December 19, 2008

From the Front: 12/19/2008

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

In their own words:
The Battlefield Tourist: Female Militant Wounded and Captured in Afghanistan - A raid against a suspected al Qaeda cell in eastern Khowst Province resulted in three dead militants and five others captured, including a woman. Afghan National Police, accompanied by a Coaltion force, surrounded a compound where the suspected al Qaeda leader was hiding. After a call for surrender, a man inside the compound opened fire on the coalition, who returned fire, killing the man. As the force moved in to search the buildings, three other militants were seen trying to maneuver on them with small arms and were fired on, killing two and wounding the third. The surviving militant turned out to be a female who had non-life threatening wounds. (READ MORE)

Bad Dogs and Such: Best Army Idea - Ever - And I'm not even being sarcastic. That, ladies and gentlemen, is SFC Boe. She is a therapy dog. Not just any therapy, either. Combat Stress Control therapy. Iraq can make you crazy in a zillion different ways, whether you be the guy who gets griped at about PowerPoint slides or the guy kicking down doors or the gal flying medevac birds or the kid processing 10,000 leave forms. There's plety of stress and plenty of crazy to go around. However, somebody got smart, and now there's something nice here that soldiers can pet, maybe talk to, maybe cuddle a little, and feel normal with. That's good. Three cheers for SFC Boe the therapy dog, and two tails wagging for the Army for finally getting something right. (READ MORE)

Bill and Bob's Excellent Adventure: The More Things Change... - Witness this post on Afghanistan Shrugged, the best (IMO) soldier milblog in Afghanistan right now. Longwarrior would be right up there, too, but he's been unable or uninspired to post. Longwarrior's latest bespeaks the disillusionment that sets in upon exposure to the Afghan reality; the stuff they don't teach you at Ft Riley. In any case, Vampire06 is doing a fabulous job of conveying the feeling of doing your best with some pretty workable Afghans all while having your hands tied behind your back by both your chain and the parallel ISAF chain. His frustration is evident, and I empathize completely. Working with the Afghans gave a real sense of satisfaction, while the American chain offered so much frustration and contradiction. (READ MORE)

The Left Captain: Crawling towards Christmas - I'm sure loyal readers are wondering "what's going on over there?". My wife mentioned to me that I hadn't written an entry in a while. Similar to October, I seemed to have stalled out in terms of motivation, mood, and enthusiasm. I thought that December would bring an increase in motivation because the "end" is practically at the doorstep of the new year, but somehow December has slowed down time . With each day that passes, it seems like one day is added to an imagined month of January. This imaginary calendar has days added by snow and endless delays due to weather or other movement problems. What hasn't helped has been more outside the wire taskings by the Army chain of command here. I've caught the superstitions-- agonizing over the "one last mission" scenario, especially when it's a bullshit mission with very little value, other than keeping the area commander happy. (READ MORE)

Bill Roggio: Omar Saeed Sheikh plots assassination from Pakistani jail - Senior al Qaeda operative Omar Saeed Sheikh plotted to kill Pakistan’s former president while serving a jail sentence, and is also believed to be complicit in the murder of a senior Pakistani counterterrorism officer. Omar plotted to kill former President Pervez Musharraf and Chief of Army Staff General Ashfaq Kiyani while serving a sentence at the Hyderabad Jail for the murder of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl in 2002, The News reported. Senior US officials confirmed to The Long War Journal Omar's role as the leader of in what The News described as "a clandestine terror network." From prison, Omar called Musharraf on his personal cell phone in mid-November and threatened his life. "I am after you, get ready to die," Omar reportedly told Musharraf. (READ MORE)

Sorority Soldier: Life of a Reservist - A week from yesterday and I’ll be boarding a plane… I’m ecsatic. I’m so ready to get home and see my family, but I’m trying not to let that derail my focus - I’ve still got 3 days of journalism training and a night range to complete. At 1530, I’m set to go on a training mission with an MP unit. I’m going with a print journalist, Monty, and the unit has cleverly coined these PB&J teams (print and broadcast journalists). The mission doesn’t actually kick off until around 1700, and since it’s hard to see a hand in front of your face by 1645, I doubt I’ll be able to see MPs running around in the woods. I’m trying to think positive though. I’ve got a camera light which I might be able to use, but if it interferes with their training then I’m going to have to use whatever natural light I can find. We’re running 24 ops for the next three days, so when I get back from my mission I’ll have 24 hours to complete a story and go back out. (READ MORE)

Bill Roggio: US forces detain Iranian 'agent' near Baghdad - Coalition special operations forces captured a suspected Iranian "agent" and an associate during an early morning raids north of Baghdad, Multinational Forces Iraq reported. The Iranian is described as a "commander of Iranian special operations in Iraq who is also believed to be involved in facilitating training of Iraqi militants at Islamic Republican Guard Corps-Qods Force training camps." The raids took place in the town of Qastin in Diyala province. The Iranian agent then led US forces to his associate. (READ MORE)

News from the Front:
Marine sergeant acquitted in Fallouja killings wants to rejoin Riverside police - A former Marine sergeant acquitted by a civilian jury in August in the killing of four Iraqi prisoners in 2004 is trying to rejoin the Riverside Police Department. Jose Luis Nazario was dismissed as a probationary officer when charges were levied by the U.S. attorney's office. Now he has reapplied to the Riverside department and some others. As a probationary employee, Nazario had no civil service protection. (READ MORE)

Coalition forces further degrade AQI in central Iraq: 11 suspects detained - BAGHDAD – Coalition forces continued to target al-Qaeda terrorist networks in central Iraq Thursday and Friday, capturing two wanted men and detaining nine additional suspects. Thursday near Ad Dawr, 130 km north of Baghdad, forces captured a wanted man assessed to be a local AQI financier. He is also believed to have connections with local AQI leaders. (READ MORE)

Personal Security Team swings in to help local Iraqi School - JADDILAH SOFLIH, Iraq – Soldiers fromthe16th Sustainment Brigade put a lighter touch on their normal duties here, Dec. 17. Soldiers from the Personal Security Team, Bravo Company, 16th Special Troops Battalion, 16th Sustainment Brigade., delivered a brand new swing set to the Jaddilah Soflih Elementary School. (READ MORE)

Iraqi Security Forces capture 13 terrorists in northern Iraq - BALAD, Iraq – Iraqi Security Forces, with Coalition forces advisors, captured 13 suspected terrorists during separate operations in northern Iraq Dec. 13 and 14. In an operation Dec. 13, Iraqi Army commandos, under the authority of warrants issued by Central Criminal Court of Iraq judges, arrested nine suspected terrorist cell members in Ijhalla Village, Iraq. Those captured are suspected of being responsible for vehicle-borne IED attacks. (READ MORE)

Sadr City has its own newspaper, the Al Medina - BAGHDAD – A monumental achievement was accomplished Nov. 3 in the highly populated Baghdad district of Sadr City. This time it wasn’t a record number of barriers put in place or another Special Groups criminal captured, instead it was the publication of the first local Sadr City newspaper, the Al Medina. (READ MORE)

INPs discover roadside bomb - BAGHDAD – Iraqi National Policemen from the 1st Battalion, 7th Brigade, 2nd National Police Division, who conduct combined operations daily with Soldiers from Company C, 2nd Battalion, 4th Infantry Regiment, attached to 1st Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, MND-B, discovered a 155 mm artillery round with wires and two blasting caps at approximately 6 p.m. in the Hadar community. An explosives ordnance disposal unit responded to properly dispose of the round. (READ MORE)

MND-B Soldiers help young victims of explosion - BAGHDAD – Multi-National Division- Baghdad Soldiers from the 4th Battalion, 27th Field Artillery Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division responded to help three Iraqi children injured when what is believed to be a piece of unexploded ordnance detonated in a field where they were grazing their sheep Dec. 15 south of Baghdad near Combat Outpost Meade. (READ MORE)

Marines Continue Water, Medical Deliveries - BAAJ — U.S. Marines continue to deliver bottled water and medical aid to their Iraqi neighbors here and outside the city. “We’re doing local engagements here for force-protection issues, and we revisit our neighbors to identify any changes,” said Marine Lt. Col. Andrew J. Drake, plans officer, Jump Command Point (JCP), Multi-National Force - West. “Also, it’s a courtesy to promote good relations by bringing water [and medical] corpsmen, and there’s the possibility we can develop intelligence resources,” Drake said. (READ MORE)

Iraqi Police Lead Combined Operation - FOB LOYALTY — National Police (NP) officers and Multi-National Division – Baghdad Soldiers conducted a combined operation to search for illegally possessed weapons in eastern Baghdad, Dec 13. NP from 3rd Battalion, 1st Brigade, 1st National Police Division, led the operation, which occurred in the Baghdad Al Jadida area of New Baghdad. (READ MORE)

Students, Community Celebrate Al Kanat School Renovations - FOB LOYALTY — Students, faculty and community members celebrated as a local leader cut the ribbon symbolizing completion of renovations to Al Kanat School in the Rusafa district of eastern Baghdad, Dec. 16. Ali Hussein Nahi, the deputy minister of education for Rusafa, cut the ribbon, and Al’aa Dagher, Rusafa district council chairman, helped mark the project’s completion and official school re-opening. (READ MORE)

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