Saturday, June 30, 2007

Fourth of July Message From General Wallace


This Fourth of July celebrates the 231st anniversary of the birth of our Nation and independence from Great Britain. It marks that famous day in 1776 when brave and dedicated patriots of the Second Continental Congress adopted the final draft of our Nation's Declaration of Independence and founded a nation based on freedom, justice, and love of liberty.

Independence Day represents the ideals of liberty, freedom, peace, and opportunity that our great Nation holds dear. These ideals extend well beyond our Nation's boundaries as our Service Members make tremendous sacrifices to afford opportunities of freedom and democracy to people who would otherwise have none. We pay tribute to the past and honor our Founders' bold vision and commit ourselves to preserving those things that matter most in our lives--our faith, our love for family and friends, and our freedom.

As we gather with family and friends this Independence Day to express gratitude for our many blessings and celebrate, let's pause to remember those deployed on the ground in harm's way and standing watch on point for our Nation around the world. God bless them and their Families!

God bless each of you for your contributions and may God Bless America!

William S. Wallace
General, U.S. Army

Friday, June 29, 2007

Coke...It's The Real Thing

I was in Las Vegas this week on business and can say I came home a winner...Chris called which was as good as hitting a jackpot. I know I sound like a broken record but he was so upbeat and positive about what he was doing. He thought it was pretty cool that an Iraqi child bought him Coke the other day. He said the Coke was really good since he usually only gets water but I think it made it even more special because it was bought for him by one of the kids. He seems to really enjoy the time he gets to spend with the kids. They are such victims and any enjoyment he can give them gives him a lot of satisfaction. He said they really love soccer and asked if I could get some soccer balls rounded up to send his way. My plan is to get with Academy and see if they would be interested in donating a few for the cause. If not, I'll make sure they get some, one way or the other.

It is quite apparent to me from talking to Chris that he is thoroughly enjoying his mission and has a great deal of respect and admiration for the people he works for and with. He is very proud of the difference they are making and loves interacting with the Iraqi children.

I am so proud of the job that all the Soldier's are doing. I have so much admiration for all of them that despite the conditions they are surrounded with, they keep on keepin on! Thanks to them all!

3rd HBCT Medics Hold Free Health Clinic

Villagers of Nahrwan, Iraq, line up to receive free medical care provided by medics of the 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, 27 June. The 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team is a part of Multi-National Division-Center and is conducting operations southeast of Baghdad.

By Sgt. Natalie Rostek
3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team,
4th Infantry Division Public Affairs

FORWARD OPERATING BASE HAMMER, Iraq – Soldiers of the 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team held an outdoor medical clinic Wednesday at a school in Nahrwan.

Medics set up three treatment stations under a camouflaged net surrounded by concertina wire while the 3rd Battalion, 1st Cavalry Regiment’s loud speaker broadcasted a message to villagers announcing the opportunity to receive free medical care.

During the broadcast, villagers from the area began forming two lines, male and female, waiting to be seen. The separate lines were set to ensure female medics were available to see female patients.

According to Maj. Leonard Mason, emergency medicine officer for Brigade Special Troops Battalion, from Philadelphia, Pa., the medics honor Iraqi customs. Male medics will not touch female patients unless the patients say it is OK in advance.

According to Pfc. Kristina Sutton, from Springfield, Mass., a medic in the 203rd BSB, some patients stood in line for almost four hours.

“We saw a lot of different problems,” said Capt. Se Young Um, from El Paso, Texas, pediatrician and surgeon for the 203rd Brigade Support Battalion.

The medics saw ailments such as back, stomach, head, skin and upper respiratory problems and were able to treat those with medicine bought from a local pharmacist.

The patients were very grateful the Soldiers provided health care to their village, Sutton explained. The citizens of Nahrwan do not regularly have access to the types of medical care provided by coalition forces. She said most of the villagers do not have the means to seek the special medical attention needed for their exceptional conditions.

“A lot of these people didn’t understand what was wrong with them or their children; they just knew they were sick,” said Sgt. 1st Class Corree Dansler, from Chauvin, La., non-commissioned officer in charge of Sgt. Robertson Aid Station at Forward Operating Base Hammer. “What they really needed was medical attention from a specialist at a hospital.”

Dansler said some of her patients knew what their illnesses were but did not have the correct information to properly care for them. She felt the medics made a difference, even if it were merely giving the patients the information they needed.

The mission was not just beneficial to the villagers but also to the medics who attended, Dansler explained. She further explained Soldiers were able to see that most of the people in the area are good people.

“They are parents trying to take care of their children just like us,” Dansler said.

Sutton felt it was a great experience. She was able to see illnesses and conditions she had never seen before. The experience made her realize just what an American citizen might take for granted.

“The smallest things we did for them made such an impact,” she said. “The opportunities are always there for (Americans) and when we give the same opportunities to them, it makes 10 times more of an impact.”

At the completion of the mission, the medics had seen approximately 225 patients with a crowd still formed outside the perimeter wanting to be seen.

“We were there to win the hearts and minds of the people and provide health care,” Mason said. “The impact was huge for what the mission was intended for. Overall the mission was a plus.”

Coalition Forces Meet at FOB Hammer

Al-Rubay’l, the mayor of Mada’in Qada, talks to the leaders of the 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, Iraqi security forces and fellow civic leaders of the Mada’in Qada in a meeting at the 3rd HBCT’s new Tactical Operations Center, June 27. Col. Wayne W. Grigsby, Jr., from Prince George’s County, Md., the 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team Commander, is seated to Al-Rubay’l’s right.

Story by Spc. Ben Hutto
3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team Public Affairs

FORWARD OPERATING BASE HAMMER, Iraq – Leaders from the Iraqi security forces, 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team and Mada’in Qada met at Forward Operating Base Hammer Wednesday to increase communication among the three elements.

Meeting in the 3rd HBCT’s new Tactical Operations Center, the group reviewed combined operations, lessons learned and future projects in the Mada’in Qada.

“I’m glad we had this meeting today,” said Wayne W. Grigsby Jr., from Prince George’s County, Md., commander of 3rd HBCT. “We want to assist all of you in getting the help you need and we will use our contacts in Baghdad to do that.”

Al-Rubay’l, the mayor of Mada’in Qada, reported that the people in his province are very supportive of coalition forces. He explained that he had witnessed many young men volunteering to join the Iraqi security forces so they can help expel al-Qaida from the province.

“Soon they will be ready to fight and take the lead in operations,” explained Al-Rubay’l through a translator. “The people here are willing to help themselves, but we still need support. The insurgents, we must admit, are well equipped and have military training. They are using innocent women and children as shields. Innocent people would become targets. American help is still needed.”

Grigsby explained that he would provide aid to the people of Mada’in Qada.

“I’m glad to hear that the people of the Qada are tired of terrorist like al-Qaida and JAM (Jayash Al Madi),” said Grigsby. “The people here are standing up and saying they are tired of putting up with bullies and thugs that do not care about the will of the Iraqi people. I applaud them for that.”

Lt. Col. Ryan J. Kuhn, from Clarks, Neb., complimented the Qada Mayor for his government’s work to refurbish the Al Bawi water pump station. The pump station was sabotaged in early-March, prior to the arrival of the 3rd HBCT. When fully operational, the pump station provides more than 90 percent of the water needed in the Mada’in Qada.

“Under the guidance of the mayor, we are almost done with the project,” said Kuhn, the deputy commander of the 3rd HBCT. “The pumps are almost up and ready. This is good, but it also makes the station a target. It has to be protected.”

Brigadier General Hassan, commander, 1st Battalion, 1st Brigade Iraqi National Police, agreed with Kuhn’s assessment.

“The pump station is very vital, so of course we will guard it,” said Hassan.

All parties involved in the meeting agreed to a police recruitment drive that has been scheduled to run from the middle of July until the end of August.

Grigsby praised 1st Iraqi National Police Brigade’s recent involvement in Operation Blore Heath II.

“We really went into where the insurgents are,” said Grigsby. “They (insurgents) are no longer operating normally in this area.”

Near the end of the meeting, Grigsby expressed how pleased he was with the discussions that took place. He expressed that he was looking forward to the next meeting in several weeks.

This Week's Dog Face Daily

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Getting A Grip On Security

Photo by Staff Sgt. Bronco Suzuki

Pfc. Aaron DeWitt, Company C, 2nd Battalion, 69th Armor Regiment, 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, searches an Iraqi man during a patrol in the Rusafa area of Baghdad June 18.

Greetings From FOB Hammer

Master Sgt. Parker
Sends a Taste of Chicago greeting to his family and friends and shout out to the Chicago White Sox

Pfc. Bullock
Sends a Taste of Chicago and 4th of July greeting to his friends and family.

Capt. Morrow
Sends a 4th of July and Taste of Chicago greeting to his wife and her friends and family.

Pfc. Falcone
Sends a 4th of July greeting to his mom, wife, aunt and uncle.

Capt. Blome
Sends a 4th of July greeting to her husband, children and grandmother.

Capt. Randall
Sends a Boston Pops and 4th of July greeting to his family and friends and shout out to the Boston Red Sox.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

3-1 Cav. Leaders Meet With Local Sheiks

Col. Fadhil Abbas, Iraqi army 'Bey May Eagles' commander, from the Besmaya Range Complex, sits between Col. Darel Maxfield, American Army officer in charge of the Besmaya Range Complex, on the left, from Spokane, Wash., and Lt. Col. John Kolasheski, the 3rd Squadron, 1st Cavalry Regiment commander, from Louden, Tenn., to his right. These leaders held a meeting with local community leaders June 26, at Besmaya Range Complex.

by Sgt. Natalie Rostek
3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team Public Affairs

FORWARD OPERATING BASE HAMMER, Iraq – Leaders from the 3rd Squadron, 1st Cavalry Regiment met with local town leaders at the Besmaya Range Complex June 26, to discuss projects and security issues.

Col. Fadhil Abbas, the Iraqi army’s “Bey May Eagles” commander, held the meeting to talk with the local leaders or shieks on ways to improve relationships among the coalition forces, and also how to help facilitate projects in their communities.

“In working with the Iraqi army and Iraqi police and gentlemen like you, I think the future can be brighter. There is so much that can happen with cooperation,” said Lt. Col. John Kolasheski, the 3-1 Cav., 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team’s squadron commander from Louden, Tenn., addressing the group.

During the meeting, sheiks and 3-1 Cav. leaders separated into two groups to discuss security and projects.

Soldiers received information about where certain threats were coming from within the area in the security meeting.

“I will give you all the information you need because I am in so much pain about my area,” a sheik said through a translator.

Soldiers and sheiks discussed plans to rebuild schools and youth centers, repave roads, and fix water problems in the projects meeting.

“We started delivering water to them, which was a short-term fix to a long-term water problem,” said Capt. Damond Davis, 3-1 Cav.’s fire support officer from Montgomery, Ala. “The long-term fix is to repair the pump stations.”

After the individual meetings, the groups came together to asses their progress. Cooperation between the Iraqi citizens, Iraqi security forces, and coalition forces is like building a house, said Abbas. A foundation must be set, said Abbas, and similar meetings are the foundation to bettering the future.

Fifty-six sheiks attended a previous meeting to discuss similar issues in their communities, said Davis.

Security must be maintained to facilitate project completion, concluded those who attended the previous meeting. Everyone at the meeting agreed that if threats continue then projects will be dropped.

Saints Cheerleaders Visit FOB Hammer

New Orleans Saints Cheerleader, Tori Nunz, gets lunch at the Forward Operating Base Hammer June 24. The Saints cheerleaders enjoyed lunch at the FOB before receiving a certificate from the 3rd Brigade Combat Team. Official U.S. Army photo.

Story by Spc. Ben Hutto
3rd Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division Public Affairs

FOB HAMMER — The New Orleans Saints cheerleading squad visited Forward Operating Base Hammer, June 23, to thank 3rd Brigade Combat Team Soldiers.

FOB Hammer was the 12th stop for the cheerleaders on a tour of various bases in Iraq.

“It’s absolutely unbelievable,” said Tori Nunez, a cheerleader with the squad. “Being in America, you get a very different viewpoint of how things are out here. It has been amazing to hear what the Soldiers are doing. We are very excited to go back and tell everyone all the good things we’ve seen.”

The cheerleaders signed autographs and talked with the 3rd BCT Soldiers. Lt. Col. Ryan J. Kuhn, a Clarks, Neb., native, the 3rd BCT deputy commander, presented a certificate of appreciation to the squad.

“They did a wonderful job of lifting morale of the Soldiers,” said Spc. Coty Lowe, from Jacksonville, Fla., Headquarters Company, 203rd Brigade Support Battalion. “They were all very down to earth and friendly.”

For many of the cheerleaders this tour to Iraq was another way to say thanks.

“Of course, we want to thank all of the Soldiers that are out here, but it really meant a lot to us to meet the Soldiers that came down to New Orleans to help with the aftermath left after Katrina,” explained Nunez. “It was great to meet them and get to thank them personally. This was our small way of returning the favor for all they did for us.”

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

A Little Time To Play

It is so comforting to receive an email from Chris and it be so upbeat and positive. He is doing great and is so excited about the different operations that he is involved in and the difference they are making. He was very happy that the other day he had the opportunity to play a little football and soccer with the Iraqi children. That made his day! I have a box of toys headed his way so he can have them to give out while he is on patrol. He is really looking forward to receiving the package...he says the kids get so excited over toys.

Even though the place where Chris is currently at isn't very civilized, he doesn't seem to mind. There isn't a DFAC but he says he gets two T-rats a day and with a little imagination, they aren't too bad. Showers consist of a water tank on legs and a hose. Still no electricity but that is being worked on so it shouldn't be too much longer. Despite the rather primitive conditions, Chris loves what he is doing and says he really feels that they are making a difference.

Chris' positive outlook on things makes my job as a constantly worrying Mom so much easier. I thank God everyday that Chris is making the most of his situation and has figured out how to find the good in every situation.

Operation Bull Run Disrupts Insurgent Operations

Sgt. Antonio Harris, a Tuscaloosa, Ala., native, fires mortar rounds in support of Soldiers from the 1st Battalion, 15th Infantry Regiment conducting operations south of Salman Pak, June 24.
Lt. Col. Jack Marr, Minneapolis, the 1st Battalion, 15th Infantry Regiment commander, discusses operations with Brig. Gen. James L. Huggins, the Multi-National Division-Center deputy commander for maneuver, during Operation Bull Run south of Salman Pak, June 24.

By Spc. Ben Hutto, 3rd HBCT Public Affairs
Jun 26, 2007 - 4:51:58 PM

Sgt. Antonio Harris, a Tuscaloosa, Ala., native, fires mortar rounds in support of Soldiers from the 1st Battalion, 15th Infantry Regiment conducting operations south of Salman Pak, June 24.
Blackanthem Military News, FORWARD OPERATING BASE HAMMER, Iraq - Operation Bull Run and Operation Blore Heath II were conducted with the Iraqi National Police and the Iraqi army. Both operations are a part of Multi-National Division-Center's Operation Marne Torch, the latest Coalition Force initiative to eliminate insurgent sanctuaries southeast of Baghdad.

Two insurgents were killed and seven were detained during operations in Al Dura'iya.

The 1st Battalion, 15th Infantry, 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team completed two simultaneous operations in a 48-hour period in Al Dura'iya June 24.

Soldiers from 1-15 Inf. neutralized suspected enemy cache sites and denied insurgents safe haven in Al Dura'iaya. The operation resulted in two insurgents being killed and four individuals being detained.

Three caches were found. The caches consisted of artillery rounds, mortars, cell phones, weapons, propaganda, ammunition magazines, and other bomb-making materials.

Operation Blore Heath II, spearheaded by Iraqi army soldiers in conjunction with Iraqi 1st National Police Brigade and indirect fire assets from the 3rd HBCT, cleared insurgent caches south of Salman Pak and southeast of Baghdad. Three individuals were detained, mortar rounds and command wire were found, two boats and one vehicle destroyed, and two vehicles were confiscated.

On My Watch Tonight

In 1992, Mike Corrado bought his first guitar, learned three chords and started writing songs while at The Citadel. He then graduated and joined the Marine Corps to lead our nation's finest and see the world. His tours – both of duty and concert – would take him around the world, serving and performing from the North Carolina Coast to Iraq. Along the way, Mike crossed musical paths with Edwin McCain and John Mayer.

Then, on September 11, the world and Mike’s band was forever changed. Mike and his fiancĂ©, a flight medic in the U.S. Air Force Reserve, were mobilized back to active duty. In 2002, Mike continued to train with the Marines and prepare for deployment. He married his wife Kate, who soon after was called to Afghanistan. During all this, Mike penned the song "On My Watch Tonight," a story of a Marine's journey from boot camp to the front lines.

In 2004, Mike re-recorded “On My Watch Tonight” and dropped off a copy to Greg Brady at WRHT 96.3 – “The HOT FM” – in North Carolina. “On My Watch Tonight” was posted on the HOT Morning Show's Web site and began receiving up to 5,000 downloads a week. Calls and e-mails continued to flood the station as military members, family members and fans were downloading the song and sending it to service members and loved ones across the country and deployed around the world. “On My Watch Tonight” was quickly becoming the anthem for U.S. troops deployed around the world and those here at home who keep a watchful eye.

Just days before deploying to Iraq in 2005, Mike released his CD Falling Awake. While in Iraq, he spent a year at Camp Falluja and served with some of the greatest people in the Marine Corps, Army, Navy and Air Force.

Turn off blog music before going to the link below. To turn off sound, click on the two vertical lines under Listening Memories

1-15 Inf. Detains Four, Destroys Enemy Trucks, Barges

By Multi-National Division - Center PAO
Jun 25, 2007 - 5:41:36 PM

Blackanthem Military News, BAGHDAD, Iraq - Coalition Forces have detained four suspects, destroyed two trucks and two barges in operations south of Salman Pak June 23.

Operation Bull Run, which supports Marne Torch, also netted two weapons caches, five improvised explosive devices, and two vehicles. The operation's intent is to prevent insurgents from moving weapons and munitions into the Arab Jabour area.

Marne Torch is an offensive operation to clear extremist sanctuaries in the Arab Jabour area southeast of Baghdad. Marne Torch is named for the historic 1942 British-American invasion of French North Africa in World War II.

3rd HBCT Helps Soldiers Deal With Combat Stress

Story and photos by Spc. Ben Hutto
3rd Brigade Combat Team Public Affairs

FORWARD OPERATING BASE HAMMER, Iraq – With any deployment there are rumors, one very dangerous one is that only Soldiers who leave the forward operating base are susceptible to combat stress.

“Combat stress is all the physical and emotional reactions to being in a combat zone or extended combat operations,” explained Capt. Angela Mobbs, from Corpus Christi, Texas, the brigade psychologist for the 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team.

Mobbs explained that combat stress can happen to anyone. It can be triggered by a violent event, such as an improvised explosive device attack on a convoy. Combat stress can also be triggered by being away from a person’s normal surroundings for an extended amount of time.

There’s combat stress and there’s post traumatic stress disorder -- they are not the same.

“PTSD is much more severe and rare,” said Mobbs. “PTSD is a cluster of symptoms that happen for an extended period of time that interfere with situational and occupational function. The symptoms do not regress. Combat stress can be worked through and the symptoms will regress.”

Mobbs said Soldiers have a variety of ways to get counseling.

“They can make an appointment though sick call or have their chain of command set up an appointment for them,” she said.

An appointment with the brigade psychologist is not the only avenue Soldiers have for dealing with combat stress. Every battalion has a chaplain who is there for Soldiers, she said.

“When Soldiers come to me, the number one thing I try to do is listen,” said Chaplain (Capt.) Anthony Randall, from, Arvada, Colo., the chaplain for the 3rd Squadron, 1st Cavalry Regiment. “I provide them with a safe place to process their feelings without feeling weak, insecure or less of a Soldier. They don’t have to worry about being made fun of. My goal is to get them to see that combat stress is a simple reality of what we do. Since it is real, my goal is to help them identify and overcome it.”

Randall explained that there are many aspects that a Soldier can concentrate on to relieve combat stress.

“They can control combat stress with mental and physical coping mechanisms and faith,” explained Randall. “I believe faith is paramount. If we truly have faith in God, we can truly believe in hope when we are surrounded by evil.”

Randall also pointed out that Soldiers who aren’t leaving the FOB are just as susceptible to combat stress as Soldiers who go out on frequent missions.

“Complacency and boredom can lead to combat stress,” said Randall. “Combat stress isn’t just the Soldier with the 1,000-yard stare and the shaky hands because a sniper round bounced off his Kevlar. Soldiers that have time on their hands can start concentrating on where they are and the things they don’t have.”

Randall points out that no matter what reasons Soldiers have for experiencing combat stress they have avenues to relieve it.

Sgt. 1st Class Larry Seals, 34, Camden, Ark., the senior data systems integrator for the 3rd HBCT, believes that Soldiers need to look out for one another and help their fellow Soldiers when they believe combat stress is becoming a problem.

“As a battle buddy you can do a lot,” said Seals. “Soldiers need to look for changes in people’s behavior. Loud Soldiers might become quiet. Quiet Soldiers may start talking a little more. Soldiers might start distancing themselves from their peers. Soldiers need to look out for each other and know how the people around them act so they can pick up when things aren’t right.”

Seals points out that Soldiers are more likely to identify when one of their own is having a hard time because they live with them and interact with them regularly.

“If you think your battle buddy is having a hard time, you need to occupy his time,” said Seals. “Spend more time talking to them. Ask them to go to the MWR (Morale, Welfare and Recreation) tent with you. Ask if they want to go to chow with you. Volunteer to go to the chaplain with them. You have to spend time with them and get them out.”

Mobbs, Randall and Seals all agree that ignoring combat stress isn’t an effective solution. Soldiers have a variety of avenues they can use to relieve the pressure caused by combat stress. An important step for a Soldier affected by combat stress is finding the avenue that works best for them.

“It’s not important who a Soldier talks to,” said Seals. “It is important that they talk to someone. In general, Soldiers want to help each other and I think it’s important for people to remember that and not get caught up in a negative thought process.”

Monday, June 25, 2007

Letter From Capt. Hathaway

A letter from the commander is so comforting. Now I feel a little bit better having a general idea of the surroundings. I really appreciate Capt. Hathaway taking time out to let the families know what is going helps a lot!

Friends and Family of Headhunter Troop,

Well we have made it through the first 90 plus days of our deployment to Operation Iraqi Freedom V. It has had both its ups and downs. We initially moved into Forward Operating Base Hammer near the Besmyiah Range Complex in Eastern Iraq. This location started out as a very austere base with little creature comforts and has been transformed into a decent place to live with a nice dining facility and a MWR center. The tents all have Air Conditioning and there are shower and latrine trailers for everyone’s use.

The Troop has supported the Squadron very well, whether it is working in the Tactical Operations Center, running the roads as part of the Squadron Commanders PSD, the Medics working hard doing ever job imaginable or “Hitting” targets with the Time Sensitive Target Team. All of the boys have done a terrific job and are working very hard every day. The Troop has played an integral part in the overall success that we have ascertained during this first 90 days.

I know I said that FOB Hammer is coming along nicely and that it is starting to be very comfortable there, I guess in true Army fashion that means it is time to move. Most of the Troop will be moving in the next couple of weeks to Combat Outpost Cashe near the Tuwaitha Nuclear Research Facility. It is austere at this time, we are using burn latrines and gravity fed outdoor showers. The boys are living in a hard building and eventually we will get air conditioners here, but for now it is a little warm during the night and just plain hot during the day. It sounds bad, but by the time it is done it will be a very nice place to live. We have already gotten the MWR package that includes the Armed Forces Network TV and Satellite and 20 computers that we are getting hooked up to the internet. The down side is that there are only 2 phones at this time. It seems that everyone is getting to call home because there is never a line for the phones. The chow is not great, but the cooks work very hard to spice up the Army T rations that they cook. Our major problem is power generation. We should have it fixed in the next couple of weeks and that will allow us to run air conditioners. Once that happens, things will be very good down here at COP Cashe.

I know that a COP sounds like we are in danger, but it is safer here than it is on FOB Hammer. We have 100 feet high earthen berms surrounding our location. I would venture to say that it is one of the safer places in Iraq. I know everyone was curious about internet and phone packages that could be purchased at FOB Hammer; those won’t be available at COP Cashe. There just isn’t enough room or power to run all of those extra items.

Unfortunately the first 90 days also delivered a devastating blow to Headhunter Troop, the loss of two great Soldiers. SPC Toledo-Poledo and SPC Winterbottom were two great Soldiers who will be missed by all and their families will be in our hearts and prayers.

The first 90 plus days have been a very busy time, but the next will be even busier. There is a bright spot to this though; it makes the time go by very fast.

You should be very proud of your Soldier; everyone in the Troop has performed beyond all expectation and has earned my admiration and the respect of all who come in contact with them.

Very Respectfully,

Captain Jimmy L. Hathaway

Sunday, June 24, 2007

A Little Military Humor

Murphy's Laws

Rules of the Rucksack

1. No matter how carefully you pack, a rucksack is always too small.
2. No matter how small, a rucksack is always too heavy.
3. No matter how heavy, a rucksack will never contain what you want.
4. No matter what you need, it's always at the bottom.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Iraqi National Police Build Small-arms Range

Soldiers from 3/3rd Inf. Div. and representatives from 1st Iraqi NP Bde. discuss construction efforts for the new small-arms range in Salman Pak June 19

A Michigan National Guard unit is helping to train the 1st Iraq National Police on the importance of learning a skill and then maintaining it.

The construction of a new small arms range is underway in Salman Pak for the 1st Battalion, 1st Iraqi National Police Brigade. They are receiving guidance from a National Police Training Team from 1st Battalion, 125th Infantry Regiment, with the Michigan National Guard.

The National Guard unit is attached to the 1st Battalion, 15th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division.

The 1st Iraqi NP has been stationed in Salman Pak for the last five months after completing training at the National Police Training Academy in Numaniyah. They will use the range to sustain their training and improve the skills of new Iraqi policemen.

The range is part of a bigger push to conduct more training with the 1st Iraqi NP on medical skills, dismounted patrols and checkpoint operations.

“The fact that the 1st National Police Brigade is conducting daily operations and maintaining a focus on training speaks very highly of the unit,” said Maj. Dewey Boberg, from Anaheim, Calif., an executive officer for 3rd HBCT. “In the U.S. Army, we are always training for the next mission, regardless of mission requirements.

Our National Police partners are now doing same.” Soldiers of 1-15 Inf. have begun operations to eliminate insurgent sanctuaries to the southeast of Baghdad as a part of the Multi-National Division Center’s Operation Marne Torch.

Friday, June 22, 2007

This Week's Dog Face Daily's

3-1 Cav. Meets With Local Youth Center Leaders

Capt. Jimmy Hathaway (far left), from Columbus, Ga., Headquarters Company, 3rd Squadron, 1st Cavalry Regiment commander, discusses center renovations with youth center leaders and 97th Civil Affairs Battalion Soldiers during a meeting June 21, in Jisr Diyala.

By Sgt. Natalie Rostek, 3rd HBCT Public Affairs
Jun 22, 2007 - 7:06:03 PM

Blackanthem Military News, COMBAT OUTPOST CASHE, Iraq – Elements of the 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team are helping to improve life for Iraqi youth by assisting with a renovation project that will cost up to $500,000.

Iraqi contractors, youth center leaders and members with the 3rd Squadron, 1st Cavalry Regiment and Soldiers of Company A, 97th Civil Affairs Battalion, currently attached to 3-1 Cavalry met June 21 in Jisr Diyala to discuss the planned improvements.

Construction is expected to begin in late July and will include renovations to the weight room, sewing room, library and arts and crafts room. Coalition Forces are also expecting new computers and exercise equipment for the center.

“The renovations of the youth center will help show the youth of Jisr Diyala that there are other activities out there that can help improve their lives,” said Capt. Jimmy Hathaway, from Columbus, Ga., and Headquarters Company commander, 3-1 Cav. “We are going to turn this youth center into a world class facility.”

Iraqi, CF Leaders Meet To Coordinate Operations

No. 20070620-
06 June 20, 2007
Iraqi, CF leaders meet to coordinate operations
By Maj. Joe Sowers
3rd HBCT Public Affairs Officer
Multi-National Division – Center PAO


Col. Wayne W. Grigsby, Jr., commander of the 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, discusses security issues in the Rusafa District of Baghdad Sunday with Maj. Gen. Riyadh, commander of the 9th Iraqi Army Division, in eastern Baghdad. Riyadh reported that with the exception of mortar fire the levels of violence in the Rusafa District had declined following the enforcement of a strict curfew called after the bombing of the Golden Mosque in Samarra.
Brig. Gen. Kareem, 1st National Police Division Commander, discusses security issues in the Rusafa District of Baghad Sunday in eastern Baghad with Maj. Gen. Riyadh (Right), the 9th Iraqi army division commander, and Col. Wayne W. Grigsby Jr. (left), the 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team commander, as a part of the Rusafa Security Council Meeting. Kareem outlined details for manning checkpoints in the district by NP personnel. Checkpoints are a key component in combined Iraqi and Coalition Forces efforts to stop accelerants from being smuggled into Baghdad.

3-1 Cavalry Destroys Barge To Interdict Smuggling

RELEASE No. 20070620-04
June 20, 2007
3-1 Cavalry destroys barge to interdict smuggling
Multi-National Division – Center PAO

FORWARD OPERATING BASE HAMMER, Iraq — Soldiers from the 3rd Squadron, 1st Cavalry Regiment destroyed one barge on the Tigris River June 16 near Salman Pak to deter the smuggling of ammunition and bomb-making materials into Baghdad.

The boat ignored several warnings to stop and come ashore. Residents were warned to stay off the river during the operations.

Boats traveling near this area of the Tigris River are not used by local residents for fishing, said Iraqi officials. The qada, or county, mayor estimates that all boat traffic on the Tigris in that area is linked to smuggling, said the 3rd HBCT Deputy Commander, Lt. Col. Ryan J. Kuhn, from Clarks, Neb.

The 3rd HBCT Soldiers have witnessed individuals smuggling ammunition or bomb-making materials across the Tigris, according to the 3rd HBCT Executive Officer, Maj. Dewey Boberg, from Anaheim, Calif.

The 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, is part of the 3rd Infantry Division and Multi-National Division-Center. Elements of MND-C are currently executing Marne Torch, deliberate operations to deny insurgent and terrorist sanctuaries southeast of Baghdad. Operations are being conducted southeast of Baghdad, to include Arab Jabour on the west side of the Tigris and Salman Pak and Jisr Diyala on the east side of the river.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Marne Torch Continues Clearing Insurgent Safe Havens

Blackanthem Military News, BAGHDAD, Iraq – Task Force Marne continues its sixth day of offensive operations to clear extremist sanctuaries in the Arab Jabour area which is located southeast of Baghdad.

To date, Marne Torch and Iraqi army units have detained more than five dozen suspected extremists and destroyed more than 17 boats on the Tigris River that are responsible for transporting accelerants into Baghdad. Ground and air forces disrupted insurgent operations by capturing, seizing, and clearing caches that support instability in the area.

U.S. forces killed five insurgents, discovered and destroyed 12 improvised explosive devices, and detained 13 wanted individuals.

More than 2,500 Coalition and Iraqi army forces are participating in Marne Torch, an operation named for the historic British-American invasion of French North Africa in World War II that took place in 1942. Members of 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, continue to clear the area north of the Arab Jabour area and restrict movement of insurgents and bomb-making material into the area.

A sizable cache found in the Jisr Diyala area Tuesday netted 54 mortar rounds, two artillery rounds, 29 cell phones, 29 nine-volt battery connectors and more than 20 circuit boards – all commonly used in the manufacturing of improvised explosive devices. There have been a total of 17 caches found throughout the Arab Jabour and Salman Pak area.

Soldiers from 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, and the 4th Brigade Combat Team (Airborne), 25th Infantry Division, continue to clear houses and set-up checkpoints around Arab Jabour to stop the flow of accelerants in and out of Baghdad. There have been 237 houses cleared since the start of Marne Torch.

1-15 Infantry Soldiers Meet With Local Iraqi Council

June 18, 1st Lt. Matthew Givens (far left) of Columbus, Ga., Civil Affairs officer for 1-15 Inf., along with Soldiers of the 97th Civil Affairs Battalion meet with Mr. Abbas, the contract manager for projects to be completed in Al Wahida.
A Soldier from the 1st Battalion, 15th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Heavy Brigade
Combat Team, patrols the streets of Al Wahida June 18.
A young boy from the city of Al Wahida smiles as he holds a soccer ball given to him by Soldiers of the 1-15th Inf. Regt. and 97th CA Bn., June 18. The unit met with the Al Wahida contracting manager to coordinate CF and governmental efforts to revitalize services in the area.

FORWARD OPERATING BASE HAMMER, Iraq – Soldiers of the 1st Battalion, 15th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team and 97th Civil Affairs Battalion, 3rd Infantry Division, met with the Al Wahida city council June 18.

The meeting with Mr. Abbas, contracting manager, was held to discuss renovations and projects in the area to include rehabilitation of a local school and clinic, and enhancement of the sanitation and security of the Nahia council building.

“Progress was made in the meeting,” said 1st Lt. Matthew Givens, 1-15 Inf. civil affairs officer, of Columbus, Ga. “There are a lot of new, friendly faces that are glad to see the Americans have come.”

Prior to the meeting, Soldiers of the 1-15 Inf. and the 97th CAB conducted analysis of sewage, water, electricity, education, and trash removal systems in the area. Givens feels the projects will prove benefi cial in the relationship between 1-15 Inf. and citizens in the area.

“The schools that will be rebuilt here will go a long way to build credibility and trust between us and the people of Al Wahida,”Givens said.

1-15 Inf. is a part of the 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, Multi-National Division-Center, which is currently executing Operation Marne Torch to deny insurgents and terrorists sanctuaries
southeast of Baghdad.

“In Marne Torch, we are hunting down insurgents, who are terrorizing the good people of Iraq in an area that has seen little Coalition Force infl uence during the past several years,” said Maj. James Carlisle, 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, civil military operations offi cer, of Palm Beach, Fla. “Now that we are here and the insurgents are on the run, we are able to assist the local government in rebuilding the communities that have suffered for so long. We do this by repairing schools and hospitals and reestablishing public services and local police forces.

Marne Focus 6/21/07

Live From Iraq With Major Joe Sowers

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Taking The Little Things For Granted

It's amazing how many times a day I wish that I could pick up the phone and see what Chris is up his day is going...tell him about my day...see what he had for dinner or just to tell him I love him and miss him. I wish so many times that I could just give him a hug and tell him how proud I am of him. I took all those litle things for granted for so many years and now they are so precious. I am always wondering how he is doing, where he is, what's new, and on and on...He's always on my mind! I treasure all the emails and calls and they are worth a million bucks and I appreciate it even more so because I know how difficult it is to make it happen. The guys are so busy and access is so limited and I know communication is a challenge. I do know that from now on I will never take the little things for granted.

I got an email from Chris today and he is doing well. They have a generator now and they have a water tank that they use to take showers. They do not have a DFAC but he said they get T-Rats twice a day and with a little imagination, they aren't too bad. He continues to be very busy and is very pumped about what he is doing. He reminded me that he was safe and not to worry. Emails can sure make a lousy day a great day! Anytime I hear from Chris, no matter what kind of day I'm having, it suddenly gets better!

3-1 Cavalry Destroys Barge To Interdict Smuggling

By Maj. Joe Sowers
3rd HBCT Public Affairs Officer

Blackanthem Military News, FORWARD OPERATING BASE HAMMER, Iraq – Soldiers from the 3rd Squadron, 1st Cavalry Regiment destroyed one barge on the Tigris River June 16 near Salman Pak to deter the smuggling of ammunition and bomb-making materials into Baghdad.

The boat ignored several warnings to stop and come ashore. Residents were warned to stay off the river during the operations.

Boats traveling near this area of the Tigris River are not used by local residents for fishing, said Iraqi officials. The qada, or county, mayor estimates that all boat traffic on the Tigris in that area is linked to smuggling, said the 3rd HBCT Deputy Commander, Lt. Col. Ryan J. Kuhn, from Clarks, Neb.

The 3rd HBCT Soldiers have witnessed individuals smuggling ammunition or bomb-making materials across the Tigris, according to the 3rd HBCT Executive Officer, Maj. Dewey Boberg, from Anaheim, Calif.

The 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, is part of the 3rd Infantry Division and Multi-National Division-Center. Elements of MND-C are currently executing Marne Torch, deliberate operations to deny insurgent and terrorist sanctuaries southeast of Baghdad. Operations are being conducted southeast of Baghdad, to include Arab Jabour on the west side of the Tigris and Salman Pak and Jisr Diyala on the east side of the river.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

1-15 Infantry Detains Five Suspected Insurgents

1-15 Infantry detains five suspected insurgents
Multi-National Division – Center PAO

FORWARD OPERATING BASE HAMMER, Iraq — Soldiers from the 1st Battalion, 15th Infantry Regiment, detained five individuals early Sunday morning during a search in the village of Dura’iya.

The unit’s mission, according to 1-15 Inf. leaders, was to disrupt key insurgent networks in the battalion’s area of operation.

Soldiers searched several houses for weapons and improvised explosive device-making materials. The searches resulted in the detention of five individuals and the seizure of one rifle.

Soldiers of the 1-15 Inf. have begun aggressive operations to eliminate insurgent sanctuaries to the southeast of Baghdad as a part of the Multi-National Division Center’s Operation Marne Torch. The battalion has conducted three air assault missions in the last 12 days to eliminate or deter destabilizing influences in the region.

“When the enemy chooses not to engage us, in the areas they consider sanctuaries, it shows us that the enemy fears us. It also shows the local population that we will protect them,” said 1st Lt. Josh Powers, from Atlanta, Ga., assistant operations officer for 1-15 Inf.

The 1-15 Inf. is assigned to the 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, from Fort Benning, Ga.

View Slideshow

3-1 CAV Seizes Multiple Caches Near Jisr Diyala

Electrical circuits and electrical cords, commonly used in road-side bombs, seized during 3rd Squadron, 1st Cavalry Regiment Operation Destroyer Strike June 18 near Tuwaitha.


caches were seized Sunday near Tuwaitha as a part of Coalition Forces efforts to eliminate insurgent sanctuaries southeast of Baghdad.

Soldiers from Company D, 1st Battalion, 15th Infantry Regiment, who are currently attached to 3rd Squadron, 1st Cavalry Regiment, detained four individuals. Two detainees provided the Coalition Forces the location of multiple cache sites. Soldiers seized 29 cell phones, three AK-47 assault rifles, body armor and ammunition at the cache sites.

The 3-1 Cav. and the 1-15 Inf. are assigned to the 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, from Fort Benning, Ga.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Project Iraqi Kids Makes Its Way To Iraq

Members who support Project Iraqi Kids place school supplies in backpacks May 31, to be shipped to Iraq and distributed to Iraqi children. (Courtesy photo)

By Sgt. Natalie Rostek,
3rd HBCT Public Affairs
Jun 18, 2007 - 6:52:40 PM

Blackanthem Military News, FORWARD OPERATING BASE HAMMER, Iraq – American Legion Post 256 members from Tennessee are supporting the war effort by raising money to purchase school supplies to be distributed to children in Iraq.

The effort, called “Project Iraqi Kids,” generates funds to buy school supplies to be shipped to U.S. units in Iraq. Elements of the 1st Cavalry Division and the 3rd Infantry Division will be distributing supplies in late June.

The idea for the project came when a former Company D, 278th Tennessee Army National Guard commander returned from Iraq in February 2006 and spoke to American Legion Post 256 members and the Tellico Village Retired Military Club members about the need to reach out to Iraqi children, according to retired Col. Dick Kolasheski, currently serving as the service officer of the American Legion Post 256.

The ability to reach out to the Iraqi kids and show them the true face of America will do much to determine the success or failure of the mission and the countless sacrifices the Iraqis are making, the company commander said to the American Legion when he returned.

This is the same view that has been reinforced to the service men and women currently in Iraq, Kolasheski said. Kolasheski’s son, Lt. Col. John Kolasheski, with 3rd Squadron, 1st Cavalry Regiment, 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, is currently serving in Iraqi in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom V.

“It is a valuable tool to win the hearts and minds of the Iraqi (people,)” Dick Kolasheski said. “Our contacts with individuals who have served or are serving indicate that kids can be a key to opening doors.”

Since its inception, a number of Tennessee’s Tellico Village and Rarity Bay area churches and organizations along with contributions from Loudon and Monroe Counties businesses almost $24,000 has been raised for the cause.

Five thousand soccer uniforms, 100 inflating pumps, 1,000 soccer balls and backpacks were donated to the effort by a Wilmington, Calif., soccer company. New Canaan, Conn., citizens donated over 2,000 stuffed animals. Backpacks will be filled with school supplies and then shipped to units in Iraq. When the materials are received by the units in Iraq, they will be distributed to the local children by the Soldiers conducting combat patrols throughout their respective areas of operation.

“I think we can congratulate ourselves on a job very well done,” Dick Kolasheski said. “It would not have happened without all countless people pulling together to get it done.”

Organizations who wish to contribute to Project Iraqi Kids can mail a tax deductible check payable to American Legion Post 256 – Iraqi Kids to:

American Legion Post 256
PO Box 233,
Vonore, TN 37885

“This war will not be won by bullets alone, but by efforts that directly address the needs and aspirations of the Iraqi people,” Dick Kolasheski said. “This project will give our (Soldiers) additional tools that can be used to establish meaningful ties to an important segment of the Iraqi population, their children.”

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Happy Father's Day

Thank you to all the Soldiers who are deployed and not able to spend this Father's Day with their family. Your sacrifices are appreciated and will not be forgotten.

Marne Torch Air Assault Yields Five Detainees

By Sgt. Natalie Rostek,
3rd HBCT Public Affairs
Jun 17, 2007 - 5:51:18 PM

Blackanthem Military News, FORWARD OPERATING BASE HAMMER, Iraq – Soldiers from the 1st Battalion, 15th Infantry Regiment, conducted a company-sized operation in the city of Dura’iya Sunday morning, detaining five individuals.

Operation Chosin supports the efforts of Marne Torch, an offensive operation against Al Qaeda strongholds around Baghdad recently announced by Secretary of Defense Robert W. Gates and Gen. David Petraeus, Multi-National Force-Iraq commander.

The purpose of the mission, according to 1-15 Inf. leaders, was to disrupt key insurgent networks from freedom of maneuver in the battalion’s area of operation.

The mission began as elements from 1-15 Inf. air assaulted into the vicinity of targeted houses late Saturday night. During the ground operation, several houses were searched for weapons and improvised explosive device- making materials resulting in the detention of five individuals and the seizure of one rifle.

The 1-15 Inf. is assigned to the 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, from Fort Benning, Ga., and is one of the U.S. Army’s surge brigades.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Soldier Supports The Fisher House

Regan Turner clearing one of the many caches
found that the insurgents used to create IEDs

Regan Turner has served a tour served in combat in both Afghanistan and Iraq, and knows firsthand the sacrifices made by those who answered our nation's call of duty. Regan is originally from San Antonio, Texas and my husband's cousin. Regan has decided to participate in the 32nd Marine Corps Marathon to support the Fisher House. His goal is $1000.00 but I am trying to help him exeeed this goal. This is an honorable cause and I admire Regan for taking on this challenge. The 32nd Marine Corps Marathon will be in Washington, D.C., Sunday, October 28, 2007. Good Luck, Regan! Thanks for all you have done and continue to do for our country. God Bless You and all our Troops!

Regan writes:
Family and Friends,

Something I have wanted to do in recent years is to run a marathon (I'm still not sure why). Yes, 26.2 miles of pain and endurance, and some So, after a bit of deliberation, I finally signed up to run the 2007 Marine Corps Marathon on October 28, 2007. Not only will this be my first marathon, but I will be doing it in part to raise funds for The Fisher House, a charitable organization that supports America's service members and their families.

My mother has volunteered at The Fisher House in San Antonio for the past two years. On a couple of occasions, I have accompanied her to the house and was truly moved by both the resilience of the families whose loved ones are recovering, and the dedication of the staff and volunteers of the house to ensure that visiting families receive the best hospitality and care imaginable.

For those who are unfamiliar with The Fisher House, it is a charity that provides lodging, meals, and/or transportation to the families of service members fallen ill or wounded in combat, so that the families can be with their loved ones during the long road to recovery. Additionally, The Fisher House took the lead on building The Center for the Intrepid, also in San Antonio, which is the premier rehabilitation center for service members suffering from traumatic wounds received in combat. (Here is a good article on that center: Newsweek Health

I have set a fundraising goal of $1000. I assure you that no contribution is too small or insignificant to help.

Thank you so much for your love, support, and prayers during my times overseas; also as I prepare for my new assignment in Quantico, VA. Now all I need to do is get myself up and train!! Best wishes and God Bless.

Semper Fidelis,
Regan Turner

Fisher House Foundation is the premiere private foundation for supporting military families, primarily during a medical crisis. The Foundation has built 38 "comfort homes" on the grounds of major military and VA medical centers, and has made support to the service men and women wounded or injured in Iraq or Afghanistan its highest priority. The Foundation has received the highest possible ratings from the "watch dog" organizations that evaluate the effectiveness and efficiency of nonprofit organizations: For every dollar donated to Fisher House Foundation, 97.5 cents goes directly into the Fisher House program. "Overhead," the combination of management and fundraising expenses, is only 2.5 cents. Your support will enable Fisher House to provide "comfort homes" to severely wounded or ill service members and their families. Find out more about the great works of Fisher House Foundation by visiting the web site: Fisher House

Hats Off To Outback Steakhouse

Maybe our Soldiers at FOB Hammer will be lucky enough to be included in this. This is a wonderful project that Outback has taken on and I will definitely continue to patronize them...even more now! I appreciate all the organizations and businesses that are trying to make the Soldiers deployment a little better.
For one night only Soldiers were treated to food from Outback Steakhouse June 13, 2007 at Forward Operating Base Salerno, Afghanistan.
Organization Brings a Taste of Home to Deployed Servicemembers

By Army Sgt. Matthew Clifton
22nd Mobile Public Affairs Detachment

FORWARD OPERATING BASE SALERNO, Afghanistan – A large line could be seen extending from the chow hall as the aroma of steak floated across the base June 13.

Soldiers on FOB Salerno were treated to a little taste of home today when Feeding Freedom 5 brought the down under-taste of Outback Steakhouse to the base dining facility.

Feeding Freedom is the name given to the program which brings food from Outback Steakhouse to service members deployed overseas.

Thanks to numerous donations and volunteers from the U.S., the troops at Salerno enjoyed a vast menu including, but not limited to Ribeye steaks, calamari, vegetable ravioli, chocolate and carrot cake and the signature Outback dish - the Bloomin’ Onion.

“It makes me feel real special to have these guys come over here and risk their own safety just to bring us something good to eat,” said Spc. Sharice Lidell, a water purification specialist for the 782nd Brigade Support Battalion, 4th Brigade Combat Team. “I love steak and it really shows a lot about their character that they come here.”

So far Feeding Freedom 5 has been to Kuwait and is headed to Al Asad, Iraq. A reoccurring sentiment wherever the people of Feeding Freedom go is gratitude. They are very thankful for what servicemembers are doing, but this sentiment is reciprocated by the enormous appreciation the Soldiers have for the volunteers.

“This is just our way of saying thank you to the troops,” said Lisa Ross, a regional service technician with Outback. “We are only here for a couple weeks, but these guys are here for a year.”

Most of the volunteers with Feeding Freedom are owners and operators of Outback Steak Houses and Carrabba’s Italian Grills.

The volunteers of Feeding Freedom worked diligently throughout the meal making sure every table had a fresh Bloomin’ Onion, clearing the empty plates for the troops and having friendly conversations with the Soldiers.

“Its such a reality check,” said Mandi Cannon, a volunteer and regional service technician for Carrabba’s. “Not a lot of people know exactly what goes on over here.”

Cannon alluded to a mission she saw where water was being loaded in an aircraft to be dropped to people in the field.

“It shows me just how rough some of these guys have it over here,” she continued. “And that’s why I volunteered; strictly to say ‘thank you.’”

During the dinner, the atmosphere of the dining facility was palpable. Laughter could be heard mixed with compliments on the excellence of the food, and everywhere there were the volunteers chatting with the Soldiers.

“Everybody is so excited we are here,” Cannon said. “When we were in Kuwait, I’ll always remember what one of the guys said to me.

“He said, ‘Today’s chow tastes like freedom’. That is something I will never forget.”

This Week's Dog Face Daily

Friday, June 15, 2007

3-1 CAV Arrests Four After Extended Observation

RELEASE No. 20070615-28
June 15, 2007
3-1 Cav. arrests four after extended observation
By Staff Sgt. Sean Riley
3rd HBCT Public Affairs
Multi-National Division – Center PAO

FORWARD OPERATING BASE HAMMER, Iraq — Four men were arrested after their vehicle was tracked for an extended period Wednesday afternoon east of Baghdad.

Along with the detainees, 3rd Squadron, 1st Cavalry Regiment Soldiers found one loaded AK-47 assault rifle and two loaded handguns, as well as a black ski mask. A search of a nearby house led to the discovery of multiple power switches commonly used in the construction of roadside bombs, along with an AK-47 assault rifle, two RPK light machine guns, multiple magazines for the three weapons and a set of body armor with ballistic plates.

The 3-1 Cavalry is assigned to the 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, from Fort Benning, Ga.

Themed Care Packages

Some of these ideas are not appropriate for this time of the year in Iraq due to the extreme heat but would be great winter ideas.

Themed Care Packages
Tara Crooks June 05, 2007

Sending care packages is simply part of life for most military spouses. You are always searching for a new idea or something special to send to your loved one. In my experience, the most fun care packages to put together are those for birthdays, anniversaries, and holidays. Getting creative and involving your children can be a lot of fun. I have put together a list of care package “themes” with ideas of what to pack. I hope this gets your creative juices flowing and you enjoy putting together something special for your Soldier.

Movie Care Package
Movie (DVD or VHS)
Microwave Popcorn (or already popped if they don’t have a microwave)
Cracker Jacks
Rice Krispie Treats
Cookies (Oreos and Chips Ahoy)
Ruffles chips & dip
Hot Tamales
Nachos (tortilla chips & cheese)
Make a “Now Featuring” Movie poster on your computer and add it to the package

Get Well Package
Chicken Noodle soup packets
Gourmet tea packets
Cold medicine
Inspirational “Get Well” quotes
Dole Fruit Bowls
Get Well “pills” (candy coated mints)
Get Well card

At Ease Package
Glow in the dark yo-yo
Crossword Puzzle Book
Silly Putty
Deck of Cards
Ritz Bitz
Cereal Bars

Scruff Care Package
Baby wipes
Shaving cream
Lotion (if your soldier is female, step it up a notch and do something from a SPA line)
Foot powder
Big fluffy towel
Toilet paper

Comforts of Home Package
Small Bottle of Febreze
Snuggle dryer sheets
Phone card
Blanket (a nice comfy one)
Glade PlugIns
Pair of slippers or cozy socks
Hot cocoa or coffee
Decorative coffee mug
Pillowcase with your perfume/cologne sprayed on it
Book on tape

Big Kid Package
Squirt guns
Silly Putty
Silly String
Whoopie Cushion
Funny face eyeglasses
Sidewalk chalk
Crayons & color book
Football/soccer Ball (mini)
Hacky Sack

Sports Theme Package
Favorite sports magazine
Taped TV or DVD of favorite sport
Personalized mug

A Day At Home Package
There are several variations of this package. The idea is to replicate a day with you. First, you will need a camera. Take pictures of each thing you do. Use your creativity, but here are a few ideas:
We woke up (take a picture in bed) and ate breakfast (take a picture eating cereal) and then took a shower (take picture in towel). We started the day off by doing some yard work and mowing the lawn (take picture mowing lawn). After our work, we had lunch (take picture with lunch) and then we colored pictures – or threw around a football, etc. (Take pictures doing the activity). We all ate dinner together (take picture having dinner). We had a full day so we were tired when it was time to set down and watch our favorite TV programs (take picture watching TV). Later we snuggled up in our jammies (take picture in jammies) and had a nighttime snack (take picture snacking). We love you very much and miss you! (take a picture of a goodnight kiss)

Now take all of your pictures (referencing above) and send them with treats:
• Pillowcase with cologne/perfume sprayed or maybe a decorated one
• Several small boxes of cereal or cereal bars
• Shower gel or shampoo or even a towel
• Grass clippings in a baggie or dirt from backyard (strange but reminds them of home)
• Color books or football (something that matches the day’s activity)
• Lunch and snacks
• New pajamas
• Popcorn
• Recorded TV show or movie DVD
• Hershey’s Kisses
Copyright 2007 Tara Crooks. All opinions expressed in this article are the author's and do not necessarily reflect those of

Thursday, June 14, 2007

1-15th Inf.Finds Cache During Air Assault


Weapons and improvised explosive device materials were seized during an air assault mission
near Salman Pak today.

Multiple 1st Battalion, 15th Infantry Regiment platoons carried out the air and ground assault on two houses.

The raids yielded two 107mm rockets, home-made explosives, two AK-47 assault rifles, one bolt-action rifle, several propane tanks, copper wire, ammunition, magazines and several
assault vests.

Explosive ordnance disposal personnel destroyed the IED making materials at the site. The 1-15th Inf. is assigned to the 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, from Fort Benning, Ga.

3rd HBCT Army Birthday Fun Run

3RD HBCT holds Army Birthday Fun Run
By Sgt. Natalie Rostek, 3/3RD Inf. Div. Public Affairs

Blackanthem Military News, FORWARD OPERATING BASE HAMMER, Iraq – Soldiers of the 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division participated in a five kilometer Army Birthday Fun Run June 14, at FOB Hammer.

The run began at 6 a.m. as approximately 200 participants from the 3rd HBCT, the 557th Expeditionary Red Horse Squadron, the 789th Explosive Ordinance Disposal Company, and contractors from Kellogg, Brown, and Root took their places on the starting line.

Finishing in first place overall was Sgt. Maj. Willie Washington, from Townsend, Ga., noncommissioned officer in charge of the 3rd HBCT Personnel Office.

“It’s just another day of (physical training),” Washington said modestly. Although he felt the run was motivating, he said he wished there could have been more participants.

First place for the females was Air Force Capt. Megan Leitch, from Fairfax, Va., director of operations for the 557th ERHS.

Although there were prizes, the five kilometer Army Birthday Fun Run was not a race, according to retired 1st Sgt. John Ellis, Sr., from Savannah, Ga., supervisor for the Moral, Welfare and Recreation Center.

“It was a great experience,” said Spc. Lemone Johnson, a Snow Mount, Ga., native, Company F, 1st Battalion, 15th Infantry Regiment.

Johnson was one of the many Soldiers to receive a t-shirt from the MWR center for being one of the first to sign up for the event. He also won an AT&T calling card for being the first Soldier from 1-15 Inf. to cross the finish line. Race winners will receive specialized five kilometer Army Birthday Fun Run t-shirts expected to arrive to FOB Hammer in the near future.

Many Soldiers found motivation and fulfillment during the event. Others saw it as a social event.

“It was fun, tiring, but fun,” said Pfc. Kimberly Farrow, from San Antonio, Company C, 203rd Brigade Support Battalion. “Seeing everybody else keep going motivated me to keep going.”

“It was a good chance to catch up with people I don’t usually see on a daily basis,” said Capt. Mike Mattessich, a Baldwinsville, N.Y., native, Headquarters Company, Brigade Special Troops Battalion.

The important thing was that fun run gave Soldiers something to strive for, according to 1st Sgt. Tony Williams, from New Orleans, senior noncommissioned officer for Company C, 203rd BSB,

“They know the Army is getting older just like we are getting older,” he said.

The next MWR group run at FOB Hammer will be July 4.

WTVM Live Interviews

Here are a couple of interviews from FOB Hammer.

Master Sgt. Brown Talks About Morale

Assisting the Iraqi Government

Live From Iraq With Major Joe Sowers

Live From Iraq 6/14/07

With Smokin Joe Sowers

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

We Must Be Strong

We must all remember to be strong. Some days are just not easy. There are days that I miss Chris so much and am eaten up with worry and questions...where is he?...Is he okay?... What is he doing?...Is he safe? Today happens to be one of those days that I just can't get Chris off my mind. I pray that he is safe and doing okay! God Bless Our Men and Women who are proudly serving!

Cheering The Spurs On To Victory

WAY TO GO SPURS! Chris contributed his part by helping to cheer the Spurs on to victory in game three...well sort of. "Flat Chris" did his part. Chris has had his place in front of the television for the last few Spurs game. We got our "Flat Chris" about a week ago and have had so much fun with him. Now Chris can be a part of all our family activities. It has really been nice having Chris' smiling face around again and really does make it easier to cope with things.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Four Detained On Joint Raid

Soldiers from 3-1 Cav. talk with local citizens
during an operation with the Iraqi National
Police in northern Jisr Diyala June 11.


Soldiers from the 3rd Squadron, 1st Cavalry Regiment and the Iraqi National Police detained four men and confiscated bomb-making materials and rifles following a raid in northern Jisr Diyala, Monday.

The 3-1 Cavalry’s Troop A and Time Sensitive Target Platoon Soldiers worked with an Iraqi National Police platoon, called the Lions of Wassit, to search locations insurgent forces were using as meeting sites and cache sites.

The unit conducted several raids to collect information and disrupt enemy activities preventing extremists from engaging Combat Outpost Assassin and FOB Rustamiyah, according to Capt. Troy Thomas, the plans officer for 3-1 Cavalry, from Litchfield, Minn.

“No one shot a rocket or a mortar at either location last night, that was a big thing,” he said. Thomas was also impressed with the performance of the Lions of Wassit.

“Every battalion in the Army should be lucky enough to have a platoon like the Lions to work with,” said Thomas. “Those guys were well trained and disciplined. They did a great job.”

The 3-1 Cavalry is assigned to the 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, from Fort Benning, Ga.

Monday, June 11, 2007

FOB Hammer...A Five Star Resort???

We heard from Chris yesterday afternoon and was his bubbly self despite the fact that it was around 119 degrees and he had no air conditioning. He said FOB Hammer is like a five star resort compared to his new location. Currently they have no water and no electricity They have a fan that runs off a generator but it doesn't put out very much air due to the fact that it's not the proper voltage. He said it's just a little poof of air every now and then. He is hoping that they get electricity this week but doesn't know if they will have air conditioning. He has not had a shower since his arrival and has quite a strong smell. He really misses being able to go to the gym but he says he's losing weight each day due to the excessive sweating. He doesn't sleep a lot because it's so hot so he's been pretty tired lately since he works 12 - 14 hour shifts and then can't sleep. Despite all that, he had no complaints at all. He told us not to worry that he is doing great, is safe and is working hard. He was very positive and really loves what he is doing. We still have no idea where he is or what he is doing there but we do know that he is in good spirits and has a very positive attitude. Sure wish I could send him some air conditioning, some Taco Cabana bean and cheese tacos and a nice cool shower...that would definitely make his day.

1-15 Inf. Conducts Air Assault Mission, Destroys Enemy Cache

Multi-National Division - Center
Media Release
HQ, MND-Center
Baghdad, Iraq

1-15 Inf. conducts air assault mission, destroys enemy cache
By Staff Sgt. Sean Riley
3rd HBCT Public Affairs

FORWARD OPERATING BASE HAMMER, Iraq – Soldiers of the 1st Battalion, 15th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, seized a weapons cache near Al Dur’aya June 4.
The unit conducted an air assault operation into the area to capture insurgents and destroy weapon caches.

“With us moving by air, we were able to get our elements to the objective, and was ideal in this situation,” said Capt. Leo Buehler, Company B, 1-15 Infantry commander. “Because of the objective’s remote location and enemy’s network of early warning observation posts along the limited ground routes into the village, a ground infiltration would have given the enemy more than one hour early notice.”

By dropping from CH-47 Chinook helicopters, Coalition Forces gained the advantage by allowing the enemy only minutes to prepare.

“As a result, the enemy was unable to recover their equipment prior to our arrival on site,” Buehler said.

The mission netted one insurgent cache containing 30-60 mm mortars, seven AK-47 assault rifles, 32 AK-47 magazines, two 60 mm mortar tubes, one set of body armor and one military-style uniform. During the mission, AH-64 Apache attack helicopters engaged and destroyed a truck after receiving small-arms fire.

The cache was destroyed by explosive ordnance personnel at the scene.

2007 Army Birthday Message

Birthday Coin
2007 Army Birthday Message
Installations and commands all over the world will celebrate the Army's 232nd birthday June 14.

With the theme "Call to Duty - Boots on the Ground - Army Strong," the celebration honors Soldiers answering the call to duty during one of the most dangerous periods in history.
"Today's Soldiers symbolize the nobility of selfless service," said Sergeant Major of the Army Kenneth O. Preston, reflecting the Army's heritage. "Today's Soldiers are motivated by an unwavering belief that they will be victorious on the field of battle, because we have fought this way since 1775 and always will."

Special birthday events will begin on June 9 and run through the following week, with a cake-cutting ceremony at Walter Reed Army Medical Center June 12 and a Twilight Tattoo June 13 at the Washington Monument.
Major League Baseball will pay tribute to the men and women in uniform by hosting birthday activities during several of its games. A veteran of the war on terror will throw out the first pitch of a Florida Marlins vs. Cleveland Indians game in Miami June 14. New recruits will also be inducted into the Army during a pre-game ceremony.

Similar events are scheduled for a Tampa Bay Devil Rays' home game June 13, and a member of the Army Ground Forces Band will lead "Take me out to the ball game" during an Atlanta Braves game June 10.

The Army's precision parachute demonstration team, the Golden Knights, will jump June 14 into Camden Yards, where a Soldier will throw the first pitch of an inter-league game between the Washington Nationals and the Baltimore Orioles.

Lt. Gen. John Brown III will host U.S. Army Pacific's Birthday Ball in Waikiki on June 9. The U.S. Army Band's Strolling Strings will perform during the event to an expected crowd of nearly a thousand Soldiers and civilians.

On June 14, Acting Secretary of the Army Pete Geren, Army Chief of Staff Gen. George W. Casey Jr. and SMA Preston will participate in the annual wreath laying ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery's Tomb of the Unknowns.

Department of Army-level birthday events will continue June 15 with a Birthday Run that starts at Fort Myer, Va., and culminate with the Army Birthday Ball on June 16 in Washington, D.C.

"The U.S. Army is a brotherhood of warrior leaders dedicated to the cause of freedom. To me, celebrating the Army's Birthday is celebrating my freedom and brotherhood," said Capt. Chris Joyner, North Carolina National Guard public affairs officer.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

The Unknown

Sometimes the unknown can be tough to handle. Last week Chris notified us that he would be leaving the FOB and going to an undisclosed location for an extended period of time. He has arrived at the new location and is doing okay but the unknown is driving me crazy. I was doing pretty good coping with things up until now because I knew where he was and when I heard the news, I could conclude where it was in regards to Chris and in essence, put my mind at ease. Now, everytime I hear the news my first reaction is to wonder if Chris was involved.

Chris' mail will be forwarded to him so don't hesitate to keep in touch. The mail and packages are still a tremendous morale booster. The new location has no air conditioning and the temperatures are well into the 100's. He also said that he has no running water and hasn't had a shower since arrival and has quite an odor.

It seems like communication is going to be a little harder at the new location so I am trying real hard to keep remembering that God is watching over Chris and that he is going to be okay. This is just another challenge that I can, and will overcome. I promised Chris that I would try to not worry and I will do the best I can to keep that promise! Boy it's tough!

VFRG Update 06/09/07

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Thursday, June 7, 2007

Something Fishy At FOB Hammer

203rd BSB Chaplain Works To Create Fish Pond for Hammer Soldiers

Swartz and Spc. Jesse Evans, a fuel specialist from Co.B, 203rd BSB, cast Swartz’s homemade fishing net across a canal outside of FOB Hammer.

Chaplain (Capt.) Mike Swartz, the chaplain for the 203rd BSB, draws his homemade fishing net across a canal outside of FOB Hammer. Swartz is transferring fish from the canal to a retaining pond inside the FOB.

— In the bible, Jesus fed multitudes with one fish. A 203rd Brigade Support Battalion chaplain is hoping fish will satisfy the appetites of some Fort Benning, Ga., Soldiers.

Chaplain (Capt.) Mike Swartz, from Winston-Salem, N.C., and an avid fisherman, has been working to build a fish pond on Forward Operating Base Hammer for the 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team Soldiers.

Swartz, who wants to do his part in increasing morale, has transferred approximately 30 fish from the canals outside FOB Hammer to a raw water pond inside the wire since May 26 using a fishing net he made from supplies donated to him by the 203rd BSB Soldiers.

Bernie Hoffinger, a water well driller for Kellogg, Brown and Root and a San Diego native, has been one of the people helping Swartz to create the pond. “I can’t think of a better way to spend my time,” said Hoffinger. “Soldiers are the whole reason I came out here. I wanted to make sure they had water and in the process found a way to give them fish.”

Swartz hopes to add more fish to the pond so it will be ready to be used by 3rd HBCT Soldiers
by August. He hopes the net he receives from a Columbus, Ga., vendor will allow him to stock the pond.

“The one I use now is just a modified cargo net with washers tied to the bottom, to add weight to the base and some water bottles connected to the top to make it float,” explained Swartz. Swartz thinks the pond will provide the Soldiers a place to go and relax.

“Just being next to the water and having a place to cast and retrieve, will really give Soldiers an
avenue to unwind,” said Swartz. “Fishing gives Soldiers a way to get close to nature. It’s a freedom.