December 16, 2008

From the Front: 12/16/2008

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

In their own words:
Afghanistan Shrugged: Uniform of the Day: DROOL BIB & HOCKEY HELMET - I've been trying to fish my toast out of the toaster with my fingers and all this has done is burn them several times. Being the genius that I am I decide that I should now use my spring loaded Benchmade knife to do this, this should keep me from getting burned but the chance that I'll electrocute myself has now gone up exponentially. I really like toast and I pretty upset that it's not coming out of the damn machine. This is obviously a Taliban plot to frustrate me and I resolve at that moment to plan an operation to find and destroy these sick individuals that have conspired and acted to foil my toasty happiness. My team NCOIC MSG Famine commences to walk into the chow hall. The Army now says that I'm supposed to call it a Dining Facility as it's more positive. What the? Anyway here comes MSG Famine who observes me with my knife in the toaster, "Sir, do you really think that's a great idea"? (READ MORE)

Alex Strick van Linschoten: Blurred edges - This weekend as part of the extended Eid festivities I decided to go on a trip. With some friends and a warm patu, we drove all the way down to the south of Dand district, to the point where the flat plains and cultivatable land meets the desert. We arrived early in the afternoon, when people hadn’t begun to arrive. It was just us, the desert, and a few camels along the way. In Ghorabad, we visited the shrine of Hajji Latif, known in the west as ‘the lion of kandahar’, but who was also ‘king’ of the so-called paylouch, a secretive Kandahari group who valued honour above all and didn’t take insults lightly. Gilles Dorronsoro describes: “[The Paylouch] (the shoeless ones) … [were] under the leadership of Abdul Latif, an innkeeper before the war but now [their] leader. […] Their distinguishing signs of membership were a large knife, a yellow robe and distinctive slippers. The paylouch were obliged to observe a code of honour and solidarity among members. […] They organised dogfights near a ziarat close to the town and smoked quantities of hashish.” (READ MORE)

Back In the Army Now (at 54): Shoulder Looks Good - Today's visit with my surgeon went great. He said my range of motion is good so far. He said there should be no problem signing off that I am ready to go in January. My next appointment is January 20. I will call my "No Go Counselor" tomorrow and make sure I have everything they need. Getting the evaluation on January 20 should give me time to see an Army doctor if something goes wrong at the last minute. After the doctor appointment, I went to the gym and did the round of machines. For the last week or two I have used the machines with no weight. Today I changed to lifting some weight. Next physical therapy appointment is Wednesday. Everything is looking good. (READ MORE)

Back on the Homefront: Pics of the Homecoming! - Just a quick download of a few pics from the weekend. There were more pictures, of the whole family, etc taken on other cameras, but these are the best taken on ours. Sooooo nice to have Micah back home with us! (READ MORE)

Bad Dogs and Such: Ramblings - We’ve reached kind of a confusing point in our involvement here. And by our I mean not only the Civil Affairs effort, but the Army in general. The Status of Forces Agreement is scheduled to go into effect 1 January. More changes will follow. All of this basically boils down to the fact that the Iraqis are taking over running their own show in this area. Which is good. They’re pretty close to being ready, and there’s no way to find the flaws and limits of their systems without taking the training wheels off and giving it a spin. So we find ourselves wondering…what do we do now? This has been a little confusing for us as CA since we arrived for this tour. Last time I was here, we were still at a point where the regular Army maneuver units (the infantry and armor guys who own battlespace) were killing people and breaking stuff. (READ MORE)

Bill and Bob's Excellent Adventure: Why Some Don't Get The Insult - The whole Onion thing came up and came to an end really quickly, which is wonderful. The CEO of The Onion wrote a note to Uncle Jimbo over at Blackfive explaining that wounded warriors weren't the object of the satire, and acknowledging our feeling that they missed the mark. Again, I congratulate them on taking our word for it and removing the video. Allahpundit apparently didn't get it, either. I don't know what Allahpundit's military background is, if any. I am inclined to believe that he is a well-meaning civilian with no military background. He felt that the video skit was lampooning the Pentagon and the Generals. I and my brothers and sisters don't see it that way. (READ MORE)

Cheese's Milblog: Complacency - I was in a good mood as I walked into the post office to mail my third "last footlocker...I swear." The new guys were pouring in and though I don't get to be a big part of their training, it's great to see them. As I stood in line, I noticed a soldier with his weapon set to "burst" instead of "safe." Seeing that this was a Staff Sergeant(from MY brigade, no less), I decided to wait until we were both done and outside before correcting him. "Excuse me, Sergeant...your weapon is on burst," I said quietly as he left the post office. "No it's not." "Yes, it is. Look." "No, Specialist," he spat, flipping his weapon over. "The selector lever is pointed to 'safe.'" This idiot didn't even know how his rifle works. 'Burst' is the setting opposite of 'safe' and he didn't realize 1) that he was reading his selector lever wrong and 2) just who the hell he had pulled rank on. "Sergeant, I'm just trying to help you out,"I retorted, much louder now. "You need to square that away, ASAP." (READ MORE)

Dena Yllescas: Back in Nebraska - Sorry it's been a couple of days since I last wrote. I've been EXTREMELY busy and also extremely tired!!! The Memorial Service was really nice. I have to say that the roll call they do is the absolute worst. For those of you who don't know what this is, they call out Rob's name 3 times. Of course, each time he doesn't answer. I'm not sure what the reasoning behind this is, but all the memorial services I've been to do this. It just makes it that much more real that he's gone. These past couple of days have been emotionally exhausting. The house, the service, and yesterday I got the Army Times and Rob's picture was under the section "Human Toll". Every week I got the paper, I'd always look at this to see how many soldiers were killed that week in Iraq and Afghanistan. (READ MORE)

Fobbits need ice cream too: Still here - Can we go home now? I'm out of movies to watch and I'm not going to pay $10 for a DVD like some millionaire would. I'm not sure how I will watch movies back home; $20 for a new DVD seems like highway robbery considering they are $1 from the bootleggers in Iraq. Our days consist of a 0600 wakeup from ShittyPSG, because we have to maintain a typical military duty day, and then we lay here for hours talking, napping or watching movies. We do PT at 1600 and that's our day. The only way to tell days apart is when we get fucked with by some senior NCO or officer. Lately, it's been this Command Sergeant Major from the unit that does base security here. A few days ago while we were running (squad based PT), he busted SPC McLuvin for having black socks on instead of regulation white socks. The PX only sells black underarmour socks. Unless you have socks mailed, if you don't want ratty socks, you have the black underarmour ones. We were running for time but I guess that's not as important as black socks. (READ MORE)

Lt. Col. Paul Fanning: Marble memories - The New York National Guard’s 27th Infantry Brigade Combat Team dedicated a marble plaque on Saturday in Patriot Square at Camp Phoenix in Kabul, where it has served since last April in command of Combined Joint Task Force Phoenix VII. The National Guard’s 372nd birthday on Dec. 13 framed the occasion as the outgoing 27th Infantry Brigade Combat Team and the incoming 33rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team prepare to hold the official Transfer of Authority on Dec. 19. “I can’t think of a better way for us to mark the birthday of our service than for two historic commands to meet at an important crossroads while serving the nation from a combat zone.” (READ MORE)

The Gun Line: Well Now, Ain’t This Something… - After a few weeks in Iraq, I’m feeling… Well… Content, believe it or not… There have been so many changes in my life, and I’ve got a whopper of a task waiting for me when I get home, that being here is almost calming… I begin to understand why men joined the Foreign Legion to escape their troubles. I’m not saying that I’m trying to escape troubles, mind you, but I can see the attraction. Thus far, we have been lucky… Our outfit is one of the few that actually leaves the base on a regular basis, to tread the roads of Iraq time after time. I’m confident that we’ve got the best technology, the best people for the job, and we know what we’re doing. My only fear can be summed up by what a fellow said the other day: “We’ve already killed the stupid bad guys…” The bad guys are always watching, and they are getting more and more inventive as time goes on… (READ MORE)

Big Country: OK Baghdad 2008 - OK: Well, Michael Yon has left the building... Great guy, but seenings how boring thing are here, and how laid back things are here, I don't blame him so I'll take up the 'boring slack' as one would say. I have to report what I see. Which truthfully isn't much. Beyond the kids begging treats and food, the Iraqi Parents who shoo the kids back from my truck, and the Army/Air Force/Navy troops who, to be truthful, are BORED, as there aint SHIT going on here. OK: Bush's visit caused a bit of a 'localized uproar' in the respect that they set up "safety checkpoints" all over post... as in look at your licence, see your lease (if applicable) and make sure the vehicle isnt stolen, and other such ephmerea, but the thing that alerted me (I hadn't seen the news) that SOMEONE important was on post was that we had uparmored vehicles at every bloody corner on post, lock n' loaded so to speak, and that the guys who did the 'safety inpections' were all Sergeant Majors Or First Sergeants. (READ MORE)

Bill Roggio: US Predator strikes in North Waziristan - The US has attacked a Taliban safe house in the lawless tribal agency of North Waziristan, killing two people, according to reports from the region. An unmanned Predator aircraft fired at least one Hellfire missile at a Taliban safe house in the Tapi Tool region near Miramshah, the main town in the Taliban-controlled tribal agency, Geo News reported. No senior leaders have been reported killed in the strike. The al Qaeda-linked Haqqani family and Taliban warlord Hafiz Gul Bahadar operate in North Waziristan. The Haqqani Network has a strong presence in Miramshah region of North Waziristan. (READ MORE)

Michael J. Totten: On the Hunt in Baghdad - BAGHDAD -- “If your men conduct any raids,” I said to Captain Todd Looney at Combat Outpost Ford on the outskirts of Sadr City, Baghdad, “I want to go.” “We might have something come up,” he said. “If so, I'll get you out there.” Less than an hour later, one of the most dangerous terrorist leaders in all of Iraq was spotted holding a meeting at a house in the area. An arrest warrant had already been issued by the government of Iraq, and Captain Looney's company was the closest to his location. They would be the ones to go get him. “Do you still have room for me?” I said. “Get your gear,” Captain Looney said. Last time I was in Baghdad, in the summer of 2007, I was told that most suspects surrender the instant they realize their house is surrounded. Fighting would be suicidal, and most terror cell leaders do not seek martyrdom. But the guy we were after was far more vicious and crazy than average. (READ MORE)

MAJ Daneker - My Point of View: Who Invented PowerPoint? - And were they properly punished for unleashing such pain and terror on an unsuspecting world? I wonder how our lives would have been affected if no one had invented a method of putting bullet comments on a computer screen, later to be projected onto a larger screen for people to view en masse. Think of all the information we wouldn't know without PowerPoint: statistics; lists of (fill in your own word....I pick vitamins); points of contact; directions for doing just about anything. How could we ever have evolved as a civilized population without PowerPoint and its evil twin, Excel? But the most amazing thing about PowerPoint is its ability to put people to sleep. Better than any lullaby written by Brahms or drug known to man! I don't know why people spend money on sleeping pills when all they need to do is watch some form of a PowerPoint slide show, preferably one about a topic that has nothing to do with their job or is redundant, duplicate information. (READ MORE)

SPC Logue - My Point of View: More Training - So, we have been training in the beautiful Bryan, Texas since the first week of November. Honestly, I can't even remember all the training that we have undergone. Two particular training events stand out in my mind. Driver's training and the wonderful Combat Lifesaver Course. This driver's training was quite different from any other military driver's training that I have undergone. We drove at an off road site to see what the vehicles could do, and see how heavy up-armored doors weigh on an incline. Not to mention driving up and down in between a 40 and 60% incline. It was definitely a new experience driving up and down that enormous hill. A certain Specialist, who shall remain unnamed almost gave me a heart attack while he was driving up the hill. I enjoy skydiving, so not much scares me. But Specialist Alperin, has made me realize I don't want to be a passenger while he drives up a hill. (READ MORE)

Navy Gal: Home - I have finally made it home. All the out-processing is done. I have a lot of mixed emotions about being home. I miss my friends. I miss the routine. I miss the excitement. I know it sounds crazy that I would miss all of this now that I am home, but I do. I want to cry a lot of the time and I find myself getting annoyed very easily over little things. I spoke with my Iraq roommate yesterday and she is feeling the same way. We have wanted this for 10 months, but now it is here we want things to go back the way they were. I have so much stuff to do before I move to CO in January. I have to find a job and an apartment. I have to pack the stuff in my storage unit and sell other stuff to get ready to move. I have school starting in January too. It's too much too soon after getting back. I'm not ready to have to deal with all of this stuff. It's very overwhelming after not having to make decisions for the past 10 months other than what line to go through in the DFAC. (READ MORE)

Notes from Iraq: 15DEC08--Diesel Clean - A few weeks ago, the Iraqis found a series of caches of weapons. The Iraqi media even came to interview the commander. Today, a weapon from that cache was operational and in use. See, the Iraqis do not have to give us the weapons. It is their land, and they found them. Usually, they call us to take the explosives away. The weapons are kept, saying that they might put them in use. Today, an Iraqi Soldier cleaned one of the large caliber machine guns from the cache. American cleaning tools include wire brushes, rags and cleaning oil. The Iraqi cleaning tools include a bucket of diesel fuel. The Iraqi Soldier would hold a part under the fuel and wipe it with his hands and then assemble the weapon. Other than the lack of using gloves, this method seemed to work. The Iraqis successfully test fired the once buried under ground weapon later that afternoon. It is now mounted on top of a HMMWV. (READ MORE)

Photography, Software, and Sand: Working hard until the end - I just submitted my timesheet for this last 2-week pay period. I don't think its neccessary to say that 250 hours is more hours than I've ever and probably will ever work again for someone else in my life. And thats with some "down" days... days that I "only" worked 12 hours so I could recover. About half of these days I was in my office until at least sunset, and there were a few that I never went to sleep but for a quick nap during the day when I could sqeeze some time in. The timing worked out pretty well with my vacation coming up, and I don't know how I'd be able to recover from all this without it. (READ MORE)

Pink's War: A Holiday Safety Lesson - "This holiday season we'd like to make sure everyone is safe..." "We are here to tell you what is and isn't authorized on a Christmas tree..." I look to see who's talking and interrupting my hand-washing. It's a couple buddies from the old unit, guys that extended with this unit like I did. "What in the hell are you guys doing?" "Well," SPC Meathead (OPSEC) says, "We had a Christmas tree and decorated it with rounds and smoke grenades." "Yeah," SPC Goofy (OPSEC) chimes in, "I guess we're not supposed to have these kind of things on the tree." What had happened was, we had a fire inspection, they went into the guy's room and seen the tree with all kinds of ammo and what-not hanging from it. The inspectors told our First Sergeant and the First Sergeant decided that as a punishment they'd set up a table in the area in the DFAC where people wash their hands and educate everyone on fire safety and Christmas decorations during dinner chow. (READ MORE)

Rocinante's Burdens: More Pictures [Visit site for photos] - I got a new job. Emperor of Mesopotamia. And a crystal tree. About 12 feet high. Oil for food program stench all over it. Many of the lower branches are bare. I suspect some people in the first wave of souvenir gathering. I don't really care about such things. A guy risks his life for God and country, he ought to get a little memento of no real value.I have a few mementos myself. you may also notice that the branches are all lit with compact fluorescent bulbs. The same is true for all the chandeliers. Sure it costs a mint, but power here does too, so it probably works out. (READ MORE)

S4 at War: Balad - Check out this article on Joint Base Balad (formerly known as Anaconda). Keep in mind its a couple years old and some of the sections about the violence in the area has changed significantly. The rest is spot on. I just got back from a few days there and had the pleasure of listening to AFN radio updates on the Taji flag football league while navigating traffic jams in my KBR rental vehicle. The place is surreal, its inahibtants-overwhelimingly civilian-are detached from the reality a few hundred kilometers away from them outside the wire. JBB is the original logistics center in the country. I went there with the hopes of getting a lot done and circumventing some of the intermediaries I normally have to deal with. Here is how the Army works: I need 20 hand wash stations for my various patrol bases. I went to the supply warehouse and told them what I needed. The conversation: (READ MORE)

CAPT Benjamin Tupper: FAYEZ - In deference to the morals and traditions of countries like Iraq and Afghanistan, Army General Order 1 Bravo prohibits the consumption of alcohol, engaging in sex, and a myriad of other staples of young male American life. One of the lesser tenets buried in the rules of Army General Order 1Bravo is the prohibition of distributing religious materials, as well as other evangelical activities. This was a rule founded in common sense, that prevents numerous chances for friction between US Soldiers and Local Nationals. But General Order 1B is in no way a gag order on religion, and I witnessed many a friendly religious debate between US soldiers and the Muslims we met on a daily basis. (READ MORE)

Sergeant Grumpy: Holiday Cards Humor - Some folks might find this post offensive, if you are the sensitive type then click here. If you choose to read this and get pissed off, I don't want to hear it. *grimace* So, both times I've been deployed overseas, around the Holidays we'd get all these great kids cards from some of the schools back home. They really are awesome, and, well, no one can really articulate why, but these cards really touch most Soldiers (except for a few cold, heartless fucks). It is something about the little stick figures, the smiling sun, and the Army tanks running over terrorists. It just touches a Soldier's heart. Ehhm, getting a little choked up..... So anyhow, last Christmas, I got a stack of these, and set them out for the guys to look thru before I was going to put them on the wall. A few hours later, I hear this commotion in the team room, and everyone was looking at one card and laughing hard. Some joker had stuck the following card in the pack. (READ MORE)

David Botti: A Final Post - As WWII entered its final days, the French writer Marguerite Duras, then a member of the resistance in Paris, waited to see if her husband had survived the German concentration camps and would be coming home. The notes she took of that time were subsequently published as The War: A Memoir, in which she relays her observations of a once occupied city expecting what seemed an immanent liberation and start of a new era. As she watched the quotidian life of Paris resume once again, Duras wrote: "Peace is visible already. It's like a great darkness falling, it's the beginning of forgetting." Her words have always struck me in the way they apply to a vast number of aftermaths throughout my own lifetime and history; with peace does come forgetting, at least on a larger scale. (READ MORE)

Zen Traveller: Not So Good With Technology - The Iraqi's have a new device at selected security checkpoints around Baghdad. A serious looking operator holds what looks like a toy remote-controlled car device in his hand, and wearing a pair of earphones, dutifully walks down the side of the car. What he's listening for I have no earthly idea; maybe the ticking of a bomb? Who knows? This ridiculous display prompted a tirade of comments from my Scottish security partner about how the Arab culture is not the most technologically savvy on the face of the planet. My favorite remark described how you could give Iran, Iraq, etc... the most sophisticated fighter aircraft in the inventory complete with state of the art weaponry and in the end you will still have some guy at the controls wearing a green scarf around his head mumbling "Allah akbar". (READ MORE)

Big Tobacco: The Gunslinger - I did not smoke while composing this. I walk into the BDOC. It’s 0652. Sergeant Lambchop is in the BDOC. He is seven minutes late. “I need to talk to you,” I say. “Outside.” He sighs and lifts his heavy frame out of the chair. “About what?” He asks. “You’re late,” I say. He glares at me. “Hey, I’m just doin’ what you were doin’. You were here thirteen minutes before the hour, so I came here thirteen minutes before the hour.” Ok, then I guess we’ll do this inside. “Everybody get out,” I say. Screw it. The radios can watch themselves for a few minutes. The day and night shift shuffle out, eyeing each other. They know that Sergeant Lambchop just picked a fight with the wrong Jew. (READ MORE)

The Stone Report: Unit Bonding and Milblog News - I’ve written a post about our range day, but decided to schedule it for after we leave Fort Dix. Sorority Soldier has a great post on what it was like shooting in rain and near freezing temps. It’s the most miserable and disappointed I’ve ever been in the army. Instead of venting about something awful, I’ll give some good news about the unit. Tonight we had a great dinner where we were able to sit around a table and just talk. I got to sit with SGT Tigers, SSG Sassy Pants, PFC Yo Lo Tango and SGT Maryland. The conversations started in on what happened at the range Thursday night and what we learned from it. SSG Sassy Pants has shouldered quite a load for this unit. He’s trained as a broadcaster, and he’s been on orders with the unit since June and is one of the three who actually live in Arkansas. (READ MORE)

News from the Front:
Another day, another grave - Iraq may be the only country in the world that has declared a Mass Graves Day. It is observed every May 16, and for good reason. Rarely does a week go by without another mass grave being uncovered containing victims of either Saddam Hussein's regime or insurgents who surfaced in his wake. (READ MORE)

Marine mom pleads with president for pardons - The mother of a Marine convicted in the killing of an unarmed Iraqi man has written an impassioned letter to President Bush seeking a pardon for her son and six other Marines and a Navy corpsman also convicted in the case. In her letter, Deanna Pennington asks Bush to lift the convictions and to free Lawrence Hutchins from prison. Hutchins is serving an 11-year sentence at Ft. Leavenworth. (READ MORE)

Tips lead IA, SoI, MND-B Soldiers to weapons caches - BAGHDAD – Iraqi Army soldiers, Sons of Iraq and Multi-National Division – Baghdad Soldiers seized weapons caches in Baghdad Dec. 15-16. A tip from an Iraqi citizen led to the seizure of a munitions cache by soldiers serving with 2nd Battalion, 53rd Brigade, 14th Iraqi Army Division northwest of Baghdad at approximately 12:15 p.m. Dec 15. The cache included 120 pounds of ammonium nitrate, an 82 mm mortar round, a half pound of propellant, a 130 mm high explosive round, two PG-7s. (READ MORE)

Coalition Forces No Longer Hold Female Detainees - Baghdad – Multi-National Force – Iraq’s Task Force 134 – Detainee Operations, transferred custody of the last of its female detainees to the Government of Iraq, Monday, Dec. 15. The final 10 female detainees were all transferred from the Coalition theater internment facility at Camp Cropper in Baghdad, to an Iraqi controlled women’s prison in Baghdad. These women are all either already convicted or scheduled to stand trial in the Central Criminal Court of Iraq. (READ MORE)

MoI holds first logistics symposium - Baghdad – The Ministry of Interior held its first logistics symposium here Dec. 14. Over the course of the next six weeks, provincial representatives from across Iraq will come together to address the logistical issues within the ministry in efforts to increase ministerial capacity. “This conference allows provincial and national unit’s representatives from across the country to come together to discuss logistical issues they all share.” (READ MORE)

Three terrorists killed, three suspects detained during operations in northern Iraq - BAGHDAD – Two terrorists were killed during an operation in Ash Shurah, 34 km south of Mosul. Coalition forces targeting a suspected al-Qaeda operative involved with improvised explosive device facilitation stopped a vehicle believed to be occupied by the targeted man. They called for the occupants to surrender. One of the men refused to comply with the assault force’s instructions and revealed a suicide vest. Perceiving hostile intent, the assault force engaged and killed both men. (READ MORE)

Forces target AQ leaders, bombing networks in central Iraq: 24 suspects detained - BAGHDAD – Coalition forces detained 24 suspects Monday and Tuesday during operations targeting al-Qaeda leaders and command and control networks in central Iraq. Al-Qaeda in Iraq’s leadership networks were disrupted during three synchronized operations late Monday near Abu Ghraib, 20 km west of Baghdad. Coalition forces detained five suspects believed to be associated with regional AQI leaders. (READ MORE)

Coalition forces continue to counter Iranian-funded criminals - BAGHDAD – Coalition forces continue to degrade the Iranian-funded Asa’ib Ahl al-Haq criminal network with the capture of a suspected key network leader and three associates early Monday in Abd al-Husayn al-Musawi, just north of New Bagdad. Acting on intelligence information, Coalition forces targeted an alleged regional operations leader for Asa’ib Ahl al-Haq, believed to be responsible for attacks against Iraqi and Coalition forces, as well as network recruitment in the Baghdad area. (READ MORE)

MND-B Soldiers find, disarm IEDs after tip from SoI leader - BAGHDAD - Multi-National Division - Baghdad Soldiers disarmed two improvised explosive devices in Baghdad's Rashid district after a Sons of Iraq leader tipped Coalition forces of the homemade explosives Dec. 12. At approximately 11:45 p.m., Soldiers of Company A, 2nd Battalion, 4th Infantry Regiment, attached to the 1st Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, MND-B, discovered two IEDs made of HME in the Hadar community in southern Baghdad. (READ MORE)

Mail Team Keeps Morale High Over Holidays - FOB FALCON — A team of certified mail handlers is helping to boost morale for deployed troops by ensuring they receive their holiday care packages from family and friends back home. About a dozen Soldiers from the 4th Infantry Division’s 1st Brigade Combat Team make up the “Raider” mail team. With the holiday season at hand, post office operations are in full gear, with sometimes more than a dozen large boxes arriving at a time for a single Soldier. (READ MORE)

Zarwa Park Holiday Celebration Attracts Huge Crowds in Baghdad - BAGHDAD — More than 1.2 million Iraqi citizens passed through the gates of Zawra Park in the Karkh District as they gathered with friends and family to celebrate the Eid al-Adha, Dec. 8-11. This is a time of year when many families come together; and this year, those families chose to spend time together by visiting the park or touring the Baghdad Zoo to take in many of the recently opened exhibits. (READ MORE)

U.S., Iraqi Soldiers Deliver Meals, Supplies to Sadr City Residents - BAGHDAD — Multi-National Division – Baghdad Soldiers, with help from Iraqi Army (IA) counterparts from the 11th Division, recently had the opportunity to distribute Halal humanitarian meals to Sadr City residents. Capt. Mohammed, 4th Company 3rd Battalion, 42nd Brigade, 11th Division commander, made it his show, coordinating his Soldiers and setting everything up. (READ MORE)

Iraqi Police Rise to Challenge - BAGHDAD — Throughout Baghdad’s Karkh security district, Iraqi Police (IP) make daily strides to earn the trust of the local population. During the past year, the IP in Saliyah, Karkh, and Juafer have stepped up and taken the lead in securing their neighborhoods. Taking this more active role has placed them in the spotlight in securing Karkh, and the citizens of northwest Baghdad are beginning to appreciate their efforts. (READ MORE)

Coalition forces ambushed during reconnaissance patrol - KABUL, Afghanistan – Coalition forces conducting a night-time dismounted reconnaissance patrol in Deh Rawood district, Uruzgan Province, approximately 125 km north of Kandahar, were ambushed with small-arms, machine-gun and rocket-propelled grenade fire, Dec. 10. Coalition forces returned fire with small-arms and were able to successfully disengage from enemy contact. There have been unconfirmed reports that two men and one woman may have been killed as a result of the engagement. Coalition forces reported the incident to local officials and will conduct a key leader engagement with local tribal elders to discuss the incident today. (READ MORE)

ANSF Commandos and Coalition forces capture key IED facilitator - KABUL, Afghanistan – Afghan National Commandos, assisted by Coalition forces, detained a known IED facilitator during a security patrol on Dec. 11, in Boti Kot, Nangahar Province, approximately 275 km east of Kabul. While the Commandos and Coalition forces were conducting a routine security patrol in the Boti Kot bazaar, local authorities provided credible information to the ANA Commandos of known anti-afghan forces IED facilitator, Attiqullah, in close proximity to the bazaar. (READ MORE)

Coalition forces maintain pressure in Kabul and Zabul provinces - KABUL, Afghanistan – Coalition forces killed one militant and detained sixteen suspected militants during operations targeting Hizb-e-Islami Gulbuddin (HIG) and Taliban commanders in Kabul and Zabul provinces, Friday. In Surobi District, approximately 30 km northeast of Kabul, Coalition forces detained eight suspected militants during a raid targeting a HIG commander that yielded a cache of weapons and explosives. The successful operation targeted a HIG commander, known to traffic weapons and explosives into Kabul, used to conduct attacks against innocent civilians, GIRoA and Coalition forces. (READ MORE)

ANSF, Coalition forces disrupt IED cell in Helmand - KABUL, Afghanistan – Afghan National Security Forces and Coalition forces killed five militants, destroyed six improvised explosive devices and destroyed a cache of bomb-making materials during two operations Thursday and Friday in Nahr Surkh District, Helmand province, in southern Afghanistan. In the first operation on Thursday, combined forces were conducting a combat security patrol when they were ambushed by militants, who attacked with small-arms fire, machine-gun fire and rocket propelled grenades from embankments along a heavily traveled road. (READ MORE)

Mobile finance team visits remote COP - BAGRAM AIR FIELD, Afghanistan (Dec. 5, 2008) – A mobile finance office team provided their services to Soldiers of Charlie Company, 2nd Battalion, 506th Infantry Regiment, Combined Joint Task Force Currahee, located at combat outposts in eastern Afghanistan November 28th. A team of two Soldiers from the 126th Finance, Echo Detachment, out of the 18th Airborne Infantry Corp, made their first stop at COP Malekshay. (READ MORE)

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