Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Concerned Local Citizens Patrol With Soldiers, NP in Al Ja'ara

First Lt. Matthew Barwick, from Lanham, Md., the fire support officer for Company B, 1st Battalion, 15th Infantry Regiment, examines a sniper rifle found during a joint security patrol with the Concerned Local Citizens in Al Ja'ara, Oct. 27.

Members of the Concerned Local Citizens in Al Ja'ara prepare to move out on a patrol with Soldiers from Company B, 1st Battalion, 15th Infantry Regiment and the Iraqi national police, Oct. 27.



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

FORWARD OPERATING BASE HAMMER, Iraq - More than 200 concerned local citizens impressed ground troops by standing their ground in a firefight and finding several improvised explosive devices.

The Al Ja'ara concerned local citizens patrolled approximately eight kilometers during a 40-hour mission that included the Iraqi national police and Soldiers from Company B, 1st Battalion, 15th Infantry Regiment, Oct. 27.

During the mission, the citizens received small arms fire from insurgent forces, pointed out several improvised explosive devices and scouted out sites along the route to place future checkpoints.

"The mission was successful on multiple levels," said Capt. Steve Hemmann, from Des Peres, Mo., the executive officer of Company B. "To have over 200 citizens show up on time and in the proper uniform was a great start and made a great statement. We have been building up the concerned citizens here in Al Ja'ara, and they all want to secure their neighborhoods."

Near the Tigris River, the patrol took small arms fire, but was able to seek cover and return fire.

Pvt. Phillip Crumm, from Ft. Pierce, Fla., an infantryman in 3rd platoon, Company B, was impressed with the CLC's reaction to taking gunfire.

"The concerned citizens did a real good job," Crumm said. "They returned fire and held their ground. The important thing is that they were out there. They weren't back at their houses drinking chai. They were out here protecting (the local community), instead of just letting us do it."

First Sgt. Arvento Collins, from Wilson, N.C., the first sergeant for Company B, believes the incident held value for his Soldiers, confirming they were not alone in the fight.

"When you've been in a gun fight and fought alongside someone, it helps solidify the relationship even more," Collins said. "We saw that they were serious about protecting themselves and their communities."

Over the course of the mission, which spanned the area from Al Ja'ara to the Tigris River, the CLCs pointed out where several IEDs had been planted. The 789th Ordnance Company, Fort Benning, Ga., currently attached to the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, was on hand to disarm the devices.

"The citizens here know their neighborhoods much better than we do," Collins said. "They were able to safely direct us to the IEDs and allow EOD to do their work. The information they gave us was very beneficial."

Along the route, the CLCs pointed out locations where they would like to build checkpoints.

"This was totally driven by them," Hemmann said. "They know the best places for the locations. The national police listened and added suggestions, but the concerned citizens showed us where they thought the best locations were."

Collins said the CLCs displayed great potential as a group.

"It will take some time for them to get fully established, but we saw a lot of motivation and courage out there," Collins said. "The concerned citizens will help thicken our lines out here. We can't be everywhere."

The national police can't be everywhere. If we can get ordinary citizens to be our eyes and ears out here and allow them to do simple security tasks, it frees us and the national police up to do more complex security operations."

The patrol cleared 20 houses and found a sniper rifle, a global positioning device and IED-making materials.

"That was a good find for us," Hemmann said. "Anytime you can take weapons out of the enemies' hands, it's a good find."

Hemmann was pleased with the way his troops interacted with the CLCs and the Iraqi NP.

"Before the mission, we didn't get a chance to do a rehearsal with them, but we worked really well together," Hemmann said. "We worked hand in hand clearing all the buildings and we did it without tearing anyone's house up. We were very careful and respectful. Having them there was a big help because the people we came across were much more at ease having people they knew with us."

Crumm believes that the CLCs will be beneficial for everyone in the area.
"It helps that the Iraqis are maintaining the progress we make out here," Crumm said. "They need more training, but they are out there helping. The sooner they are ready to stand up and control their area the sooner we all get to go home to our families, so I'm all for it."

The 1-15th Inf. Regt. is part of the 3rd BCT, 3rd Inf. Div., out of Fort Benning, Ga., and has been deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom since March.

Citizens' Tip Saves American Lives

Story by Spc. Ben Hutto
3rd HBCT Public Affairs

FORWARD OPERATING BASE HAMMER, Iraq - Information provided by Concerned Local Citizens helped Soldiers from Battery A, 1st Battalion, 10th Field Artillery Regiment and Company A, 3rd Squadron, 1st Cavalry Regiment seize four rockets aimed at Patrol Base Assassin Oct. 27.

The Concerned Local Citizens in the 3rd HBCT's area of operation continue to be an asset in information-gathering for the brigade. This latest example of cooperation potentially saved American lives by diverting an attack aimed at one of the 3rd HBCT's combat outposts.

"The concerned citizen program in the Mada'in Qada continues to provide information to security forces as well as provide security to the local population," said Maj. David Fivecoat, from Delaware, Ohio, the operations officer for the 3rd HBCT. "Tips like this are a sign that the Iraqi people are tired of insurgents operating in their neighborhoods."

Soldiers from the 789th Ordnance Company, Fort Benning, Ga., currently attached to the 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, disarmed the rockets and brought them back to Forward Operating Base Hammer for proper investigation and disposal.

The 1-10th FA Regt. and 3-1st Cav. Regt. are assigned to the 3rd HBCT, 3rd Infantry Division, from Fort Benning, Ga., and have been deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom since March.

An Iraqi national policeman speaks with Capt. Troy Thomas, from Litchfield, Minn., the commander of Troop A, 3rd Squadron, 1st Cavalry Regiment at a site that insurgents used to aim rockets at Combat Outpost Assassin Oct. 27. Concerned Local Citizens in the area called the outpost and warned the Soldiers that the weapons were pointed at the post. Soon after, Soldiers from 3-1st Cav. Regt. and Battery A, 1st Battalion, 10th Field Artillery secured the location.

An Iraqi national policeman and Capt. Troy Thomas, from Litchfield, Minn., commander of Troop A, 3rd Squadron, 1st Cavalry Regiment examine munitions at a site that insurgents used to aim rockets at Combat Outpost Assassin Oct. 27. Concerned Local Citizens in the area called the outpost and warned the Soldiers that the weapons were pointed at the post. Soon after, Soldiers from 3-1st Cav. Regt. and Battery A, 1st Battalion, 10th Field Artillery secured the location.

Velvet Hammer


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

On the 30th of October I was notified by LTC Gale (3rd Infantry Division Rear-Detachment Commander) that our Brigade has suffered the loss of three Soldiers from A/1-15 IN. The Soldiers lost their lives while conducting combat operations in Iraq. The next of kin of our fallen Soldiers have been notified. I ask you for your prayers for these Sledgehammer Soldiers and their Families.

Respectfully,
LTC Scott Quagliata
RDC, 3BCT, 3ID

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Dog Face Soldier Music Video

Soldiers Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month

Hispanic American 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team Soldiers clap to music during a Hispanic Heritage month dinner at Forward Operating Base Hammer, Iraq
Hispanic American 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team Soldiers dance the salsa during a Hispanic Heritage month dinner at Forward Operating Base Hammer, Iraq, Oct. 26.

Command Sgt. Maj. James Pearson, from Philadelphia, 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, Col. Wayne W. Grigsby, Jr., from Prince George's County, Md., commander, 3rd HBCT, Pfc. Lucero Hernandez-Velasquez, from San Diego, a supply specialist in the 1st Battalion, 10th Field Artillery Regiment, and Chief Warrant Officer Joaquin Serrano, from Puerto Rico, Headquarters Company, 203rd Brigade Support Battalion, cut the cake during an Hispanic Heritage month dinner Oct. 26 at Forward Operating Base Hammer, Iraq. Hernandez-Velasquez was the youngest and Serrano was the oldest Hispanic American to attend the celebration.

by Sgt. Natalie Rostek
3rd Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division

FORWARD OPERATING BASE HAMMER, Iraq – Soldiers of the 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division held a Hispanic Heritage month dinner in the FOB Hammer dining facility, Oct. 26.

“Hispanic-Americans have made a difference in today’s world,” said Sgt. 1st Class Laura Reyes, from Miami, Okla., noncommissioned officer in charge of human resources for the 3rd Brigade Special Troops Battalion. “We are ambitious and willing to do what we can to progress.”

Reyes, who coordinated the event, said the dinner is in recognition of heroes. Hispanic-American Soldiers are deployed in Iraq, serving their country and making a difference.

“Hispanic-Americans: making a positive impact on American society,” was the theme of the hour-long celebration.

“We have to work hard to get what we expect,” said Spc. Waleska Rivera-Berrios, from Puerto Rico, Headquarters Company, 3rd BSTB. “Leaving our countries is when everything started. Even though we started from the bottom, we never give up.”

The dinner consisted of traditional Hispanic cuisine such as rice with chicken, steak fajitas, shrimp cocktail, paella, Spanish rice, Mexican cornbread, Spanish king ranch soup, Mexican salad, and sweet rice.

“The food, the music, the decorations; they all brought me back to family gatherings at home,” said Spc. David Dimuro, from Brooklyn, N.Y., Headquarters Company, 3rd BSTB. “The food reminded me of my mom’s cooking.”

The entertainment and decorations were festive and colorful. The Mexican and Puerto Rican flags as well as flags of other Hispanic nations, piƱatas, and streamers added to the atmosphere. Soldiers were treated to performances of salsa dancing and Spanish karaoke.

“It was so nice to have a lot of Hispanics together and do something as a group,” Dimuro said. “The decorations were great. Hispanic get-togethers are always colorful, lively, and festive.”

According to Col. Wayne W. Grigsby, Jr., from Prince George’s County, Md., commander of the 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, the Hispanic heritage is built upon fundamental values and is inspiring to him. Grigsby’s wife of 23 years, Cynthia, is Panamanian.

“The Hispanic culture is focused on family, community, big hearts and lively spirit,” Grigsby said.
Maj. Luis Rivera, from Hato Rey, Puerto Rico, executive officer, 1st Battalion, 10th Field Artillery Regiment, guest speaker at the celebration, spoke to the Hispanic-Americans and guests who attended the event.

“As Hispanics, we should strive to better ourselves each day, help one another, and be the best example to our children,” he said. “It is a dual honor not only to be Hispanic but to be an American. I know that Hispanics of this great brigade, like me, are proud of the things we have accomplished, but more importantly look forward to what we will accomplish as Hispanic-Americans in the future.”

The 3rd Brigade Special Troops Battalion is assigned to the 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, from Fort Benning, Ga., and has been deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom since March.

Iraqi National Police Partner With 1-10th Field Artillery Regtiment

Leaders of the 1st Battalion, 10th Field Artillery Regiment have dinner with leaders of the 1st Battalion, 3rd Brigade, 1st Division, Iraqi national police from Jisr Diyala at the dining facility on Forward Operating Base Hammer, Iraq.
Lt. Col. Mark Sullivan, from Huntsville, Ala., commander, 1st Battalion, 10th Field Artillery Regiment, chooses his dinner at the FOB Hammer dining facility.The dinner is with leaders from the 1st Battalion, 3rd Brigade, 1st Division, Iraqi national police from Jisr Diyala.

An Iraqi national policeman from the 1st Battalion, 3rd Brigade, 1st Division, from Jisr Diyala, gets food from the Forward Operating Base Hammer dining facility.



by Sgt. Natalie Rostek
3rd Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division

FORWARD OPERATING BASE HAMMER, Iraq – The 1st Battalion, 3rd Brigade, 1st Division, Iraqi national police are partnering with U.S. Soldiers for eight days in Nahrwan.

Soldiers from the 1st Battalion, 10th Field Artillery Regiment will work closely with the national police during their partnership in the coming week and onwards, according to Command Sgt. Maj. James Benedict, from Chesterton, Ind., 1-10th FA Regt.

Currently, the 1-10th FA Regt. has assumed responsibility for Nahrwan, a town east of Baghdad. Benedict said the 1/3/1 NP has been called in to assist in operations for the next eight days.

“The goal is to put an Iraqi face on operations,” he said. “If the Iraqi police in Nahrwan need assistance, they call the national police. We will provide support as well, and will work with the Iraqi Security forces to make Nahrwan a more safe and secure place for Iraqi citizens to live.”

Leaders from the 1-10th FA Regt. met with leaders from the 1/3/1 NP from Jisr Diyala at a dinner held Oct. 27 at the dining facility on FOB Hammer, to discuss operations, resources in the area, and to coordinate for the upcoming week.

“We are moving in the right direction,” Benedict said. “Side by side with the Iraqi Security Forces we can work towards the common goal of combating the insurgency.”

The artillerymen of the 1-10th FA Regt. had previously been serving as guards at the Bucca Detention Center as part of Taskforce 134. They were reassigned to the 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, and assumed control of Nahrwan, Oct. 15.

1-10th FA Regt. is assigned to the 3rd HBCT, 3rd Inf. Div., from Fort Benning, Ga., and has been deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom since March.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Last Week's Dog Face Daily's



Saturday, 27 October 2007
Nine militants captured Rakkasans take over for Commandos at Striker CAPTURE: Paratroopers capture suspected terrorists, anti-aircraft gun...

Friday, 26 October 2007
Iraqis, CF capture key extremists; 203rd BSB cook promises Army three more years; Donations during deployment possible with CFC-Overseas; ‘Tranquil...


Thursday, 25 October 2007
Soldiers find IED, weapons; 3rd HBCT delivers backpacks to children at Al Zatia school; Rocket seized after attack at COP Cashe; Hammer units battl...

Wednesday, 24 October 2007
Hammer leaders promote peace through economy; New walk in life; Concerned Citizens Program’s success makes way for others

Tuesday, 23 October 2007
MND-C Soldiers get help from local residents; 3rd Inf. Div. command historian commits to Army 10-Miler

Monday, 22 October 2007
Ready Aim FIRE!; Mortar platoon cares for burn victim, nets al-Qaida; ‘If I had to come again, I surely would’

Saturday, 20 October 2007
Infantry detains 11 suspected insurgents; Concerned citizens round up caches, improve security; Militia in Iskandariyah targeted, leaders captured

Marne Focus 10/25/07

1-15 Infantry Air Assault Results in 6 Detentions

Soldiers from Company A, 1st Battalion, 15th Infantry Regiment conduct a short security halt during an air assault mission southeast of Baghdad Oct. 25 that resulted in the detention of six suspected insurgents.
A Soldier from Company A, 1st Battalion, 15th Infantry Regiment wades through an irrigation ditch during an air assault mission southeast of Baghdad Oct. 25 that resulted in the detention of six suspected insurgents.

Soldiers from Company A, 1st Battalion, 15th Infantry Regiment wade through an irrigation ditch during an air assault mission southeast of Baghdad Oct. 25 that resulted in the detention of six suspected insurgents.
Soldiers from Company A, 1st Battalion, 15th Infantry Regiment make final preparations prior to assaulting their objective during an air assault mission southeast of Baghdad Oct. 25 that resulted in the detention of six suspected insurgents.


by Maj. Joe Sowers
3rd Headquarters Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division
Photos by Sgt. Timothy Kingston
55th Combat Camera

FORWARD OPERATING BASE HAMMER, Iraq – Company A, 1st Battalion, 15th Infantry Regiment conducted its 4th air assault in the past five months Oct. 25, resulting in the detention of six suspected insurgents.

The assault across the Tigris River from the Mada’in Qada, a portion of the Baghdad Province, was aimed at killing or capturing Sunni extremists operating southeast of Baghdad in the Tigris River Valley.

Pilots from the 4th Battalion, 3rd Aviation Regiment, 3rd Combat Aviation Brigade, flew UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters in support for the operation.

Prior to the surge and the placement of the 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, east of Baghdad and the 2nd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Inf. Div., west of the Tigris River and southeast of Baghdad, the area was considered a sanctuary for Sunni insurgents. The two brigades, both under Multi-National Division - Center, are now operating in the former sanctuary to disrupt insurgent operations.

“There are not a lot of Coalition Forces there on a regular basis,” said Maj. John Cushing, from Rochester, Mich., operations officer for the 1-15th Inf. Regt. “Insurgents know that, go there and think they are in a safe location. Missions like this show that they are never safe or out of our reach.”

The operation required Company A, which operates out of Combat Outpost Cahill near Salman Pak, to maneuver through farm fields and palm groves, interspersed with deep irrigation canals, to reach the insurgents’ houses. Soldiers found moving through the terrain at night challenging, but not an impediment to the mission.

“It is not until you get guys on the ground that you truly realize the challenges of the terrain,” Cushing said. “It is a tribute to the flexibility of Company A that few obstacles get in their way of mission accomplishment.”

Supported by U.S. Army AH-64 attack helicopters from the 1st Battalion, 3rd Aviation Regiment, 3rd Combat Aviation Brigade, Company A Soldiers cleared four houses during the night raid.

Two of the six detained individuals were identified as Sunni insurgents.

“Soldiers knew the detention of those two would disrupt insurgent operations across multiple areas of operations throughout Iraq,” Cushing said.

The 1-15 Inf. Regt. is assigned to the 3rd HBCT, 3rd Inf. Div. from Fort Benning, Ga. and has been deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom since March.

The 1st and 4th Battalions of the 3rd Aviation Regiment are assigned to the 3rd CAB, 3rd Inf. Div. from Fort Stewart, Ga.

Coalition Forces Seize Rockets Aimed at Army Base

by Maj. Joe Sowers
3rd Headquarters Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division

FORWARD OPERATING BASE HAMMER, Iraq – Concerned citizens called Troop A, 3rd Squadron, 1st Cavalry Regiment with a simple message: we know where rockets are, and they are aimed at you.

Soldiers from Troop A secured four rockets aimed at their base, Patrol Base Assassin, east of Baghdad, Oct. 27 as a result of the Concerned Local Citizens’ tip.

Soldiers from Battery A, 1st Battalion, 10th Field Artillery Regiment and the 789th Ordnance Company transported the four rockets to FOB Hammer for investigation and proper disposal.

Capt. Justin Gerken, from Red Wing, Minn., commander of the 789th Ord. Co., said the rockets match descriptions and historical data that explosive ordnance specialists use to verify information from captured weapons; he said the rockets appear to be Iranian-made.

The 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, operating east of Baghdad in the Mada’in Qada, has seized 44 Iranian-made rockets since an attack on FOB Hammer July 11. The brigade’s area of operation is bisected by the Al-Kut Highway, a major road that runs southeast from Baghdad to Al-Kut, eventually hitting the Iranian border.

The 3rd HBCT, 3rd Inf. Div., is from Fort Benning, Ga., and has been deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom since March. The 789th Ord. Co. is also from Fort Benning.

Young Girl Fitted For Prosthetic

Suham Hassan tests her new temporary prosthetic at the Iraqi Army Surgeon General’s Prosthetic Clinic in the International Zone Oct. 21. Suham was transported from Kanan, a small village east of Baghdad, by Troop A, 3rd Squadron, 1st Cavalry Regiment. Suham lost both of her legs in an insurgent mortar attack three years ago. The 3rd Squadron, 1st Cavalry Regiment, is assigned to the 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, from Fort Benning, Ga., and has been deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom since March.

Capt. Troy Thomas, from Litchfield, Minn., commander of Troop A, 3rd Squadron, 1st Cavalry Regiment, gives Suham Hassan a pair of tennis shoes in her home in Kanan, a small village east of Baghdad Oct. 20. Suham lost both of her legs in an insurgent mortar attack three years ago. Thomas escorted Suham and her brother to the Iraqi Army Surgeon General’s Prosthetic Clinic in the International Zone Oct. 21, to get her right leg fitted for a new prosthetic.
Suham Hassan looks at a pair of tennis shoes given to her by Capt. Troy Thomas, from Litchfield, Minn., commander of Troop A, 3rd Squadron, 1st Cavalry Regiment, in her home in Kanan, a small village east of Baghdad Oct. 20. Suham lost both of her legs in an insurgent mortar attack three years ago. Thomas escorted Suham and her brother to the Iraqi Army Surgeon General’s Prosthetic Clinic in the International Zone Oct. 21, to get her right leg fitted for a new prosthetic.
Suham Hassan wraps a sleeve over her leg at the Iraqi Army Surgeon General’s Prosthetic Clinic in the International Zone Oct. 20. Suham was fitted for a new prosthetic right leg at the clinic. Suham lost both of her legs in an insurgent mortar attack three years ago.
Chris Cummings, the chief adviser at the Iraqi Army Surgeon General’s Prosthetic Clinic in the International Zone, works on Suham Hassan’s prosthetic right leg during her visit to the clinic Oct. 21. Suham lost both of her legs in an insurgent mortar attack three years ago. The prosthetic he prepared is only meant to be temporary. “The permanent prosthetic she receives will depend on the limb and how it changes,” Cummings said. “Her rehabilitation will play a big part as well. We will see where she is on her next visit.”

1-15 Infantry Air Assault Results In Six Detentions

FORWARD OPERATING BASE HAMMER, Iraq – Company A, 1st Battalion, 15th Infantry Regiment conducted its fourth air assault in the past five months Oct. 25, resulting in the detention of six suspected insurgents.

The assault across the Tigris River from the Mada’in Qada, a portion of the Baghdad Province, was aimed at killing or capturing extremists operating southeast of Baghdad in the Tigris River Valley.

Pilots from the 4th Battalion, 3rd Aviation Regiment, 3rd Combat Aviation Brigade, flew UH-60 Blackhawk helicopters in support for the operation.

Prior to the surge and the placement of the 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, east of Baghdad and the 2nd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Inf. Div., west of the Tigris River and southeast of Baghdad, the area was considered a sanctuary for Sunni extremists. The two brigades, both under Multi-National Division - Center, are now operating in the former sanctuary to disrupt insurgent operations.

“There are not a lot of Coalition Forces there on a regular basis,” said Maj. John Cushing, from Rochester, Mich., operations officer for the 1-15th Inf. Regt. “Insurgents know that, go there and think they are in a safe location. Missions like this show that they are never safe or out of our reach.”

The operation required Company A, which operates out of Combat Outpost Cahill near Salman Pak, to maneuver through farm fields and palm groves, interspersed with deep irrigation canals, to reach the insurgents’ houses.

Soldiers found moving through the terrain at night challenging, but not an impediment to the mission.

“It is not until you get guys on the ground that you truly realize the challenges of the terrain,” Cushing said. “It is a tribute to the flexibility of Company A that few obstacles get in their way of mission accomplishment.”

Supported by U.S. Army AH-64 attack helicopters from the 1st Battalion, 3rd Aviation Regiment, 3rd Combat Aviation Brigade, Company A Soldiers cleared four houses during the night raid.

Two of the six detained individuals were identified as Sunni insurgents.

“Soldiers knew the detention of those two would disrupt insurgent operations across multiple areas of operations throughout Iraq,” Cushing said.

The 1-15 Inf. Regt. is assigned to the 3rd HBCT, 3rd Inf. Div. from Fort Benning, Ga., and has been deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom since March.

The 1st and 4th Battalions of the 3rd Aviation Regiment are assigned to the 3rd CAB, 3rd Inf. Div. from Fort Stewart, Ga.

Iraqi Army at Besmaya Installation Support San Diego Fire Victims


BAGHDAD, Iraq - Members of the Iraqi Army in Besmaya collected a donation for the San Diego, Calif., fire victims Thursday night at the Besmaya Range Complex in a moving ceremony to support Besmaya's San Diego residents.

Iraqi Army Col. Abbass, the commander of the complex, presented a gift of $1,000 to U.S. Army Col. Darel Maxfield, Besmaya Range Complex officer in charge, Multi-National Security Transition Command Iraq, to send to the fire victims in California.

The money was collected from Iraqi officers and enlisted soldiers in Besmaya. In a speech given during the presentation, Col. Abbass stated that he and the Iraqi soldiers were connected with the American people in many ways, and they will not forget the help that the American government has given the Iraqi people. Abbass was honored to participate by sending a simple fund of $1,000 to the American people in San Diego, to lower the suffering felt by the tragedy.

Divisions Leave Insurgents With Nowhere To Hide

A Soldier from Company A, 1st Battalion, 15th Infantry Regiment restrains one of six suspected insurgents during an air assault mission southeast of Baghdad Oct. 25 that resulted in the detention of six men. (Photo by Sgt. Timothy Kingston)



By Maj. Joe Sowers, 3rd HBCT Public Affairs Officer

FORWARD OPERATING BASE HAMMER, Iraq - It's not every day that you realize you've caught half your most wanted in less than two weeks. That's just the kind of day the 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team had this week.

The man on the middle of the list had been at the forefront of attacks on Coalition and Iraqi forces, until the 1st Cavalry Division's 1st Brigade got on his track. He ran, but an AH-64 Apache helicopter brought him down, and the Cavalry brought him in Oct. 17.

The next day, it was the number two most wanted, a smuggler and kidnapper from Nahrwan.

"The capture[s are] the result of great teamwork between the brigades," said Maj. Dave Fivecoat, from Delaware, Ohio, 3rd HBCT, 3rd Infantry Division, operations officer. "With teamwork like this, the insurgents will have no sanctuary anywhere in Iraq."

Number 10 was a Shia extremist linked to a rocket attack on FOB Hammer that killed one Soldier in July. He was the first one the brigade brought in, but it started the movement. Since his detention on Sept. 30, others on the list began to flee the Mada'in Qada. Coalition surge units, however, were ready for them.

"The capture of these insurgents is severely disrupting multiple extremist networks - both Sunni and Shia - in the Mada'in Qada," said Maj. Wolfgang Biggerstaff, from Pinehurst, N.C., a 3rd HBCT staff officer.

Intelligence and operations officers from both the Multi-National Division - Baghdad and the Multi-National Division - Center share information to ensure insurgents don't slip through the seams between battalions, brigades and divisions, according to Fivecoat. He further explained that through good "cross-talk" with neighboring brigades, 3rd HBCT has been able to conduct several raids to kill or capture insurgents from Baghdad who have tried to hide in the Mada'in Qada.

It was on Oct. 11, Soldiers from the 2nd Brigade, 82nd Airborne Division, Fort Bragg, N.C., detained the 3rd HBCT number four. He ran to northern Baghdad, near Adhamiyah. The individual is believed to have coordinated multiple attacks on Coalition and Iraqi Security Forces.

Then came number five, the middle man on the list, was captured west of Baghdad by the Cavalry and their Apache helicopters, Oct. 17.

The next day, the Coalition detained the 3rd HBCT's number two in eastern Baghdad. He had a history of leading extremist elements in Nahrwan, weapons smuggling and kidnapping.

Soldiers from the 2nd Battalion, 69th Armored Regiment, currently attached to the 2nd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division, captured the brigade's number seven on Oct. 22, in the Karada district of eastern Baghdad. The man is suspected of conducting rocket attacks against Forward Operating Base Rustamiyah.

"These detentions are another success story of the surge," Fivecoat said. "Before the surge, insurgents would have had sanctuary in some of these areas. Now, surge units capture them instead"

The 3rd HBCT, 3rd Infantry Division, is out of Fort Benning, Ga., and has been deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom since March. The 2-69th Ar. Regt. is also out of Fort Benning.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Four-legged Soldiers Keep Their Noses To The Ground

Sgt. Timothy Kinsey, from Pueblo, Colo., a military policeman with the 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Inf. Div., controls his patrol, explosive and detector dog, Jim, during an aggression exercise at Forward Operating Base Hammer Oct. 25. Kinsey uses Jim to attack, guard, and search for munitions and weapons. (Photo by Spc. Ben Hutto)



The German Shepherd trots from rock to rock, ears pricked upward and nose pointed towards the earth, intent on his mission.

Several feet away, his handler, Sgt. Richard Miller, from Floresville, Texas, a military policeman with the 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, silently watches as the dog gets closer to the C4 explosive he has hidden under some rubble.

The specialized off-leash search dog looks back at his handler and sits down beside the hidden explosive.

“Good boy,” Miller says, walking toward Gabriel. “Good job, Gabe.”

The dog’s tail swings back and forth as his trainer approaches. His mission accomplished, the dog eagerly awaits his reward.

Miller focuses the dog on the explosive while he reaches into his pocket and pulls out a worn-out orange cong. He tosses it in front of the dog and watches as he snatches it up and runs back to his handler.

The next few moments are filled with praise as Miller tosses the cong and Gabriel retrieves it.

“That’s the whole reason the dog does what he does,” explains Sgt. Timothy Kinsey, from Pueblo, Colo., a military policeman with the 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team. “We work to get paid. The dogs work for their reward. Gabriel is very focused on his reward. He’ll do anything for those congs.”

The 3rd HBCT has three working dogs and they’ve been extremely busy since their arrival at Forward Operating Base Hammer.

“They are doing a good job,” said Sgt. 1st Class Tommy Jamison, from Elmira, Ore., the provost sergeant for the 3rd HBCT. “I’ve had to learn about them, but they have been great assets.”

Jamison explained that the battalions in the 3rd HBCT had to learn how to use the dogs on combat missions.

“They were skeptical at first,” Jamison said. “The Soldiers had their TTPs (techniques, tactics, and procedures) and those needed to be changed to accommodate the dogs, so that caused some friction. It was hard to explain to leaders that the dogs needed air conditioned vehicles and tents to rest, but once they saw the benefits, everyone accommodated them.”

Kinsey explained that there are limits to what the dogs can do.

“Some Soldiers have a hard time understanding that the dogs have the mentality of a four year old,” Kinsey said. “When a dog is tired, they are tired. I can’t tell them to suck it up and drive on. They love what they do, but they have limits.”

The dog’s sense of smell makes them perfect for detecting hidden contraband that Soldiers can overlook.

Miller explained that a dog can register and discern 10,000 - 40,000 scents at one time.

“The best way I can explain it is that if you were to walk into a fast food place you would smell the meat cooking on the grill and the mop bucket they are using to clean up a spill,” Miller said. “A dog will smell the fat in the burger charring, the meat cooking, the sesame seeds on the buns, the pickle juice, the type of perfume the cashier is wearing and a thousand different other scents all at the same time.”

That sense of smell allows dogs like Gabriel and Jim to smell a coil of detonation cord under a pile of rubble from 10 feet away.

“It takes a lot of luck and good information for the dogs to be effective,” Miller said. “We have to be in an area where there is something. Sometimes things can be buried too deep or they have been moved, but the dogs are very accurate if something is there.”

The accuracy of the dog’s ability can be directly attributed to the training that the handlers give them on a daily basis.

“Every day is a training day,” Miller said. “We conduct training as often as possible. It keeps the dogs sharp and helps us maintain our rapport with them.”

That rapport is critical out in the field.

“The main thing between a trainer and a dog is their rapport,” Kinsey said.“We have to notice the dog’s behavior and make decisions based on that. A dog’s normal temperature is between 101 and 103 degrees. If its body temperature gets up to 106, the dog starts shutting down and begins to die. Out here in the desert, that is a big risk we have to monitor.”

Miller throws Gabriel’s cong around a few more times, before calling an end to the training session. The handler roughly shakes the dog and encourages him.

“Normally, specialized off-leash search dogs stay with the same handler their entire military career so we should be together a while,” Miller said.

The 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, from Fort Benning, Ga., and has been deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom since March.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Iraq Tallies For Month Point To Sharp Decline In Troop Deaths, Civilian Victims



BAGHDAD --BY STEVEN R. HURST

Associated Press

October is on course to record the second consecutive decline in U.S. military and Iraqi civilian deaths and Americans commanders say they know why: the U.S. troop increase and an Iraqi groundswell against al-Qaida and Shiite militia extremists.

Maj. Gen. Rick Lynch points to what the military calls "Concerned Citizens" -- both Shiites and Sunnis who have joined the American fight. He says he's signed up 20,000 of them in the past four months.

"I've never been more optimistic than I am right now with the progress we've made in Iraq. The only people who are going to win this counterinsurgency project are the people of Iraq. We've said that all along. And now they're coming forward in masses," Lynch said in a recent interview at a U.S. base deep in hostile territory south of Baghdad. Outgoing artillery thundered as he spoke.

Lynch, who commands the 3rd Infantry Division and once served as the military spokesman in Baghdad, is a tireless cheerleader of the American effort in Iraq. But the death toll over the past two months appears to reinforce his optimism. The question, of course: Will it last?

As of Tuesday, the Pentagon has reported 28 U.S. military deaths in October. At the current pace, the monthly total will be about 37 or 38. That would be the lowest total since 31 in March 2006 and the second lowest monthly toll stretching back to February 2004, when 20 soldiers died.

In September, 65 U.S. soldiers died in Iraq.

Part of the trend can be seen in a volatile and violent band of lush agricultural land on Baghdad's southern border.

The commander of the battle zone -- Lt. Col. Val Keaveny, 3rd Battalion, 509th Infantry (Airborne) -- said his unit has lost only one soldier in the past four months despite intensified operations against both Shiite and Sunni extremists, including powerful al-Qaida in Iraq cells.

Keaveny attributes the startling decline to a decrease in attacks by militants who are being rounded up in big numbers on information provided by the citizen force -- which has literally doubled the number of eyes and ears available to the military.

The efforts to recruit local partners began taking shape earlier this year in the western province of Anbar, which had become the virtual heartland for Sunni insurgents and al-Qaida bands. The early successes in Anbar -- coming alongside a boost of 30,000 U.S. forces into the Baghdad area -- led to similar alliances in other parts of Iraq.

"People are fed up with fear, intimidation and being brutalized. Once they hit that tipping point, they're fed up, they come to realized we truly do provide them better hope for the future. What we're seeing now is the beginning of a snowball," said Keaveny, whose forces operate out of Forward Operating Base Kalsu, about 35 miles south of Baghdad.

While U.S. death figures appear to be in sharp decline, the number of Iraqi civilians and security forces show a less dramatic drop. And any significant attack -- by insurgents or civilians caught in the crossfire -- could quickly wipe out the downward trend.

Friday, October 26, 2007

203rd BSB Cook Promises Army Three More Years

Spc. Danielle Cobbert, from Birmingham, Ala., a food service specialist in the 203rd Brigade Support Battalion, re-enlists in the back of a refrigeration truck Oct. 17 at FOB Hammer.


3RD HBCT, 3RD INF. DIV.
FOB HAMMER – October 17 marked a signif cant date for Spc. Danielle Cobbert. With her five-year contract nearing its end, Cobbert, a food service specialist in the 203rd Brigade Support Battalion, raised her right hand and made a commitment to the Army and to continue her education.

Cobbert is currently going to school through the Army and said she needs more time to get her degree. “The Army is not just a job, it’s helping me get my computer programming degree,” she said. “The Army provides great tuition assistance and when it is time (to leave the Army) I will have something to fall back on.”

Cobbert said she joined the military because she felt she wasn’t ready for college after high school. “I didn’t think college was for me,” she said. “I wasn’t in the right frame of mind so I did the next best thing and joined the Army. The Army would pay for me to go to college when I was ready.”

While her passion is computer programming, Cobbert explained her decision to join as a food service specialist was based primarily on the bonuses the Army offered for the job at the time.

Cobbert also explained the Army gave her a choice of her next duty station following her redeployment scheduled for June 2008. She plans to move to Fort Lee, N.J.

“I discussed it with my husband and we both like the east coast. We decided we both want to stay there,” Cobbert said.

The re-enlistment ceremony took place in a refrigeration truck because Cobbert said she just needed a stage, and being a cook, the truck was a logical and available solution.

“I wanted it to have a stage-like appearance,” Cobbert said. “That way I can have the audience all around me and they could all see me re-enlist.” Cobbert said she does not know at this time if she will make the military a career, but while serving she will utilize the Army’s help in getting her degree in computer programming.

To some leaders in the battalion, Cobbert’s departure would be a huge loss to the Army. Command Sgt. Maj. Stevie Burch, from Sylvester, Ga., 203rd Brigade Support Battalion, recalled the first time he spoke to Cobbert and told her she would be working in the Post Exchange on FOB Hammer instead of in the dining facility.

“She had a ‘git ‘r done’ attitude right from the start,” Burch said. “When I told her she would be working in the PX, she told me ‘whatever it is you want me to do, I’ll get it done sergeant major.’ She came here ready for advancement and we will be sending her to the promotion board real soon.

The Surge Rocks FOB Hammer

Spc. William Edwards, from Lyons, Ill. and Sgt. Benjamin Smith, from Chicago, both Soldiers in the 3rd Infantry Division’s rock band, The Surge, perform for Soldiers of the 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team at the Hammer Dining Facility at Forward Operating Base Hammer, Oct. 25. This was The Surge’s second performance at FOB Hammer.

Spc. Theodore Dipieto, from Dalton, Mass., a member of the 3rd Infantry Division’s rock band, The Surge, performs a guitar solo for 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team Soldiers dining at the Hammer Dining Facility at Forward Operating Base Hammer, Oct. 25. FOB Hammer was one of the bands many stops across the 3rd Inf. Div.’s area of operation.

Spc. Aaron Rademaker, from Peoria Heights, Ill., the drummer for the 3rd Infantry Division’s rock band, The Surge, performs Rush’s hit “Working Man” during the bands performance for Soldiers of the 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team at the Hammer Dining Facility at Forward Operating Base Hammer, Oct. 25. “This is our second performance here,” Rademaker said. “The guys out here have treated us well both times.”

Spc. William Edwards, from Lyons, Ill., the lead singer for the 3rd Infantry Division’s rock band, The Surge, performs Rush’s hit “Working Man” during the bands performance for Soldiers of the 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team at the Hammer Dining Facility at Forward Operating Base Hammer, Oct. 25. “I had a fever and the only thing that could cure it was more cowbell,” Edwards said.



3RD HBCT Gospel Choir Performs for Soldiers

Soldiers of the 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division’s gospel choir perform in the choir’s all-male group during a concert Sep. 25 at Combat Outpost Cleary, Iraq.

Soldiers of the 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division’s gospel choir perform in the choir’s all-male group during a concert Sep. 25 at Combat Outpost Cleary, Iraq.

Soldiers of the 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team 3rd Infantry Division’s gospel choir pose for a group photo before a concert Sep. 25 at Combat Outpost Cleary, Iraq.


By Sgt. Natalie Rostek, 3rd HBCT Public Affairs

FORWARD OPERATING BASE HAMMER, Iraq – Soldiers of the 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division’s, gospel choir performed a concert for Soldiers of the 1st Battalion, 15th Infantry Regiment, Sept. 25, at Combat Outpost Cleary.

Twenty-two Soldiers from several of the brigade’s battalions traveled from FOB Hammer to COP Cleary for the one-night performance. Battalions with participating performers included 203rd Brigade Support Battalion, 3rd Brigade Special Troops Battalion, 3rd Squadron, 1st Cavalry Regiment, and the 1-15 Inf. Regt. who were already awaiting their fellow choir members at the outpost.

According to Capt. Michael Swartz, chaplain from Winston-Salem, N.C., 203rd BSB, the idea to have the gospel choir tour in the 3rd HBCT’s area of operation was born after the group performed at FOB Hammer for a Labor Day concert in September.

Swartz said Col. Wayne Grigsby, from Prince George’s County, Md., commander, 3rd HBCT, approached the choir after the event and awarded them each certificates of appreciation.

“After he gave us the certificates, he said he wanted us to perform at every combat outpost and patrol base in the AO,” Swartz said. “I didn’t think he was serious but Lt. Col. Kelly Lawler (commander, 203rd BSB) took it seriously and told us that was our next task.”

The concert was coordinated by Sgt. 1st Class Darrell Lewis, from Columbus, Ga., non-commissioned officer of food supply for the 203rd BSB. He said the biggest challenge was getting all the performers together for rehearsals.

Lewis said the concert went smoothly. Along with group singing, the concert also featured an all-male singing group, solo performances, and an interpretive dance routine.

Approximately 80 Soldiers attended the concert at COP Cleary. The group performed 14 songs, nine of which were traditional and five were contemporary gospel. Both Lewis and Sgt. Antoine Williams, from Florence, S.C., an information systems specialist in the 3rd BSTB and a singer in the choir, were pleased with the outcome.

“A lot of people can’t make it to services because they have meetings or they have to work but this was an ‘outing’ and more people were able to attend,” Lewis said.

“I love contemporary gospel,” Williams said. “It makes me feel good to sing and during the concert I really wanted everyone to receive the same enthusiasm that I have to sing for the Lord.”

“People in the audience were standing up, singing and clapping,” Swartz said. “The concert was well received.”

Swartz dubbed the concert a success.

“The Soldiers really enjoyed it. One (Soldier) actually said the concert came at just the right time for him.” He said, recalling another Soldier asking how he could come on board as a choir member.

Afterwards, Command Sgt. Maj. Mark Moore, from Waverly Hall, Ga., 1-15 Inf. Regt., awarded the choir members with Army Achievement Medals.

The gospel choir plans to continue touring the 3rd HBCT’s area of operation and Lewis said he has high hopes for upcoming concerts.

“We want to be able to boost the Soldiers’ morale and spirits everywhere we go,” he said. “Next concert, I’m trying to get the all-female group to perform. During the concert at COP Cleary most of the singers were on leave.”

The group is planning to record a compact disc with their music. They are expected to complete it by Christmas 2007.

The 3rd HBCT, 3rd Infantry Division, Fort Benning, Ga., has been deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom since March.

Praise the Lord

Yeah!!! I got a brief email this afternoon from Chris and everything is okay...as a matter of fact, he said everything was great! What a relief! The email was very short but he said he heard the rocket but it didn't effect him at all. Praise the Lord!

No News Is Good News?

They always say, "no news is good news" but when you have a child in Iraq it's really hard to believe that old saying. Tuesday, COP Cashe was hit be a rocket. As a Mom, my heart sunk. I know there were no casualties but what about injured? We have not heard from Chris since Monday and that seems like an eternity. We all have AOL so usually we can at least check the status of the mail we have sent him and at least see if he had checked his mail. None of our mail from Wednesday or Thursday have been checked yet.

I am very worried but I have to remember that everything is in God's hands. I know that worrying doesn't do any good but I haven't figured out how to make myself turn off the worrying. It is amazing how this deployment has made me truly appreciate communication. Even though it might be a very short email that says nothing more than "hello", you know they are okay. I miss being able to pick up the phone and let Chris know I'm thinking about him and how my day is going. I miss being able to call him after we watch our show, Grey's Anatomy and discuss the highlights and our favorite scenes.

I am hoping that due to the rocket attack at the COP that Chris is just super busy with his job and has not had time to write, call or even check his email. Until we hear from him I will continue to do a bad job of trying not to worry.

Hammer Units Battle Each Other At Sports Day

Soldiers from 203rd BSB and Airmen from 557th ERHS race to the start line during a dodge ball game Oct. 3.

SGT. NATALIE ROSTEK
3RD HBCT, 3RD INF. DIV.
FOB HAMMER — In keeping with the traditional rivalry between the Army and Air Force, Soldiers from 203rd Brigade Support Battalion, 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, and Airmen from 557th Expeditionary Red Horse Squadron engaged in friendly competition Oct. 3 on FOB Hammer.

According to Chief Warrant Officer Jake Williams, electronic maintenance officer for 203rd BSB, the rivalry began days earlier during the championship game of a FOB-wide softball tournament.

When 203rd took the win in the final, the 557th ERHS prepared a barbecue dinner in honor of the winners as promised in a wager before the game.

“This recreational day gave the Air Force a chance to redeem themselves after we killed them in the softball tournament,” Williams said.

“It was a showcase of the natural Army vs. Air Force rivalry,” said Spc. Kristina Sutton, Co. C, 203rd BSB. “The 203rd BSB has always dominated in all sports on the FOB. In every competition, the 203rd always brings home the win.”

Approximately 80 participants took part in the seven events — volleyball, horseshoes, softball, dodge ball, kickball, tug-of-war, and a 15-mile relay race.

According to Fowler, 557th ERHS organized the tournament to celebrate the Air Force’s birthday Sept. 18, and also as a farewell to the airmen. “It was a beautiful day and everyone was out to have a good time,” said Master Sgt. Donnie DeVaughn, NCO in charge of support operations for the 203rd BSB. Both teams demonstrated extraordinary skill, effort, and sportsmanship, DeVaughn said.

Both teams agreed beforehand: the winners would have bragging rights over the second-place team. The Air Force came out on top.

DeVaughn, Fowler, and Sutton agree the tournament was a success. “Morale was high. It was a good stress reliever. It took everyone’s mind off of the deployment and gave them something else to think about besides work,” DeVaughn said.

Sutton said the tournament gave everyone a chance to make new friends. Before the recreational day, people would just pass by, but now she said people who met at the tournament actually stop and talk.

“There was no rank on the field. We just played ball,” Fowler said. “I felt like
a kid again.”

Hammer Leaders Promote Peace Through Economy

Lt. Col. Ryan J. Kuhn, from Clarks, Neb, deputy commander of the 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, addresses the audience at a ceremony to award $10,000 small business grants to local entrepreneurs in Jisr Diyala Oct. 18. Mushen Nasser, Mada’in Qada Mayor, and Thamer Abed Juwad, chairman of the Mada’in Qada Council, are on Kuhn’s right. (Photo by 3rd HBCT, 3rd Inf. Div.)


Lt. Col. Ryan J. Kuhn, from Clarks, Neb, deputy commander of the 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, addresses the audience at a ceremony to award $10,000 small business grants to local entrepreneurs in Jisr Diyala Oct. 18. Mushen Nasser, Mada’in Qada Mayor, and Thamer Abed Juwad, chairman of the Mada’in Qada Council, are on Kuhn’s right.

Martin, from Destin, Fla., executive officer of Company A, 3rd Brigade Special Troops Battalion, leads the Sledgehammer Economic Team for the 3rd HBCT, 3rd Inf. Div. There, he has helped the Iraqi Association for Securities Delears (IASD) issue small business grants of $10,000 to 13 businessmen. IASD awarded the grants on Oct. 18 in Jisr Diyala, following the completion of a Small Business Development Course attended by the Iraqi entrepreneurs.

Brigade leadership determined that advancing the economy of the largely agrarian district of the Baghdad Province would be a primary goal following deployment to Iraq in March. Martin took on the duty of spearheading the brigade’s effort to spark the local economy in April. One of Martin’s first tasks was to promote small business ventures.

The IASD runs a small business development course in Baghdad. Martin coordinated a five-day course for budding entrepreneurs from the Mada’in Qada in September.

Working in conjunction with the Qada government, Martin and local governmental leaders solicited applications from prospective local businessmen. Each application had to include business ideas. The Mada’in council selected 13 of the applications based on the feasibility of the business idea, the experience of the entrepreneur and potential benefits to the community.

The 13 applicants attended the small business development course in September. The course included instruction on business planning fundamentals, cash flow analysis, marketing concepts, information technology advice and financing basics. Each student produced a business plan as a result of the course.

Upon completion of the course and the various business plans, Martin inserted himself back into the process to review all the plans.

“We wanted to make sure their business plan was developed to an acceptable level,” said Martin. “We wanted to ensure that they had thought through the whole process. We worked with each individual to make sure all of the fundamentals taught in the course were included in their plan.”

Following review by the Sledgehammer Economics Team, the businessmen were certified to receive $10,000 grants from the IASD. The local businessmen are now set to begin businesses varying from internet cafes and tailor shops to automotive repair and wood working.

Brigade leaders feel improving the economy will give the local population incentive to cooperate with Coalition Forces in creating a stable environment in the Qada.

The unemployment rate in the Mada’in Qada is 16 percent according to 3rd HBCT estimates. Employment is defined as one hour of regularly scheduled work per week, according to Maj. James Carlisle, from West Palm Beach, Fla., the 3rd HBCT civil-military operations officer. He stated that this creates a population with many idle hours and a distinct need for a larger income.

“In the Arabic culture, providing for your family is a matter of honor and not being able to do that is a source of shame,” said Maj. Nathan Haas, a 3rd HBCT staff officer. “We think a number of insurgents are not ideologically motivated, but rather in need of money and employment. By providing opportunities such as these small businesses, we hope to reduce the manpower pool available to extremist leaders and undercut the appeal of the insurgency.”

Martin thinks the small businesses are a good start in the right direction.

“We’re developing non-sectarian networks,” said Martin. “Whether you are Sunni or Shia, what’s good for business is good for business.

“One small business, one family at a time is enabling the economy to grow from the bottom-up,” continued Martin. “We see this as a way to bridge sectarian differences through economic interdependence.”

The 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, is from Fort Benning, Ga., and has been deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom since March.

Iraqi School Children Receive Backpacks


Soldiers from Battery A, 1st Battalion, 10th Field Artillery Regiment, help unload 200 backpacks for the children at a school in Al Zatia Oct. 21. (Photo by 3rd HBCT, 3rd Inf. Div.)

FOB Hammer, Friday, 26 October 2007 00:00

Soldiers from the 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team delivered 200 backpacks to children at a local school in Al Zatia Oct. 21. The delivery was one in a series of bag drops the Soldiers have conducted.

More than 10,000 back packs have been delivered to date, according to Maj. James Carlisle, from West Palm Beach, Fla., 3rd HBCT civil-military operations officer.

Soldiers from Battery A, 1st Battalion, 10th Field Artillery Regiment brought the packs to the school after meeting with local leaders earlier in the week to asses their needs.

“The children, teachers and school administrators appreciated the support and look forward to a continuous relationship,” said Capt. Pat Moffett, from Manhattan Beach, Calif., the commander of Battery A. “The muqtar of the village was out there to help us with the bag drop and he helped set up another one the following day.”

Moffet explained that Battery A has been working with the Concerned Local Citizens in Al Zatia to provide a safe secure area there.

“Al Zatia is the first neighborhood outside of FOB Hammer,” Moffett said. “The proximity of the town to us makes it an important area for us to focus on. We viewed this as an opportunity to help the people in that area.”

Members of the Iraqi media were present to report on the event.

The 1-10 FA Regt. is part of the 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, out of Fort Benning, Ga., and has been deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom since March.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Live With Major Joe Sowers 10/25/07



Live With Major Sowers 10/25/07

Soldier Re-enlists at Concerned Local Citizen Headquarters

Capt. Troy Thomas, from Litchfield, Minn., the commander of Troop A, 3rd Squadron, 1st Cavalry Regiment, re-enlists Sgt. Sharif Sidberry, from Philadelphia, a communications specialist in Troop A, at the Concerned Local Citizen’s Headquarters in Al Khargulia, Oct. 20. Sidberry requested to have the ceremony at the headquarters to show his commitment to the people of the area.
Abu Ammosh, the leader of the concerned local citizens in Al Khargulia, congratulates Sgt. Sharif Sidberry, from Philadelphia, a communications specialist in Troop A, 3rd Squadron, 1st Cavalry Regiment, following Sidberry’s re-enlistment ceremony held at the Concerned Local Citizens Headquarters Oct. 20. “The people here understand that we are here to help them,” said Sidberry. “They appreciate what we are doing. I hope this is just another way to let them know that we care about what happens here to them.”

Capt. Troy Thomas, from Litchfield, Minn., the commander of Troop A, 3rd Squadron, 1st Cavalry Regiment, congratulates Sgt. Sharif Sidberry, from Philadelphia, a communications specialist in Troop A, following his re-enlistment at the Concerned Local Citizens Headquarters in Al Khargulia, Oct. 20. Sidberry requested to have the ceremony at the headquarters to show his commitment to the people of the area.

Sgt. Sharif Sidberry, from Philadelphia, a communications specialist in Troop A, 3rd Squadron, 1st Cavalry Regiment, enjoys some tea given to him at the Concerned Local Citizens Headquarters in Al Khargulia, Oct. 20, prior to his re-enlistment ceremony. Sidberry requested to have the ceremony at the headquarters to show his commitment to the people of the area.


By Spc. Ben Hutto, 3rd Brigade Combat Team (Heavy) Public Affairs

FORWARD OPERATING BASE HAMMER, Iraq – Surrounded by his platoon and the Iraqis, a Soldier from Troop A, 3rd Squadron, 1st Cavalry Regiment raised his right hand and re-enlisted at the Al Khargulia Concerned Local Citizen Headquarters, Oct. 20.

Sgt. Sharif Sidberry, from Philadelphia, a communications specialist in Troop A, who has been stationed in Korea and Fort Bragg, N.C., the past six years, added four more years to his service contract.

“I re-enlisted because I love the Army and enjoy what I do,” said Sidberry. “I like working with computers and being in a line unit with other Soldiers.”

Sidberry requested that his re-enlistment ceremony take place at the Concerned Local Citizens Headquarters in Al Khargulia.

“This is where I’ve put in a lot of my time,” said Sidberry. “Out here is where you get to be a Soldier. Troop A has put a lot of time getting this AO (area of operation) set up. I wanted to tell these guys (concerned citizens) that we aren’t just here for nothing. We are invested in them and this area.”

Sidberry, who helped set up the communications system between Combat Outpost Assassin and the Concerned Local Citizen Headquarters, enjoys working with the concerned local citizens on a daily basis.

“We work with them everyday,” said Sidberry. “We do route recons with them. We check on their checkpoints to make sure they are doing ok. We are very friendly with each other and work well together.”

U.S. 1st Sgt. Meko Johnson, from Saginaw, Mich., the first sergeant for Troop A, was at the ceremony and praised his Soldier.

“He’s an outstanding Soldier,” Johnson said. “He is a combat multiplier as a communications specialist. He makes sure the communications at Patrol Base Assassin are up all the way to Baghdad. He worked hard to ensure the communications between the Concerned Local Citizens (Headquarters) and Assassin were up and running. He did a great job.”

Capt. Troy Thomas, from Litchfield, Minn., Sidberry’s commander, said he was impressed that Sidberry requested to have his re-enlistment ceremony held at the headquarters.

“It meant a lot to him, me, the troop and the concerned local citizens,” said Thomas. “For them to see how much we care about them meant a lot.”

Before the ceremony Thomas explained to the concerned citizens that when a Soldier re-enlists he is allowed to choose where he wants to re-enlist and that Sidberry requested to have the ceremony performed at their headquarters.

“Every little gesture like that makes another friend,” said Thomas. “He’s a communications specialist, but he does much more than that. Today he made a statement that we are doing great things for the people here and he feels safe here. It was great.”

After the ceremony all of the concerned citizens present lined up to congratulate Sidberry and thank him for his service.

“The people here understand that we are here to help them,” Sidberry said.

“They appreciate what we are doing. I hope this is just another way to let them know that we care about what happens to them.”

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

Prosthetic Clinic in Green Zone Offers New Hope

Double amputee Soham Hassan Ka-Naan, center, a 20-year-old Iraqi woman from Jisr Diyala, receives an examination by the Iraqi Ministry of Defense prosthetic clinic advisor, and former U.S. Army civil affairs Soldier, Chris Cummings, right, and 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team surgeon, Maj. Cynthia Majerske, 38, Bar Harbor, Maine, left, Sept. 5, in Baghdad’s Green Zone.

Maj. Cynthia Majerske, 38, Bar Harbor, Maine, 3rd Brigade Combat Team surgeon, checks out 17-year-old Hussein Ahmed’s leg during an evaluation for the fitting of a new prosthetic limb at the Iraqi Ministry of Defense prosthetic clinic in Baghdad’s Green Zone, Sept. 5.


By Staff Sgt. Sean Riley
3rd HBCT Public Affairs

FORWARD OPERATING BASE HAMMER, Iraq – Third Brigade Combat Team medical personnel visited an Iraqi Ministry of Defense prosthetic clinic located in the Baghdad Green Zone on Sept. 5. They visited to help 20-year-old Soham Hassan Ka-Naan and 17-year-old Hussein Ahmed overcome their handicaps.

The lives of these two Iraqis were forever changed by insurgents after two separate attacks left them both as amputees.

Soham was 17 when an insurgent rocket attack in Jisr Diyala took her left leg below the knee and her entire right leg to her hip. Just over three years later, she came to the clinic after her case was discovered during a recent 3rd Squadron, 1st Cavalry Regiment humanitarian mission to the city. This was the woman’s first visit to the clinic and she and her family are very pleased.

“God bless the American Soldiers,” said Khalid Hassan Ka-Naan, Soham’s brother who accompanied her during her visit. “We appreciate everything they do for us. My mother prays for you everyday to help her life. We are very grateful for you help.”

Soham’s right hip and left leg were measured to be fitted with prosthetics. According to the prosthetic clinic advisor, and former U.S. Army civil affairs Soldier, Chris Cummings, her bi-lateral amputation complicates the situation, but he feels confident that with modern prosthetic design tools and methods, she will one day walk unassisted.

“She has a whole world of challenges,” said Cummings. “A below knee (amputation) and the other at her hip will require a lot of balance and upper body strength.”

Hussien was only a child when an insurgent road-side bomb took one of his legs. His visit to the clinic with his father included an ultra-sound to evaluate his old wound. The ultra-sound will find defects like painful and potentially debilitating bone spurs not detectable to the naked eye.

“He’ll do fine,” said Cummings during Hussein’s evaluation. “We’ll get a good fitting (for him).”

Cummings conducted the evaluations of both Soham and Hussein during their first visit to the clinic. Cummings, an Operation Iraq Freedom veteran feels both patients will benefit from the evaluations and looks forward to their follow-up appointments.

“It’s always great to see kids,” he said. “I stay in this field to help people.”

Soham and Hussein are scheduled for future visits to start physical therapy and to be fitted with their new prosthetic limbs.

Maj. Cynthia Majerske, 38, Bar Harbor, Maine, the 3rd HBCT Surgeon, who specializes in physical medicine and rehabilitation, said she accompanied the pair on the visit to assist in their evaluations and to check out the facility.

“I was impressed,” Majerske said. “Cummings is there with state of the art equipment to make prosthetics. The staff there is very knowledgeable and caring.”

Majerske, and other medical professionals from the 3rd HBCT, contacted the Multi-National Security Transition Command after meeting Hussein and Soham. The Soldiers and their patients were then referred to the prosthetic clinic in the Green Zone.

The prosthetic clinic is an Iraqi Ministry of Defense project to help wounded Iraqi army soldiers, but the Iraqi Surgeon General, Gen. Samire, has taken the project further by extending their services to include Iraqi police and civilian casualties as well.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Rockets Fired at COP Cashe; 1 Rocket Seized

A robot controlled by Soldiers from the 789th Ordnance Company, from Fort Benning, Ga., currently attached to the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, investigates an Iranian 107mm rocket at a launch site, Oct. 23. Five rockets were fired at Combat Outpost Cashe from the site, but no soldiers were injured. Only one rocket managed to land inside the outpost perimeter.

Six rocket rails and a battery with timer are displayed by the 789th Ordnance Company, from Fort Benning, Ga., currently attached to the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, at a launch site, Oct. 23. Five rockets were fired at Combat Outpost Cashe from the site, but no soldiers were injured. Only one rocket managed to land inside the outpost perimeter.


By Spc. Ben Hutto
3rd Brigade Combat Team Public Affairs

FORWARD OPERATING BASE HAMMER, Iraq - Insurgents fired five rockets at Combat Outpost Cashe, with one detonating inside the outpost perimeter, Oct. 23.

No Soldiers were injured in the attack, but one truck was damaged.

Troop C, 3rd Squadron, 1st Cavalry Regiment, investigated the launch site and seized six rocket rails, one unlaunched rocket and a battery with timer. Rocket rails are fabricated from metal and used by extremists to aim and launch rockets.

The 789th Ordnance Company, out of Fort Benning, Ga., currently attached to the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, disarmed the unlaunched rocket.

Further investigation indicated that the 107mm rocket had been manufactured in Iran in March, according to Maj. David Fivecoat, from Delaware, Ohio, the operations officer for the 3rd BCT.

"The capture of this 107mm rocket is another indicator of the Iranian logistics support to the insurgency southeast of Baghdad," Fivecoat said. "This is the 40th Iranian manufactured rocket that 3rd (H)BCT Soldiers have captured in the last four months. Over the coming weeks, we'll continue to hunt the cell that conducted this attack."

The 3-1 Cav. Regt. is assigned to the 3rd BCT, 3rd Infantry Division, from Fort Benning, Ga., and has been deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom since March.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Successful Concerned Citizens Program Makes Way for Others

Lt. Col. John Kolasheski, from Louden, Tenn., the commander of 3rd Squadron,1st Cavalry Regiment, talks with local leaders about the concerned citizens program and solicits their help at a meeting in Besamaya, Oct. 20.
Following a meeting to discuss the concerned citizens program, Capt. Troy Thomas, from Litchfield, Minn., the commander of Troop A, 3rd Squadron, 1st Cavalry Regiment, talks with people in Besamaya, Oct. 20.


By Spc. Ben Hutto
3rd Brigade Combat Team Public Affairs

FORWARD OPERATING BASE HAMMER, Iraq – Sunnis and Shias are banning together in Besamaya and establishing a concerned citizens program in their area.

The chairman for the Mada’in Qada, the Jisr Diyala city manager, a Jisr Diyala councilman and approximately 50 local sheiks listened to the success stories of concerned citizens programs in a surrounding area, Oct. 20.

Abu Ammosh, the leader of the concerned citizens in Al Khargulia outlined the benefits of the concerned citizens program in his area and asked for their cooperation.

“As a Sunni, I am happy to see Shia people fighting al-Qaida and Shia extremists with us,” said Ammosh through an interpreter. “Both sides are now fighting the same enemy. Four years ago there was a separation of the people in the area and we lived in a bad situation. We must accept what has happened, but then come together and become one body.”

Abu Ammosh explained to the sheiks that his program, comprised of both Sunni and Shia citizens, has limited insurgent activity in his area and made the local residents feel safer.

Capt. Troy Thomas, Litchfeild, Minn., the commander of Troop A, 3rd Squadron,1st Cavalry Regiment, explained that the concerned citizens program in Khargulia is a good example of how effective the groups can be.

“The concerned citizens (program) is seen by the locals as a way to take control of their neighborhoods,” said Thomas. “For four years the people in Khargulia felt like their hands were tied. It is human nature to want to defend your neighborhoods, your family and your livelihood. Every neighborhood in our AO (area of operation) that has one (CCP) is doing well. The areas that don’t have one want one.”

Lt. Col. John Kolasheski, from Louden, Tenn., the commander of 3-1 Cav. Regt., informed local leaders about the program and solicited their participation. He explained that the meeting will allow him and 3-1 Cav. Regt. leadership to get names of leaders in each area for a follow-up meeting to discuss strategies for securing critical infrastructure and improving security in the area.

Kolasheski pointed out that as the area becomes more secure, the 3rd Brigade Combat Team would be able to resource contractors to restore essential services and create employment opportunities.

Kolasheski explained that the Besamaya area has several factors that could make it a Shia extremist sanctuary. According to Kolasheski, the area is located on the Al Kut Highway, which could be used to smuggle weapons and fighters into Baghdad from the Diyala province in the north or Iran from the southwest. He further explained that very few Iraqi security forces patrol the area and a brigade high-value individual was recently detained in Besamaya.

“It is very important tribal leaders, government leaders and security leaders work together so we can ensure that the area is moving forward,” Thomas said. “Terrorists are a step backward. After a while, the terrorists will have nowhere to go and the good people of Iraq will have their country back.”

Kolasheski is confident that Sunnis and Shias can work together to improve the area.

“There are things you can do to help the people in your area and the people of Iraq,” Kolasheski told the citizens in attendance. “I do not care if you are Sunni or Shia. This program represents the bridging of the divide between you. It represents security in some areas. Once you are secure we can start concentrating on economic and governmental improvements.”

The 3-1 Cav. Regt., is assigned to the 3rd BCT, 3rd Infantry Division, from Fort Benning, Ga., and has been deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom since March.

3-1 Gets Weapons, Bad Guys Off Streets of Narhwan

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Oct. 22, 2007
PHOTORELEASE 20071022-01
Photos by SGT Timothy Kingston, 55th Combat Camera

3-1 Gets weapons, Bad Guys Off Streets of Narhwan

071018-A-7359K-045 – U.S. Army Pvt. Michael Baca from Troop B, 3rd Squadron, 1st Cavalry Regiment, 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, stands behind a computer which remote operates a TACBOT, an explosive detection robot, as he guides it through a house in Narhwan, Iraq, Oct. 18. U.S. Army Soldiers from Troop B are there to search the house of a previously detained High Value Individual for hidden weapons and bomb making materials. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Timothy Kingston) (Released)

071018-A-7359K-438 – U.S. Army Soldiers from Company A, 1st Battalion, 10th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, breach a front gate leading to a house during a cordon and search in Narhwan, Iraq, Oct 18. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Timothy Kingston) (Released)

071018-A-7359K-345 – U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class Tommy Jameson, Military Police provost sergeant, 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, pulls out one of the two AK-47 assault rifles found buried in a bag behind a house during a cordon and search in Narhwan, Iraq, Oct. 18. U.S. Army Soldiers are at the house of a previously detained High Value Individual, searching it for hidden weapons and bomb-making materials. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Timothy Kingston) (Released)

071018-A-7359K-554 – U.S. Army 1st Lt. Luke Self from Troop B, 3rd Squadron, 1st Cavalry Regiment, 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, detains an Iraqi man for questioning after testing positive for handling explosive materials during a cordon and search in Narhwan, Iraq, Oct. 18. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Timothy Kingston) (Released)