Dear Interested Readers,
We certainly have a variety of stories from lots of weapons caches found, to Sen. John McCains and Sen. Lindsey Graham's visit to Iraq. History was made by the first ever recruitment drive for IP in Arab Jabour, and a new police station for Shat al Taji. Progress is being made every day.
Multi-National Corps - Iraq
Public Affairs Office, Camp Victory
APO AE 09342
March 18, 2008
ISF, CF discover 8 caches across Salah ad Din
TIKRIT - Iraqi and CF Soldiers discovered 8 different weapons caches across Salah ad Din province, March 17.
The weapons caches included 90mm rounds, more than a dozen various mortar rounds, more than a dozen various rockets, and other explosives and IED making materials. Since January there have been a total of 591 caches discovered in Northern Iraq.
'Dragons' seize weapons in Risalah
BAGHDAD - MND - Baghdad forces seized an insurgent cell's weapons in northwestern Rashid March 15. Soldiers from the 4th BCT, 1st ID, and the 64th Armored Regt, 3rd ID seized 3 EFPs, an RPG launcher, several hundreds of rounds of PKC ammo, and an anti-tank launcher while conducting a patrol in a neighborhood in Baghdad.
ISF, CF discover 17 caches across northern Iraq
TIKRIT - Iraqi and MND - North Soldiers discovered 17 different weapons caches across northern Iraq March 16. The caches included approx. 750 kilograms of ammonium nitrate, more than 250 mortar shells, more than 200 pounds of homemade explosives, several weapons, a 500-pound Spanish bomb, Italian anti-tank mines, suicide vests, IED making materials, and several weapons systems with rounds.
"The safety of the Iraqi people depends on how fast CF and the IA find these caches," said Maj. Dan Meyers, a U.S. military spokesman in northern Iraq.
Joint operation uncovers cache in Kirkuk
TIKRIT - IA and CF Soldiers discovered a significant weapons cache north of Hawijah March 16.
The weapons cache's explosives included 4 suicide vests, more than 100 mortar rounds, more than 20 RPG rounds with propellant charges, approx.100 cheese charges, about 2,400 rounds, and several other explosive munitions. The cache also contained IED making material and several weapons.
ISF, U.S. SF detain 1 suspected IED cell leader, 1 suspected SVEST smuggler in separate ops
BALAD - March 16, the Ninewah Iraqi SWAT team conducted an op in the village of Al Athba, south of Mosul, to disrupt an IED cell responsible for attacks along a main supply route.
The cell is reported to have conducted an IED attack which killed a U.S. Soldier in January. During the op, ISWAT detained the cell leader along with another suspected cell member.
In an op in Al Abtakh, northwest of Tal Afar, Iraqi Soldiers detained an alleged suicide vest smuggler. The smuggler is believed to have smuggled suicide vest IEDs from Syria to Iraq for use during a March 14 attack on the Rabi'ah point of entry.
Senators McCain and Graham walk the streets of Haditha
By Cpl. Shawn Coolman
HADITHA CITY - Arizona Senator John McCain and a delegation arrived March 16 in Haditha City, Iraq, to view the progress that has been made in the area.
Marines from 3rd Bn, 23rd Marine Regt, Regimental Combat Team (RCT) 5 showcased the vast changes that have occurred here in recent times to the delegation. South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham and top CF leadership also accompanied McCain on the visit.
"We wanted to show the (delegation) the progress of the economy, structure improvements and the increased confidence of the people," said Master Sgt. Cortez L. Pree, 37, op chief. Once the delegation arrived, they were escorted to a meeting with Ma'Moun Sami Rashid, the provincial governor and other local governmental leaders. They spoke on topics concerning how well the CF leadership and Iraqi people are working together, and on the continual improvement of the Iraqi govt. "Without our (Coalition and Iraqi) commanders, we wouldn't have been able to have such a civilized place in Haditha now," said Rashid.
"What we're about to see when we walk through the city streets is going to be simply amazing," said Maj. Gen. John F. Kelly, the comm. gen. of MNF - West, to a member of the delegation.
"A year ago, you couldn't come out here," said Graham who visited Haditha last year. "What a turn around." As the delegation walked through the city streets, they spoke with the local people about how well their leaders were doing and sampled local products.
During the delegation's visit, words of acknowledgement were given to the Marines. To each Marine he met, McCain said, "Thank you for your service." As the delegation prepared to depart, the members all commented on the vast improvements to Haditha. "Everything was very impressive," said McCain.
The Provincial Governor of Ramadi, Rashid, and Arizona Senator John McCain greet each other in Haditha City, March 16. The delegation also included South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham.
Rashid, and Sen. McCain speak to a local businessman on a tour through Haditha City.
Senators McCain and Graham visit troops in Mosul
MOSUL - Sen. McCain arrived in Mosul with Sen. Graham to get an assessment of the situation in northern Iraq from American and Iraqi military leaders March 16.
The senators met with Maj. Gen. Mark P. Hertling, cmdr. of MND - North, Col. Michael Bills, cmdr. of the 3rd Armored Cav Regt (ACR), Lt. Gen. Tawfiq, cmdr. of the Ninewah Ops Command, members of the U.S. Dept. of State and other military leaders for a briefing on current ops in northern Iraq.
"The purpose of the day's visit was to provide a first-hand account of the situation in Mosul to elected American political leaders," said Lt. Col. Bob Molinari, regimental ops officer. "This is a critical location for battling against the terrorists," Hertling said. "They can go back to the American people and tell them how important this battle is."
Since taking over the battle space last November, 3rd ACR troops have been building police checkpoints along the main city roads, establishing combat outposts in city neighborhoods, and bolstering local Iraqi Army and IP forces.
Sen. McCain arrives at the Mosul Airfield accompanied by Maj. Gen. Mark P. Hertling, Lt. Gen. Tawfiq, and Sen. Graham.
Sen. McCain (center) and Sen. Graham (left) are briefed by Lt. Gen. Tawfiq.
Sen. McCain eats Army chow with CF in Mosul.
Rashid District, 1-30th Inf. Regt. host first-ever IP recruitment drive in Arab Jabour
By Sgt. Luis Delgadillo, 2nd BCT, 3rd ID
BAGHDAD - IP from the Rashid District and Soldiers of the 2nd BCT, 3rd ID, hosted an IP recruitment drive March 10-13 at Patrol Base Hawks. The recruitment drive is the first chance for citizens of the region to establish their own long-term security.
Soldiers of 1st Bn, 30th Inf Regt, jumpstarted efforts to recruit 300 Arab Jabour men for IP Academy training. The event ushered in an era of transition for some SoI, who with the assistance from IPs of the Rashid District, will one day patrol their neighborhoods and maintain their hard-earned safety.
Lt. Col. Ken Adgie, cmdr. of the 1-30th Inf. Regt., said the event marks a significant step toward linking the Govt of Iraq, which has not had a presence in the region for more than five years, to
the people of Arab Jabour and its neighboring communities.
More than 800 men attended the event and successfully applied for the IP Academy over the 4-day event.
While the SoI have proven effective at rooting out insurgent fighters, the program was never considered a sustainable security solution. "It's safe now. Our challenge is to keep the security going and allow the Iraqi SF to build that capacity in the area," said Adgie. "Nobody wants peace more than the people here."
Each morning of the recruitment drive, Soldiers standing guard at the gates were surprised at the crowds of more than 300 men who gathered, eagerly awaiting the opportunity to apply.
1st Lt. Derrick M. Anderson, plt leader with 1st plt, Co B, 1-30th Inf. Regt. said that while pleased with the outcome, it was even more rewarding to see many of the SoI, whom he had come to know while on patrol, participate with the recruitment drive and make a concerted effort to become Iraqi lawmen.
Taking recruits through the process of applying for the academy were Soldiers of the 153rd MP Co, out of Wilmington, Del. "We've had an opportunity to observe several recruiting events before putting this one on and they (applicants) are definitely organized; they come with the proper documents and they want to be here," said Staff Sgt. John French, an MP and squad leader.
CF are working at establishing long-term work programs for citizens of the area, as well as education and vocational programs, which will curb unemployment when the SoI programs have run their course.
"The SoI are motivated, they want to be police, they want to be part of the govt, they want to be part of the security system that takes care of their neighborhoods," Adgie said. "They are patriotic men and they should be given that opportunity ... that's what's wonderful to see."
Spc. Steven Goodwin, a combat medic of HHC, 1st Bn, checks the blood pressure of a man applying. Goodwin assisted Iraqi doctors with the health screenings of more than 800 applicants.
Spc. Allen Ray Harris, Pfc. David Morales and Spc. Brian Anaya, all MP with the 153rd review SoI member's paperwork.
New police station brings in new era of law
CAMP TAJI - A new era of law was ushered in with the cutting of a ribbon at a ceremony opening the new IP station in Shat al Taji, March 15.
"Our goal is to serve the people and impose the law on all the people," said Maj. Gen. Muhamadani, cmdr. of police, Baghdad. The large crowd in attendance hung on his every word and nodded in agreement as Muhamadani spoke about the security of the people, the importance of the new police station and what it will bring to the Taji Qada, which lies northwest of Baghdad. "This is about the security of the people of Iraq," he said. "Stability and peace were brought here with the help of the CF. It is now our time to keep that peace. We will keep that peace by imposing the law for everyone regardless if they are Sunni or Shia."
Breaking through the sectarian violence and uniting the Sunni and Shia people was the theme of the ceremony. This message rang clearly through the crowd and was echoed by Col. Todd B. McCaffrey, cmdr., 2nd Stryker BCT, 25th ID. "The concern is the law, not Sunni or Shia, but protecting all," McCaffrey said. It was just a year ago that the people of Taji were living in
"dark days," McCaffrey said. There were hardly any businesses open and people lived in fear of terrorists. Today, things have changed in Taji.
Iraqi Police officers salute their boss as he enters the new IP station.
Comm. Sgt. Maj. Karl Morgan, talks to an IP officer before the station's grand opening ceremony.