Friday, August 31, 2007

Hammer Brigade Infantryman Inspires During Recovery


Saul Martinez rides an arm bike at the No Limitations Festival for amputees and paraplegics, in Lake Tahoe, Calif., July 18.


SPC. BEN HUTTO
3RD HBCT, 3RD INF. DIV.
FOB HAMMER – On May 8, an explosively-formed projectile struck a U.S. Army vehicle, killing two of the three Soldiers inside.

The gunner, Spc. Saul Martinez, 22, of Bloomington, Calif., an infantryman with Headquarters Troop, 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, was the only survivor.

“When we pulled up to the vehicle, it was one of the worst things I’ve ever seen in my whole life,” said Staff Sgt. Michael Henderson, of Vidor, Texas, Martinez’s section sergeant in HHT. “I thought for sure everyone in the vehicle was dead.”

Henderson and Pfc. Stephanie Mc-Culley, of Uniontown, Pa., a combat medic with HHT, immediately began working to get Martinez cut out of the gunner’s harness and get him stabilized.

“When I put my hand under his (Interceptor Body Armor vest), I was praying that he was breathing,” McCulley said. “I was worried about a million things. I was trying to keep him talking so he wouldn’t go unconscious again. In the back of my mind, I was worried he would lose his legs, but I just focused on what I was doing.”

Henderson also kept talking to Martinez. “He tried to give me a bracelet to give to his wife,” Henderson said. “I took it, but kept telling him that he could give it to her when he saw her. He just kept saying, ‘Make sure she gets it.’ I told him I would just to keep him talking. I knew if he went to sleep he might go into a coma and not ever wake up again.”

Martinez’s legs were both severely damaged, suffering multiple lacerations and shrapnel wounds. He was strapped to a backboard and taken by helicopter to the 28th Combat Support Hospital in Baghdad’s International Zone.

Martinez was heavily sedated for nine days after the incident while doctors removed one of his legs. He does not remember his stay in Baghdad or Germany, the two locations to which he was medically evacuated.

“I woke up and Sarah (his wife) was next to me at Walter Reed,” Martinez said. “The doctors told me I was on the verge of dying every hour of every day. They explained that they had to put me under so they could control my body. I was really close to not being here.”

Two days after waking up, Martinez was given the decision on whether to keep his other leg or have it amputated. “Before I woke up, the doctors were trying to get Sarah to give them permission to amputate it, but she wanted me to make that decision,” he said. “Twodays after I woke up, they explained that I would not be able to roll my heel, move my toes or walk on it. I told them I would rather be up walking with my wife on two fake legs than limping through life on a peg leg. I think they were surprised, but it really wasn’t that hard a decision.”

Initially, it was hard news for many Soldiers back at FOB Hammer. “I started crying,” cCulley said. “I felt terrible for him. It wasn’t until I talked to him that I felt better. He told me, ‘I made the decision to walk again. I can heal now.’ He helped me realize it was the best decision for him.”

Soon after his last surgery, Martinez was transferred to the Naval Medical Center in Balboa, Calif., to begin his physical therapy. “The surgical therapy has been fantastic here,” he said. “We do therapy for three hours a day, every day. They have worked really hard getting my core strong so I can have good balance. We do everything. Arm bikes, abdominal work, push-ups, dips, pull-ups are just a few things in a typical session. It’s a lot of fun.”

Lt. Col. Ryan J. Kuhn, of Clarks, Neb., deputy commander, 3rd HBCT, visited Martinez at the Naval Medical Center while on leave and was impressed with how far he had come.

“I had never visited wounded Soldiers before, and to be honest, I was somewhat nervous,” Kuhn said. “I did not know if they would be down or depressed. To my surprise and betterment, what I found was exactly the opposite. Martinez should be the role model for all of us as Soldiers. He was upbeat and excited. I sensed a great deal of strength and determination in him. He didn’t speak about himself at all. It was always about other people, like his wife or his fellow Soldiers.”

Spc. Andrew Ortman, of Baltimore, Md., who has served in the same platoon with Martinez since he came to 3rd HBCT, said Martinez’s wife, Sarah, has played a major role in his recovery. “She has been there to support me with everything,” Martinez said. “She is 100 percent behind me with everything. With her, there is no way I was going to let my legs keep me from living my life. She means too much to me to quit now. If I didn’t have her, I couldn’t do this. She’s been a rock through all of this.”

With his work ethic and wife’s support, Martinez’s recovery has been remarkable. In four short months, he has started walking on his new legs. When told about where he is in his recovery, Martinez’s platoon mates were surprised and happy.

“I didn’t think he would be walking in four months,” Henderson said. “He was in really bad shape when we put him on that bird. I figured he would be recovering, but not walking. His determination has made that happen. I think that says a lot about him.”

Kuhn said Martinez has more planned than just walking, however. “He plans to remain on active duty and continue to serve his country any way possible,” Kuhn said. “He wants to ensure young Soldiers that come into the Army understand the importance of training.” “He’s a Soldier,” McCulley said. “He’s always been a Soldier. He still believes in what he does after everything he’s been through.”

Martinez has geared his rehabilitation for the express purpose of not only staying in, but coming back stronger. “I want to come back to Kelley Hill (home of the 3rd HBCT),” he said. “I think I can still help the Army and do everything I could before. I want to be able to do my job and show everyone that everything is OK. If I could motivate one Soldier, I would be happy. There is life, no matter what happens. I was hurt doing something I was proud to do and I’m looking forward to coming back. I can be a better infantryman than I was before.”

Soldiers Link FOB Hammer With World

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

Story by Staff Sgt. Sean Riley
3rd HBCT Public Affairs

FORWARD OPERATING BASE HAMMER, Iraq –More than three kilometers of fiber optic cable have been laid at FOB Hammer to provide voice and data communications.

Soldiers of Company B, 3rd Brigade Special Troops Battalion of the 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team have performed the work to support the HBCT and its attached units.

According to 2nd Lt. William Macleod, the platoon leader for the Joint Network Node platoon, Co. B, the platoon’s efforts have linked the headquarters within the brigade’s battle space.

“Their efforts have opened the door for telephone and internet usage to areas that previously lacked those services,” said Macleod. “They have also made division communication assets supporting FOB Hammer free for usage within the Task Force Marne battle space.”

Planning for this operation began in May. FOB Hammer was outgrowing the company’s capacity to provide reliable communications between the company’s joint network nodes, the brigade’s and battalions’ tactical operations centers, and other outlying nodes.

This idea was quickly expanded to connect the mayor cell, the explosive ordnance disposal compound, Air Force compound, medical dispensary, and detainee holding area.

“The quick-changing plan required a flexible approach with support from a number of sources,” said Macleod. “Soldiers provided the bulk of the work force to accomplish the mission, but were assisted by personnel and equipment from the Air Force, Kellogg, Brown and Root, and local Iraqi contractors.”

Coordinating with these organizations was necessary to complete digging and covering over the trenches as quickly as possible. All the routing and terminating of the cable was performed by Soldiers.

Terminating, or splicing, of fiber optic cable requires special training not usually available for the Soldiers of Co. B. Pfc. Rick Sanchez and Pfc. Jeremiah Gadd traveled to Camp Victory for a class on how to work the cable. For the Soldiers who could not attend the class, the 3rd Infantry Division network engineer came to FOB Hammer to administer on the job training terminating fiber optic cable.

“Although B Company has finished the current plan, there are more requirements everyday,” Macleod said. “(We) will be expanding services to the FOB for the foreseeable future.”

3rd HBCT Celebrates Women’s Equality Day


Maj. Carla Simmons, 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team’s Staff Judge Advocate, speaks to the Soldiers of the 3rd HBCT during the Women’s Equality Day dinner held at the FOB Hammer Dining Facility Aug. 29.


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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

3rd HBCT celebrates Women’s Equality Day
Story and photos by Spc. Ben Hutto
3rd HBCT Public Affairs

FORWARD OPERATING BASE HAMMER– Soldiers of the 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team held a dinner in honor of Women’s Equality Day at the FOB Hammer Dining Facility Aug. 29.

Maj. Carla Simmons, Staff Judge Advocate, 3rd HBCT, was the featured speaker for the event.

Simmons highlighted the accomplishments of women in and outside the military in her speech and called attention to the important work servicewomen in the 3rd HBCT are doing during their current deployment.

“I was very excited to speak,” she said. “I thought this was a wonderful opportunity to present that speech to the men and women of the Sledgehammer Brigade.”

Lt. Col. Ryan J. Kuhn, deputy commander, 3rd HBCT, introduced Simmons and stressed the significance of the day.

“Today we celebrate the Army because women are a part of it,” he explained. “The 248 servicewomen that are currently serving in this brigade over here are important and all 248 make an impact every day out here. There is not a single thing that gets done in this brigade that doesn’t have a servicewoman’s touch on it.”

Master Sgt. Lawrence Jordan, the Brigade Equal Opportunity Advisor, agreed with Kuhn.

“This day is very important because it gives us a chance to recognize the women servicemembers who have served this nation’s armed forces in the past,” he said. “At one point, career choices for women serving in our nations armed forces were very limited. We have come a long way from those days and it is good to recognize what our women servicemembers have accomplished and celebrate the opportunities they have now.”

The 3rd HBCT is assigned to the 3rd Infantry Division, Fort Benning, Ga., and has been deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom V, since March 2007

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Marne Focus 08/30/07


3rd BCT Holds 'Country’s Barbecue Fun Run'

By Sgt. Natalie Rostek
3rd BCT Public Affairs

FORWARD OPERATING BASE HAMMER, Iraq – Soldiers of 3rd Brigade Combat Team took part in a fun run Sunday at FOB Hammer to support the Country’s Barbecue 5k Run in Columbus, Ga.

Soldiers, Airmen, Sailors and civilian workers who live on FOB Hammer gathered in front of the brigade headquarters building in the early morning to participate in a 5k fun run, one hour before the Columbus, Ga., restaurant kicked off its run of the same distance.

Before the run began, Col. Wayne W. Grigsby, Jr., of Prince George’s County, Md., 3rd BCT commander, spoke live to the friends and family of the brigade, in Columbus, Ga., where the brigade’s home station is located, who gathered for the event. After going on air, Grigsby, along with Command Sgt. Maj. James Pearson, of Philadelphia, ran to join their “Sledgehammer” Soldiers to start the run.

While some Soldiers were giving their best efforts to cross the finish line before their buddies, others were putting on their best face in front of the camera talking to their family members who were waiting in the rain for the Country’s Barbecue Run to start.

“I wanna thank God for my smokin’ hot wife,” said Capt. Sean Morrow, operations officer for 3rd BCT, on air, quoting a line from the movie, “Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby.”

Coming in first place for the males was Sgt. Maj. Willie Washington, of Townsend, Ga., non-commissioned officer in charge of the 3rd BCT human resources office. The first female to cross the finish line was Air Force Capt. Megan Leitch, of Fairfax, Va., director of operations for the 557th Expeditionary “Red Horse” Squadron.

The Country’s Barbecue 5k Run was the third run the 3rd BCT has participated in as a unit. The brigade also held the Army Birthday 5k Fun Run June 14, and the Hotter Than Hades One-Mile Run July 4.

After the run, Grigsby and Pearson returned to the camera with the top three male and female runners. Grigsby introduced each of them, and then, with Pearson, raised his hand to start the Country’s Barbecue Run in Columbus.

“On your mark, get set, go!” yelled the leaders to begin the run, more than 6,000 miles away.

Grigsby sent his deepest “thank you” to everyone who participated in the run to include: Country’s Barbecue, WXTX-TV and WTVM-TV in Columbus, and all the friends and families of the 3rd HBCT for their love and support.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Soldiers Remember Iraqi Man's Sacrifice That Saved Their Lives

1st Lt. Mike Barth, of El Segundo, Calif., 2nd platoon leader, Troop B, 3rd Squadron, 1st Cavalry Regiment, and Staff Sgt. Sean Kane, of Los Altos, Calif., acting platoon sergeant, 2nd platoon, watch during a ceremony in Jisr Diyala to recognize the valor of a young man that died preventing a suicide bomber from killing U.S. Soldiers and Iraqi civilians on Aug. 23.

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

FORWARD OPERATING BASE HAMMER, Iraq – A routine meeting on Aug. 18 became a saga of tragedy and heroism when one young Iraqi man gave his life to save his family and his friends in the U.S. Army.

The Soldiers he saved that day say they will never forget the man’s sacrifice.

The plan was to visit a leader of the al-Arafia Concerned Citizens Program. After a hectic month of raids and route clearance missions, the scouts of 2nd platoon, Troop B, 3rd Squadron, 1st Cavalry Regiment, 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, weren’t worried about that day’s particular mission.

“It was a pretty darn routine day, honestly,” said Staff Sgt. Sean Kane, of Los Altos, Calif., acting second platoon sergeant. “We were going to head to the house and talk with one of the leaders.”

The scouts had visited the neighborhood before and, according to 1st Lt. Mike Barth, of El Segundo, Calif., second platoon leader, they thought the area was reasonably safe because of the watchfulness of the area’s concerned citizens in the area.

“He (the leader) is a very good friend,” Barth said. “He is a respected man in the neighborhood. We had sat down with him many times and knew a number of his kids. A couple of his children speak a little bit of English, and we had made friends.”

In the early evening, Barth, Kane, Pfc. David Menillo, of Fairfield, Conn., the platoon medic, and Josh Berner, of Tehlequah, Okla., Barth’s driver, along with an interpreter, sat down to talk with the leader about the concerned citizens and how the platoon could help.

Barth had a cordon of several Bradley Fighting Vehicles set up along the road to provide security, as well as a small contingent of security personnel comprised of concerned citizens.

“This is a very respected man in the neighborhood Barth said. “He is always surrounded by family. Basically, the whole neighborhood is his family, so there wasn’t a need for extra security.”

A man approached Barth’s cordon and asked to enter the sealed off courtyard of the house.

“We had seen him before,” said Sgt. William Morris, of Orange County, Calif., a Bradley Fighting Vehicle commander in second platoon. “Our driver speaks a little Arabic, and the guy explained he wanted to go to his house.”

The man had far more sinister motives. He walked up to the local leader’s guards and requested to see the leader about buying a house in the neighborhood. Upon hearing who it was and what he wanted, the leader agreed to meet with the man after he had been searched.

As the guards searched the man, the guards discovered he was wearing a suicide vest. The guards ran toward the leader’s house in an attempt to warn everyone in the courtyard.

“They all came around the corner at virtually the same time screaming ‘Ali Babba, Ali Babba!’” Berner said. The phrase “Ali Babba” is a widely used Iraqi slang term for a very bad person.

The next few moments were a blur of motion as Soldiers and concerned citizens ran for cover.

Barth and Menillo ran to a window to see if the threat was coming from the street, while Berner grabbed the platoon interpreter and attempted to get him behind a wall in the courtyard.

As the bomber rounded the far corner of the courtyard, Kane sprang up with his weapon and started moving toward him. Before he could get off a shot, one of the leader’s sons ran up, wrapped his arms around the bomber and began pushing him out of the courtyard. With his sight picture obscured by the son, Kane could not get off a clean shot.

As the leader’s son wrestled with him, the bomber detonated the vest, killing both men instantly.

“My leg was hit, and my Kevlar was blown off along with my earplugs and eye protection,” Kane said. “My weapon flew out of my hand. The next thing I know, I’m face down in the grass trying to get my bearings.”

Stunned from the attack, Kane attempted to make it to a bathroom in the courtyard for cover.

Meanwhile, Berner was trying to protect the interpreter.

“He stopped to see what was going on, and I just grabbed him and tried to get him behind the wall,” Berner said. “I turned right because I was expecting small-arms fire, and the detonation threw me into the wall.”

Collecting his wits, Berner saw that the interpreter was sprawled out and stunned on the ground. Berner finished getting him behind the wall and thought of the women and children in the courtyard.

“I just ran back out and started grabbing them,” he said. “None of them were hurt, but I wanted to get them into the house or behind the wall. I didn’t know if we were going to take small-arms fire or anything like that. I yelled to (the interpreter) to tell them to get inside.”

The detonation threw both Barth and Menillo into the adjacent courtyard wall.

“For the first 15 seconds after the explosion, everything was real quiet,” Menillo said. “I heard Sgt. Kane yell he was hit and tried to find him.”

When Menillo got into the bathroom, he said he was shocked by what he saw, but Kane was not seriously injured.

“I just grabbed his leg and started checking it,” Menillo said. “I moved on to his ankle and didn’t find anything. I got him up. I thought his leg was busted up from where the blast was in the courtyard and where he was.”

After Menillo retrieved Kane’s gear, Berner started helping him to the vehicle.

According to Barth, the leader’s son took 90 percent of the blast and ultimately saved everyone in the courtyard.

The incident was over minutes after it started.

“The son was definitely a hero for acting the way he did,” Barth said. “His actions saved four American lives that day and the lives of his father and family.”

Barth believes Kane’s actions also saved the lives of his platoon members. As the bomber was running into the courtyard, the first thing he saw was the muzzle of Kane’s weapon. Barth said he believes Kane’s quick reaction and decisive thinking caused the bomber to lose confidence and freeze up.

“A lot of things kept that situation from being worse,” Barth said.

The leader’s son, killed by the bomber, had served chai (tea) to Barth and Kane several times before.

“He was high-spirited and really believed in what the group (Concerned Citizens) was doing,” Kane said. “I have no doubt the bomber was trying to kill American Soldiers. It was very calculated the way the bomber tried to do it. If he hadn’t intercepted him, there is no telling how bad it could have been.”

Berner remembers on the ride back, how he and Kane shared a quick smile to let each other know they were all right.

“He just kind of looked over at me and smiled,” Berner said. “We had been in a roadside bomb incident before that, so this was the second time we had been in that situation. I think we both realized that, as bad as it was, we walked away both times.”

Even though the incident is over, it has lasting effects.

Leaders of 3rd HBCT, the Iraqi national police and Jisr Diyala leaders met with the father to acknowledge his sacrifice and thank him for his son’s actions.

Both Barth and Kane were present at the ceremony to offer support to their friend and to provide security.

The father was given a plaque and a ceremonial pair of spurs from Lt. Col. John Kolasheski, of Louden, Tenn., commander of 3-1 Cav. Regt..

“You cannot put a price on a life, but we would like to give you a few tokens of appreciation for your sacrifice,” Kolasheski said. “This is a tragic event we are recognizing, but it represents an outstanding change in this area.”

Barth admits it has been difficult talking with the family because of the pain they are experiencing. He has thanked the family for their sacrifice.

“They will always be friends,” Barth said. “This tragedy has strengthened that.”

Berner has relied on the experience of members of his platoon to help him with the incident.

“I’ve talked with Sgt. Kane about it,” he said. “He helped me put in perspective. Being younger, I don’t have the life experience to really understand it. He has been a big help. It's just one of things that I will never forget.”

Tips Lead To Cache Find and Detention of 13 Suspects

Soldiers from 1st Battalion, 15th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, conduct a patrol in Salman Pak, Iraq.

By Sgt. Natalie Rostek, 3rd HBCT Public Affairs
Aug 29, 2007 - 3:21:07 PM

Blackanthem Military News

FORWARD OPERATING BASE HAMMER, Iraq – Soldiers of 1st Battalion, 15th Infantry Regiment, detained 13 suspected insurgents Aug. 24 and 25, near Salman Pak.

Company B, 1-15th Inf. Regt., conducted a combat patrol Aug. 24 south of Salman Pak after receiving information of the location of a possible weapons cache.

Soldiers of 1st Battalion, 3rd Aviation Regiment, 3rd Combat Aviation Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division, observed three men conducting suspected insurgent activity at the location.

Company B detained the three suspects and two more who later arrived at the site. No weapons cache was found.

Company A, 1-15th Inf. Regt. conducted a separate air assault Aug. 25 south of Salman Pak after receiving a tip of an insurgent location.

At the site, Soldiers apprehended eight possible insurgents, including a man seen running from the objective with $2,500 and an unknown amount of Iraqi dinar.

Soldiers found a cache at the location that included two AK-47 assault rifles, five AK-47 magazines, a Glock automatic pistol, a military ammunition rig, two pistol holsters, five cellular telephones, extremist propaganda and a letter identifying insurgent groups and government officials.

1-15 Inf. Regt. is part of 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Inf. Div., from Fort Benning, Ga.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

HHT And Staff Guys Play Hoops

Chris had written us that they were fixing up a basketball court that was at the COP. They had gotten some backboards and done some maintenance to get it in playing condition. He was pretty excited about the project. Just the other day he wrote and said the court was finished and he had been playing whenever he got a little free time. He said that Chaplain Randall was at the COP and had taken some pictures of them shooting some hoops. The sand makes it a little tough to recognize everyone but...a Mom can always pick out her son! I love seeing pictures of the guys getting a break from things and enjoying themselves. They deserve every minute of their fun!
SXO Maj K, CPT Davis, LT Ritter, PFC Tollberg, LT Scogin, LT Reese, CPT Smith
HHT and Staff guys play hoops on the new court

Friday Night Lights

Monday, August 27, 2007

3 HBCT Honors Family Of Fallen Hero

Capt. Brian Gilbert, of Boise, Idaho, commander, Company D, 1st Battalion, 15th Infantry Regiment, currently attached to 3-1 Cavalry, talks with the father of a man who sacrificed his life to prevent a suicide bomber from harming American Soldiers and Iraqi civilians, following a ceremony to honor the man’s sacrifice on Aug. 23 in Jisr Diyala.

The 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, civil leaders and the Iraqi National Police gather to honor the family of a member of the Concerned Citizens of al-Arafia who was killed when he thwarted a suicide bomber’s attempt to kill 3rd HBCT Soldiers and members of the Concerned Citizens on Aug. 18 in Jisr Diyala.

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

Story by Spc. Ben Hutto, 3rd HBCT Public Affairs

FORWARD OPERATING BASE HAMMER, Iraq – U.S. Soldiers, Iraqi police and civic leaders met in Jisr Diyala to honor a man who gave his own life saving others.

Soldiers from 3rd Squadron, 1st Cavalry Regiment, 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, honored an Iraqi Concerned Citizen who was killed when he thwarted a suicide bomber’s attempt to kill Soldiers and members of the al-Arafia Concerned Citizens program during a meeting on Aug. 18.

The Concerned Citizens are groups of Iraqis who have volunteered to work with Coalition Forces to deny criminal elements sanctuary in their neighborhoods and communities.

“This single event, although tragic, may be the most important thing that has happened here,” said Lt. Col. Ryan J. Kuhn, of Clarks, Neb., deputy commander, 3rd HBCT. “I can’t think of a single event that has had more meaning to me. This event demonstrates to the people of Iraq that terrorism will not win. It is an absolute honor to be around such great heroes.”

The father of the slain man accepted a plaque and a set of Cavalry spurs from Lt. Col. John Kolasheski, of Louden, Tenn., commander of 3-1 Cav.

“You cannot put a price on a life, but we would like to give you a few tokens of appreciation for your sacrifice,” Kolasheski said. “This is a tragic event we are recognizing, but it represents an outstanding change in this area.”

Two of the Soldiers saved by the young man’s sacrifice were present to thank the father and pass along their condolences.

Capt. Brian Gilbert, of Boise, Idaho, commander, Company D, 1st Battalion, 15th Infantry Regiment, currently attached to 3-1 Cav., echoed his commander’s sentiments after the ceremony.

“I spoke with the father,” Gilbert said. “He repeated he has no remorse in his son’s death because he died saving American Soldiers. They are good people. They have become good friends to us and we just wanted to let them know how much this young man’s bravery means to us.”

The 3-1 Cav., 3rd HBCT, is assigned to 3rd Infantry Division and based in Fort Benning, Ga. The unit has been deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom since March 2007.

1-15 Infantry Finds, Destroys Large Enemy Cache

Contents of the weapons cache discovered by Company B, 1st Battalion, 15th Infantry Regiment during a patrol in the Salman Pak area, Aug. 23.

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

Story by Staff Sgt. Sean Riley
3rd HBCT Public Affairs

FORWARD OPERATING BASE HAMMER, Iraq – Task Force Marne troops conducted a mission to disrupt terrorist activity and succeeded by destroying a large cache of munitions and improvised explosive device-making materials Aug. 23.

“This should put a big dent in the IED cell operations,” said Capt. Richard Thompson, of West Palm Beach, Fla., commander, Company B, 1st Battalion, 15th Infantry Regiment.

The cache contained 268 bomb-making items, including four tubes of C4, a powerful, military-grade explosive. Also found in the cache were two five-gallon jugs of homemade explosive material; two mortar charges; five mortar fuses; 20 blasting caps; five pressure activators, crush-wire detonator switches; and 50 microchip transistors and 30 circuit boards.

Thompson said the discovery will adversely affect enemy operations in the Salman Pak area.

“First, it takes the products out of their hands,” Thompson said. “Second, it sends a definitive message to the enemy that we are in the area.”

The 1-15 Inf. Regt. is assigned to 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, Fort Benning, Ga., and has been deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom since March 2007.

1-10 Field Artillery Brings A Different Fight

Col. Wayne W. Grigsby, Jr., of Prince George’s County, Md., 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team commander, gives a coin to Sgt. 1st Class Theodore Brock, of Zanesville, Ohio, the senior noncommissioned officer in charge of the battalion fire control for 1st Battalion, 10th Field Artillery Regiment, Aug. 22, at Basra Air Station, Iraq.

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

By Sgt. Natalie Rostek, 3rd HBCT Public Affairs

FORWARD OPERATING BASE HAMMER, Iraq – They are not patrolling the streets of Iraq in search of extremists, nor are they directly winning the hearts and minds of the Iraqi people.

Soldiers of the 1st Battalion, 10th Field Artillery Regiment, 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, bring a different fight to the insurgency.
Headquarters Battery and Battery A, stationed at Camp Bucca, in Umm Qasr, near the southern border of Iraq, bring the fight from inside the wire. With responsibility over a large amount of detainees within the prison walls, Soldiers find themselves working in the Military Police field rather than artillery.

Basic and daily tasks for 1-10 FAR Soldiers include guarding compounds, accounting for prisoners, feeding the prisoners, and ensuring their safety. Soldiers are also responsible for searching the compound for weapons, escape tunnels, and any contraband prohibited by Coalition Forces.

Although some detainees can cause troublesome situations for Soldiers, said Spc. Brent Haataja, of Menasas, Minn., Company B, 3rd Battalion, 194th Infantry Regiment, currently attached to 1-10 Field Artillery, most of the time they are peaceful and conduct their daily routines without any problems.

“Usually during the heat of the day, they just sit around in the shade of the tents,” Haataja said. “In the evenings, when it gets cooler, they move around more.”

According to Staff Sgt. Joseph Holmes, a platoon sergeant on Battery A’s Quick Reaction Force team, some detainees use their time beneficially by reading the Quran or conducting study groups.

Col. Wayne W. Grigsby, Jr., of Prince George’s County, Md., commander of 3rd HBCT, and Command Sgt. Maj. James M. Pearson, of Philadelphia, paid a visit to 1-10 FAR Soldiers at Camp Bucca Aug. 21. During a tour of the base, Grigsby handed out brigade coins to exceptional Soldiers and told them how proud he was of their accomplishments.

After Camp Bucca, Grigsby and Pearson traveled north to Basra Air Station, where Battery B, 1-10 FAR works hand-in-hand with British soldiers of 1st Regiment Royal Horse Artillery Brigade.

According to Pfc. Adam Behrend, of Oconomowoc, Wis., Battery B, each Soldier works 24-hour shifts every other day manning an M109 Paladin Self-Propelled Howitzer. Their job, he said, is to make sure the area is clear of insurgent activity.

“It’s kind of slow,” Behrend said. “We don’t get to fire much, but I have seen a decrease in rocket and mortar attacks since we have been here to help out the (British Army).”

Spc. Jason Bang, of Reno, Nev., a medic from Battery B, said he enjoys working with the British Army at the Basra Air Station despite the differences in culture and military standards.

“They (British Soldiers) bring me medical supplies if I need them and they bring us food,” he said. “The food is pretty good, but it takes a few days to get used to it.”

“Everyone I’ve met is really nice,” Behrend said. “I see a big difference in their standards compared to ours. I would love to be able to wear short sleeves for a uniform.”

Bombardier James Gordon, of Sheffield, United Kingdom, a supply specialist with 1st Regiment Royal Horse Artillery Brigade said, “This is something different. I’ve never had this experience before, working with American Soldiers.”

Grigsby and Pearson returned to Camp Bucca after visiting 1-10 FAR Soldiers at Basra Air Station, for a final remark on the battalion’s performance before heading back to FOB Hammer, where the 3rd HBCT’s headquarters is located.

“I could not be more proud of the accomplishments of the 1st Battalion, 10th Field Artillery Regiment,” Grigsby said. “I have only heard great things about this battalion.”

Sunday, August 26, 2007

3-1 Cavalry Denies Enemy Sanctuary In Jisr Diyala

Staff Sgt. Nick McKearn, of Milton, Wis., 2nd platoon, Company D, 1st Battalion, 15th Infantry Regiment, clears the chamber of a confiscated AK-47 during a mission in Jisr Diyala Aug. 23.

First Lt. Mike Barth, of El Segundo, Calif., 2nd platoon leader, Troop B, 3rd Squadron, 1st Cavalry Regiment, searches for contraband during a mission in Jisr Diyala Aug. 23.

First Lt. Mike Barth, of El Segundo, Calif., 2nd platoon leader, Troop B, 3rd Squadron, 1st Cavalry Regiment, briefs his troops before going on a mission in Jisr Diyala Aug. 23.

By Multi-National Division - Center PAO
Aug 26, 2007 - 5:03:24 PM
Blackanthem Military News

FORWARD OPERATING BASE HAMMER, Iraq — Elements of the 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team’s 3rd Squadron, 1st Cavalry Regiment, conducted a mission to deny extremists sanctuary in Jisr Diyala, southeast of Baghdad Aug. 23.

Insurgents engaged Soldiers from Company D, 1st Battalion, 15th Infantry Regiment, a tank company attached to the 3rd Squadron, with small arms and rockets after Company D Soldiers infiltrated the objective and detained one suspected insurgent.

According to 1st Lt. Daniel Bell, of San Antonio, 2nd platoon leader, Company D, 1-15 Inf. Regt., speed was essential to the mission’s success.

“It helped a lot,” Bell said. “We got the cordon set at the same time as we were going in the house. It was a great asset.”

Catching the insurgent was the mission’s main objective, and Bell said his capture is key to the unit’s success in the area. Soldiers from 3-1 Cav. Regt. captured a high-value individual, believed to be a local insurgent cell leader, earlier in the month. The objective of this mission was to detain his potential replacement and leave extremists in the area leaderless.

“Getting him out of the picture took away a major source of money,” Bell said.

Coming under small-arms fire didn’t slow the unit at all, Bell added.

“Everyone knew what to do,” he said. “We (returned fire and) allowed the search teams to go about their business. My guys were very, very good (Thursday). I couldn’t be more proud of them.”

Other Troops of the 3-1 Cav. Regt. participated in the operation as well.

“Missions are always chaotic,” said 1st Lt. Mike Barth, of El Segundo, Calif., 2nd platoon leader, Troop B, 3-1 Cav. Regt., currently attached to Company D, 1-15 Inf. Regt. “We had a great rehearsal, but when we got out here things changed and we had to adapt. It was a complex mission, but we got through it and accomplished our mission.”

No 3-1 Cavalry Soldiers were injured during the operation.

The 3-1 Cav. Regt. and the 1-15th Inf. Regt. are assigned to 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, Fort Benning, Ga., and have been deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom since March, 2007.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

This Week's Dog Face Daily's

The Dog Face Daily is an authorized publication for members of the U.S. Army. Contents of The Dog Face Daily are not necessarily official views of, or endorsed by, the U.S. Government, Department of Defense, Department of the Army or the 3rd Infantry Division. All editorial content of The Dog Face Daily is prepared, edited, provided and approved by the Task Force Marne Public Affairs Office

Friday, August 24, 2007

3 HBCT Detains Most Wanted Insurgent

MAJ. JOE SOWERS
3RD HBCT, 3RD INF. DIV.

FOB HAMMER – Within an hour of notification, Soldiers from 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team’s Time Sensitive Target Platoon detained the brigade’s most wanted insurgent in Jisr Diyala Aug. 21.

The detainee has been linked to kidnapping, intimidation, attacks on U.S. forward operating bases and trafficking of weapons and ammunition from Iran.

The Time Sensitive Target Platoon is resourced from 3rd Squadron, 1st Cavalry Regiment and is capable of maneuvering on targets at a moment’s notice. No U.S. Soldiers or Iraqi civilians were injured as a result of the operation. The 3-1st Cavalry is assigned to 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, out of Fort Benning, Ga.

Hammer Times 08/20/07

Soldiers Aid Iraqi Child Hurt In Attack


Soldiers aid Iraqi child hurt in attack
Medic evacuated boy to nearby medical facility

BY MICK WALSH
There was no question about the target of Tuesday's roadside bombing attack: the Bradley patrol in the Baghdad suburb of Jisr Diyala.

But for whatever reason, when the roadside bomb was detonated by insurgents, none of the soldiers from the 3rd Squadron, 1st Cavalry Regiment of the 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team were injured.

The same cannot be said for the two children waving to the soldiers from their bicycles.

Capt. Darrell Melton, the 3-1 Cav's Troop C commander, described the bombing to Maj. Joe Sowers, the 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team's public affairs officer Wednesday.

"The trail Bradley gunner was waving at two kids who were riding their bikes and were waving at my guys. The next thing the Bradley commander knew, one of the kids was gone in a puff and he was thrown backward in the hatch. When he looked back, the other kid was crawling on the ground."

The Bradley crew quickly dismounted their vehicle and cautiously approached the wounded child. It is not uncommon for improvised explosive devices to be placed in groups and detonated on first responders coming to provide aid. Fortunately, that was not the case in this incident.

"He (the wounded child) crawled a few feet, when the medic on site, despite the danger, ran out to him, picked him up and ran back to the Bradley to administer first aid," Melton said.

The medic was able to stabilize the wounded child and the crew then evacuated the child to a U.S. Army medical facility nearby.

Such incidents are not unique to Troop C. Soldiers from Company A, 1st Battalion, 15th Infantry Regiment, came upon a grieving family in the course of a routine combat patrol last week in Salman Pak.

Capt. Chris Pearson of Birmingham, Ala., met with a local banking official in Salman Pak to discuss issues and prospective solutions concerning the banking industry in the area. After the meeting, a town councilman approached him with a father who had lost his son earlier in the day to a roadside bomb.

Pearson said he did not talk directly to the father, but the councilman explained the father just wanted to bury his son in accordance with Muslim tradition.

The councilman informed Pearson that the family was having trouble getting through checkpoints and requested U.S. assistance in traveling to the cemetery.

"Just to make it easier, we had them travel with us," Pearson said.

After dropping off the family, Pearson's element began movement to Combat Outpost Cahill, north of Salman Pak. While traveling to COP Cahill, Pearson's unit received word that the grieving family had run into another IED as they were returning from the burial. No one was seriously injured in the second incident.

KUSI Interview with Captain Jimmy Hathaway


Thursday, August 9, 2007 -- There's another side of the War in Iraq. It's the story of a three-year old Iraqi boy whose life was changed by a San Diego soldier. KUSI's Steve Bosh has the details.

Chris had told us about Ahab and was excited that Captain Hathaway had gotten help for him. He told us that a San Diego television station was at the COP and had interviewed Captain Hathaway. Unfortunately, these are the stories that don't get the credit they deserve. Because of Captain Hathaway and the help of all the others involved, this young Iraqi boy now has a chance to enjoy life as a healthy kid...something he would not have been able to do without the help of our wonderful American Soldiers! This is an example of a true American hero!

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Insurgents Target Coalition, but Kill Civilians


By Maj. Joe Sowers
3rd HBCT Public Affairs

FORWARD OPERATING BASE HAMMER, Iraq – Insurgents who target coalition and Iraqi security forces sometimes miss the mark – with grave consequences for Iraqi civilians.

Soldiers from Troop C, 3rd Squadron, 1st Cavalry Regiment, were targeted by insurgents while patrolling in Jisr Diyala, southeast of Baghdad, Aug. 21. U.S. Soldiers were unhurt, but two local children were caught in a roadside bomb explosion, killing one child and injuring another.

Capt. Darrell Melton, Troop C commander, a native of San Antonio, described the incident.

“The trail Bradley gunner was waving at two kids who were riding their bikes and were waving at my guys,” Melton said. “The next thing the Bradley commander knew, one of the kids was gone in a puff and he was thrown backward in the hatch. When he looked back, the other kid was crawling on the ground.”

Melton said his Soldiers immediately dismounted their Bradley Fighting Vehicle and cautiously approached the wounded child. It is not uncommon for improvised explosive devices to be emplaced in groups and detonated on first responders coming to provide aid.

“He (the wounded child) crawled a few feet, when the medic on site, despite the danger, ran out to him, picked him up and ran back to the Bradley to administer first aid,” Melton said.

The medic was able to stabilize the wounded child, Melton said. Troop C then evacuated the child to a U.S. Army medical facility nearby.

Such incidents are not unique to Troop C. Soldiers from Company A, 1st Battalion, 15th Infantry Regiment, came upon a grieving family in the course of a routine combat patrol, Aug. 13, in Salman Pak.

Capt. Chris Pearson, of Birmingham, Ala., met with a local banking official in Salman Pak to discuss issues and prospective solutions concerning the banking industry in the local area. After the meeting, a town councilman approached him with a father who had lost his son earlier in the day to a roadside bomb.

Pearson said he did not talk directly to the father, but the councilman explained the father just wanted to bury his son in accordance with Muslim tradition.

“I expressed the coalition’s condolences,” Pearson said. “Even though the IEDs target police or coalition forces, they can hit children and families. They are the ones that suffer.”

The councilman informed Pearson that the family was having trouble getting through checkpoints and requested U.S. Soldier assistance in traveling to the cemetery.

“Just to make it easier, we had them travel with us,” Pearson said.

After dropping off the family, Pearson’s element began movement to Combat Outpost Cahill, north of Salman Pak. While traveling to COP Cahill, Pearson’s unit received word that the grieving family had run into another IED as they were returning from the burial. No one was seriously injured in the second incident.

Pearson further explained that national police, local Iraqi police, governmental leaders and coalition forces all play a role in maintaining security in the area. When Pearson’s unit arrived in March, the local populace and Iraqi security forces had not yet developed a trusting relationship.

“There are still a lot of improvements that need to be made,” Pearson said. “Everyday it gets better. There are highs and lows. They’ve begun attending meetings together and as long as they are communicating, it’s helpful.”

Live With Major Sowers 08/23/07



Live With Major Sowers 08/23/07

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Dancing Marines

It's nice to see that the Soldiers can unwind and relieve a little stress every now and then.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Citizen Sacrifices Life To Thwart Suicide Bomber

SPC. BEN HUTTO
3RD HBCT, 3RD INF. DIV.

FOB HAMMER — An Iraqi man saved the lives of four U.S. Soldiers and eight civilians when he intercepted a suicide bomber during a Concerned Citizens meeting in al-Arafi a Aug. 18.

The incident occurred while Soldiers from 3rd Squadron, 1st Cavalry Regiment,were talking with members of the al-Arafi a Concerned Citizens, a volunteer community group.

I was about 12 feet away when the bomber came around the corner,” said Staff Sgt. Sean Kane, acting platoon sergeant of Troop B, 3-1 Cav. “I was about to engage when he jumped in front of us and intercepted the bomber as he ran toward us. As he pushed him away, the bomb went off.”

The citizen’s actions saved the lives of four American Soldiers and eight civilians.

Kane felt the loss personally because he had met and interacted with his rescuer many times before the incident.

“He was high-spirited and really believed what the group (Concerned Citizens) was doing,” Kane said. “I have no doubt the bomber was trying to kill American Soldiers. It was very calculated the way the bomber tried to do it. If he hadn’t intercepted him, there is no telling how bad it could have been.”

Kane believes the citizen is a hero. “He could have run behind us or away from us, but he made the decision to sacrifice himself to protect everyone. Having talked with his father, I was told that even if he had known the outcome before hand, he wouldn’t have acted differently.”

Capt. Brian Gilbert, commander of Company D, 1st Battalion, 15th Infantry Regiment, echoed Kane’s sentiment.

“I spoke with the father,” Gilbert said. “He said he has no remorse in his son’s
death because he died saving American Soldiers.”

Later that night, the Concerned Citizens group contacted the local National Police director, Lt. Col. Samir, with the location of the al-Qaeda cell believed to be responsible for the attack. The NPs conducted a raid that resulted in four arrests.

Gilbert is encouraged by the cooperation between citizens and NPs.

“The effort of the Concerned Citizens group has made the area much safer,” he said. “They are proud of who they are and their area, and want to get rid of the terrorists.”

Gilbert praised the NPs for their role. “The cooperation between them and the Concerned Citizens has been key,” Gilbert said. “The NP has done a great job of responding to the tips they have been given by the group.”

Gilbert said he believes the area is improving because of the efforts of local
citizens. The death, while unfortunate,showed how close many in the area have become with the Soldiers there.

“I consider many in the town friends,and I know they feel the same,” Gilbert said. “This is a tough situation, but we’ll move on and try to prevent things like this from happening again. I’ve told (his family)how brave their son was. This is a huge loss for everone involved."

Marne Soldiers Coordinate Air Support, Kills 5 Insurgents

Multi-National Corps – Iraq
Public Affairs Office, Camp Victory

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Multi-National Division – Center PAO

FORWARD OPERATING BASE HAMMER, Iraq – Task Force Marne Soldiers and aviators joined forces Aug. 18 to kill five insurgents targeting a combat outpost southeast of Baghdad.

Soldiers from Company A, 1st Battalion, 15th Infantry Regiment reported receiving small arms fire at Combat Outpost Cahill from two sides late Saturday night. No Soldiers were injured by the sporadic gunfire.

The Soldiers on the ground were able to guide 1st Battalion, 3rd Combat Aviation Brigade aircraft onto the squad-sized enemy element within minutes of the initial contact. The aircraft engaged and destroyed one truck and one anti-aircraft weapon system (VIDEO).

The 1-15th Infantry is assigned to the 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, out of Fort Benning, Ga., and the 1-3 CAB is assigned to the 3rd Infantry Division out of Fort Stewart, Ga.

Local Tip Leads 3-1 Cavalry To Weapons Cache

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

By Sgt. Natalie Rostek
3rd HBCT Public Affairs

FORWARD OPERATING BASE HAMMER, Iraq – Soldiers of Troop B, 3rd Squadron, 1st Cavalry Regiment seized a weapons cache Aug. 14, north of Nahrwan.

Troop B moved to the site where the cache was said to be located and found seven AK-47 assault rifles, 17 AK-47 magazines, one bolt-action rifle, two scopes (one with infrared capability), one periscope, five cell phones, two radios, one outer tactical vest, one pair of binoculars and one hand grenade.

In addition to the cache, the Soldiers detained four individuals.

According to 3-1 Cavalry officials, the cache find came days after the capture of key Jaysh al-Mahdi leaders and other suspected insurgents.

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

Monday, August 20, 2007

3rd HBCT Takes The Cake For Iron Chef

Sgt. Keyona Thoma, a member of 3rd HBCT’s cooking team, prepares crab and lobster salad during the Iron Chef competition Aug. 16.
Judges grade food prepared for the Iron Chef Competition Aug. 16.


Sgt. Natalie Rostek

SGT. NATALIE ROSTEK
3RD HBCT, 3RD INF. DIV.

FOB HAMMER — Food service personnel of the 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team took part in the Sledgehammer version of the Iron Chef competition Aug. 16 at FOB Hammer. The idea came from the 3rd HBCT Food Service offi cer-in-charge, Chief Warrant Officer Ellen Magras, a Virgin Islands native, to honor Food Service Appreciation Day for 3rd HBCT. “I wanted to honor all the food service professionals, past, present, and future,” she said. “I also wanted to give the opportunity to these food service professionals to show their extreme talent.”

The rules for original Iron Chef competition, which airs on cable’s Food Network, are simple. There are four professional Iron Chefs all specializing in one type of cuisine: Chinese, Japanese, French, and Italian. Before the battle, the contender chooses one of the experts to face in a cook-off. Neither chef knows the key ingredient they must incorporate into their three-course meal until the unveiling, moments before the race begins.

Sgt. 1st Class Ed Stewart, of Deridder, La., NCO in charge of Food Service, said the Hammer Iron Chef competition was intended to closely resemble the original, yet still allow for full participation from everyone involved.

“Chief Magras spent a lot of time on every detail of this competition,” he said. “She fine-tuned everything.” The magic number was three for the Hammer competition. Three teams of three chefs each battled it out in the Hammer Dining Facility’s version of “Kitchen Stadium.” The teams were from the Kellogg, Brown, and Root contracting company, the Timimi contracting
company, and 3rd HBCT.

Each team prepared three dishes, including a salad, a sandwich, and a desert. They could use any ingredient found in the dining facility. When the hour cooking limit was complete, the teams displayed their masterpieces to the judges. According to Capt. Jeff Crawford, of Enterprise, Ala., commander, Company D, 203rd Brigade Support Battalion, the judges took every aspect of the meals into consideration before making their final decision on the winners.

“We judges were actually looking at the taste and texture,” he said. “But me personally, I was also looking at the food.” The 3rd HBCT chefs were declared winners. Their dishes included a shrimp and lobster salad with vegetable crackers, a shrimp po’ boy sandwich with corn relish, and for desert, a pretzel delight with whipped topping and strawberries. The Kellogg, Brown, and Root team placed second with a Mexican salad, a Philadelphia cheesesteak sub, and crepe suzette for desert.

The Timimi chefs prepared a mixed salad with beef and seafood, Hollywood sandwiches, and a dessert called “Orange Supreme.” Stewart believed the Timimi cooks, mostly from the Middle East, had trouble with American cuisine. “We gave the judges something they could recognize,” Stewart said. “Almost every American loves seafood. I don’t think the Timimi team catered to their audience.”

Despite the outcome, Stewart believed everyone enjoyed themselves. “It was a great competition that brought camaraderie between the civilians and the Soldiers,” Stewart said.

1-15 Brings Mobile Communications to Battlefield


By Spc. Ben Hutto, 3rd HBCT Public Affairs

FORWARD OPERATING BASE HAMMER, Iraq – Staff Sgt. Matthew Hancock looked over schematics the 82nd Airborne had put together for a mobile tactical operations center and knew that he could build something similar for his battalion.

Hancock, of Eatonton, Ga., signal chief for 1st Battalion, 15th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, saw the potential of having a mobile off-road vehicle equipped with multiple radio systems in 1-15th Inf. Regt.’s area of operation and ran with the idea.

“I actually knew we could build it better,” Hancock said. “The plans
I saw looked pretty flimsy. I knew there was no way that would hold up on the battlefield, so we looked to make it better. I think we improved on it in every way, actually.”

In two days, Hancock, Spc. Johnny Simmons, of Columbus, Ga., and Spc. Ashley Hartin, of Columbia, S.C., both of Headquarters Company, 1-15th Inf. Regt., transformed a regular four-wheel, all-terrain vehicle into the DRAGON V, the first Deployable Radio Air to Ground Operational Network Vehicle.

Hartin designed the cabinet that houses a 10-kilowatt generator, two long-range FM radios, a satellite radio, an un-manned aerial vehicle radio and a computer that helps the operators monitor everything on the battlefield.

Simmons provided Hancock technical support and helped wire all the equipment on the vehicle.

Pooling their expertise wasn’t a problem for the three Soldiers.

“The challenge for me was knowing the correct sizes of everything and making a base that could fit everything, but still provide protection and support,” explained Hartin. “We worked really well together. We each helped on the other’s tasks. The fact we had it fully mission capable in two days says something.”

The vehicle was not given an easy test run for its initial outing.

The Dragon V was used during Company A’s night air assault mission on Aug. 16 southeast of Baghdad.

Despite going over uneven terrain and drainage ditches and through heavily wooded areas, the vehicle performed exceptionally well, 1-15th Inf. Regt. Soldiers said.

“It went really well,” said Spc. James Jones, of Tyler, Texas, Headquarters Company, 1-15th Inf. Regt., the vehicle’s driver that night. “The vehicle handled the terrain fine. Nothing broke off. We couldn’t have asked for better.”

Hancock was pleased with the vehicle’s first mission and sees potential for its use on the battlefield.

“It gives the commander a lot more assets on the battlefield,” he said. “Instead of having to rely on relays, he can get live feeds. He can be at one spot and check on a unit 100 meters away in moments. He can gauge reactions on the battlefields as they happen and not have to hear it from miles away.”

According to Hancock, 1-15th Inf. Regt. plans to use it in future missions. He is excited that the role he and his fellow Soldiers will play in upcoming operations.

“This is the first time a mechanized Army unit has engineered, built and deployed a vehicle like this,” he said. “We are proud of what we’ve done. We feel like we have raised the bar for the Army.

TF Marne Troops Fly Into Sanctuary, Seize Cache

A U.S. Army CH-47 Chinook helicopter picks up Soldiers from the 1st Battalion, 15th Infantry Regiment southeast of Baghdad Aug. 16 at the outset of an air assault mission in support of Multinational Division-Center Operation Marne Husky.
Pfc. Landon Jernigan, Cantonment, Fla., of Company A, 1st Battalion, 15th Infantry Regiment pulls security in a door way during an air assault operation southeast of Baghdad focused on militant safe havens and weapons smugglers Aug 16. The mission supported the Multinational Division-Cente Operation Marne Husky and resulted in the seizure of a significant cache.

By Spc. Ben Hutto, 3rd HBCT Public Affairs
Aug 20, 2007 - 3:18:35 PM

Blackanthem Military News, COMBAT OUTPOST CLEARY, Iraq – Using the element of surprise, Coalition Forces detained one suspected insurgent and found a weapons cache during an air assault mission in an area southeast of Baghdad Aug. 16.

After clearing 13 buildings, Soldiers from Company A, 1st Battalion, 15th Infantry Regiment, found four 125mm tank rounds, two 60mm mortars and significant amounts of mortar charges used to make improvised explosive devices.

“This was a successful operation,” said 2nd Lt. Eric Miller, the battle captain for 1-15th Inf. Regt. “By disrupting extremist activity in the area we demonstrated our flexibility and ability to go where the bad guys are.”

According to Miller, this was the Company’s fifth successful air assault mission in the area.

Maj. John Cushing, operations officer for 1-15th Inf. Regt., explained that there has been very little Coalition Force presence in the target area. That can lead to an incomplete intelligence picture, he said.

“Operations like these allow us to confirm or deny the intelligence that we do have,” said Cushing. “It also lets the people of that area know that we can come down there and see them whenever we want.”

The mission was dubbed Operation Dragon Fox and part of the Multinational Division-Center’s Operation Marne Husky. MND-C launched the new offensive Aug. 15, focusing on enemy sanctuaries southeast of Baghdad. This operation is a key part of Multinational Corps-Iraq’s Operation Phantom Strike, and will target militant safe havens and weapons smugglers, in an effort to disrupt the flow of bombs and weapons reaching the Iraqi capital.

1-15th Inf. Regt. is part of the 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team out of Fort Benning, Ga.

Infantry Medics Hold Free Health Clinic

Staff Sgt. Corey West, of Pelhan, Ga., a platoon sergeant in Company B, 1st Battalion, 15th Infantry Regiment, hands out a humanitarian aid bag to local teenagers during a medical operation Aug. 16, in the town of Wuerdiya, in al-Ja’ara.


By Sgt. Natalie Rostek
3rd HBCT Public Affairs

FORWARD OPERATING BASE HAMMER — Task Force Marne Medics and Soldiers braved 120-degree heat Aug. 16 to bring medical care to 76 patients in the al-Ja’ara town of Wuerdiva.

In addition to providing medical attention to residents in need, Soldiers and Medics passed out 126 humanitarian aid bags, 97 book bags and 132 soccer shirts to the families.

“The humanitarian bags should support a small family for a little while,” said Cpl. Paul Bliss, of Willits, Calif., Company B, 1st Battalion, 15th Infantry Regiment. “This will hopefully build some good will between 1-15 and the families that live in the area.”

“I wish it were cooler outside in order to encourage more families to come get medical supplies for the children and families,” said Cpl. Steven Sadler, of Sachse, Texas, a Soldier from Company B who pulled security for the medical site.

According to 1-15 leaders, al-Ja’ara has a history of being a stronghold for insurgent elements. The mission was intended to improve the relationships with the local citizens.

“This mission should make a difference in how the local population views Coalition Forces,” West said.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

The Soldier's Mother Creed


THE SOLDIER’S MOTHER CREED

“I AM THE MOTHER OF AN AMERICAN SOLDIER”

I GIVE MY COMPLETE AND UNWAVERING SUPPORT TO MY SOLDIER.
AS MY SON SERVES THE PEOPLE OF THE UNITED STATES, SO I
HUMBLY OFFER UP MY PRAYERS FOR HIS SAFETY AND THE SAFETY
AND HEALTH OF THOSE HE SERVES BESIDE.

I RESPECT HIS CHOICE TO ADHERE TO A STRICT MORAL CODE
AND SYSTEM OF VALUES THAT HAS PRESERVED OUR GREAT
COUNTRY FOR OVER TWO CENTURIES.
I ACCEPT THAT MY SOLDIER’S FIRST DUTY IS TO HIS COUNTRY
AND I UNDERSTAND THAT HIS SACRIFICE HE WILLINGLY MAKES
IS WHAT KEEPS OUR NATION GREAT.

I WILL NEVER EXPECT ANYTHING BUT THE BEST FROM MY SOLDIER
FOR I KNOW HE IS CAPABLE. I KNOW THAT A SOLDIER’S HEART IS
TRUE AND STRONG, AND THAT MY SOLDIER WILL ENDURE.

I WILL NEVER ABANDON MY SOLDIER, MY SON, MY LOVE.
I WILL LOVE HIM UNCONDITIONALLY. HE WILL KNOW I AM
THERE FOR HIM, EVEN WHEN HE IS ALONE.

I AM DISCIPLINED, EMOTIONALLY AND MENTALLY TOUGH,
LEARNING TO WAIT FOR PHONE CALLS AND LETTERS
OR EMAILS HOME. I, LIKE MY SOLDIER, AM AN EXPERT.

I STAND READY TO DO WHAT EVER I CAN DO TO LET MY
SON, MY SOLDIER, KNOW THAT WE ARE HERE FOR HIM.
BESIDE HIM, WE LOVE HIM AND I WILL PRAY FOR SWIFT
DESTRUCTION OF THE ENEMIES OF OUR COUNTRY.
I AM THE PERSON WHO STOOD GUARDIAN OF THIS MAN
WHO HAS BECOME MY SOLDIER, NOW OUR GUARDIAN OF
FREEDOM AND THE AMERICAN WAY OF LIFE.

“I AM THE MOTHER OF AN AMERICAN SOLDIER”

Author Unknown

Saturday, August 18, 2007

This Week's Dog Face Daily's

Marne Focus 08/16/07

Economic Team Works to Develop Industry

Soldiers from 3rd (Heavy) Brigade Combat Team and 3rd Infantry Division headquarters discuss business plans with a dairy farm manager near Wahida, Iraq, Aug. 14. (U.S. Army photo/Maj. James Carlisle)

By Maj. Joe Sowers, 3rd Brigade Comabt Team, 3rd Infantry Division Public Affairs

FORWARD OPERATING BASE HAMMER, Iraq – The Marne Economic Team (MET) and 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team leaders visited two potential businesses in the Mada’in Qada Tuesday as part of the brigade’s effort to spark the local economy.

Maj. James Carlisle, 3rd HBCT civil-military operations officer, and 1st Lt. Ryan Martin, 3rd HBCT economic team chief, escorted members of the MET to a local dairy farm near Wahida and an auto assembly plant in Jisr Diyala to assess the economic viability of the two enterprises.

Carlisle said the brigade is looking for large-scale businesses that could potentially employ more than 1,000 people. Each business was targeted because they both could foster niche support businesses. Both the dairy farm and the assembly plant would require delivery of resources and end products, which could result in the establishment of additional businesses.

“The most interesting of the two was the dairy farm,” Carlisle said. “The farm manager claimed to have the capacity to handle 2,000 head of cattle and produce more than four tons of milk and two tons of cheese a day. We believe that to be a high estimate, but even a fraction would be an improvement on the 10 cattle they are working now.”

Carlisle said funds from the Commander’s Emergency Response Program would go to updating the farm’s pasteurization equipment. Coalition forces would also work with the Iraqi government to establish working relationships with national and international businesses interested in providing materials and distributing products.

Coalition forces are not working alone on developing economic alternatives in the Mada’in Qada. The minister of trade, governor of Baghdad province, Mada’in Qada Council and the Wahida Nahia Council have all pledged their support to the effort, Carlisle said. Businessmen from Jordan and Kuwait have expressed interest in partnering in the venture, both as suppliers and distributors.

“Just the initial refurbishment would provide an economic upturn for the local community due to the large number of people that would be employed,” Carlisle said.

The MET, from the Multi-National Division-Center headquarters, provides brigades with assistance in economic initiatives. On Tuesday’s reconnaissance, the MET provided two Naval Reserve Sailors with economic development experience, two Army contracting officers and one Army engineer. Both Sailors brought business experience from their civilian occupations.

The 3rd HBCT is based out of Fort Benning, Ga.

Big Dangers Come in Small Sizes - Commands Stress Proper Usage of Thumb Drives

By Army Spc. Stephanie Homan
Multi-National Corps-Iraq

BAGHDAD -- Thumb drives, memory sticks and pen drives are a few names for universal serial bus drives. No matter what one calls them, they are still potentially dangerous items if misused or lost.

Troops in Iraq may not be totally aware that their personal or government USB drives can cause disaster. These small items have been attained by opposing forces in the past. One Soldier’s mother received a letter in the mail, from an unknown source, falsely stating her son was killed in Iraq.

“The Soldier’s Humvee was hit by an IED and he was injured, not killed,” said Air Force Maj. David Hales, deputy chief of theater information assurance, Multi-National Force-Iraq. “No one even noticed the thumb drive that was left behind during the incident.”

Hales, a Bellevue, Neb., native, said the thumb drive fell into the wrong hands after the incident. It contained some of the owner’s personal information which was used against him and his family by the enemy.

Navy Cmdr. James Ginder, chief of theater Information assurance for MNFI, said improper thumb drive use can cause data compromises.

Frequently, government and personal information is compromised because of careless handling of these tiny USB drives, he said.

“In 2007, KBR laundry service collected over 4,000 thumb drives left in clothing turned in,” Hales added.

Central Command and MNF-I have guidelines covering user procedures and policies for transferring data. Information assurance policies and guidelines, MNF-I Computer Information Systems Joint NetOps Control Center IA Policy F.15-1 and MNF-I CIS JNCC Information Assurance Tactics and Techniques and Procedures 25-112, are just a couple of the places troops can locate information.

“Not following the guidelines is punishable under the Uniform Code of Military Justice,” Hales said. “That’s how serious this is.”

Ginder, a San Antonio native, revealed information assurance and network defense offices closely monitor data compromises so that an investigation and sanitization take place in a timely manner.

“Users need to keep in mind that most everything they do on government computers and networks, including improper thumb drive use, is detectable by MNC-I C-6 and MNF-I Computer Information System personnel” Ginder said.

“It is a privilege to use these items,” he added. “Troops need to be careful with that privilege.”
Questions regarding proper usage can be addressed to local information assurance managers.

**We all know that if something happens to our loved one that we will be notified in person. However, when you receive something like the letter this Mom received, you absolutely freak out and your mind forgets about the proper procedures. Just thought this was worth passing along.

Local Tip Leads 3-1 Cavalry To Weapons Cache

Multi-National Division – Center PAO

FORWARD OPERATING BASE HAMMER, Iraq – Soldiers of Troop B, 3rd Squadron, 1st Cavalry Regiment seized a weapons cache Aug. 14, north of Nahrwan.

Troop B moved to the site where the cache was said to be located and found seven AK-47 assault rifles, 17 AK-47 magazines, one bolt-action rifle, two scopes (one with infrared capability), one periscope, five cell phones, two radios, one outer tactical vest, one pair of binoculars and one hand grenade.

In addition to the cache, the Soldiers detained four individuals.

According to 3-1 Cavalry officials, the cache find came days after the capture of key Jaysh al-Mahdi leaders and other suspected insurgents.

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

Friday, August 17, 2007

Velvet Hammer - Fallen Soldier

A velvet hammer is sent when there is a loss in the the brigade. Peace be with the family of our fallen Soldier. God bless our troops!

Subject: VELVET HAMMER
Importance: High

On the 16th of August I was notified by LTC Gale (3rd Infantry Division Rear-Detachment Commander) that our Brigade has suffered the loss of one of our Soldiers from HHC/2-69 AR. The Soldier lost his life conducting combat operations in Iraq. The next of kin of our fallen Soldier have been notified. I ask you for your prayers for this Sledgehammer Soldier and his family.


Respectfully,


LTC Scott Quagliata
RDC, 3BCT, 3ID

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Army Mom

The average Army Mom can be any age.

She spends her time worrying, praying and thinking about her Army soldier/child. She is not normal by any civilian mom standards.

She spends time baking cookies, writing letters, packing boxes and waiting for phone calls from her soldier child.

An Army Mom may work a fulltime job out of the home, or she may be a stay at home mom. She does volunteer work when she can. She uses what little spare time she has to check with her Ya-Ya Army Mom friends, whose soldiers have become like children of her own.

The Army Mom might have expected to be babysitting her grandkids and baking them cookies, with her grown children working in a civilian job not far away. This is not the life she expected, but one that she now has to embrace.

She now has standard dark circles under her eyes from lost sleep, from sitting up all night in front of Fox News, MSNBC, or CNN. She is also just as likely to miss sleeping because of making stockings, packing boxes, writing to her soldier, worrying about her soldier or even staying up chatting and comforting another Army Moms friend.

She is 10 or 15 pounds lighter now than before her child left home, because of the stress that has caused her to eat too much or too little.

She still washes the clothes, cleans the house, cooks the meals, but with only half of her heart in it, because now the one pulling her heartstrings is very far away. Sometimes she forgets to clean the house, but she never forgets to check her Army Moms mail.

She reads the DOD casualty lists and holds her breath, hoping there is not a name on the list that she recognizes. Then she cries tears, for the mom whose child's name was on the list.

She is the saddest and proudest that she has ever been. She never felt the kind of pride before that she felt when she first saw her soldier march onto the parade field at BT graduation.

She has wept in public and in private, sometimes in the shower where no one can hear her, for her child's safety, for all the soldier's safety.

She feels every note of the National Anthem vibrate through her body and soul now, as it has more meaning now than it ever had before.

She so misses her baby, the one she held and rocked, nursed, fixed the boo-boos, taught to ride that bike, drive that car, held close during storms and monsters in the closet. That monster in the closest is real now, but she is just as strong, holding on, praying and comforting her soldier whenever he/she needs it.

Remember her, always, when you see her in the grocery store, in the mall, or putting up new yellow ribbons or flags. You will know her, she is the one with the ribbons, flags, pins on her chest. She is the mom who had the soldier who is defending your rights, their rights, everyone's rights and she has earned your respect and admiration.


For our Army Moms
"Lord, hold the mothers of our soldiers in your loving hands. Protect them, watch over them, comfort them, as their prayers go up for all the soldier's safety. Give them peace and a few hours much needed sleep. Help them, God, when they curl up in a little ball and think they can't go on. Help them to recognize their strength. Bless them, God, for the selfless acts they perform each and every day. Amen."
Karen McMann 2003

Live With Major Joe Sowers 08/16/07


Concerned Citizens Step Toward Self-reliance

A member of the Concerned Citizens of al Arafia guards his post during a 12-hour shift.


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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

By Sgt. Natalie Rostek, 3rd HBCT Public Affairs

FORWARD OPERATING BASE HAMMER, Iraq – A group of Iraqi citizens in al Arafia, near Jisr Diyala, are taking steps to secure their own homes and neighborhoods.

Tips from the group helped lead Company D, 1st Battalion, 15th Infantry Regiment to a weapons cache on Aug. 15 in an area outside Al Arfia.
Soldiers from Company D discovered seven 107 mm rockets and 10 anti-tank mines. They also detained two individuals for questioning.

The Concerned Citizens is a group of local residents who have begun a reconciliation campaign with various extremist groups, according to 1st Lt. Mark Mendes, of Westchester, N.Y., fire support officer for Company D, currently attached to the 3rd Squadron, 1st Cavalry Regiment. Many of their members are former Iraqi Security Force members.

The project was entirely conceived by Iraqi citizens and is run solely on local, volunteer leadership and participation. It is open to any citizens willing to take a stand against crime in their community.

Joining the program is simple. A volunteer must talk to either the local National Police commander, or one of the many Concerned Citizen leaders. Mendes said citizens can also ask any member to point them in the right direction. Each member is then required to take an oath upon joining.

The Concerned Citizens, now 49 members strong, are securing their community, which lies in the 3-1 Cavalry’s area of operation, with little help from the Americans, Mendes explained.

The neighborhood watch program requires each member to conduct security patrols during a 12-hour shift. Medes said they patrol their areas looking for extremist activity. If, on their shift, they witness such activity, they make a report to one of the various National Police checkpoints in the area.

“It is great that the Concerned Citizens program is taking off,” Mendes said. “They are standing up and providing security for their neighborhood. It shows how committed they are to cleaning up their community.”

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

Leaders Recognize Acts Of Valor

Lt. Col. Jack Marr, 39, Minneapolis, Minn., commander of the 1st Battalion, 15th Infantry Regiment, pins a Bronze Star Medal on the chest of Staff Sgt. Shon Holtz, of Columbus, Ga. during a ceremony July 16 at Combat Outpost Cleary, Iraq.
Lt. Col. Jack Marr, of Minneapolis, commander, 1st Battalion, 15th Infantry Regiment, pins an Army Commendation Medal on the chest of Sgt. James Ryan, of Hillsboro, N.H. during a ceremony July 16 at Combat Outpost Cleary, Iraq.


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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Story and photos by Sgt. Natalie Rostek, 3rd HBCT Public Affairs

COMBAT OUTPOST CLEARY, Iraq – Though the Army is comprised of Soldiers with similar training, each Soldier is an individual who may react differently under fire.

“I jumped on my tank, took control of the .50 cal., and suppressed the area,” Sgt. Robert Lady, tank crew member, Company A, said. “I rounded up a crew, some tankers in the area, and maneuvered the tank to support the dismounts that were moving to the target.”

Lady, of Bowling Green, Ky., received the Bronze Star with “V” device for valor for those actions when insurgents conducted a small-arms attack on Combat Outpost Cahill May 20, where many of the Company A and B, 1-15th, Soldiers are stationed.

Not everyone who answers the nation’s call to duty are like Lady. Not all are awarded decorations for combat heroism. However, the 1-15th has been able to award several of its members for their actions under fire.

Among those awarded was Staff Sgt. Shon Holtz, of Fort Benning, Ga., a squad leader in Company A. Holtz received the Bronze Star Medal with “V” device for valor for his heroic acts in a small-arms fire incident during Operation Beach Yellow, May 14, in Dura-iya.

He did not want to discuss the events surrounding the incident. However, Holtz said, during the firefight he ran through small-arms fire to reach another platoon.

During the firefight, four of the battalion’s Soldiers were wounded and two, Sgt. Christopher Gonzalez and Sgt. Allen Dunckley, both members of Company A, were killed.

Holtz was modest about his Bronze Star and explained his Soldiers are doing great things every day. It’s important to recognize Soldiers’ accomplishments, he said, and ensured he does everything he can to make sure his guys receive the awards they are due.

Pfc. Dustin Tarwater, of Denton, Texas, a rifleman for Company A, earned an Army Commendation Medal for providing first aid to wounded Soldiers during Operation Beach Yellow, when Dunkley and Gonzalez were killed.

“I’m humbled to get that award,” Tarwater said, “but I would rather have those guys back than get the award.”

During an awards ceremony at COP Cleary July 16 a total of 11 awards were given, to include three Bronze Stars with “V” device for valor, and eight Army Achievement Medals. Awardees included:

Bronze Star Medal with “V”


Sgt. 1st Class Peter Black, Company A
Staff Sgt. Shon Holtz, Company A
Sgt. Robert Lady, Company A

Army Commendation Medal


1st Lt. Clifford Cieslak, Headquarters Company
Sgt. Jeffrey Houghton, Company A
Sgt. Jason Lapan, Company C
Sgt. James Ryan, Company C
Spc. Briley Lloyd, Company C
Pfc. Paul Jernigan, Company A
Pfc. Geoffrey Savage, Company C
Pfc. Dustin Tarwater, Company A

Listening Enjoyment

Letters From Home
John Michael Montgomery
Mark Schultz

Thank You
Brad Avery of Third Day and friend Scott Thomas


Just a little listening enjoyment!!!