Dear Interested Reader,
IP and Co B, 52nd Inf. Regt. soldiers deliver school supplies. Soldiers from the 536th Maint. Co. worked 24 hours straight to build 70 flagpoles in support of the GoI independence. Army Capt. Suzanne Todd teaches agriculture and veterinarian techniques to Iraqi farmers. Ssgt James Jenkins awarded the Bronze Star and Purple Heart. USAF helps Iraqi AF expand ops in Al Kut. Weapons caches are sized throughout Baghdad. In Afghanistan, CF disrupt IED cell in Farah.
Jan. 10, 2009
Multi-National Corps - Iraq
Public Affairs Office, Camp Victory
APO AE 09342
Iraqi Police, MND-B Soldiers deliver school supplies to al Yasmin School
HOR AL BOSH - Jan. 3, hundreds of smiling girls and boys received a special visit when IP and Soldiers of Co B, 52nd Inf Regt, attached to 2nd Sqdrn 14th Cav Regt, 2nd Stryker BCT, 25th ID, showed up at the school bearing gifts. Several hundred boxes of crayons, pens, pencils and reams of paper were handed out to anxious children. At times, the crowd surrounding both the ISF and Soldiers became a little overwhelming as they waited to receive the school supplies. "These drops can get a little hectic," said Sgt. Jon Martin, infantryman assigned to Co B. "But once it's all said and done, it was worth it."
"The purpose of this mission is twofold," said Staff Sgt. Charles Bentley, a squad leader for Co B. "Delivering the school supplies to students in need, while simultaneously giving experience to the ISF as we continue to transition security over to the GoI." For the infantrymen in Co B, the op was a welcome relief from their usual days of raids, cache searches and foot patrols.
"Working with the children is always a pleasure," said Staff Sgt. Philip Snook, an infantry team leader for Co B. "These ops are simple but also integral to our goals and to Iraq's future."
Iraqi Police and Sgt. Adam Brown, Co B, hand out school supplies.
(Army photo by Spc. Charles Joseph)
Blackanthem Military News
Flags of Their Own
By SSgt. Rex Tran
Spc. Dennis Bibby, a machinist, Spc. Carl Weeks, a machinist, and Spc. Andrew Mills, light wheel vehicle mechanic are Soldiers of the 536th Maintenance Co, 419th CSSB, 10th Sust Bde, stack the flagpoles that they built for Iraq.
(Photo by Sgt 1st Class Crystal Izlar)
CAMP TAJI - The 536th Maint. Co. was notified that a shipment of 70 flag poles to Iraq could not be delivered due to bad weather in the U.S. These Soldiers were given the mission by the brigade HQ to fulfill this very important mission to support the GoI's independence. Like all Soldiers before them they came up with a solution and began to build the flag poles from scratch. The Soldiers worked approx. 24 hours straight to meet the shipment date. They completed 70 flag poles that were also equipped with the pulleys and tie downs needed to raise the flags.
Soldier Teaches Techniques to Farmers
Staff Sgt. Jody Metzger
Army Capt. Suzanne Todd, agriculture and veterinarian advisor with 425th CAB, helps Iraqi farmers throughout the region.
CAMP LIBERTY — Iraqi farmers, still struggling from 2 decades of neglect under the oil-focused regime of Sadaam Hussein, are finding a friend in Army Capt. Suzanne Todd. Her appointment is the latest in Coalition efforts to rebuild the country and its resources to allow for Iraqi sovereignty, officials said.
After spending time in the Army Reserve, Todd decided to use the military’s financial help and go to veterinarian school. Following graduation from Michigan State University, Todd joined the ranks of the Army as a veterinary officer.
Army Lt. Col. Arnold Csan, chief of the div’s civil affairs planning team, said Todd’s efforts have helped to create jobs. “Since she's been here, she's gone out on missions to the vocational college and the vaccine center, both of which serve countrywide,” he explained. “Her focus as an agriculture expert for MND-B has been behind the largest employment of young men in Iraq.” Todd has consulted with Iraqi farmers and veterinary hospital clinics and instituted a plan to redevelop the farming infrastructure. “One of the things they have problems with is the salinity in the soil, because their traditional method of irrigation is flood irrigation,” she said. “They open up the flood gates of their irrigation canals, and they flood their fields with water. If there is a high salinity or salt content in the soil, which there is, that ends up in the water.”
There is a way to reclaim the land, she explained, but it takes a while to leach that salinity out of the soil. The water comes in the same way, but must be treated before it’s on the fields. Since arriving in Baghdad, Todd has advised and introduced farmers to techniques such as drip-and-spray irrigation, along with pioneering the idea of employing a new variety of high-yield seeds. Along with her work with the farmers and their irrigation and crop-growing needs, Todd also has done extensive work relating to the farm animals, which are equally important to the welfare and sustenance of the Iraqi people. “If you consider agriculture, it also goes along with animal agriculture,” she said. “The animals that we raise to be our food – that’s where veterinarian medicine plays a role. We as veterinarians are concerned not only about the health of livestock we grow for food, but [also] how their health impacts our health. The diseases that the animals get can impact what diseases we get.”
Combat Engineer Awarded Bronze Star
By 2nd Lt. Jayson Hensley
BAGHDAD — SSgt. James Jenkins was awarded the Bronze Star Medal for his heroic actions in saving the life of a fellow combat engr. following an IED strike. While conducting a route clearance mission on a particularly dangerous road in central Iraq on Nov. 22, 2008, the lead vehicle was struck by an IED. Jenkins, deployed out of Bamberg, Germany, was in the lead vehicle. As a result of the explosion, the vehicle cmdr. was seriously injured by a piece of shrapnel in his left leg. Four other Soldiers sustained minor injuries, including Jenkins.
Immediately following the explosion, the Soldiers were administering first aid, when Jenkins noticed the leg of the vehicle cmdr. was bleeding. With assistance from the rest of the crew, Jenkins quickly applied a tourniquet to the injured leg and stopped the bleeding.
After the attack, Lt. Col. Christopher Lestochi, the cmdr. of the 54th Engr Bn, went to visit the injured Soldier in the 86th Combat Surgical Hospital. While there, he was informed by doctors that “whoever applied the tourniquet saved the Soldier’s life.”
Recognizing the heroism Jenkins showed, Lt. Gen. Kenneth W. Hunzeker, cmdr. of the U.S. Army V Corps, awarded him the Bronze Star and Purple Heart Medals while visiting Iraq immediately following the attack. Gen. Hunzeker, along with Lestochi, pinned the medals on Jenkins in a ceremony in front of his platoon. The Soldier injured in the explosion is expected to make a full recovery thanks to the cool head and quick response of a fellow combat engineer.
Multi-National Security Transition Command – Iraq
Public Affairs Office, Phoenix Base
APO AE 09348
USAF helps Iraqi Air Force expand operations in Al Kut
FOB DELTA - The Iraqi AF is actively expanding its ops in Al Kut at FOB Delta. Last summer, a small advance team from the U.S. AF arrived at the FOB to prepare the areas under Iraqi control for future ops.
A team of air advisors from the Coalition AF Training Team (CAFTT), part of Multi-National Security Transition Command-Iraq, helped Iraqi AF members build a relationship with their Army hosts by arranging meetings with FOB senior leadership and coordinating agreements for access to the base and basic communication issues.
IqAF Brig. Gen. Akeel, the Al Kut comm. gen., is leading the effort to rebuild the infrastructure inside the Iraqi compound as ops and support personnel settle into living areas. Maj. Ryan Campbell was the CAFTT Detachment Cmdr. at FOB Delta when the expansion started. He says CAFTT was instrumental in acquiring temporary living quarters and access to water while the Iraqis set-up their supply system. “We had to be hands-on in the beginning since they were unfamiliar with living and working while completely integrated with CF,” said Campbell, who has since redeployed on another CAFTT mission.
The current cmdr. of the detachment is Capt. Ciro de la Vega. “Things are moving along at a steady pace. The Iraqi leadership here is engaged, and they want to turn this into a premier AF base,” said de la Vega. At FOB Delta, IqAF members will be living and working right alongside their Coalition counterparts, without being separated on their own section of the base.
Future mission plans include stationing Iraqi AF Mi-17 helicopters at the FOB, as well as an Intel-Surveillance-Recon ground station, for downloading data from ISR aircraft. The IqAF is in the process of procuring fuel trucks to support aircraft and generator requirements.
FOB Delta, once known as Abu Obaida Air Base during the Saddam regime, is located in Wasit province near the city of Al Kut. FOB Delta is currently the deployed home of a U.S. Army fires bde, as well as CF from Romania and El Salvador.
IA, SoI, IP, MND-B Soldiers seize weapons caches throughout Baghdad
BAGHDAD - Sons of Iraq members seized 19 57 mm projectiles in Baghdad's Tarmiyah area, Jan 6. They transferred the projectiles to the local IP.
IA Soldiers and Soldiers serving with Co B, 52nd Inf Regt, and 2nd Troop, 14th Cav Regt, 2nd Stryker BCT, 25th ID, discovered a cache that contained 2 155 mm projectiles, a 107 mm rocket, 17 57 mm rockets, 12 60 mm mortars, 2 60 mm mortar tubes, 12 RPGs, approx. 8,000 rounds of various calibers of small arm ammo, 12 blasting caps, a radio and 200 feet of detonation cord at approx. 1 p.m., Jan 7, north of Baghdad.
At approx. 11:15 a.m. Jan. 8, IA Soldiers working with Soldiers from Co B, 52nd Inf Regt, 2nd Stryker BCT, 25th ID working on a tip from a local citizen, seized 4 60 mm rockets and 3 warheads in Baghdad's Al-Raood area.
Approx. an hour later at 12:30 p.m., Soldiers from Co B, 1st Bn, 14th Inf Regt, 2nd Stryker BCT, 25th ID seized a 107 mm rocket, a bag of IED making materials, and an assortment of small arms near Taji, north of Baghdad, Jan 8.
Blackathem Military News
Afghan, Coalition forces disrupt IED cell in Farah
By US Forces Afghanistan Public Affairs
KABUL, Afghanistan - Afghan NA Commandos with CF in support returned fire killing 6 militants during a raid on a compound in Kakhi Safyed district, Farah province, Jan 8.
The militants killed included a leader known for supplying weapons to militant forces and conducting attacks on Afghan National SF and CF. Additionally, Commandos killed a known IED facilitator responsible for providing IEDs and IED-production materials to militant forces in Bala Baluk. He also served as the chief bodyguard for a high-level Taliban cmdr.
During the Commandos initial approach to the compound, militants engaged them with small arms fire from multiple fighting positions. The Commandos returned precision fire while maneuvering to protect both themselves and the civilian populace. The fight lasted approx. 2 hours.
A search of the compound revealed a weapons cache containing RPGs, AK-47s, sniper rifle systems, machine guns and ammo. As part of the op, the combined forces also held a shura with village elders to explain the reason for the op and to express their commitment to establishing security in the area. Thirteen men, 38 women and 20 children were protected by the combined forces during the engagement.