Dear Interested Reader,
Marines pass out stuffed animals, while the 404th CAB help create a public park, and the 1st Cav. Div. soldiers assist in food drop. New route clearance IA specialists graduate. A joint-planning meeting was hosted by the 12th Cav. Regt. on COB adder, while a Farewell/New Beginning Sphere of Influence Transition dinner was hosted at the home of an influential sheik leader in Diyala. Iraqi and coalition Sustainers, partner in first-ever logistics training exercise. AQI and Iranian-backed terrorists captured.
Oct. 31, 2008
Multi-National Corps - Iraq
Public Affairs Office, Camp Victory
APO AE 09342
Marines Reach Out to Iraqi Kids
During a routine security patrol in the town of Rutbah, Cpl. Joseph Shutta gives stuffed animals to children outside their family home, Oct. 23, 2008.
(Story and photo by Capt. Paul L. Greenberg)
RUTBAH — When people typically think of Marines on a combat patrol in Iraq, the last thing that comes to mind is the image of fluffy stuffed animals. However, with the help of a grass-roots org. in the U.S., the Marines of 2nd Bn, 25th Marine Regt, RCT 5, spread American goodwill to the children here recently.
The Marines distributed more than a hundred stuffed animals while patrolling the streets of this impoverished town of about 20,000 in western al-Anbar province.
“The [stuffed animals] help to connect us to the local children and for them to view us in a positive light,” said Capt. Tim Leonard, 30, serving as the bn’s communications officer. “We are fortunate that people back in the states have donated the stuffed animals to benefit the children of Iraq.” The gesture is key in building relationships between CF and the Iraqi civilians in Rutbah, most of whom have had little interaction with the Marines and Sailors.
“By engaging the local population and giving out stuffed animals to the children, we show the people that we are here to help them to rebuild their community and assist them in their efforts,” explained Leonard, a reserve Marine on his second tour here, with more than 7 years in the Corps. “Humanitarian assistance is increasingly important for us, and any measure of good will is well received.”
Sara Rafa’a, 11, a native of Rutbah, received 2 stuffed animals from Marines while walking home from school with her friends. These were the only stuffed animals she has ever received in her life. “I want to say thank you to the people who sent them,” said Rafa’a through an interpreter. “I like the stuffed animals because they are beautiful.”
The stuffed animals that the troops distributed were donated and shipped to Iraq by Americans through non-profit orgs. endorsed by America Supports You, a Dept of Defense org. created several years ago to consolidate patriotic 501(c) non-profit organizations wishing to support the troops in the Global War on Terror.
“Our mission is to give a [stuffed animal] to children in war-torn areas and to put a smile on their faces,” said Ward, national coordinator of Beanies for Baghdad. “Many of these children have never seen a toy, never less owned one. These small gestures of kindness also give our troops something they enjoy doing to form long-lasting friendships in sometimes less-than-friendly communities.”
“Local Iraqi leaders have identified close to 200 widows and their families for us to help, and you can be sure that most of these women have more than one child,” said Marie, 31, who is a Navy reservist.
Since the Marines began passing out the toys to the city’s children and parents, some of the tension that the Marines felt in the city has dissipated, and some of the local citizens’ wary glances have been replaced with appreciative smiles.
For more info about how to get involved in supporting U.S. servicemembers overseas, visit the ASY website at www.americasupportsyou.org.
Soldiers Help Create Public Park from Abandoned Carnival
A father pushes his son on a swing as other children play at the grand opening of Dover Park in the Qahira neighborhood in the Adhamiyah District of Baghdad, Oct. 28, 2008.
Photo and story by Sgt. Jerry Saslav
BAGHDAD — “As I drove by the Army canal every day, I saw this park, and I said this is something we can do to help the citizens,” said Col. John Hort, cmdr. of the 3rd BCT, 4th ID.
Dover Park, as it is known by MND – Baghdad Soldiers, sat abandoned for years; its carnival rides were unusable and the land was overgrown with weeds. “It was your typical abandoned park here in Iraq,” said 1st Lt. Rosita Rodriguez, a civil affairs team chief with Co C, 404th CAB, attached to 3rd BCT, 4th ID. Thus, the mission to rehabilitate the park became Rodriguez’s mission. Two months later, the refurbished park was completed and handed over to the local neighborhood council.
“This is our first park in Qahira. We never had one before,” said Madaloom, the Qahira Neighborhood Assistance Council chairman. The park has a small pond with a generator-run fountain with a flock of geese as well as benches, solar lights, several swings, slides and seesaws. There is also a tiled path lined with flowers and new grass has been planted. A gardener and a security guard, he added, will be hired. The park is intended to be self-sufficient, and 7 small kiosks will be rented to vendors. The rent will provide an income stream to buy fuel for the generator, pay the salaries of the staff and any other expenses.
“Everybody admires the park. I know the families are so excited to get here,” said Madaloom, who, along with fellow local officials and Coalition leaders, gathered for the official hand over. Iraqi officials and Col. Hort raised the Iraqi flag to symbolize the opening of the park as doves were released. Some families and their children couldn’t wait – they were already on the rides.
“I’m so pleased; our kids aren’t able to go many places because of the security situation. I'm so pleased that we have such a park in our neighborhood,” said Aum Achmed, who was there with her daughter and a niece. “It’s important for every kid to have a place to go to.”
1st Lt Rosita Rodriguez sharing a ride.
10th IA produces new route clearance team
COB ADDER - The 10th IA Div and the 14th Engr Bn celebrated the graduation of 15 new Iraqi route clearance specialists during a ceremony at Camp Dhi Qar, Oct. 26.
Iraqi Pvt. Karim, the honor graduate and 'best Sapper,' was among the first in IA to learn how to drive the mine-resistant, ambush protected Badger vehicle and its "Ferret" arm during the 14-day course. Soon, a total of 50 IA Soldiers will be among the first to have graduated the course.
"We have gained from the Americans sharing their experiences with us," said Iraqi Lt. Attala, the new Iraqi engrs' platoon leader. "This is a new job to the IA. We are taking this training seriously, because one day these soldiers will be the teachers."
While the Iraqis currently have anti-roadside bomb engrs and vehicles assigned to their units, the American bn has plans for teaching and certifying approx. 50 more troops in the near future.
"If you find an IED on the road, you may have saved 5 or 6 other people's lives," said Staff Brig. Gen.
Jabar, the 10th IA Div's deputy cmdr.
The 10th IA Division's plt. leader expanded on the general's statement. "This route clearance job is very important, because right now there are lots of bombs on the roads," Attala said. "We knew this class
was very important. We will clear the roads for Soldiers, civilians, convoys - everybody. Everyone feels safer and now they can go shopping or just drive to different towns. They can walk around without being scared. I enjoy knowing that we're building a better future for ourselves and our people."
Iraqi Pvt. Karim shakes hands with Lt. Col. Peter Helmlinger, cmdr. of the 14th Engr. Bn. Helmlinger presented Karim with his battalion's challenge coin during the ceremony.
(Army photo by Spc. Creighton Holub)
1st Cav. Div. Soldiers assist Iraqis in food drop
By Pfc. Terence Ewings
FOB GARRY OWEN - Oct. 25, Soldiers of the 2nd Bn, 7th Cav Regt, 4th BCT, 1st Cav Div helped distribute food that was provided by the al-Yaq Dha al-Thaka Pia Foundation and the Maysan Province PRT to local Iraqi citizens of Majarr al Labir.
"I'm very happy these Soldiers could be here to help out today," said Dan Foot, the PRT Leader for
Maysan province. "I think this is a very positive step for us." Foot said this is the first time Americans have been in this part of the province for a NGO food drop. "Even though they had little American influence before today, they've accepted our smile and handshakes as if we were old friends."
This is the 2nd NGO food drop where the 4th BCT "Long Knives" of the 1st Cav Div have assisted the PRT in the 4 months the brigade has been deployed to southern Iraq. Lt. Col. Edward Bohnemann, cmdr. of the brigade's 2nd Bn, said he believes the people of Maysan province appreciate the efforts of the CF here. "This food distribution went well, just like the previous one," said Bohnemann. "We're going to continue to do good things to improve upon the conditions for the people here."
An Iraqi woman from Majarr al-Kabir, thanks Soldiers with the 2nd Bn, for assisting 10th IA Div soldiers during the non-govt food drop.
Iraq Army benefits by joint planning
By Capt. Robin Worch
COB ADDER - Soldiers from the 2nd Bn, 12th Cav Regt, 4th BCT, 1st Cav Div, hosted a joint-planning meeting with their IA counterparts at COB Adder, Oct. 25.
"It gives us all a chance to talk about common problems, and different ways to solve them based on different cultural views and military regulations," said Lt. Col. Scott Kendrick, cmdr. of the Thunder Horse Bn.
Several times throughout the meeting, the IA commanders asked questions concerning discipline and retention of Soldiers in the U.S. Army. The goal was to give the Iraqi cmdrs. insight into the workings of a combined U.S. Army unit, along with demonstrating how those units solve administrative and logistic issues, common within a large military org.
"The ability to see that the U.S. Army has some of the same problems that we do, and handles many of them in the same way is encouraging," said Iraqi Staff Brig. Gen. Jabber, cmdr. "It shows that we have been successful in our efforts as an Army for the Iraqi people."
Staff Brig. Gen. Jabber (left), discusses plans and ops with Lt. Col. Scott Kendrick, 2nd Bn, 12th Cav Regt, cmdr. The 2 units traded info on criminal activity and discussed future military ops in Dhi Qar province. Lt. Col. Jabbar (right), dep. cmdr., participated in the sharing of info.
New, old commands meet with influential local leader
DIYALA - The cmdrs. and command sgts. maj. from both the new Coalition unit entering the Diyala province of Iraq and the unit leaving the province, met with Sheik Ikhlaas, an influential local Iraqi leader, Oct. 24.
The purpose of the meeting was to help bridge the transition with the local Iraqi population and 1st Stryker BCT, 25th ID. The cmdr. of the 1st SBCT, Col. Burt Thompson, stated that his brigade is committed to working toward and achieving the same goals as the Dragoons of 2nd Stryker Cav Regt.
The Arctic Wolves relieved 2nd Stryker Cav Regt of responsibility for Diyala.
Bde Cmdr. Col. Burt Thompson of the 1st Stryker BCT, shares a laugh at the home of Sheik Ikhlaas. Thompson is attending a Farewell/New Beginning Sphere of Influence Transition dinner at the home of Sheik Ikhlaas.
(Army photos by Spc. Bobby L. Allen Jr.)
Lt. Col. Douglass Sims of the 2nd Stryker Cav Regt, presents a portrait of the unit to Sheik Ikhlaas.
MPs partner with IP at checkponts in Basra
Sgt. Christopher Daniels, of the 21st MP Co (Abn), 793rd MP Bn, 18th MP Bde provides over watch security at a checkpoint, Oct. 26 with an Iraqi Policeman near Basra. The 21st MP Co. is the first U.S. MP co. to conduct PTT ops with its IP counterparts in Basra. The PTT assists and checks the procedures at IP checkpoints as the IP continue to develop their skills while protecting its citizens.
(Army photos by Sgt. Daniel Blottenberger)
Soldiers of the 21st work with IP to properly inspect vehicles entering the city.
Iraqi and Coalition Sustainers partner in first-ever logistics training exercise
TAJI - Approx. 300 IA Officers and their Coalition counterparts, including over a dozen generals, attended a first-ever training exercise aimed at improving Iraq's logistical capability through partnership and assistance here, Oct. 27.
As the IA improves it's logistics capabilites, they have reduced reliance on CF support for logistics. According to Iraqi Staff Lt. Gen. Abdullah, Dep. Chief of Staff-Logistics for the Iraqi Joint HQ, the goal of the symposium was to "determine the current processes used by the Iraqi SF and (to) identify problems and inconsistencies within the logistics system."
Currently across Iraq, 65 LTATs are working with the IA, NP, and Iraqi SOF to improve logistics
capability and capacity at the tactical and operational level. The ESC alone partners with 11 Logistics Training and Assistance Teams (LTATs) training Iraqi forces on fixing hummvees, repairing weapons, training medics, and distributing supplies.
"This is a critical part of our exit strategy," said Maj. Lowell Howard, the LTAT Support Officer, 1st Sus Bde. "To get the IA on the same sheet of music, everyone (needs to) know how it's supposed to work."
IA Officers, representing nearly every command across Iraq, meet for a logistics symposium. Taji is home to Iraq's National Maintenance and Supply depots, and is central to the country's developing sustainment and support ops.
(Army photos by Spc. Kiyoshi C. Freeman)
From left, U.S. Army Col. Edward F. Dorman, the senior logistician for MNC-Iraq; Iraqi Brig. Gen. Muniem, the director for Electrical, Mechanical, and Engineering, Ministry of Defense; and Brig.
Gen. Keith C. Walker, the Iraq Asst. Group cmdr.,1st Inf Div, listen to a briefing.
ISOF captures 7 suspected terrorists in separate operations
BALAD - In an op on Oct. 25 in al Qadussya, Mosul, ISOF arrested 3 suspected ISI members on a local warrant. One of the individuals is said to be a VBIED cell leader and financier who facilitates the storage and placement of IEDs in the eastern part of Mosul. The cell is known for emplacing IEDs directed against the IP and IA.
In a separate op on Oct. 25 in Kan'an, approximately 32 km northwest of Baqubah, ISOF captured 2 suspected members of an AQI cell, believed to be responsible for attacks on IP, IA and SoI.
On Oct. 24 in Mosul, ISOF captured 2 AQI suspects. One of the men is believed to be part of a cell that operates in the Bulayj area emplacing IEDs and conducting attacks on IA. The other individual is said to be a member of a cell responsible for multiple attacks against CF and reportedly killed at least 20 IP.
American Forces Press Service
Iranian-Backed Terrorism Suspects Captured
Baghdad — Coalition troops in Iraq yesterday captured a suspected financer and 4 others associated with an Iranian-backed terrorist group believed to be responsible for bombings, military officials said.
Acting on intel info, CF targeted the suspected Kataib Hezbollah facilitator during an op in Amarah in Iraq’s Maysan province, which borders Iran.
Kataib Hezbollah, also known as Hezbollah Bdes, is a terrorist group believed to receive funding, training, logistics and material support from Iran to attack Iraqi and CF using EFPs – roadside bombs designed to pierce armor-hulled vehicles – and other weapons such as rocket-assisted mortars. The group is believed to be responsible for a June 4 explosion in the Shaab district of Adhamiyah in Baghdad that killed 16 Iraqi civilians and injured 29 others, officials said.
The suspect and his associates were detained without incident. During their search, troops discovered more than $50,000 in U.S. currency and nearly 12 million Iraqi dinar, the equivalent of about $10,000, officials said.
It was the second blow to the leadership of terrorist networks in Iraq in 2 days, officials said. Oct. 28, CF captured a suspected terrorist and an additional suspect during an op near Tikrit, about 100 miles north of Baghdad, they said. During that op, the suspect surrendered to CF and identified himself as the wanted man believed to be an AQI cell leader in the area.
On Oct. 27, Coalition troops captured 6 men suspected of working with Iranian-backed terrorist groups in eastern Baghdad, officials said. Based on a resident’s tip, Soldiers assigned to the 10th Mtn Div’s 2nd Bn, 30th Inf Regt, 4th BCT, detained the men, who a witness identified as terrorists known to Iraqi SF.