November 25, 2008

From the Front: 11/25/2008

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

In their own words:
Dena Yllescas: No skin grafts today - Well, Rob did not get skin grafts today. I guess the plastic surgeon wants to wait until his bili is down more because he's afraid that they won't take otherwise. So, instead they did some more washouts and did a "purse cinch" method on the fasciotomies for now. What they do is thread the tissue and cinch it up to make it smaller. They will do this little by little so when they do skin graft it, they won't have to do as much. They also said his legs are looking really good. They said the other day, the color around one of them looked a little off but today has pinked up. I'm not sure when his next surgery will be. Also when I was with Rob, the ortho dr came in the room and we were talking. The chaplain was also there. The dr asked if Rob was squeezing hands. I explained to him that only a little but sometimes it's pretty hard-esp when he's shivering. (READ MORE)

Mohammed Hussein: The Americans Left - Analysis from the Street - “The Americans left.” Those were the first words I heard from my wife when I passed through the front door door of my house. It was like a shock, I can describe it as somebody showering me with chilled water. They have not gone from my country, but they have gone from my neighborhood. Over the last week, they began transporting their equipment and appliances and they finished this week. No-one can deny that their presence during the past 11 months has brought peace again to my neighborhood. Even my neighbors and friends who do not want the Americans in Iraq agree with this concept. Before, it was like a jungle filled with Al Qaeda and Mahdi Army, each fighting the other. (READ MORE)

Bill Roggio: 16 Iraqis killed in morning bombings in Baghdad - Sixteen Iraqis were killed in a string of attacks in central Baghdad this morning. One of the attacks was carried out by a mentally handicapped female suicide bomber; another destroyed a bus carrying female employees working for the Iraqi Trade Ministry. The first bombing took place at 7:20 AM local time in the Karadah district of eastern Baghdad, according to Multinational Forces Iraq. Voices of Iraq put the attack in the neighboring New Baghdad district. A "sticky bomb," a magnetic bomb placed underneath cars, detonated on a bus carrying female employees working for the Iraqi Trade Ministry. Fourteen civilians, mostly women, were killed and another four were wounded in the attack. (READ MORE)

Wesley Morgan: On walk across Mosul, general sees gains and room for more - MOSUL, IRAQ: Kiowa scout helicopters buzzed over the column of American and Iraqi troops, as they often do here in Mosul, hoping to deter insurgents from attacking. Iraqis in the blue camouflage of the National Police walked at the head of the column, while Americans kept to the center and rear, hovering protectively around the senior officer they were escorting. Major General Mark Hertling, the commander of American forces in northern Iraq, had just walked about three miles through the heart of western Mosul, accompanied by a small detachment of soldiers and the commander of the unit responsible for the area, the 3rd Squadron, 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment. (READ MORE)

Notes From Iraq: Sons of Iraq Progress: An Uplifting Surprise - One month ago, the U.S. military transferred control of the Sons of Iraq to the government of Iraq. Under U.S. control, the social movement operated like a neighborhood watch committee and became an enormous success, leading to a dramatic drop in violence in Iraq between the summer of 2007 and 2008. Under Iraqi control, the SOI have continued to improve and have become more streamlined and uniform. The success and the ease of transition was a great surprise to Iraqi army officers and officials, most of whom expected problems and perhaps a rise in violence. Instead, the SOI accepted Iraqi army direction and embraced association with Iraqi soldiers. At the direction of the army, the SOI members are less casual, complying with the policy of wearing the SOI standard tan uniform. (READ MORE)

Two Brothers, Two Countries, One Army: I'm 27!!! - OK!! SO O MY GOODNESS!!! I'M 27!!! .....TODAY!! Yes, it's my birthday. And what a wonderful day it wasn't. Nah... it wasn't too bad. My day started at 0430 this morning. I went to the M16 range and was the medic for the group shooting. No one got hurt thank goodness. At least I got to start my day with some shooting and being in the cold....That's EXACLYT what I wanted to be doing this morning...seriously! BUT I wanted to be freezing my tail off in the mountains of WV shooting at deer.... I called my Dad at 0500 his time this morning and wished everyone a good hunt and a safe time. If you remember back to when I wrote on here about making the decision to go home and see my brother, or go deer hunting....yeah...this week is the hunting season...I could be there right about now. And I want nothing more than to be there. But this isn't the first year that I've to hear the stories about hunting season without being a part of them. (READ MORE)

S4 at War: Ali Baba - In a previous post I mentioned the ability of an insurgency to exploit the acquisition of the enemy’s equipment. I was on a CLP the other day and as we were pulling out of the FOB-going slow to let all of the trucks in the convoy get through the gate-some kids from the neighboring village ran up to a moving truck, opened one of the side compartments, and stole items from inside. Nothing serious was stolen but apparently its a recurring problem in that location. I’m convinced those kids weren’t using whatever they took for anything nefarious but I was surprised that this has been a recurring problem and nothing has been done. (Of note, I temporarily lost my COIN bearing and nearly reverted to last deployments approach as I opened the door of my moving MRAP deciding between chasing the thieves, firing warning shots, or both. (READ MORE)

Big Tobacco: Fobbits in Black - Else, I smoked a CAO Brazilia while composing this... I was right in the middle of reading The Economist when my OPS NCO burst into the BDOC. “Get it on! The whole battalion’s out of coffee!” “Holy Moses! Whole battalion!” I think. “How the hell did this happen!” I strapped on my shoulder holster and grabbed my cigar case. As I made my way down to the motor pool I could hear the cries of the tired as they lined up at Greenbeans, now the only source of coffee on the FOB. I got to my Quad Cab F-150 and prepped the vehicle to roll out, loading the CD player with some Klezmer music and stocking the cooler with Gatorade. As I headed west, parallel to the airfield, I could hear the ping-ping of the rocks hitting my undercarriage. Why the fuck can’t they pave the access road? Honestly, how fucking hard is it? Don’t they know that not everybody drives tactical vehicles around here? Now I would have to get a private to wash and wax the truck again. (READ MORE)

News from the Front:

SoI tip leads MND-B Soldiers to recover UXO - BAGHDAD – A tip from a member of the Sons of Iraq led Multi-National Division – Baghdad Soldiers to a 155 mm projectile northwest of Baghdad at approximately 2 p.m. Nov. 25. Soldiers from Company C, 1st Battalion, 21st Infantry Regiment, 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, investigated the area and identified the projectile. (READ MORE)

Renovations, improvements in Sadr City brighten hopes - BAGHDAD – More than $55 million in both U.S. and Iraqi funds have been pumped into Sadr City to improve the quality of life for residents there since the end of major combat operations this past spring. In a combined effort between both Iraqi and American forces, the people of Sadr City have benefited from renovated and re-opened schools, new parks, improved medical facilities, more consistent electricity and better trash removal services. (READ MORE)

Battalion from Iraqi Army 8th Infantry Division completes warfighter training - AN NUMANIYAH, Iraq — The 2nd Battalion, 30th Brigade, 8th Infantry Division, the fourth Iraqi Army battalion to undergo the Warfighter program, celebrated its graduation with a ceremony here Nov. 25. The Warfighter program, initiated this year in Taji, takes an operational battalion from its usual battle-space to train in collective tactics, beginning at the squad level and moving all the way to maneuver of company-size elements. (READ MORE)

ISF keeps pressure on terrorists in Mosul during major operation - MOSUL, Iraq – As the Iraqi Security Forces continue to clear the city of Mosul of terrorists, the number of caches found and insurgents detained is on the rise. Since the start of Operation Mother of Two Springs II Oct. 15, 40 caches have been discovered and reduced, and 600 suspected terrorists have been detained. Mother of Two Springs II is the third, large-scale operation conducted by the ISF since May. (READ MORE)

Micro-grants help economic growth, support citizens in New Baghdad - FORWARD OPERATING BASE LOYALTY, Iraq – During the past year, Coalition forces have helped to stimulate the Iraqi economy through issuing micro-grants to local eastern Baghdad businesses. As of Nov. 16, Company C, 2nd Battalion, 30th Infantry, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division alone has processed 20 applications and handed out nearly $395,000 in the New Baghdad district, said 1st Lt. Grant White, a Co. C platoon leader. (READ MORE)

14 killed, 4 injured in Baghdad explosion - BAGHDAD – Fourteen Iraqi civilians were killed and four were injured following an explosion Nov. 24 at approximately 7:20 a.m. in the Karadah district of eastern Baghdad. Multi-National Division Baghdad Soldiers with the 1st Battalion, 66th Armor Regiment, attached to the 4th Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division, responded to the explosion to assist Iraqi National Police, secure the area and treat the causalities. (READ MORE)

Karkh Explosion kills 1, injures 9 ISF quick action saves lives - BAGHDAD – A deadly attack targeting the International Zone was thwarted by the training, attentiveness and professionalism of the Iraqi Security Forces in the Karkh district of central Baghdad at approximately 8:30 a.m. Nov. 24. An Iraqi Army soldier died in the blast, which also wounded an Iraqi Policeman and eight civilians. (READ MORE)

Coalition forces kill two terrorists, capture nine - BAGHDAD – During multiple operations targeting al-Qaeda in Iraq on Monday and Tuesday, Coalition forces dealt significant blows to the terrorist organization by killing two terrorists, capturing one wanted man and detaining eight suspects. Coalition forces struck AQI’s foreign terrorist facilitation network Monday, killing two terrorists during an operation near Rawah, 212 km southwest of Mosul. (READ MORE)

7 suspected criminals arrested in central Iraq - BALAD, Iraq – Iraqi Security Forces, with Coalition forces advisors, arrested seven suspected criminals during operations in central Iraq Nov. 20-21. A reported Special Groups leader and two others were arrested Nov. 21 in Al Qurna during an Iraqi Special Operations Forces operation. The suspected SG leader has allegedly worked with Iranian intelligence for three years and helped smuggle weapons, money and information into Iraq to facilitate SG activities. (READ MORE)

Iraqi Soldiers Continue to Donate, Send Aid to California Fire Victims - BESMAYA RANGE COMPLEX — A group of Iraqi Soldiers stepped up to help California residents victimized by recent wildfires raging throughout the state. Iraqi Army Col. Abbas Fadhil, Besmaya Range Complex commander, and his team of “Abbas’ Eagles” raised $500 for wildfire relief. (READ MORE)

Iraqi National Police Strive to Serve, Protect Baghdad's Residents - FORWARD OPERATING BASE FALCON — The Iraqi National Police, dedicated to enforcing Baghdad’s rule of law, introduced civil capacity and municipality improvement to their skills set working with the support of Multi-National Division – Baghdad Soldiers. (READ MORE)

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