September 11, 2008

From the Front: 09/11/2008

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

In their own words:
Sgt B: Scenes From The FOB - Young men and women gather in small groups, not unlike students enjoying the sunshine and summer breezes on college grounds between classes, taking animatedly on subjects remarkable only in their incongruous mundanity; the antics of Hollywood icons, popular music and trends, musings of the goings-on of their environment, as to slip along the edge of the surreal. These students sip from the chalice of Mars, however, lounging in the hot summer sun atop icons of military might and power, and casually lean against mighty engines of destruction, weapons that will soon bark in a anger, like teenagers surrounding a favorite automobile. The din of conversation is sometimes accented by the sounds of thundering explosions, or the staccato bursts of machinegun fire, as other young men and women conduct training vital to their survival, and the success of their mission; they are learning how to defend the FOB against insurgents to which the FOB represents all that they hate. (READ MORE)

Fearless 1st Marines’ blog: 3/6 Conducts Badge Operations in Fallujah - FALLUJAH, Iraq (Aug. 30, 2008) – Company I, 3rd Battalion, 6th Marines continued their service to residents in south Fallujah after they held another remote identification badge drive for residents here, Aug. 30. Every resident age 16 and up in Fallujah is issued an identification badge to allow them access into the city. Marines and Iraqi Police worked together in the Shuhada District of southern Fallujah and served more than 100 residents with updated identifications. Several entry control points on the outskirts of the city offer identification issuing services daily. 2nd Lt. Sean Leahy, platoon commander, 2nd Platoon, said remote badging operations bring the service closer to outlying residents and give IPs and Coalition forces an opportunity to become more familiar with citizens who live in the area. (READ MORE)

Fearless 1st Marines’ blog: Iraqi Children Play Soccer, Remember Hero - FALLUJAH, Iraq – The name of a fallen military member catches the eye of an Iraqi child as he holds a soccer ball just handed to him by a team of Coalition forces. This name, written across the glossy finish and bright gleam of the soccer ball, tells the story of a young service member who strived to bring a sense of happiness to the lives of others. Civil Affairs Marines with Detachment 3, Team 5, Regimental Combat Team 1, have started handing out boxes of soccer balls to young Iraqi children in Fallujah, Iraq, during several recent missions conducted by the team. Although not part of their normal mission that they conduct on a daily basis, CAG Marines have started inflating and handing out brightly colored soccer balls to mob scenes of jubilant Iraqi children. (READ MORE)

Lt. Col. Paul Fanning: From 9-11 to Afghanistan - Men and women of the New York National Guard who served at Ground Zero are commemorating the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, from Afghanistan this year. A ceremony is planned at Camp Phoenix in Kabul on Thursday, timed to coincide with the first plane strike at the World Trade Center at 8:46 a.m. Eastern Standard Time. More than 1,700 members of New York’s 27th Infantry Brigade Combat Team are serving in Combined Joint Task Force Phoenix, part of Combined Security Transition Command-Afghanistan, with the mission to mentor and train the Afghan National Army and Police and provide assistance to the government of Afghanistan and its people. The task force is led by Col. Brian K. Balfe, who is also commander of the 27th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, which took over command and control responsibility April 26. (READ MORE)

Bill Roggio: Taliban attack mosque kills 25 in Pakistan - The Taliban attacked a mosque filled with Ramadan worshippers in northwestern Pakistan, killing 25 and wounding more than 50. The attack came just one month after local tribes began to organize against the extremist group. The attack occurred right on the Afghan border in the village of Banai in the district of Dir in the Northwest Frontier Province. The attackers threw three hand grenades into a mosque packed with worshippers for Ramadan. Immediately after the explosions, Taliban fighters raked the survivors with gunfire. The majority of those killed and wounded are children, Daily Times reported. The death toll is expected to rise as many of those wounded are in critical condition. (READ MORE)

DJ Elliott: Iraq strengthens the Counter Terrorism Bureau - Unity of command is stressed by militaries because, divided command structures have cost battles and wars throughout history. So why are militaries, especially ground forces, not unified? There is a rarely discussed factor about military organization and why it is almost always divided. "Power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely." Concentration of power, especially ground forces, invites military coups and dictatorships. The catch is that overly divided militaries leave a country weak and dysfunctional in the face of foreign attack. The ground forces and communications are the key elements for military coups. The most common compromise made to reduce the possibility of a coup is to divide the ground forces into three separate components with the better-trained component being smaller to balance them. (READ MORE)

Matel-in-Iraq: Foreign Service Does its Duty - Last year I wrote a post, which got some attention, re FSOs volunteering to go to Iraq & Afghanistan. As it worked out, we got enough volunteers, but not until a couple of cone heads grabbed national attention by bloviating in a town hall meeting about how they didn’t want to be forced to serve in either Iraq or Afghanistan. I understand that only few people made most of the noise, but the media picked up on their caterwauling. It was embarrassing the competent FSOs, who are worldwide available. (BTW - FSOs were needed as part of the diplomatic surge that went with the military one in early 2007. Next time somebody says that we cannot expect to win in Iraq by military means alone, remind that Einstein that we knew it already & did something about it back when they were still whining that the war was lost. (READ MORE)

David Wood: Afghanistan: The air war resumes - ... with a vengeance, although perhaps with lighter ordnance intended to limit civilian casualties. According to the operations summaries released by U.S. Air Forces Central Command headquarters in Qatar, daily close air support missions over Afghanistan are back up to the record level of over 70 per day reached earlier this summer. (The daily summaries resumed this week after an unexplained hiatus.) CAS missions had dropped sharply in the past week during the international ruckus caused by a U.S. air strike on the village of Azizabad Aug. 22. That attack killed as many as 95 civilians, according to the Afghan government, the United Nations and independent press accounts. The U.S. command at first rejected those conclusions, but on Sunday, Gen. David McKiernan, the top allied commander in Afghanistan, ordered a re-investigation of the incident. (READ MORE)

Major (P) John: Sad, Grumpy and Reaching for Perspective - I don't quite know why, but I started the day in a bit of a foul mood. The morning update went long (GEN Petreaus was saying farewell and giving awards to two departing staff) and I have a pile of work waiting for me that seems to be everyone else's responsibility, but I am doing it all... Then we had the September 11th rememberance ceremony this morning. That didn't help my mood any. I'm already grumpy, and then I added sad to the mix. Maybe a little bit pissed off too - I'm still not real happy that I have been sent, twice now, far from my family and home to go fight 7th Century minded savages who seem to do naught but kill the innocent. I wish they would bloody well mind their own business and stop trying to impose their crude vision of how the world should work on everyone else. Blowing up the innocent, all for the Greater Glory of the Almighty... bah. I really should snap out of it... (READ MORE)

Misuchan's Milblog: Always in your honor. Semper Fidelis. - The DoD has released some information on some of my friends who were recently hit. Some of their names have not been released however, and I cannot post this remaining information until the DoD does. “DoD Identifies Marine Casualty - The Department of Defense announced today the death of a Marine who was supporting Operation Enduring Freedom. 1st Lt. Nicholas A. Madrazo, 25, of Bothell, Wash., died Sept. 9 while supporting combat operations in Parwan province, Afghanistan. He was assigned to Combat Logistics Battalion 37, 3rd Marine Logistics Group, III Marine Expeditionary Force, Okinawa, Japan. The Department of Defense announced today the death of a Marine who was supporting Operation Enduring Freedom. Capt. Jesse Melton III, 29, of Randallstown, Md., died Sept. 9 while supporting combat operations in Parwan province, Afghanistan. He was assigned to Headquarters Battery, 12th Marines, 3rd Marine Division, III Marine Expeditionary Force, Okinawa, Japan” (READ MORE)

RN Clara Hart: TODAY - Today is that day of the year I dread more than any other. It’s a day filled with infinite sadness and painful memories. It’s a day I’d rather sleep through than participate in. “It’s just another day,” some would say. “Aren’t you over that by now?” others would ask. No, it’s not and no I don’t think I ever will be. Has the hurt lessened? Yes, but it’s still there. Perhaps some would say, “Get over it already, Clara”. I try, trust me on this, I do so try. I was invited to a memorial service, a service dedicated to those killed, a dedication in which a memorial was to be unveiled. I chose not to go. Most years I do go. I go on the walks and the runs and the bike rides, all to remember. All to say I have not forgotten. (READ MORE)

Those Wacky Iraqis: 9-11 - I wrote this in 2006 but on this day I can still think of no better way to commemorate what we went through. I want us to remember that 9-11 was about people. People died. Buildings came down but people died. Jeffrey Giordano was one of them. Do not forget. I haven't. Jeffrey Giordano - I know that a lot of folks are expecting me to write about 9-11 and how it not only changed our nation but also how it changed the lives of myself and my family. Not this time. Instead I will concentrate on the memory of a man. He was a man much like me and the same age. I got his name from Project 2,996 which has been sponsored by DC Roe.He is Jeffrey Giordano 46, of New York, N.Y. and he died at the World Trade Center. He was a Firefighter from Ladder 3 in Manhattan and his Memorial Service was held on October 13, 2001. (READ MORE)

Back and still writing:
Army of Dude: 365: A Guide To Coming Back - It was appropriate that my journey to Iraq ended like it began - on September 11. Six years earlier (September 2001) as a sophomore in high school, I had already made up my mind about joining the Army. The attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon simply sealed the deal. I didn't discuss what kind of job I wanted with my recruiter or the dude that signed my papers. I wanted to go infantry. I wanted to put a bullet in the heart of any Taliban that crossed my path. I wanted them to pay dearly with their lives. As fate would have it, I wasn't bound for the mountains of Afghanistan but the septic waste strewn cities of Iraq. I don't regret for one second my experiences there, both of triumph and tragedy. My battalion led the way in perhaps the most daring offensive of the whole war to capture al-Qaeda in Iraq's self proclaimed capital of Baqubah. (READ MORE)

A Major's Perspective: What does September 11th mean? - As I sit here this morning in my classroom, not far from the one I was in seven years ago, I find myself reflecting on what does September 11th mean. Seven years ago I was also here at Fort Leavenworth TDY (temporary duty) for the CAS3 course. I remember sitting in the classroom, working on my graduation exercise, and watching live on television like so many others when the second plane flew into the second tower. I remember calling Fort Benning where my family was to check on them, and calling my parents to check on them, like so many others did that morning. I remember hearing about the third plane into the Pentagon where I had friends and the heroism of the passengers who attempted retaking the plane heading also for Washington DC. (READ MORE)

News from the Front:
Election woes - Iraq’s parliament formed a committee today to strike a compromise on a provincial elections law that has been languishing since late July. The factions chose a six-man panel to resolve the festering dispute that threatens to delay the vote until next year. Provincial elections have been touted as a pivotal step to promoting national reconciliation by giving a voice to Iraq’s Sunni population and loyalists to Shiite cleric Muqtada Sadr’s movement, who skipped the last such vote in 2005. (READ MORE)

Iraqi, Coalition operations undermine al-Qaeda organization (Baghdad) - BAGHDAD – Coalition forces captured five wanted men and 13 of their alleged associates Wednesday and Thursday while targeting al-Qaeda in Iraq in central and northern parts of the country. Two operations in Bayji, about 160 km south of Mosul, struck the AQI foreign terrorist facilitation network, beginning with two suspects detained Wednesday. One is an alleged weapons dealer, also believed to help foreign terrorists move into and through Diyala province. (READ MORE)

Coalition forces detain four Special Groups suspects in Wasit Province - BAGHDAD – Coalition forces captured four suspected Special Groups criminals in operations Thursday in Muwaffaqiyah, about 200 km southeast of Baghdad near Kut in Wasit Province. Based on intelligence information, Coalition forces targeted an alleged Special Groups leader in Wasit Province. The suspect is believed to be tied to senior Special Groups leaders in that area who are responsible for weapons trafficking as well as attacks on Iraqi forces. (READ MORE)

Riyadh Civil Service Corps opens job opportunities in Iraq - RIYADH, Iraq – In the ongoing Iraq-wide effort to transition Sons of Iraq members and provide jobs to Iraqi citizens, local government and tribal leaders in Riyadh along with Soldiers of Company D, 1st Battalion, 87th Infantry. Regiment., 1st Brigade, 10th Mountain Division held a ribbon-cutting ceremony announcing the establishment of the Riyadh Civil Service Corps, Sept. 9. The Riyadh Civil Service Corps is a 12-month program that will initially be funded by Coalition forces to provide paid vocational classroom instruction and on-the-job training to its students beginning with 250 former Riyadh SoI. (READ MORE)

New court house opens in Baghdad - BAGHDAD, Iraq - “Iraq was the first country to introduce laws to the world and now it is important to bring back the rule of law to Iraq,” said Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki at today’s opening of the Rusafa Justice Palace in Baghdad. With a ribbon-cutting ceremony, Prime Minister Maliki officially opened the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers built $11.3 million new-construction facility. (READ MORE)

Iraqi SWAT teams round up criminals in central Iraq - BALAD, Iraq – Iraqi Special Weapons and Tactics teams captured seven suspected criminals during separate operations in central Iraq Sep. 5-7. In a Sept. 7 operation in Hashimiyah, Hillah SWAT arrested three suspected criminal members on a Ministry of Interior warrant. The individuals are said to be responsible for improvised explosive device and small arms fire attacks against Iraqi and Coalition forces. (READ MORE)

Patrol Base Lion’s Den transferred to Iraqi Army - CAMP STRIKER, Iraq – The Iraqi Army took control of a patrol base from Coalition forces’ during a transition ceremony Sept.6 near Radwaniyah. Company B, 1st Battalion, 35th Armor Regiment transferred Patrol Base Lion’s Den, approximately 15 kilometers southwest of Baghdad, to 2nd Battalion, 23rd Brigade, 17th IA Division. “It is an honor for us to receive the patrol base (and) … to be trusted so we can accomplish our mission,” said Lt. Col Adnon, 2/23/17th IA executive officer. (READ MORE)

Summer computer camp proves successful in Ghazaliyah - BAGHDAD – 76 Iraqi children attended a computer camp held July 6-Aug. 26 in the northwest Baghdad community of Ghazaliyah. The camp was an initiative to keep children learning during the summer break and put to good use the one thing the Dar Al Hekma Primary School has that other schools in the area do not. The students learned basic computer skills, such as creating documents, using word processors and inserting photos into documents, said Haifa, the schools headmistress. (READ MORE)

Hearing rescheduled for U.S. Soldiers charged in association with Iraqi detainee’s death (Tikrit) - TIKRIT, Iraq – Article 32 pretrial investigations for Staff Sgt. Hal M. Warner and 1st Lt. Michael C. Behenna will begin Sept. 13 and Sept. 20 respectively at Contingency Operating Base Speicher, near Tikrit. Warner has been charged with premeditated murder, accessory after the fact, assault, making a false official statement and obstruction of justice. (READ MORE)

Texas A & M Team Starts Assessment of Wasit Agriculture - FOB DELTA — The Borlaug Institute of the Texas A & M University Agricultural Team spent the afternoon getting an aerial recon of Wasit province, Sept. 6. The team is evaluating the agricultural conditions, which is a complicated task. “The whole thing is a system – we look at the whole thing and if one variable changes in the system, it could change the outcome,” said Dr. Glen Shinn, Team Borlaug deputy team leader, on how they assess the agricultural situation in Wasit. (READ MORE)

Iraqi Businesses Show Resilience - BALAD — It takes money to make money. The Al Bayda center near Balad is a non-governmental organization that provides assistance in the form of micro-loans and education for small business owners in and around the once restive city of Balad. The grants are part of a package approved in the last several weeks by the government of Iraq. (READ MORE)

Education is Priority in Ameriya - BAGHDAD — Despite Baghdad having a number of priorities for the improvement of essential services, the importance of education has not been forgotten. The Alethar School in the northwestern Baghdad neighborhood of Ameriya is a great example of the priority that local Neighborhood Area Councils have put on education. The school was recently renovated to provide new classrooms, desks, chairs and even computers in order to provide an ample learning environment for the children of Ameriya. (READ MORE)

Two militants killed during search of Taliban compound - BAGRAM AIR FIELD, Afghanistan (September 10, 2008) – Two militants were killed by Coalition forces Tuesday when they searched the compound of a Taliban sub-commander in Kapisa province. The compound, located in the Tag Ab district, was a safe haven for a Taliban sub-commander that trafficked weapons to militants in the region. (READ MORE)

Ethnic antagonism spurs land disputes in north - KHOWAJA BAHAUDIN, 11 September 2008 (IRIN) - Hundreds of Pashtun refugees who have returned from Pakistan to Afghanistan's northeastern Takhar Province say their properties have been seized by local people and militias from other ethnic groups. (READ MORE)

Karzai supports new US strategy in anti-terrorism war - Kabul - Afghan President Hamid Karzai said Thursday he supported a new US strategy in the war against terror, which includes military operations inside Pakistan, and called for more international aid and training for his country's security forces. "The new strategy is something that me and my colleagues in the Afghan government have talked about three and a half years ago," Karzai said at a press conference... (READ MORE)

Buddha statue found in Afghanistan - Archaeologists have discovered a 19-metre Buddha statue along with scores of other historical relics in central Afghanistan near the ruins of giant statues destroyed by the Islamist Taliban seven years ago. The team was searching for a giant sleeping Buddha believed to have been seen by a Chinese pilgrim centuries ago when it came upon the relics in the central province of Bamiyan, an official said. (READ MORE)

Foreigners killed in suicide attack in S.W. Afghanistan - ISLAMABAD, Sept. 11 (AP) - (Kyodo)—Several people including foreigners were killed and injured Thursday in a suicide attack on a vehicle belonging to a U.S. security company in Kandahar in southwestern Afghanistan, Afghan Islamic Press reported. The Pakistan-based news agency, quoting an unnamed police official, said the suicide bomber hit the U.S. Protection and Investigation Agency vehicle carrying eight people including three or four foreigners. (READ MORE)

Taliban behead two Pakistan police recruits - PESHAWAR: Taliban militants on Thursday beheaded two police recruits one week after abducting them from a troubled tribal region in northwestern Pakistan, officials said. The rebels dumped the bodies in the mountainous town of Shahu Khel in Orakzai, local police chief Sher Bahadur said. (READ MORE)

No comments: