Monday, May 5, 2008

TST Platoon Follows Tip

Private 1st Class Ken Demofonte, of Philadelphia, a time sensitive target platoon rifleman for the 3rd Squadron, 1st Cavalry Regiment provides security while other platoon members search for weapons, May 1, in Jisr Diyala, Iraq. (U.S. Army photo/Pfc. Evan Loyd)

By Pfc. Evan Loyd
2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division

FORWARD OPERATING BASE HAMMER, Iraq – Members of the time sensitive target platoon, an element of 3rd Squadron, 1st Cavalry Regiment, conducted a search mission, May 1, in Jisr Diyala to verify information on a potential weapons cache.

The TST specializes in raid and search operations against criminals in the Mada’in Qada; their searches are not limited to one battalion area of operations, said Maj. David Guthrie, from Hampton, Va.

“The TST is really a master of all areas,” said Guthrie, the operations officer in charge of planning the TST missions. “They do missions all over the Mada’in Qada.”

First Lieutenant John Lorme, from Aberdeen, Md., the unit’s platoon leader, received information of possible rocket propelled grenades and launchers hidden in a house in Jisr Diyala. Leaders of 3-1st Cav. Regt. suspected criminals of using a house to prepare attacks against coalition forces, said Capt. James Capobianco, from Middleton, N.Y., intelligence officer for 3-1st Cav. Regt.

“My men hope for the best and are prepared for the worst,” Lorme said before the mission.

When they arrived at the target house, the TST platoon Soldiers quickly set up a perimeter. They began the mission by clearing the target houses and securing the people inside. Their search for weapons and explosives lasted about an hour, but none were found.

“You don’t always find something on these missions,” Lorme said. “But … everyone comes back safe, it’s a success to me.”

Guthrie agreed with Lorme’s assessment.

“Going out there disrupts the extremists,” he said. “When we raid into their sanctuary, it disrupts the extremists’ networks and they feel hounded.”

In the 14 months that TST has operated in the Mada’in Qada, their efforts have been successful, Guthrie said. They have captured five brigade-level high value individuals, 12 squadron HVIs and numerous weapons caches.

On this mission, the 3-1st Cav. Regt. Soldiers were joined by several members of the 1st Battalion, 35th Armor Regiment, who is in the process of replacing the 3rd Brigade Combat Team in the Mada’in Qada.

The 1-35th Armor Regt. is assigned to the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division, from Baumholder, Germany.

The 3-1st Cav. Regt., assigned to 3rd BCT, 3rd Infantry Division, from Fort Benning, Ga., has been deployed in support of Operation Iraq Freedom since March 2007.

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