Dear Interested Reader,
IA checkpoints continue to be inspected. Soldiers from the 35th Armor Regt. provide assistance to Sadr City students. Anbar River Police officers aced their final exam. New Kabani Medical Clinic opens. Head of Iraqi Navy and CF leaders pay a surprise visit to Iraqi fishermen. Large weapons caches seized across Iraq. All's quiet from Afghanistan.
Dec. 29, 2008
Multi-National Corps - Iraq
Public Affairs Office, Camp Victory
APO AE 09342
IA checkpoints inspected
FOB FALCON -
A SoI SF leader (right) meets with 1st Lt. Jessie Sheehan (center), an inf plt leader, assigned to Co D, 1st Bn, 505th Parachute Inf Regt, at an Iraqi checkpoint during early morning checkpoint inspections with his Iraqi translator, Dec. 26 in the Karb de Gla community of Baghdad's Rashid district. The CF Soldiers from the 1st BN are preparing to assume the 2nd Bn, 4th Inf Regt's mission in eastern Rashid.
(Army photo by Sgt. 1st Class Brent Williams)
IA, MND-B Soldiers provide assistance Sadr City students
BAGHDAD - Iraqi SF in conjunction with Soldiers from 3rd Plt, part of Co C, 1st Bn, 35th Armor Regt and TF Regulars, attached to 3rd BCT, 4th ID, conducted an op to deliver backpacks, food and water to children of the Al-Nahareen Girls Primary school, in the Thawra I region of Sadr City, Dec. 25.
Many of the children received backpacks already through efforts of the headmistress, Miriam Mohsen, and teachers of the school. When the platoon arrived, the headmistress called the girls from their classes and assembled them in the courtyard.
"I believe these girls will help to heal the wounds of the fighting that has been caused by the militias - not just figuratively, but also literally," said Spc. Eric Williams, medic with 3rd Plt. "So many doctors and nurses have fled the city due to sectarian violence. My hope is that these girls will go to college to become the next generation of doctors and nurses that will help cure the country of suffering."
"The dedication that American forces have shown (in Sadr City) is amazing," Mohsen said. "Every day, you show us how much you care for the children. My wish would be that everyone in the city can see your good deeds, and help to make sure everything continues to improve, if only for the children."
Anbar River Police Stand Ready
Trainees run ashore after practicing an insert technique during al-Anbar Iraqi River Police training, Lake Thar Thar, Dec. 21, 2008.
( Photo by Cpl. Shawn Coolman)
LAKE THAR THAR — Al-Anbar Iraqi River Police officers aced their final exam. Select IP here with the Anbar Iraqi River Police force, which was established to patrol the local waterways independently from CF, finished a week-long certification course, Dec. 21.
This was the first class taught by the Navy “River Rats” of Detachment 3, Riverine Squadron 1, RCT 5 on Lake Thar Thar. In this class, taught by Detachment 3, roughly 35 Iraqis graduated, which brought the Iraqi River Police closer to their goal of having over 250 officers patrolling the waterways throughout Anbar province. Four classes have already been taught on Lake Qadisiyah by various Navy Riverine units, but this is the first class to graduate here. The training consisted of different boat tactics and operating procedures that were conducted on Lake Thar Thar, the largest lake in Iraq.
“We started training them on basic boat handling and characteristics,” said Petty Officer 1st Class Bret M. Hand, 27, a joint terminal attack controller, with the detachment from Hampton Bays, N.Y. “Once they were comfortable, we showed them basic tactics for boats and weapon handling.”
“Our people benefited from the excellent training, and I thank our friends on their effort they gave to form our team,” said Maj. Diab, chief of Anbar Iraqi River Police. “It’s a new team, and hopefully we will continue our training with the same detail as what was taught to us. “We started building our team in July, and it’s the first Iraqi team to patrol Lake Thar Thar,” Diab continued. “We’re going to be monitoring the shores around the lake so that there aren’t any bad activities going on, such as weapon and drug smuggling. From this moment, I am very sure that the team is ready to go on patrols by themselves,” said Diab. “We are ready to take the reigns. We are ready and willing to begin patrolling the area every day, keeping the area safe for the people.”
New Kabani Medical Clinic Opens
By Sgt. G.P. Ingersoll
Iraqi children line up to receive treatment at the new Kabani Medical Clinic, Dec. 20, 2008.
(Photo by Sgt. Geoffrey Ingersoll)
KABANI — A pair of scissors and a snipped ribbon ushered in a new day for medical treatment here, Dec. 20. The new Kabani Medical Clinic provides a venue for future medical engagements and Iraqi doctors to treat Kabani’s population. “It’s a wonderful facility with the potential for being used to provide care,” said Navy Lt. Scott N. Margraf, medical officer, 1st Marine Logistics Group. “We’ve done something with positive intentions to do good for a local population, the key to this whole op out here.”
Kabani, a small village just east of Camp Taqaddum, used to host civil affairs engagements, and visits from their own Iraqi medical practitioners in whatever structures they had available. Through a combination of diplomatic action from Iraqi and CF, the village now has a necessary venue for health care. “It gives them a place in which a medical provider can render services, which they didn’t have before,” said Cmdr. Deana J. Miller, family practitioner, 1st Marine Logistics Group.
Miller and Margraf also teamed up with 2 IA medics to conduct a combined medical engagement (CME). The presence of internal Iraqi medics is the next goal, said Miller. “The next step is getting an Iraqi physician to stay in that town, or who might be assigned to several little towns, so that one day he goes to one clinic and another clinic the next,” said Miller, 41. “How [Iraq’s] Ministry of Health is going to decide how to do that is up to the Iraqis.”
The CME was one of many the 1st MLG has performed since taking over for 2nd MLG in February. The new clinic in Kabani marks the first of many recent steps toward improvements of Iraqi infrastructure. “It builds the ability for them to support each other,” said Sgt. Maj. Steven Lara, 42, sgt maj, 1st MLG. “[The new clinic] gives them an opportunity to live a more normal life … and the population of the town is growing because of the support they receive.”
Multi-National Security Transition Command – Iraq
Public Affairs Office
APO AE 09348
Head of Iraqi Navy pays surprise visit to Iraqi fishermen
UMM QASR — Rear Adm. Jawad, Head of the Iraqi Navy paid a surprise visit to a group of Iraqi fishermen Dec. 21. Jawad and a group of Coalition leaders were returning from a visit to Iraq’s offshore oil platforms when he decided to board a fishing dhow near the entrance to the Khawr Abd Allah.
“The admiral decided he wanted to go alongside one of the Iraqi fisherman,” said Royal Navy Capt. Paul Abraham, Maritime Strategic Training Team cmdr. “Just to talk to them, see how the fishing was going, and to let them know the Iraqi Navy was out and about and doing their job. “The fisherman said 2 things,” continued Abraham. “They first asked, ‘Is the Coalition going to stay here to help us?’ to which the admiral replied, ‘Yes the coalition will stay.’ The second thing he said was, ‘It is good to see the Iraqi Navy. It’s good to see you here, but we’ve been waiting 5 years and there are not enough Navy boats, and there are not enough of you.’”
The fishing was slow that day, so the crew had time to talk with Jawad, Abraham and U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Charles Luckey, Multi-National Security Transition Command-Iraq Security Assistance Officer. The fishermen were glad to see reps of their Navy.
“The Head of the Iraqi Navy’s intent was to talk to some fishermen, understand what their concerns are, and reassure them that the Iraqi Navy was in the process of generating and sustaining forces capable of keeping them safe,” said Luckey. “He wanted very much for me to be with him when he talked with them about that because he also wanted to put a collaborative face on the efforts between the Coalition and the Iraqi Navy to build that capability.
Luckey concluded, “He and I talked about the fact that the Navy has a unique opportunity in this country, not only as a strategic asset to secure the oil platforms, but also to provide security protection for hundreds of fishermen out there and to do it in a very civil, protective way. One of the things I told the admiral was that he had gone a long way to reassure these guys that this is an example of how govt and military force can be a help, how it can be a friend to the citizenry, as opposed to something that needs to be feared. I think it was very important for him to make a statement to ordinary Iraqi workers, fishermen in this instance, about how the GoI, the Ministry of Defense and the Iraqi Navy are there to support and protect them.”
ISF, SoI find weapons caches in Salah ad-Din
TIKRIT - IA Soldiers conducted a local patrol in the area of Farhitiyah, Dec. 25, where residents reported and turned in a weapons cache. The munitions included 27 122 mm rockets, a 122 mm artillery round, 7 120 mm mortar rounds, an improvised rocket launcher, 8 RPGs, 5 RPG rounds, 12 RPG boosters, 40 kilograms of nitric acid, and more than 750 rounds of 7.62 mm AK-47 ammo.
"We couldn't do the things we do without the eyes and ears of the Iraqi SF and the SoI on our side," said Capt. Benjamin Boekestein, cmdr. of Co C, 2nd Bn, 35th Inf Regt, 25th ID. "Our partnership has paved the way for great success in the city of Samarra."
A local Iraqi led SoI and Soldiers from Co. C to a weapons cache in an area northwest of Samarra in the Jazeera Desert, Dec. 26. The weapons discovered were 20 105 mm rounds, 39 rockets, 18 60 mm mortar rounds, 68 57 mm anti-aircraft rounds, 59 unknown warheads, and a bag of homemade explosives.
During a separate patrol, Dec. 27, IP and Soldiers from Co. B, 2nd Bn., 35th Inf. Regt., 25th ID, discovered blasting caps and ammo inside a house north of Samarra. The IP also discovered components used in making IEDs.
"The amount of intel we are receiving from the SoI and IP force, coupled with their willingness to act on that intel, makes our job of securing the people of Samarra together a definite reality," said Capt. Michael Pavlisak, cmdr. of Co. B, 2nd Bn.
IP find weapons cache in Diyala
DIYALA - IP working with CF found a cache of weapons and protective equipment while conducting a joint op in Iraq's Diyala province, Dec. 24.
The cache consisted of 13 automatic weapons mags, 6 ballistic vests, 5 body armor plates, 4 bayonets, 3 Kevlar helmets, 2 grenade fuses, 2 black balaclavas and an automatic weapon as well as IA and IP uniforms and over 100 rounds for automatic and semi-automatic weapons.
ISF, MND-B Soldiers detain suspected bomb-maker after explosion
BAGHDAD - Dec. 26, in the Masafee community of Baghdad's Rashid district, at approx. 4:30 p.m., Iraqi NP with Soldiers of Co B, 2nd Bn, 4th Inf Regt, attached to the 1st BCT, 4th ID, investigated an explosion in an Iraqi neighborhood. Upon arriving at the damaged house, the combined forces found the bomb-maker killed while mixing homemade explosives which prematurely detonated. The NP then detained another suspected bomb-maker on site.
Iraqi Army discovers rocket cache in Mosul
TIKRIT - Dec. 26, IA Soldiers discovered a munitions cache containing 5 107 mm rockets, 56 rocket launch stations, an electronic initiation system, fuses for the launch stations and a cell phone.
"Rockets, like the ones recovered by the IA, are used in attacks against our bases, but often kill civilians within the city of Mosul," said Maj. Derrick Cheng, spokesperson for MND - North.
Capt. David Peyok doesn't let a lack of snow dampen his spirits as he makes a "Sand Angel" while celebrating Christmas at Camp Ramadi, Dec. 25, 2008.
(Photo by Staff Sgt. Matthew Lima, 1st Battalion, 158th Field Artillery)
A young girl leaves her school with a new toy, Dec. 1, 2008. U.S. Marines and Sailors delivered the donations from family and friends back home.
(Photo by SSgt. Matthew Shelato, 1st Marine Logistic Group Public Affairs)