Dear Interested Readers,
We have many interesting and positive stories, including high level insurgents captured, and many large weapon caches found, thanks to more and more Iraqi citizens coming forward. High expectations are riding with Op Marne Rugged, and Op Golden Shovel! The media reports tragedies, but not the hope and the determination of the CF and the Iraqi people to push forward to victory over the insurgents. I snuck in a story of a 19 year old woman silver star receiver for valor in Afghanistan.
Multi-National Corps - Iraq
Public Affairs Office, Camp Victory
APO AE 09342
March 14, 2008
IP, U.S. SF detain 3 insurgents responsible for IED attacks
BALAD - IP, advised by U.S. SP, detained 3 members of an IED cell operating in and around Kirkuk and Hawijah.
One of the suspected insurgents captured is the leader of the cell. Another of the suspected insurgents was identified as the cell member responsible for media ops, including recording the attacks.
SOI lead Soldiers to 2 weapons caches in Tarmiya
BAGHDAD - During ongoing security and stability ops in Tarmiya, northwest of Baghdad, March 11, Soldiers from 2nd Stryker BCT, 25th ID, seized the cache during a search. Abna al Iraq or SoI members provided info to the Soldiers to help them locate the cache.
"The Abna al Iraq are truly stepping forward to ensure the safety of people of Iraq in their area," said Maj. Al Hing, spokesperson for 2nd Stryker BCT. "They provide safety with tips of weapons caches, allowing CF to remove the tools of the terrorists."
The munitions seized included a Dishka machinegun, AK-47 rifles, more than 40 sticks of TNT, a rocket propelled grenade launcher with rounds and fuses, and various IED making materials.
The SOI led Soldiers to another cache of homemade explosives in the same area March 10.
Iraqi SF, U.S. Special Ops Forces detain 15 during 3 separate ops
BALAD - March 11, in areas of Muthana and Khasraj, 12 suspected members of an al Qaeda-in-Iraq network were detained by Iraqi Soldiers while they were conducting sustained activities in the area. During the op, the team also located and destroyed weapons caches.
In Mosul, Iraqi Special Ops Forces detained 2 suspected terrorists. One of the men allegedly holds a leadership role within an al Qaeda-in-Iraq cell in Mosul and attacked CF in and around Mosul. The other man is reportedly involved with al Qaeda-in-Iraq and is wanted for murders, IED emplacing, and recruiting for al Qaeda.
The Hillah Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) team detained another suspected terrorist in northern Babil Province. The man is wanted on an Iraqi Ministry of Interior warrant in connection with a recent IED attack in Hasawa.
Op Marne Rugged: MND-C Soldiers aim to eliminate remaining insurgents
By Sgt. Michael Connors
CAMP VICTORY - On the heels of Ops Marne Thunderbolt and Grand Slam south of Baghdad, MND - Center will push further south against insurgents.
The op will cover a rural area southeast of Baghdad, south of the Tigris River in the area of op of 4th BCT, 3rd ID and 3rd Bde, 8th IA.
One phase of the op will be the establishment of Patrol Base Summers, a joint IA and CF base. Staff Sgt. Vincent Summers paid the ultimate sacrifice while serving with 2nd Bn, 69th Armor Regt.
"We have found that when we put IA and CF in a patrol base in an area like Summers, the population comes to us and gives us that refined intel, so that we can do precise ops against any al Qaeda (in Iraq) that may be in this area," said Col. Tom James, cmdr. of 4th BCT, during a pre-op briefing at FOB Zulu March 10. CF and IA have already identified more than 2,500 Iraqi security volunteers. These volunteers are eager to become Abna al-Iraq, or SoI. Some want to join Iraqi SF.
"We see 2 major tasks that we have to accomplish: One, we have to integrate the Iraqi security volunteers," James said. "The other is to provide quick-impact, small projects to the local civilians."
Maj. Gen. Rick Lynch, cmdr. of MND-C, told Col. Hussein of 3/8 IA that CF could help the IA fix the water pumps, in addition to facilitating other projects. "I believe we have a window of opportunity," Lynch said. "You see, I've got this idea to transition from security to stability, and stability is about jobs, services, schools, and we can help with all that."
From left: Col. Tom James, Maj. Gen. Rick Lynch, Col. Hussein, and Lt. Col. Sakhii, walk from the helipad at FOB Zulu, March 10. They were at the base for a briefing on Op Marne Rugged.
Maj. Gen. Rick Lynch, addresses a group of Soldiers from Co D, 3rd Bn, 7th Inf Regt, 4th BCT, 3rd ID.
Two alleged criminals detained in Saydiyah
BAGHDAD - A tip led Soldiers of 64th Armored Regt, 3rd ID, attached to Task Force Dragon, and 28th Inf Regt, 4th BCT, 1st ID, to a building in Saydiyah where they detained the 2 suspected members of a criminal cell in southern Baghdad March 13..
The men are believed to be part of a cell that had been producing explosively formed penetrators.
Top Iraqi Army com. officer visits Baghdad Signal University
By Capt. Cedar Wardle, Task Force Thunderbird
BAGHDAD - A top official in the Iraqi Ministry of Defense visited Baghdad Signal University Tuesday to observe the training his soldiers are receiving at the Task Force Thunderbird-sponsored school March 11.
Maj. Gen. Mohsin has oversight of the Iraqi Signal University in Taji. The focus of BSU is to train IA soldiers and leaders in data and communications ops and provide technical expertise for communications in MN Force - Iraq.
Currently, only 400 IA signal soldiers graduate each year and they are only trained at the basic level, Mohsin said.
"We look forward to continued training of the Iraqi Ground Forces and will continue this support to all signal soldiers," said Col. John B. Hildebrand, cmdr., Task Force Thunderbird. Task Force Thunderbird is comprised of the 11th Signal Bde from Fort Huachuca, Ariz., the 44th Expeditionary Signal Bn from Mannheim, Germany, and the 63rd Expeditionary Signal Bn from Fort Gordon, Ga.
Maj. Gen. Mohsin thanks instructors for their support to the Iraqi Army. Staff Sgt. Rodrique Sterling briefs Maj. Gen Mohsin on what courses he instructs March.
Op Golden Shovel breaks ground for a brighter future in Balad
TIKRIT - Iraqis and Soldiers took part in a groundbreaking ceremony to celebrate the future opening of the Balad canning factory, March 10.
"This factory could potentially lead to the creation of more than 10,000 jobs in the region" said Maj. Dan Meyers, spokesman for Task Force Iron. Multiple jobs will begin soon with hopes to expand quickly in the near future. "This is definitely a positive step towards the future of Iraq," Meyers said.
Iraqi workers and CF Soldiers partner for Op Golden Shovel, and were on hand for a groundbreaking ceremony.
Woman Earns Silver Star in Afghanistan
CAMP SALERNO, Afghanistan - A 19-year-old Army medic from Texas is set to become the first woman in Afghanistan -- and only the second female Soldier since World War II -- to receive the Silver Star, the nation's third-highest medal for valor.
Army Spc. Monica Lin Brown saved the lives of fellow Soldiers after a roadside bomb tore through a convoy of Humvees in the eastern Paktia province in April 2007, the military said. After the explosion, which wounded 5 Soldiers in her unit, Brown ran through enemy gunfire and used her body to shield wounded comrades as mortars fell less than 100 yards away, the military said.
"I did not really think about anything except for getting the guys to a safer location and getting them taken care of and getting them out of there," Brown told The Associated Press during a March 8 interview at a U.S. base in the eastern province of Khost. "I assessed the patients to see how bad they were. We tried to move them to a safer location because we were still receiving incoming fire," Brown said.
Pentagon policy prohibits women from serving in front-line combat roles - in the infantry, armor or artillery, for example. But the nature of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, with no real front lines, has seen women Soldiers take part in close-quarters combat more than previous conflicts.
Sgt. Leigh Ann Hester, received the Silver Star in 2005 for gallantry during an insurgent ambush on a convoy in Iraq. Two men from her unit, the 617th MP Co. of Richmond, Ky., also received the Silver Star for their roles in the same action.
Brown, of the 4th Sqdrn, 73rd Cav Regt, 4th BCT, said ammunition going off inside the burning Humvee was sending shrapnel in all directions. She said they were sitting in a dangerous spot. "So we dragged them for 100 or 200 meters, got them away from the Humvee a little bit," she said. "I was in a kind of a robot-mode, did not think about much but getting the guys taken care of."
"I did not really have time to be scared," Brown said. "Running back to the vehicle, I was nervous (since) I did not know how badly the guys were injured. That was scary."
The military said Brown's "bravery, unselfish actions and medical aid rendered under fire saved the lives of her comrades and represents the finest traditions of heroism in combat."