The Times over the weekend: “The outcome of the registration is not up to our expectations. It’s very low.” (READ MORE)

The Giuliani effect comes to Anbar province - Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani flopped in his bid to become commander in chief. But a piece of strategy being used by Marines in Iraq bears his name. Maj. Gen. John Kelly, commanding general of 1st Marine Expeditionary Force Forward, has ordered Marines to eliminate the kinds of "in your face" things in sprawling Anbar province that were wearing out the patience of many Iraqis. (READ MORE)

ISF detain 70 suspected criminals during Operation Lion's Prowl II (Iskandariyah) - BAGHDAD – Iraqi Security Forces detained 70 suspected criminals during Operation Lion’s Prowl II in Iskandariyah Aug. 8. Iraqi Army Soldiers with the 4th Battalion, 31st Brigade, 8th IA Division, an ISF company with the 31st Bde., and members of the Babil Provincial Emergency Response Unit also confiscated more than 80 AK-47s during the operation. (READ MORE)

Al-Qaeda bombing cells known for targeting Iraqi civilians damaged (Baghdad) - BAGHDAD – Coalition forces disrupted al-Qaeda in Iraq’s bombing cells and financial network around Baghdad and Mosul, detaining 12 suspected terrorists Monday and Tuesday. Coalition forces detained six suspected terrorists Monday in Mosul while targeting a terrorist cell reportedly planning to poison Iraqis and security forces protecting them. The group is believed to be linked to a bombing network that operates in the Tigris River Valley. (READ MORE)

Coalition forces catch nine Kata’ib Hezbollah suspects in Adhamiyah - BAGHDAD – Coalition forces captured nine suspects believed to be associated with Kata’ib Hezbollah during multiple operations in the Adhamiyah area of Baghdad Monday night and Tuesday morning. Intelligence sources led Coalition forces to the location of a suspected Kata’ib Hezbollah associate believed to be in control of at least one terrorist cell operating in the southern Iraqi city of Basrah. (READ MORE)

Female suicide bomber kills 1, injures 13 in Baqubah - BAQUBAH, Iraq – A female suicide bomber detonated herself at approximately 11:50 a.m. Aug. 11 in Old Baqubah, Iraq killing one Iraqi Policeman, and injuring nine other IPs and four Iraqi Civilians. (READ MORE)

IED kills 5, wounds 3 in Diyala - BAQUBAH, Iraq – An improvised explosive device detonated near a truck in the Diyala province at approximately 8 a.m. Aug. 11 killing five Iraqi women and wounding three other women. Reports indicate two men who were in the truck when the IED detonated have not been seen since the explosion. (READ MORE)

National ERBs detain suspected criminal leader, three others in separate operations (Bayji) - BALAD, Iraq – The Sharqat National Emergency Response Brigade detained a suspected 1920 Revolutionary Brigade criminal leader in Bayji, approximately 50 km south of Mosul, Aug. 7. The suspect is said to provide command and control for the 1920 Revolutionary Brigade that operates around Sharqat and Bayji. He is believed to have connections to the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Qaeda in Iraq in the Tigris River Valley. (READ MORE)

ISF, MND-B Soldiers discover weapons, munitions throughout Baghdad - BAGHDAD – Iraq Security Forces and Multi-National Division – Baghdad Soldiers discovered weapons and munitions caches throughout Baghdad Aug. 10. At approximately 6 p.m., Sons of Iraq were notified of a cache by a local resident moving into a house. SoI members secured a Russian hand grenade and an improvised hand grenade in the East Rashid area of Baghdad. (READ MORE)

MND-B Soldiers detain suspected Special Groups criminal leader (Baghdad) - BAGHDAD – Soldiers from the 4th Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division (Light), Multi-National Division – Baghdad, detained a suspected Special Groups criminal leader in the Rusafa security district of eastern Baghdad Aug. 11. Acting on intelligence reports, Soldiers from 3rd Squadron, 89th Cavalry Regiment, conducted a successful mission to detain the individual. (READ MORE)

VBIED kills Iraqi citizen in Karadah (Baghdad) - BAGHDAD – A vehicle-borne improvised explosive device detonated in the Karadah security district of eastern Baghdad Aug. 11, killing an Iraqi citizen. Officials from the 1st Battalion, 3rd Brigade, 1st National Police Division reported a criminal placed a bomb onto a sedan in the Baghdad Al Jadida area of Karadah. (READ MORE)

Suspects give up their bosses; two alleged al-Qaeda leaders captured - BAGHDAD – In an operation that turned suspected terrorists against each other, Coalition forces captured two alleged al-Qaeda in Iraq leaders in Baghdad while other operations around the country netted 10 additional suspects Sunday and Monday. An associate of a suspected AQI senior leader in Baghdad Monday led Coalition forces to the wanted man, who is believed to be a leader in the Adhamiya neighborhood. (READ MORE)

Drug Bust Cuts Off Distro in Southwest Anbar - AL ANBAR — The flow ofdrugs in southwest Al Anbar province was diminished, July 8, after a bust of more than 500 pounds of narcotics. U.S. Marines with Regimental Combat Team 5 and patrolmen with the Iraqi Highway Patrol apprehended three individuals smuggling a truck full of methamphetamines during a patrol outside Rutbah, Iraq. (READ MORE)

'Women of Tomorrow' Gather in Ramadi - RAMADI — As Ramadi transitions from an insurgent stronghold to a calm and recovering city, the women of the city are also taking steps to better their future. More than 50 women from the emerging city gathered for the “Women of Tomorrow” women’s conference at the Ramadi Sunni Endowment Center August 2-4. (READ MORE)

Iraq’s Navy Performs Key Security Missions, U.S. Officer Says - “The Iraqi Navy and coalition naval forces partner in critically important maritime missions which includes maintaining security and stability in Iraq’s territorial waters, monitoring maritime traffic, protecting commercial shipping into and out of Iraq’s ports and protecting Iraq’s coastline and infrastructure from any potential threats,” U.S. Navy Rear Adm. Patrick Driscoll told reporters during a Baghdad briefing. (READ MORE)

Developing the warrior within - BAGRAM AIR FIELD, Afghanistan (August 5, 2008) — As an organized sport, boxing has been in practice since the days of ancient Greece. In those early brutal contests, combatants would wrap their hands in hardened strips of leather to protect their hands and inflict maximum damage on opponents. According to legend, there were no weight classes or time limits; many times a match would only end after one of the fighters had been battered to death. (READ MORE)

Asad Abad presses to get news to Afghan citizens - BAGRAM AIR FIELD, Afghanistan (August 4, 2008) — Today’s ceremony marked the opening of a new printing press facility in downtown Asad Abad, Afghanistan. Prior to this facility all print material including Asad Abad’s weekly newspaper was printed in Jalalabad, Kabul or in Pakistan. The Konar PRT funded this facility to provide a locally-produced, independent print media capacity in Konar. (READ MORE)

Coalition helps Afghan women survive - BAGRAM AIR FIELD, Afghanistan (August 2, 2008) – Service members with Task Force Med, with help from UunHee Lee, a nurse and midwife with the Korean Hospital here, taught the first all-female International Medical Mentorship and Training Program recently. The introduction class is normally a two-week course. However, due to the restrictions that are placed on most women from leaving there family for long periods of time, this particular class was cut back to four days. (READ MORE)

California guard supplies Afghan troops - BAGRAM AIR FIELD, Afghanistan (July 31, 2008) – California National Guard supplies Afghan troops, delivering mail and supplies while transporting troops from base to base throughout Afghanistan – they are every base commander’s best friends. The Soldiers of B Company, 1-126th Aviation unit, arrived in Afghanistan in early May. Hitting the ground running, the Guardsmen haven’t had a chance to look back since their arrival. (READ MORE)

Militants, non-combatants killed in Oruzgan - BAGRAM AIR FIELD, Afghanistan (August 11, 2008) — Afghan National Security Forces and Coalition forces fought militants in a series of engagements that left 25 militants and eight noncombatants dead in Khas Oruzgan District, Oruzgan province Sunday. Militants used a series of buildings along a known Coalition route to launch multiple ambushes against Coalition troops and then fled into a neighboring compound where they held 11 non-combatants hostage, including several children and an infant. (READ MORE)

Helicopter damaged during hard landing - BAGRAM AIR FIELD, Afghanistan (August 11, 2008) — A Coalition helicopter made a hard landing last night in Uruzgan province. There were no injuries reported and the helicopter has been transported to a Coalition base. There was no reported enemy fire in the area. The cause of the hard landing is unknown at this time and the incident is under investigation. (READ MORE)

Coalition forces detain militants in Paktika province - BAGRAM AIR FIELD, Afghanistan (August 10, 2008) – Three militants were detained during a Coalition forces’ operation to disrupt militant networks in Paktika province, Saturday. The force searched compounds in Urgun District targeting a militant responsible for rocket attacks against Coalition forces. (READ MORE)

Militants killed and detained, local woman injured - BAGRAM AIR FIELD, Afghanistan (August 9, 2008) – An Afghan woman was medically evacuated after she was injured during a Coalition forces’ operation to disrupt militant activities in Paktika province, Zarghun Shah District, Friday. Coalition medical evacuation standards require that male family members escort female patients to the medical facility whenever possible. (READ MORE)

Large weapons cache discovered in Zabul province - BAGRAM AIR FIELD, Afghanistan (August 8, 2008) — Afghan National Security Forces and Coalition forces discovered a large weapons cache in Shajoy District, Zabul province yesterday. The cache contained several rocket-propelled grenades, hand grenades, land mines, rifles, a large supply of small-arms ammunition and numerous IED making materials. (READ MORE)

Several militants killed in Helmand province - BAGRAM AIR FIELD, Afghanistan (June 21, 2008) – Afghan National Security Forces and Coalition forces killed several militants in Nahr Surkh District, Helmand province Thursday. The ANSF and Coalition forces were on patrol when they observed militants planting an IED on a nearby road. When the militants realized they were being watched, they fled into a local village. (READ MORE)

Non-combatants killed during operation in Ghazni province - BAGRAM AIR FIELD, Afghanistan (Aug. 08, 2008) — Five non-combatants were killed Thursday in Ghazni province during a Coalition forces operation to disrupt Taliban operations in the Giro District. “The Coalition regrets the death of these non-combatants,” Lt. Col. Rumi Nielson-Green, Coalition spokesperson said. “We are planning to conduct a full and thorough investigation.” (READ MORE)

Coalition service member killed in IED attack - BAGRAM AIR FIELD, Afghanistan (August 3, 2008) — A Coalition service member was killed and another wounded when their convoy struck an IED this morning in Kabul. No civilian casualties were reported. The name and nationality of the service members are being withheld until next of kin notification is complete. (READ MORE)

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