Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Sons of Iraq Lead Coalition Forces to Weapons Cache

Soldiers assigned to Troop C, 3rd Squadron, 1st Cavalry Regiment, remove part of a large cache in Tameem, Iraq, April 14. The Sons of Iraq led Troop C to the buried cache, which included hundreds of mortar rounds.

By Spc. Ben Hutto
3rd Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division

FORWARD OPERATING BASE HAMMER, Iraq – Sons of Iraq led Soldiers from Troop C, 3rd Squadron, 1st Cavalry Regiment, and policemen with 3rd Brigade, 1st National Police Division to a large weapons cache in Tameem, a town east of Baghdad, April 14.

The cache was buried approximately 500 meters from the NP headquarters in Tameem.

“The cache had been in the ground a long time,” said 1st Lt. Andrew Ellison, from Coleman, Ala., a squad leader in Troop C. “EOD (explosive ordnance disposal) Soldiers estimated that the munitions had been buried for over a year based on their condition.”

The cache contained 389 82 mm mortar rounds, 96 125 mm tank rounds, 172 57 mm anti-aircraft rounds, 38 60 mm mortar rounds, 30 130 mm artillery rounds, 17 122 mm mortar rounds, 15 100 mm rockets, seven 155 artillery rounds, five 100 kg aircraft bombs and four 120 mm mortar rounds.

“When we first found it, we weren’t expecting it to be that large,” Ellison said. “We started digging and we started finding mortars at three feet deep. We actually hit the water table before we found the bottom of the cache. When we finished digging we had a hole about seven feet deep.”
Ellison said the SoI and NP were key parts of the operation.

“The sheikh in charge of the Sons of Iraq actually brought a front-end loader to help us dig up the cache,” Ellison said. “It was a big help. Of course, if it wasn’t for his informant, we would have never known about the cache. The policemen provided security while they brought a truck so we could transport the cache back to (Combat Outpost Cashe). After we had finished transporting the cache, they stood guard over it the whole night. They were extremely helpful.”

Soldiers of Troop C, Ellison said, are happy to remove the threat of munitions to harm citizens or Coalition forces.

“Even though many of the munitions were badly degraded, they could have still been used to make IEDs (improvised explosive devices),” he said. “We are extremely happy to help interdict these accelerants here.”

The 3-1st Cav. Regt. is assigned to the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, from Fort Benning, Ga., and has been deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom since March 2007. The 789th Ordnance Company is from Ft. Benning, Ga., and is currently assigned to the 3rd BCT.

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