Monday, March 31, 2008

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!

On the 31st of March I was notified by LTC Gale (3rd Infantry Division
Rear-Detachment Commander) that our Brigade had suffered the loss of a
Soldier from E/2-69 AR. The Soldier lost his life while conducting
combat operations in Iraq. The next of kin of our fallen Soldier has
been notified. I ask you for your prayers for this Sledgehammer Soldier
and his Family.
Respectfully,
LTC Scott Quagliata
RDC, 3BCT, 3ID

3rd BCT Bids Farewell to Law Enforcement Expert

Jeff Gordy, from Columbus, Ga., a law enforcement professional who worked with 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, poses with local children Oct. 18 while on a patrol in Narhwan, Iraq.


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

FORWARD OPERATING BASE HAMMER, Iraq – He rode his $76 Huffy mountain bike to work for the last time March 22 to give a short farewell speech before leaving FOB Hammer, Iraq, headed home to Columbus, Ga.

“I’ve learned a lot working with you guys,” Jeff Gordy, a law enforcement professional formerly attached to 3rd Brigade Combat Team, told members of the intelligence section he had worked closely with. “You bring a lot to the fight. I want to thank you for everything. You have been a family to me.”

Gordy was first introduced to 3rd BCT Jan. 22, 2007. Most of the unit’s Soldiers were deployed to Fort Irwin, Calif., attending the National Training Center.

When the unit returned to Fort Benning, Ga., Gordy said he had just enough time to get acquainted with those he would be working with before he deployed with the unit in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Gordy’s extensive background in law enforcement made him a valuable component to 3rd BCT, said Col. Wayne W. Grigsby, Jr., from Prince George’s County, Md., brigade commander. He had previously worked in the Georgia Bureau of Investigation and the Columbus Police Department.

Before that, Gordy served in the Air Force as a security policeman and in the Army National Guard.

“Once he adjusted to our terminology, he did well at finding out how he could fit into our operations,” said Capt. Frank Bird, from North Country, N.Y., an intelligence officer in 3rd BCT who worked closely with Gordy.

According to Gordy, brigade Soldiers had the skill and intelligence to find and capture insurgents but did not have the experience to investigate crime scenes.

“His biggest contribution was in developing case files to send detainees to court.” Bird said. “We as Army Soldiers don’t train in that. That’s what his expertise is in.”

Gordy said during his time with 3rd BCT Soldiers, he taught the process of investigating detainees. Part of that was collecting and tracking evidence to help push the suspected criminal through the Iraqi court system.

This is the first time Gordy has been deployed and said he has learned a lot about military operations and tactics.

Gordy said he plans on at least one more deployment to Iraq. He hopes to spend another year deployed with 3rd BCT.

“There was some trial and error this time,” Gordy said. “Next time we’ll be able to step up to the plate and get the bad guys from day one.”

Until then, Gordy said he plans teaching what he has learned from this deployment at the Joint Readiness Training Center in Fort Polk, La.

“I’ve learned so much here,” he said. “There is so much I can bring to the table at Fort Polk.”

Gordy has begun his journey to rejoin his wife, Pat, and two daughters, Sarah and Emily, but said he will always remember his time spent with 3rd BCT.

Many 3rd BCT Soldiers have left a lasting impression in his mind, Gordy said.

“I saw a lot of young Soldiers preparing for a mission without one ounce of fear in their eyes,” he said. “That motivates me.”

The 3rd BCT, from Fort Benning, Ga., 3rd Infantry Division, has been deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom since March 2007.

Cavalry Unit Responds to Insurgent Activity

Multi-National Corps – Iraq
Public Affairs Office, Camp Victory
APO AE 09342

3rd HBCT, 3rd Inf. Div. PAO Multi-National Division – Center PAO
BAGHDAD – Multi-National Division – Center Soldiers from 3rd Squadron, 1st Cavalry Regiment and Iraqi Security Forces combated an increase in violence in and around Jisr Diyala, a town east of Baghdad, March 26-28.

On March 26, 3-1st Cav. Regt. Soldiers were engaged by small-arms fire from insurgents. During the days following, enemy activity increased, leading to AH-64 Apache attack helicopters from the 3rd Combat Aviation Brigade engaging five insurgents in the early hours of March 28.

During the three-day period, nine insurgents were killed, two were wounded and another 23 were detained by Iraqi National Police.

“We have seen a significant increase in enemy activity in the last two days in Jisr Diyala,” said Maj. David Guthrie, from Hampton, Va., operations officer for 3-1st Cav. Regt. “Two days ago, we had patrols involved in sustained small-arms and rocket-propelled grenade engagements.”

Guthrie was involved in a firefight with insurgents on the north side of Jisr Diyala while on a combat patrol March 27.

“We were stopping to talk with the men at Sons of Iraq and National Police checkpoints,” he said. “We had received reports that insurgents were driving around with weapons telling the men at the checkpoints to throw down their arms and desert their posts or face being attacked.”

Caught in a cross-fire, Guthrie and his patrol called for assistance. Shortly after, U.S. Army attack helicopters and fighter aircraft were assisting the patrol, while the NP cleared the insurgents from an adjacent palm grove, Guthrie said.

In a separate incident during the early-morning hours of March 28, five men were observed acting suspiciously in the city. Attack aviation pilots conducted a further reconnaissance and determined hostile intent. The attack helicopters engaged the men, killing the five suspects.

“During the three days of fighting in Jisr Diyala, the ISF and Sons of Iraq held their ground and took the fight to the enemy,” said Maj. Dave Fivecoat, from Delaware, Ohio, the 3rd HBCT operations officer. “I’ve been encouraged by our ISF and SOI partners’ determination to stop the violence.”

The 3-1st 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 2007.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

3/24 - 3/29 Dog Face Daily's


Saturday, 29 March 2008
Three-day camp teaches kids basketball; Adwaniyah opens middle school, health clinic; U.S. Soldiers restore honor to Old Glory

Friday, 28 March 2008
Soldiers sling-load supplies; Iraqi Brick factory approaches pre-war capacity; Soldiers, stateside school bring smiles to Iraqi school children; Al Nassir School gets face-lift

Thursday, 27 March 2008
MND – C women make history every day; Water purification station opens in Arab Jabour; Safety conference recognizes Soldiers

Wednesday, 26 March 2008
Secondary school opens in Khargulia; Programs bring more engineers to Wasit; Heat: Soon to be medical threat No. 1

Tuesday, 25 March 2008

Hillah SWAT captures HVI, discovers large cache; Georgians provide aid to local resident; SOI, Soldiers take school back from insurgents

Monday, 24 March 2008
Sole female team takes on Knighthawk Challenge; Task Force Petro delivers food, toys to Gurtan village; Bronze Star with Valor awarded

27 March Marne Focus



Marne Focus - 27 March 2008

PB Summers takes shape, establishes security presence near Suwayrah; 3rd Inf. Div. women make history every day; With National Geospatial Intelligence Agency’s assistance, clarity emerges from ‘fog of war’; Soldiers meet with sheikhs, chase insurgents

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Boy's Wish Comes True at Fort Sam Houston

Army Maj. Gen. Russell Czerw, Fort Sam Houston, Texas, installation commander, promotes 5-year-old Gavin Cox to the honorary rank of sergeant with help from Gavin's father, Troy Heminger (right), and Sgt. Maurice Sims, command retention noncommissioned officer, March 18, 2008. Gavin became a soldier for the day at Fort Sam Houston through the Make-a-Wish Foundation. Photo by Ed Dixon


By Phil Reidinger, Fort Sam Houston Public Affairs Office

FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas - Gavin Cox could have traveled to any exotic locale or tried any profession in the world, but this 5-year-old with leukemia had just one wish: to be a soldier.

His wish was granted March 18 when he became a soldier for the day here.

"He could have chosen any activity during this break in his treatments, to include Disney World," said Gavin's father, Troy Heminger. "He wanted to be a soldier."

During a solemn ceremony in the Army Medical Department Center and School command conference room, the little boy stood proudly on the conference room table surrounded by soldiers of all ranks. Dressed in an Army combat uniform, Gavin was promoted to the honorary rank of sergeant in the Army Medical Department by the installation commander, Army Maj. Gen. Russell Czerw.

Contacted by the Make-a-Wish Foundation, Czerw agreed to honor the boy's request, planning a day for him to train with the Army's medics.

After reciting the Army's enlistment oath with him, Czerw pinned the rank of sergeant on his uniform and emphasized to the young man standing at attention, "This is a great day. Thank you for making this day special for us." He then inducted Gavin as an honorary member of the AMEDD Regiment.

Army Master Sgt. Maurice Sims, command retention noncommissioned officer, presented the Cox family members, including sister Jade and brothers Chandler and Zane, with Warrior Ethos packs, recognizing their role in helping their father, Troy, and mother, Melissa, during Gavin's chemotherapy.

The training day for Sergeant Cox began with a trip in a tactical vehicle to the ES 2000 weapons training facility, where he earned his marksmanship badge. He then took a break from training to join soldiers at the Rocco Dining Facility.

Army Sgt. 1st Class Joey Wrinkle stood outside with a platoon of soldiers assigned to 187th Medical Battalion representing all the medical specialties trained by the battalion. Assigned to the platoon for lunch, Sergeant Cox led the guidon bearer and the formation into the dining facility.

"I presented him with my airborne wings. He is strong and brave like an airborne soldier, and he deserves to be recognized. This is about what we do as soldiers," Wrinkle said.

During lunch, soldiers stopped by to wish Gavin well and present their own badges to him. He left the dining facility with air assault and expert medic badges added to his uniform.

At his next stop on the training schedule, he visited the Department of Combat Medic Training and watched soldier-medics training with a human patient simulator. He completed the day learning how patients are loaded on a Stryker ambulance and transferred to hospital units.

During the day, Gavin's parents watched their son talking to soldiers and enjoying his day with them. Troy Heminger served on active duty for nine years with 1110th Support Battalion and 58th Signal Battalion as a microwave systems operations and maintenance specialist. "He is having fun," he said, watching the boy interact with soldiers. "He is forgetting about his illness for a while."

After spending the day with Army medics, Gavin and his family left San Antonio the next day for Fort Hood, Texas, where honorary Sergeant Cox would spend another day in the Army as a soldier with the Army's combat units.

Following his week as a soldier, Gavin was scheduled for intensified chemotherapy at Dallas Children's Hospital.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Coalition Forces in Iraq Kill 15 Enemy Fighters

By American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON - Coalition forces killed 15 terrorists and detained 17 suspects during operations today targeting al-Qaida in Iraq elements in Baghdad and in central and northern parts of the country. They also killed or captured dozens of others in other recent operations, military officials reported.

-- Multi-National Division - Baghdad Soldiers engaged and killed 13 terrorists in separate engagements in Baghdad. At about 4 a.m., terrorists using small-arms fire attacked soldiers from 237th Engineer Battalion in eastern Baghdad. An air weapons team responded, engaged the enemy forces and killed four terrorists.

-- Three hours later, soldiers from the 4th Infantry Division's 3rd Brigade Combat Team positively identified men in a vehicle armed with rocket-propelled grenades in Adhamiyah, a district in northeast Baghdad. An air weapons team identified the vehicle and destroyed it, killing two terrorists.

-- At about 10 a.m., an M1126 Stryker vehicle of the 4th Infantry Division's 3rd Brigade Combat Team struck an improvised explosive device in northeastern Baghdad. Soldiers observed the terrorist's spotter and killed him in an exchange of fire. No Multi-National Division - Baghdad Soldiers were injured in the attack.

-- In northwestern Baghdad's Kadamiyah District at about 10:30 a.m., a terrorist attacked Iraqi and coalition forces with small-arms fire. Soldiers from the 101st Airborne Division's 2nd Brigade Combat Team returned fire and killed the attacker. One Soldier suffered minor wounds in the attack.

-- Soldiers from the 10th Mountain Division's 4th Brigade Combat Team killed five terrorists after an attack on their patrol by a rocket propelled grenade at about noon in New Baghdad, a district in eastern Baghdad. "Along with our Iraqi security forces partners, we are targeting individual terrorists, extremists, criminal networks and anyone involved in violent crimes against the Iraqi people," said Army Col. Allen Batschelet, Multi-National Division - Baghdad chief of staff. "We will continue to conduct precision operations based on substantial evidence of terrorist or criminal activity."

-- Using intelligence gained from a, March 18, operation, coalition forces targeted an al-Qaida in Iraq financial manager in Tuz Khurmatu. One man at the target building refused to comply with the ground forces' instructions and surrender. Coalition forces engaged the man, killing him. In the same area, an armed man barricaded himself in a building and engaged the ground force with small-arms fire. Coalition forces returned fire, killing the armed terrorist. Six suspects were detained during the operation.

-- In a related operation in Tuz Khurmatu, Iraqi and coalition forces caught a suspected leader of a suicide-bombing cell. The individual allegedly was planning attacks on "Sons of Iraq" groups of concerned citizens aiding the security effort near Baqouba.

-- In Baghdad, coalition forces conducted two precision operations, capturing a suspected car bomber and an individual allegedly tied to al-Qaida in Iraq senior leaders.

-- Coalition forces north of Beiji captured a suspected terrorist who allegedly coordinates and conducts bombing attacks. Intelligence reports indicate he and his associates are responsible for attacks in the Beiji and Sharqat areas.

-- In Mosul, coalition forces continued to target associates of al-Qaida in Iraq senior leaders, detaining seven suspected terrorists during coordinated operations in the city.

"Al-Qaida in Iraq's indiscriminate violence is turning away even its most sympathetic former supporters," said Army Maj. Winfield Danielson, Multi-National Force - Iraq spokesman. "With the help of local citizens, Iraqi and coalition forces will continue to locate and dismantle the terrorist networks through operations like these, improving security for all Iraqis."

In Iraq operations yesterday:

-- A coalition air strike killed seven terrorists after intelligence confirmed the location of a targeted individual reported to be the al-Qaida in Iraq leader of a local village operating in a remote area of the Hamrin Mountains southwest of Tuz. The targeted individual and six other armed men were observed conducting suspicious activities in the area.

-- Coalition forces killed one terrorist and detained 10 other suspects west of Samarra. The ground force was led to a building by intelligence reports and requested that occupants exit the building. Two men exited the building, but refused to follow coalition forces' instructions and demonstrated hostile intent. Coalition forces engaged one man, killing him. The other man then complied and was detained with nine additional suspected terrorists.

-- Two operations in the Mosul area targeted associates of al-Qaida in Iraq leaders. A precision operation in the city yielded the capture of a suspected terrorist believed to be associated with al-Qaida in Iraq senior leaders in the area. Southwest of Mosul, coalition forces detained six suspected terrorists during an operation targeting associates of al-Qaida in Iraq senior leaders.

-- Soldiers from 1st Squadron, 2nd Stryker Cavalry Regiment, killed five terrorists and wounded an additional five after being attacked by small-arms fire while patrolling in Adhamiyah. The wounded were treated and detained by Iraqi national police.

-- Soldiers from 2nd Battalion, 16th Infantry Regiment, killed two terrorists after receiving indirect fire, small-arms fire and rocket propelled grenade fire at a combat outpost in New Baghdad.

-- Soldiers from 1st Battalion, 68th Armor Regiment, came under a small-arms fire attack while patrolling north of Baghdad. One terrorist was killed in the engagement.

-- Soldiers from 2nd Battalion, 16th Infantry Regiment, killed three terrorists in New Baghdad. The ground force was conducting a dismounted patrol when they saw the suspects, who were armed with illegal weapons. Perceiving hostile intent, the soldiers engaged the men, killing three.

-- Soldiers from 1st Squadron, 2nd Stryker Cavalry Regiment, were attacked with small-arms fire by two terrorists while patrolling on the outskirts of Sadr City. An air weapons team in a rotary wing aircraft conducting surveillance positively identified the terrorists and killed them.

-- In Kadhamiyah, soldiers from 1st Squadron, 75th Cavalry Regiment, were attacked while manning a checkpoint in the area. An air weapons team in a helicopter was called in to assist the ground force. The team fired one Hellfire missile, killing three terrorists. Thirty minutes later, the checkpoint came under a second, heavier attack by terrorists. The air weapons team engaged with 30 mm rounds, killing an additional 10 terrorists.

-- Soldiers from 1st Battalion, 68th Armor Regiment, were patrolling in Adhamiyah when one of their vehicles was struck by a rocket propelled grenade. Five minutes later, the patrol was attacked by small-arms fire. The soldiers returned the attack with precision fire and killed one terrorist. One U.S. Soldier received a minor wound, but continued the mission.

-- Soldiers from 1st Battalion, 64th Armor Regiment, killed two terrorists who engaged them with small-arms fire in Mansour.

-- A team from 1st Squadron, 2nd Stryker Cavalry Regiment, engaged and killed a terrorist who was controlling indirect fire on the northern edge of Sadr City.

-- In New Baghdad, a vehicle from 2nd Battalion, 30th Infantry Regiment, was struck by an improvised explosive device at 5:20 p.m. The patrol positively identified the trigger man and engaged and killed the terrorist.

-- In Kadamiyah, soldiers from 1st Battalion, 502nd Infantry Regiment, reported a terrorist who fired an RPG at a building and set it on fire. As the soldiers moved in to investigate, terrorists fired an additional RPG round and small-arms fire at the patrol. Soldiers returned fire and killed three terrorists.

-- Iraqi security forces and Multi-National Division - Baghdad Soldiers killed eight militants after they were attacked at an Iraqi army checkpoint with RPGs and small-arms fire in northern Baghdad. A Multi-National Division - Baghdad aerial weapons team provided air support and engaged the terrorists, killing eight. One Iraqi army soldier was killed during the attack, and seven others were wounded. The wounded soldiers were treated at the scene and were evacuated to a local hospital.

-- Acting on a tip from a local Iraqi, Multi-National Division - North Soldiers and Iraqi policemen discovered 37 bodies buried in a mass grave north of Muqdadiyah. All the bodies were badly decomposed and appear to have been there anywhere from two to eight months. Some of the bodies showed signs of torture. The bodies will be moved to a nearby cemetery.

In Iraq operations, March 26:

-- Iraqi security forces and Multi-National Division - Baghdad Soldiers killed 24 terrorists in Baghdad during a series of precision, intelligence-based operations. These terrorists and militant elements were increasing their attacks against civilians, the government of Iraq, and Iraqi and U.S. security forces.

-- Hillah's Iraqi special weapons and tactics unit advised by U.S. Special Forces Soldiers engaged Iranian-backed "special groups" criminals in Hillah, killing 14 and wounding 20. Criminals armed with AK-47 assault rifles, RPGs and automatic machine guns attacked two companies of Hillah SWAT as they were securing a road intersection. As a firefight developed, a U.S. Special Forces team arrived and began engaging the armed individuals. The criminal group broke contact and was seen by an air weapons team regrouping in three groups of 20 to 30 men near a mosque. The air weapons team, from 3rd Squadron, 17th Cavalry Regiment, 3rd Combat Aviation Brigade, engaged the threat from the air. One Hellfire missile was fired, killing five. Nine Hillah SWAT team members were killed during the firefight. Two additional SWAT team members were injured and treated by a U.S. medic.

-- In Kut, an Iraqi special weapons and tactics unit advised by U.S. Special Forces Soldiers conducted a patrol to counter recent violence in the area. The patrol took small-arms and RPG fire in the Old Izza and Karamiyah Districts. Both times, the patrol returned fire, suppressing the enemy fighters. As the patrol left the districts, they linked up with Iraqi police and 8th Division Iraqi army scouts. The group then patrolled the Sharkiyah district, also receiving small-arms fire from a vehicle with four armed individuals. The patrol engaged the vehicle, killing two individuals. After eliminating the threat in the area, the patrol departed for the Kut SWAT headquarters and was attacked by an improvised explosive device. One vehicle was damaged, but the attacks resulted in no injuries. The Kut patrol killed 11 enemy fighters.

On, March 25, Iraqi policemen assigned to 3rd Battalion, 1st National Police Brigade, led Multi-National Division - Center soldiers to two weapons caches near Muntadar, a small village east of Baghdad. Iraqi police, along with soldiers from 1st Battalion, 15th Infantry Regiment, recovered both weapons caches, which contained more than 50 mortars and an artillery shell.

Soldiers Earn Spurs

Capt. David Smith, from Grand Rapids, Mich., the commander of Headquarters Troop, 3rd Squadron, 1st Cavalry Regiment (left), congratulates Capt. DaMond Davis, from Montgomery, Ala., the 3-1 Cav. Regt. fire support officer, after he receives his combat spurs during a ceremony held at Combat Outpost Cashe, Iraq, March 23.

Soldiers from Headquarters Troop, 3rd Squadron, 1st Cavalry Regiment, receive their combat spurs during a ceremony held at Combat Outpost Cashe, Iraq, March 23.

Soldiers from Headquarters Troop, 3rd Squadron, 1st Cavalry Regiment, receive their combat spurs during a ceremony held at Combat Outpost Cashe, Iraq, March 23.

Soldiers from Headquarters Troop, 3rd Squadron, 1st Cavalry Regiment, receive their combat spurs during a ceremony held at Combat Outpost Cashe, Iraq, March 23.

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

COMBAT OUTPOST CASHE, Iraq - One-hundred and twenty Soldiers in Headquarters Troop, 3rd Squadron, 1st Cavalry Regiment, received their combat spurs during ceremonies at COP Cashe, March 23.

To accommodate the large number of Soldiers and mission schedules, three separate ceremonies were held throughout the day to allow Soldiers the opportunity to become part of the Order of the Spur.

Soldiers were awarded their gold spurs for their contributions to the 3-1 Cav. Regt. during Operation Iraqi Freedom.

"Most Soldiers earn their silver spurs first," said 1st Sgt. Dobby Anderson, from Clemson, S.C., Headquarters Troop. "That wasn't the case for most of these guys. The tempo of the Army now made it tough to fit in a spur ride before we left. Rest assured they will have a spur ride when they return to Kelley Hill."

A "spur ride" is a 24- to 48-hour event that tests Troopers soldiering skills in several areas. The event also tests the Soldiers physically and mentally.

"It's tough, but when you finish and get your spurs there isn't a better feeling on earth," Anderson said. "It is a bonding experience. Soldiers really have to dig down, but at the end of the day they feel like they have accomplished something. It is one of the great traditions in the Army."

Before each ceremony, Capt. David Smith, from Grand Rapids, Mich., the commander of Headquarters Troop, explained that tradition to the Soldiers of his troop.

"You are all a part of the Cavalry," he said. "Cavalry is not an MOS (military occupational specialty). It is an organization. It is an organization that transcends your MOS. All of you have earned these spurs. You have joined the ranks of men that have ridden the plains of the early West and fought in the sands of Iraq. A Private in Operation Iraqi Freedom can relate to a Trooper serving in the Old West. The things that were important then are still important now. Things like maintaining your equipment, being proficient with your weapons, fighting as a unit and being disciplined were still just as important back then as they are now."

As Soldiers mounted the podium and were given their spurs, both Anderson and Smith were extremely proud.

"It gives me a lot of pride to see it," Smith said. "As you congratulate them, you can see the pride in their faces. The combat spurs transcend the combat patch in many ways. It is a right of passage that dates back to the 1800s."

Smith agreed.

"I think the spurs and Stetson build unit morale," he said. "Soldiers who come into our organization when we return to the rear will see that this troop has pride in themselves, their troop and our squadron. I think it will give them motivation to strive to be a part of this great organization. When we strap on those spurs and put on that Stetson every Friday, we will be showing everyone on Kelley Hill how proud we are of our organization. It is a huge morale booster."

For Spc. Marcus Lawrence, from Fayetteville, N.C., a Soldier that works in the Headquarters Troop training room, it was an important occasion.

"It feels really good to be a part of this tradition," he said. "The spurs mean a lot to a person like me that is not a Cavalry Trooper. It will be a good feeling when I move to another unit and understand that I will always be a part of the Cavalry and understand their background. It's a great tradition."

Lawrence is excited to be returning home with his combat spurs and Stetson.

"Every Friday I will be wearing them on Kelley Hill," he said. "When I leave Kelley Hill, they will be hung up and framed. I look forward to explaining to my children and grandchildren what they mean."

The 3-1 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.

National Police Help Uncover Weapons Cache

Policemen assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 1st National Police Brigade, display part of a weapons cache they found in al Muntadar, a small village east of Baghdad, March 25. (Photo courtesy of Co. C, 1-15th Inf. Regt.)



Forward Operating Base Hammer, Iraq, Thursday, 27 March 2008

By Spc. Ben Hutto

Policemen assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 1st National Police Brigade led U.S. Soldiers to two weapons caches near al Muntadar, a small village east of Baghdad, March 25.

Soldiers from Company C, 1st Battalion, 15th Infantry Regiment, recovered both weapons caches, which contained 52 80 mm mortars, two 60 mm mortars and one 122 mm artillery shell.
“The National Police continue to support us by leading us to caches,” said 1st Lt. Aaron Wilkerson, from Florence, S.C., the fire support officer for Company C.

Since taking over their current battle space Feb. 15, Company C has seen security in the area improve.

“The frequency of small-arms fire and IED (improvised explosive attacks) have steadily decreased because of the cooperation between the Sons of Iraq, National Police and Coalition forces,” Wilkerson said.

This was the fourth cache Company C has recovered in the past month.

Soldiers from the 789th Ordnance Company (EOD), from Ft. Benning, Ga., currently attached to the 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, performed a controlled detonation on-site.

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

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Live From Iraq 03/27/08



Live From Iraq 03/27/08 With Major Joe Sowers

Iraqi Brick Factory Approaches Pre-war Capacity

Workers at the Narhwan Brick Factory Complex unload wet bricks fresh being formed and cut, March 25. The bricks are stacked to cure before they are moved into the kilns to be baked. The NBFC is home to 167 businesses, employs 15,000 Iraqis and produces nearly 4 million bricks per day. (U.S. Army photo/Sgt. 1st Class Scott Maynard)

Humvees park at the entrance of a brick factory March 25. The NBFC is home to 167 businesses, employs 15,000 Iraqis and produces nearly 4 million bricks per day. (U.S. Army photo/Sgt. 1st Class Scott Maynard)

By Sgt. 1st Class Scott Maynard
3rd Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division Public Affairs Officer

FORWARD OPERATING BASE HAMMER, Iraq – Revitalization of the Narhwan Brick Factory Complex has led to an explosion of employment.

Since January, employment numbers at the NBFC have quadrupled to nearly 15,000 workers; production is up more than 500 percent.

Lt. Col. Mark Sullivan, commander of 1st Battalion, 10th Field Artillery, said the boom resulted from a deal between the Iraqi minister of oil and the NBFC union, comprised of four officials who represent the 167 businesses operating in the NBFC. Sullivan said the deal allocated enough heavy fuel oil – the oil necessary to fire up the kilns to bake bricks – for the complex to boost production.

“I merely facilitated and connected the owners with the ministry of oil,” said the native of Huntsville, Ala. “This was an Iraqi problem in need of an Iraqi solution, and they did it.”

Six years ago, the NBFC was at full operating capacity, employing 25,000 Iraqis and producing nearly 8 million bricks per day.

“In 2002, the brick factory owners were here - we weren’t,” Sullivan said. “The Iraqis best understand the potential at the NBFC and we are just helping them reach that potential.”

Sullivan said the factory is crucial to reducing unemployment in the region. In Iraqi culture, the eldest male in the family is responsible to provide for his family; the NBFC offers that opportunity to provide.

“When you help one family leader in Narhwan, you are helping ten because their families are so large,” he said. “We saw a need for employment and the Iraqis fulfilled it. By having this factory employ the populace, it makes our mission safer.”

When 1-10 FA arrived in Narhwan in October, the NBFC was controlled by insurgents. A series of offensive operations ousted the insurgents, Sullivan said, returning the complex to its rightful owners.

“The security situation now has reached a level where factory owners and workers are comfortable enough to return to the NBFC and stand the businesses back up,” Sullivan said. “That’s where we are today with employment and it has the potential to get better.”

The HFO supply from the government of Iraq is currently facing challenges, said Sullivan.

“During March, allocations of HFO to private enterprises ceased,” Sullivan said. “The owners are in the process of trying to resolve it. They have figured it out before; I am confident they will figure it out again.”

The 1-10 FA is part of 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.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

One Step Closer To Home

Got an email and call from Chris and he had an okay Easter. He was a little disappointed because he had really been looking forward to getting his Combat Spurs on Easter Sunday but got called for a mission and was not able to be at the ceremony. Tradition is that you can not wear the Spurs until you have been inducted into the Order of the Spurs. There will be another ceremony on the 30th and he's hoping he will be able to attend the ceremony so he will be able to sport his Spurs. It also sounds like everything is on track for him to get presented his Bronze Star on April 1st.

I'm not sure what his Easter mission consisted of except that he said he attended a feast with the Sons of Iraq. The feast sounded like quite an interesting experience...it consisted of lamb, goat, rice and chicken. Surprisingly, his Easter package arrived on Saturday and despite the rising temperatures, the chocolate was still okay.

You can tell that they are definitely counting the days until they get home. Chris says things are sort of hectic right now with everything that is going on but everybody is still very focused and accomplishing a lot. Another holiday in Iraq has passed...one step closer to home!

Secondary School Opens in Khargulia

Lt. Col. John Kolasheski, from Loudon, Tenn., commander of 3rd Squadron, 1st Cavalry Regiment, speaks with a local leader at a secondary school opening in Khargulia, a small town east of Baghdad, March 23. Civic leaders, tribal sheikhs, members of the Sons of Iraq and national police from throughout the Mada’in Qada were present to celebrate the event.

A student at the new secondary school in Khargulia, a small town east of Baghdad, raises the Iraqi flag during a ceremony to commemorate the school’s opening, March 23.

Abu Amash, leader of the Sons of Iraq in Khargulia, a small town east of Baghdad, speaks at a secondary school opening, March 23. Civic leaders, tribal sheikhs, members of the Sons of Iraq, national police and leaders from the 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team from throughout the Mada’in Qada were present to celebrate the event.

A local elder celebrates during the opening of the new secondary school in Khargulia, a small town east of Baghdad, March 23. The school will educate 200 young men and women.

The coin of the 3rd Squadron, 1st Cavalry Regiment, is embedded in one of the corner stones at the new secondary school in Khargulia, a small town east of Baghdad, March 23.

A female student celebrates during a ceremony to open the new secondary school in Khargulia, a small town east of Baghdad, March 23. (Photo by Spc. Ben Hutto)

Combat Outpost Cashe, Iraq

By Spc. Ben Hutto

More than 80 people attended the opening of a new secondary school in Khargulia, a small town east of Baghdad, March 23.

Civic leaders, tribal sheikhs, members of the Sons of Iraq, National Police and leaders from 3rd Squadron, 1st Cavalry Regiment were all present to celebrate the school opening.

“We have all come together to celebrate this special occasion,” said Abu Amash, leader of the SoI in Khargulia. “We have had schools before, but not a secondary school. This is truly a special moment.”

Amash thanked Iraqi Security Forces and the 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team for their efforts in securing Khargulia from extremist forces that controlled the area almost a year ago.

“We thank the American troops and the Iraqi policemen for making this possible,” he said. “The security we have now would not have been possible without you. Students in this area will thank you for years to come.”

Students held a small ceremony to commemorate the occasion and raised the Iraqi flag in the middle of the courtyard.

Capt. Troy Thomas, from Litchfield, Minn., commander of Troop A, 3-1 Cav. Regt., spoke during the ceremony and expressed how honored he felt to help open the school.

Thomas has worked closely with local leaders to bring security and civil programs to Khargulia. He congratulated ISF leaders and the SoI on their hard work to make the area secure. He said it was hard work that made the school opening possible after Amash and local leaders asked for help. A project funded by the Commander’s Emergency Response Program revitalized the abandoned school, adding three classrooms, three offices and a bathroom.

“I have made a lot of friends in this area,” Thomas said. “I hope you all will remember what my Soldiers and I have done here for a long time after we have gone.

“I know it has been the dream of the people of this area to have a secondary school. It is just an honor for me and my men to have helped make this dream happen. The children that attend here will carry this country forward. I hope they will use what they learn at this school to improve their community and country in the future,” he said.

The school will educate 200 young men and women, said Hammed Hussein, a local educator. “This school will help our children understand and grow. Today is a great day,” he said. “We are very thankful for the Americans and all they have done here. They will always have friends here in this area because of this.” The 3-1 Cav. Regt. is assigned to the 3rd HBCT, 3rd Infantry Division from Fort Benning, Ga., and has been deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom since March 2007


The Real Meaning of 4,000 Dead

Lieut. Sean Walsh patrolling the streets of Baghdad.
Maj. Pat Garrett
By LIEUT. SEAN WALSH

The number 4,000 is too great to grasp even for us that are here in Iraq. When we soldiers read the newspaper, the latest AP casualty figures are glanced over with the same casual interest as a box score for a sport you don't follow. I am certain that I am not alone when I open up the Stars and Stripes, the military's daily paper, and immediately search for the section with the names of the fallen to see if they include anyone I know. While in a combat outpost in southwest Baghdad, it was in that distinctive bold Arial print in a two-week-old copy of the Stars and Stripes that I read that my best friend had been killed in Afghanistan. No phone call from a mutual friend or a visit to his family. All that had come and gone by the time I had learned about his death. I sometimes wonder, if I hadn't picked up that paper, how much longer I would have gone by without knowing — perhaps another day, perhaps a week or longer until I could find the time and the means to check my e-mail to find my messages unanswered and a death notification from a West Point distro list in my inbox. The dead in Afghanistan don't seem to inspire the keeping of lists the same way that those in Iraq do, but even if they did it wouldn't matter; he could only be number 7 to me.

I'm not asking for pity, only understanding for the cost of this war. We did, after all, volunteer for the Army and that is the key distinction between this army and the army of the Vietnam War. But even as I ask for that understanding I'm almost certain that you won't be able to obtain it. Even Shakespeare, with his now overused notion of soldiers as a "band of brothers," fails to capture the bonds, the sense of responsibility to each other, among soldiers. In many ways, Iraq has become my home (by the time my deployment ends I will have spent more time here than anywhere else in the army) and the soldiers I share that home with have become my family. Between working, eating and sleeping within a few feet of the same soldiers every single day, I doubt I am away from them for more than two hours a day. I'm engaged to the love of my life, but it will take several years of marriage before I've spent as much time with her as I have with the men I serve with today.

For the vast majority of Americans who don't have a loved one overseas, the only number they have to attempt to grasp the Iraq War is 4,000. I would ask that when you see that number, try to remember that it is made up of over 1 million smaller numbers; that every one of the 1 million service members who have fought in Iraq has his or her own personal numbers. Over 1 million 8's and 3's. When you are evaluating the price of the war, weighing potential rewards versus cost in blood and treasure, I would ask you to consider what is worth the lives of three of your loved ones? Or eight? Or more? It would be a tragedy for my 8 and 3 to have died without us being able to complete our mission, but it maybe even more tragic for 8 and 3 to become anything higher.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

1-15 Inf. Regt. Soldiers Conduct Air Assault, Bring Fight to the Enemy

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

FORWARD OPERATING BASE HAMMER, Iraq – Soldiers from Company B, 1st Battalion, 15th Infantry Regiment conducted an air assault mission near al Lej to gain additional information on insurgent activity near the town, southeast of Baghdad, March 24.

Soldiers cleared four buildings and found two buried refrigerators and one large hole that may have been used by insurgent elements to store munitions.

Company leadership directed attack aviation helicopters from 1st Battalion, 3rd Aviation Regiment, Combat Aviation Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division, to a possible cache site that could not be safely cleared by Soldiers on the ground. Aviators engaged and destroyed the potential cache site with no injuries to Soldiers or civilians.

In the search, Soldiers discovered Sunni insurgent training literature containing depictions of coalition forces vehicles and aircraft.

The 1-15 Inf. Regt., assigned to the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Inf. Div., from Fort Benning, Ga., have been deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom since March 2007.

FOB Hammer Offers Up a Slice of Home

Soldiers and civilians applaud the official opening of a pizza concession on Forward Operating Base Hammer, March 22. Col. Wayne W. Grigsby, Jr., from Prince George’s County, Md., commander of the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, officiated the event.

Soldiers and civilians applaud the official opening of a pizza concession on Forward Operating Base Hammer, March 22. Col. Wayne W. Grigsby, Jr., from Prince George’s County, Md., commander of the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, officiated the event.



By Staff Sgt. Sean Riley
3rd Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Divison

FORWARD OPERATING BASE HAMMER, Iraq – Soldiers and civilians flocked around the newest addition to Forward Operating Base Hammer as a pizza concession stand opened at the base’s town square, March 22.

During a short ribbon-cutting ceremony to commemorate the official opening of the pizza stand, Col. Wayne W. Grigsby, Jr., from Prince George’s County, Md., commander of the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, offered his take on the service the unassuming pizza stand provides.

“This is a combat multiplier,” Grigsby said. “Soldiers can come to Hammer off of a mission, or in from one of our many outposts. They can go to the gym, they can go the coffee house and they can go to the shopette. They can recharge their batteries here.”

Grigsby said the shops, and the new addition of the pizza concession, bring a sense of normalcy to the deployment.

“Now, Soldiers can get a slice of America right here,” he said.

The 3rd BCT, 3rd Infantry Division, from Fort Benning, Ga., has been deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom since March 2007.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Citizens Line Up at Tameem Recruiting Drive

Pfc. Katie Miller, a military policewoman with the 59th Military Police Company, from Fort Carson, Colo., currently attached to the 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, reviews a literacy test taken by an applicant at the Iraqi Police recruiting drive in Tameem, Iraq, March 23. (Photo by Spc. Ben Hutto)

Combat Outpost Cashe, Iraq, Monday, 24 March 2008

By Spc. Ben Hutto

One hundred and seventy-five Iraqi men waited for their opportunity to join the police force during a recruiting drive at the 3rd Battalion, 1st National Police Brigade headquarters in Tameem, a town southeast of Baghdad, March 22.

Prospective policemen went through a rigid screening process to find the best possible applicants, said 1st Lt. Kurt Cheeseman, from Greenwood, S.C., the targeting officer for 3rd Squadron, 1st Cavalry Regiment. Men between the ages of 18 and 35 had to bring a national identification card, proof of intermediate education and pass a reading and writing exam, medical screening and physical fitness test. Additionally, the men were registered in the biometrics enrollment system and the Handheld Interagency Identity Detection Equipment System and interviewed by the Mada’in Qada chief of police.

“It is a very thorough process. It is a four-day event, but we have a lot of men that want to be policemen,” Cheeseman said.

The event is part of an effort to help fill the Mada’in Qada’s police ranks with former members of the Sons of Iraq. There are not yet jobs for all of the applicants, Cheeseman said.

“A good thing is,” he said, “we will have 100 applicants already processed and ready to be hired when jobs become available.”

Maj. David Guthrie, from Hampton, Va., the operations officer for 3-1 Cav. Regt., believes the recruiting drive helps both the SoI and the police force.

“I think it legitimizes both programs,” he said. “It will expand the police force with qualified candidates. These are men that have been helping protect their neighborhoods and have proven that they want to help their neighbors. People from the area will have their trust … The Sons of Iraq, in turn, see that the effort they are putting in could lead them to a better job. It really benefits everyone.”

Cheeseman was happy with the candidates’ efforts.

“They all tried very hard,” he said. “There were a lot of good efforts by the men out here. You can tell they all really want to serve the qada and help their neighborhoods.”

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

3-1 Cav. Regt. Helps Rebuild Community

Capt. Brian Gilbert, from Boise, Idaho, commander of Company D, 1st Battalion, 15th Infantry Regiment (left), and Lt. Col. John Kolasheski, from Loudon, Tenn., commander of the 3-1 Cav. Regt. (center), speak with Mahmud Jabllawe, the leader of the Sons of Iraq group in Tuwaitha, a small village east of Baghdad, during a meeting at Jabllawe's house on March 21.


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

FORWARD OPERATING BASE HAMMER, Iraq – A gathering in a small village east of Baghdad looked more like a friendly visit than a meeting on reconstruction, March 21.

Lt. Col. John Kolasheski, from Loudon, Tenn., commander of the 3rd Squadron, 1st Cavalry Regiment, and Mahmud Jabllawe, leader of the Tuwaitha Sons of Iraq group, chatted like old friends.

Kolasheski inquired about Jabllawe’s upcoming doctor’s appointment, as Jabllawe offered him and Capt. Brian Gilbert, from Boise, Idaho, commander of Company D, 1st Battalion, 15th Infantry Regiment, chairs and chai.

The conversation quickly moved to business after Kolasheski gave the SoI leader a small water purifier as a house-warming gift.

Removing their boots, Kolasheski and Gilbert entered Jabllawe’s house and discussed the future of the area.

Not long ago, Tuwaitha was an al-Qaida hotbed. Local residents never dreamed that U.S. Soldiers would come into their village and sip chai with their local leaders.

“This place was pretty bad when we first arrived here,” said Staff Sgt. Thomas Young, from Dayton, Ohio, a section sergeant in Company D. “Al-Qaida had killed several people in the area. They were running families out of their homes. We hit so many IEDs (improvised explosive devices) that the route into this area was still considered black 30 days after we cleared it, but that was before the Sons of Iraq checkpoints.”

Establishing the SoI in the area was a huge step towards enabling residents to take their village back.

“Those checkpoints helped keep the roads secure after we cleared them and it took off from there,” Young said.

As the routes became safer, Kolasheski’s battalion conducted several early morning missions that forced most insurgents out of the area and allowed the citizens of Tuwaitha to regroup and return to normalcy.

In January, the SoI helped uncover one of the largest caches the 3rd Brigade Combat Team had seen during their current deployment. That cache is a distant memory now.

The day’s meeting focused instead on getting Tuwaitha greater representation at nahia meetings and working with the local leadership council to help Tuwaitha’s needs be presented in a unified voice.

“Do not look back,” Kolasheski said. “You need to look forward … Concentrate on the few important projects and project the united voice of the leaders here. You can use the local nahia meetings as opportunities.”

Jabllawe recognized the merit of Kolasheski’s advice.

“Projects can happen here now because of the safety,” he said. “People are saying things are getting better, but we still have much to do.”

Jabllawe engaged Kolasheski and Gilbert about getting civil projects brought to the area. The local pump station up the road is functioning, but could be improved. Water purification is still an issue.

“Projects take time,” Kolasheski said. “The projects your people are seeing being initiated throughout the qada today were proposed a year ago. Progress takes time.”

He said he would talk with the government of Iraq, but Jabllawe must continue to work with the local government to get the projects themselves.

Jabllawe admits that many of his neighbors were not in favor of reaching out to the Americans.

“We were once very scared of you … but I am glad we reached out to you,” he said. “All of our people now know that the Soldiers at your bases are good people. You will always be remembered here as brothers.”

The 1-15th Inf. Regt. is currently attached to 3-1st Cav. Regt. 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 2007.

1-15th Inf. Regt. Soldiers Test Their Confidence

Spc. Jordan McEvers (left), from Jacksonville, Ill., Company E, 1st Battalion, 15th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, looks over his study guide with his sponsor minutes before participating in a promotion board, March 21, at Combat Outpost Carver, Iraq.


By Sgt. Natalie Rostek
3rd Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division Public Affairs Official

COMBAT OUTPOST CARVER, Iraq – Their excitement and anticipation was high as Soldiers stood outside their battalion headquarters on March 21, awaiting their turn to participate in one of four boards.

The Soldiers attending the boards were from 1st Battalion, 15th Infantry Regiment. The first group of six sergeants entered the conference room one-by-one. Their intentions were the same: demonstrating to the four board members sitting opposite them why they should be considered for promotion to the rank of staff sergeant.

The second group, 18 specialists, had the same intention of getting promoted. They were given the chance to show Command Sgt. Maj. Mark Moore, from Waverly Hall, Ga., 1-15th Inf. Regt., president of the board, and three company first sergeants that they have the confidence, knowledge and ability to join the non-commissioned officer ranks as a sergeant.

After a short break, five Soldiers and four non-commissioned officers competed for the titles of Soldier of the Month and Non-commissioned Officer of the Month respectively.

“I was so nervous my back was spasming,” said Spc. Michael Teems, from Ringgold, Ga., Company F, 1-15th Inf. Regt., who was the last Soldier to go before the promotion board.

“Once you calmed down and started answering the questions right, you did real well,” his sponsor, Sgt. Dustin Granger, from Jamestown, Ohio, told him.

Many Soldiers going before a board experience just that: The anticipation leading up to the board is many times more stressful than actually participating.

According to Spc. Andrew Camp, from Davie County, N.C., Company E, the more boards you participate in, the easier they become. Camp, who passed the promotion board, has won both the Soldier of the Month and Solider of the Quarter boards in the recent past. He said studying was merely a refresher for what he already knew.

“The most studying I did was today,” he explained. “Once you know it, it sticks. If you study too much, you’ll mess up.”

Study habits that work for some Soldiers may not work for others. Sgt. Phillip Edwards, from Moss Point, Miss., a petroleum supply specialist in Company F and a board sponsor, said he gives his Soldiers three weeks to prepare.

“It’s important to hit them up early with studying,” he said. “I want my Soldiers to learn and retain the information instead of just cramming the night before or the day of the board.”

Edwards’ Soldier, Spc. Dariu Rowser, from Demopolis, Ala., explained he studies everything in the U.S. Army study guide until he gets guidance from the board members on what topics they will be focusing on. A memo describing approximately four subjects is distributed to the participants about one week before the board.

“I went to the mock board and study groups to get me ready,” Rowser said. “I also went to my squad leader (Edwards) for help.”

“In the mock board, he did well,” Edwards said. “In the promotion board, he did outstanding.”

Both Camp and Rowser agreed that answering the questions and reciting their biographies are the easiest parts of the board.

“You already know the answers,” Camp said. “After they judge you on your facing movements, you sit down, and you’re good. And my bio, well, it’s my bio. I know my life.”

Memorizing the study guide will help in the board but quick answers are not the only things board members are looking for when choosing who will be promoted or receive the title Soldier of the Month or Non-commissioned Officer of the Month.

“Self-confidence is the main thing I look for,” said 1st Sgt. Arvento Collins, from Wilson, N.C., Company B, who was a member of the board. “Boards show a Soldier’s character. They should demonstrate their leadership instilled in them. What is most important is that Soldiers know the Soldier’s Creed and for NCOs, same thing, the NCO creed. They are like our bibles. From the first to the last paragraphs, it’s how we, as Soldiers, live.”

Staff Sgt. William Fields, from Chicago, Company E, who sponsored Camp, said he stresses the importance of confidence and knowing the Noncommissioned Officer Creed and the Soldier’s Creed, two requirements on almost every board.

“NCOs have to show confidence,” he said. “If you don’t have confidence, Soldiers are not going to follow you. I also quiz my Soldiers on why they want to be an NCO. That’s important.”

Collins said boards are like real life by presenting stressful situations and the Soldier is being judged on how they react.

“If you can’t maintain your military bearing in a board, how are you going to act out in real life?” he said.

Agreed on by leaders like Collins, Edwards and Fields, demonstrating confidence is extremely important when going to the board; however, some Soldiers say it is the most difficult.

“Being confident in the board is the hardest part,” Rowser said. “There are a lot of high-ranking people in there, and they are all looking at you. You don’t want to be nervous ‘cause then your legs start shaking. You have to keep your military bearing.”

Collins said that’s where most Soldiers mess up.

“Some Soldiers have strayed completely away from military bearing,” he said. “Boards are like first impressions on basic soldiering.”

Although many of the subjects at the board are still the same from when Collins and Fields were participants, the Army has adjusted to the times.

“Some of the subjects are the same, but the focus on certain areas has changed,” Fields said. “When I went to the board we were still doing Cold War tactics. Now, we are in Iraq and the techniques and tactics have changed.”

“Today’s Soldiers use more technology than when I was going to boards,” Collins said. “These new technologies and equipment make better Soldiers and leaders.”

Of the 24 Soldiers and non-commissioned officers who participated in the promotion boards, all were promoted to the next rank.

Spc. Deesta Sheldon, from Negley, Ohio, Company F, and Sgt. Monuete Baskin, from Phenix City, Ala., Company E, walked away with the titles of Soldier of the Month and Noncommissioned Officer of the Month, respectively.

The 1st Battalion, 15th Infantry Regiment is assigned to 3rd Brigade Combat Team, from Fort Benning, Ga., 3rd Infantry Division, and has been deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom since March 2007.

Retired General Walks Salman Pak

Retired Gen. Jack Keane shakes hands with Col. Wayne W. Grigsby, Jr., from Prince George's County, Md., commander of 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, March 20, at Combat Outpost Carver, Iraq. Keane, who helped shape the concept of The Surge, visited with leaders of 3rd HBCT to discuss effects of the surge on the Mada'in Qada. The retired general said coalition forces need to take credit for the success they are achieving in Iraq. Regarding the Mada'in Qada, he said, "You got the Sunnis to stop fighting so they can get processed into this mainly Shia government. Over 100,000 Sunnis are not fighting and are seeking reconciliation and acceptance from the government."

Sheik Ali, leader of a Salman Pak Sons of Iraq group, talks as Col. Majid, deputy commander of 1st Brigade, 9th Iraqi Army Division, listens during a meeting, March 20, at Combat Outpost Carver, Iraq. Ali spoke with Retired Gen. Jack Keane (not pictured). "You are doing right for your people and the people of Iraq," Keane said. "You bring together your men to work with us and stop the fighting." Ali replied through a translator, "We want to work together in fighting the insurgency and rebuilding the area."

Retired Gen. Jack Keane talks to Lt. Col. Jack Marr, from Minneapolis, commander of 1st Battalion, 15th Infantry Regiment, attached to 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, during a patrol though Salman Pak, Iraq, March 20. Command Sgt. Maj. Mark Moore, from Waverly Hall, Ga., 1-15th Inf. Regt., provides security.

Retired Gen. Jack Keane talks to a local shop owner March 20, during a patrol though Salman Pak, Iraq. Keane asked the merchant how successful his business is and what he thinks about the security situation in Salman Pak. The merchant was happy with security and said he believes the security improvement in Salman Pak is why his grocery store is successful.

Spc. Stephanie McCulley, from Uniontown, Pa., a medic attached to Headquarters Troop, 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, puts a bandage on a local boy's arm March 20, during a patrol through Salman Pak, Iraq.

3rd ID Completes Re-up Goal in Unprecedented Time

Multi-National Division – Central Public Affairs Office

CAMP VICTORY, Iraq – The 3rd Infantry Division, headquartered at Fort Stewart, Ga., completed its fiscal year 2008 retention goal in less than six months, which most view as a phenomenal act.

This is unprecedented according to the division’s retention sergeant major. “I’ve been in this career field for 16 years, and I’ve never known of a division to meet its goal in such a short time,” said Sgt. Maj. Kelvin Raibon, the 3rd Infantry Division Retention sergeant major.

This is the division’s third deployment to Iraq since 2003, but its high operational tempo did not stop 4,000 Soldiers from re-enlisting. Even more troops will follow their lead, and by the end of March one battalion with the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, out of Fort Benning, Ga., will have met its retention goal twice.

The 1st Battalion, 15th Infantry Regiment is four Soldiers away from retaining 200 percent of its goal.

These Soldiers are working together to defend their nation. This is why they joined and why they re-enlisted, said Sgt. 1st Class Thomas Olson, 3rd BCT senior career counselor.

The 3rd Infantry Division, which is currently the headquarters for Multi-National Division – Center in southwest Baghdad, arrived in theater as part of the surge. Its Soldiers are serving a 15-month deployment with the combat mission to stop insurgents from bringing bomb-making materials into Baghdad. Within the year, Soldiers have secured most areas, and have begun working closely with the Iraqi security forces and tribal leaders to build the economy and make life better for its citizens.

The reason Soldiers are able to focus on helping the Iraq people is because of the support they receive from their Families and friends back home. Letters, e-mails and care packages from loved ones and strangers strengthen Soldiers’ resolve and lift their spirits.

There’s no one reason why Soldiers re-enlist, but for one Nashville, Tn., native, it was about love for his family and his country.

Spc. Cody Wilkins, a tank mechanic with 2nd Brigade Combat Team, admitted that he wasn’t prepared to end his military career and advice from his supervisor convinced him to stay in the Army.

“She worries about me,” Wilkins said about his wife Melissa, “but she supports me and enjoys the structured life that the military provides for her and my kids. She’s pleased with the decision I made.”

Wilkins, who has a daughter, age 5, and a 2-year-old son said he also renewed his commitment to the Army because he loves his country.

“Soldiers want to do more for their country – I know I do,” said Wilkins. “We re-enlist because of our patriotism.”

Leaders who take the time to listen to Soldiers’ wishes and circumstances make the biggest difference on retaining quality Soldiers, said Sgt. 1st Class Treyton Lock, the battalion career counselor with 1st Battalion, 30th Infantry Regiment, 2nd BCT. People want to feel like they’re being taken care of and their concerns matter, he added.

The 3rd Infantry Division has conducted more than 12 mass re-enlistment ceremonies with visits from senior military leadership. All say that they know it’s not the monetary bonuses that retain Soldiers, but their leaders and the support from their families.

Soldiers Deliver Food, Toys to Gurtan Village

A child from the village of Gurtan inspects a soccer ball he received from coalition forces during a food and toy delivery operation, March 18. Soldiers from Task Force Petro, consisting of Soldiers from 13th Georgian Army Light Infantry Battalion and 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, conducted the mission after a March 7 operation identifying the village's needs.

A team leader from the 13th Georgian Army Light Infantry Battalion watches as residents of the village of Gurtan unload a trailer during a food and toy delivery operation, March 18. Soldiers from Task Force Petro, consisting of Soldiers from 13th Georgian Army Light Infantry Battalion and 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, conducted the mission after a March 7 operation identifying the village's needs.


By Staff Sgt. Sean Riley
3rd Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division

FORWARD OPERATING BASE HAMMER, Iraq – U.S. and Georgian Soldiers helped get food and toys to a small village in need near al Lej, March 18.

Leaders of Task Force Petro, consisting of Soldiers from 13th Georgian Light Infantry Battalion and 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, discovered Gurtan after the completion of Operation Sukihumi, March 7. During the operation, Task Force Petro Soldiers searched and cleared al Wehda, near al Lej. Now, with the area secured, the task force is planning for its revitalization.

Soldiers assigned to Civil Affairs Team A, attached to 3rd HBCT, delivered the toys and food to citizens of Gurtan, near al Lej, after assessing the needs of the village.

Company E, 1st Battalion, 15th Infantry Regiment, and Georgian soldiers from 13th Georgian Light Infantry Battalion provided security.

“Most of the villages in the al Wehda area are in desperate need of medical attention and food, Gurtan was no exception,” said Capt. Jimmy Hathaway, the 3rd HBCT liaison officer for Task Force Petro. “With the securing of al Wehda and al Lej, coalition forces are now able to travel along the routes to assess the infrastructure of the neighboring villages.”

Coalition force presence has been nominal in the area since 2006. Hathaway and Task Force Petro hope to turn that around.

“In the past, the village of Gurtan was a mixed society with Shia and Sunni living next to each other,” said Hathaway. “Starting around three years ago, the younger adult males were taken from the village by al-Qaida and other insurgent groups. As a result, the village is composed mostly of women, children and the elderly.”

The village sheik’s cousin, Rumdan Latef Ali, says the people of his village rest easy at night with the added security Task Force Petro Soldiers are bringing to the village.

“My family is able to sleep peacefully at night now that coalition forces are running constant patrols in the area,” Ali said.

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

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Bush Pays Tribute to Troops Serving Overseas in Easter Address

By Karen Leigh

March 22 (Bloomberg) -- President George W. Bush paid tribute to U.S. troops in war zones overseas and asked Americans to remember those who lost their lives serving their country.

``We hold in our hearts those who will be spending this holiday far from home,'' Bush said in his Easter weekend radio address. ``We remember especially those who have given their lives for the cause of freedom. And our nation's fallen heroes live on in the memory of the nation they helped defend.''

Bush also honored the citizens who volunteer to help the less fortunate on the home front. ``Each year, millions of Americans take time to feed the hungry and clothe the needy and care for the widow and the orphan,'' he said.

Bush called Easter ``the most important holiday in the Christian faith,'' recalling a ``sacrifice that transcended the grave and redeemed the world.''

Iraq: The real story

Iraq: The real story

Washington, DC
By Col. Oliver North

Five years ago this week 170,000 American and coalition soldiers, sailors, airmen, Guardsmen and Marines launched Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF). When they commenced their attack they were outnumbered nearly three to one by Saddam Hussein's military, yet it took U.S. troops just three weeks to liberate Baghdad. No military force in history has ever gone further, faster or with fewer casualties.

Despite a lightning-fast victory over the dictator's Army, Republican Guards and Fedayeen, the challenge of leaving Iraq better than we found it proved to be daunting and dangerous. Unfortunately, few Americans know what their countrymen in uniform have accomplished in the Land Between the Rivers.

On the way to Baghdad, American and allied forces were accompanied by more than 700 print and broadcast reporters. Once the dictator's capital was liberated, most of the media elites either headed for home or sequestered themselves inside the "green zone." There, they bought photos, footage and "news" from cameramen and "reporters" traveling with our adversaries.

As coverage shifted from the warriors to Washington, political controversy, casualties, and missteps — inevitable in any war — became the focus of “war reporting.” Courageous Americans serving in the line of fire found themselves cast as bit-players in a partisan firestorm. Bright, brave young Americans in the line of fire — not our enemies — became the targets for the mainstream media and powerful politicians.

The New York Times described those serving in our military as nothing but “poor kids from Mississippi, Texas and Alabama who couldn't get a decent job.” A U.S. Senator likened them to those who served Hitler, Stalin and Cambodia's Pol Pot, and a presidential candidate claimed that those who don't do well in school will "get stuck in Iraq." In 2005, after the press had been beating Abu Ghraib like a rented mule for a year, Newsweek invented a fictitious story about U.S. military guards flushing a Quran down a toilet — and precipitated riots throughout the Muslim world.

The consistent "spin" for five years has been to "get out of Iraq" — and despite extraordinary gains in the last 12 months, it hasn't stopped. On Monday, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton described how she intends to get our troops out of "a war we cannot win." Two days later Senator Barack Obama claimed that, "our military is badly overstretched" and promised that, "I will immediately begin to remove our troops from Iraq," and to "remove all of them in 16 months."

Thankfully America's soldiers, sailors, airmen, Guardsmen and Marines have generally ignored the press and the politicians. Instead, they have been busy fighting a vicious adversary — and winning. Here are some inconvenient facts about why they believe they can — and must — finish the job in Iraq:

• Despite how they have been portrayed, today's all-volunteer U.S. military is the brightest, best educated, trained and equipped armed force ever fielded by any nation. More than 1.6 million American military personnel have served in Iraq. Notwithstanding the perception that our armed forces are stretched beyond the breaking point, reenlistments have never been higher and every service is exceeding its recruiting goals.

• Iraq's police, military and security forces, widely depicted as ineffective or worse, have grown by more than 100,000 in the past year and have assumed responsibility for 9 of 18 provinces.

• In the last 12 months the Interior Ministry has opened 13 new training facilities, the Iraqi military now has 134 active combat, infrastructure and Special Operations battalions with a total of nearly 647,000 Iraqis who have volunteered to serve in uniform.

• After we first reported on the “Al-Anbar Awakening” in December, 2006, the “Sons of Iraq” movement has crossed the Sunni-Shia sectarian divide and now has 91,000 members. In the same time-frame, attacks against Iraqi civilians and coalition forces have dropped by more than 70 percent.

• Since 2004, more than 4,000 civil reconstruction projects, including 325 for electrical distribution and 320 water treatment facilities have been completed. More than 3,000 schools and 75 hospitals, clinics and health care facilities have been renovated or built from the ground up while nearly 3,200 primary health care providers and physicians were being trained.

• There are now more than 100 privately owned radio stations, 31 television stations and 600 newspapers published in Iraq — a nation just slightly larger than California.

• In February, crude oil production exceeded 2.4 million barrels per day and this year the Iraqi economy is projected to grow by 7 percent.

In the half decade since OIF began, our FOX News War Stories team has made nine trips to Iraq, spending months in the field embedded with more than 30 U.S. combat units from "shock and awe," to the "thunder runs," to gunfights in "bloody Anbar," to "the surge." The brave Americans we have documented deserve better than what they have gotten from the mainstream media and far too many of our politicians.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Five Years in the Fight for Freedom

Well, we all gathered around the television tonight to watch the Special featuring the 3 ID but to our suprise, it wasn't on. The FRG had sent out and email that it was going to be aired tonight but after doing some research, it seems it will be on tomorrow. Sorry for the inaccurate post earlier...tune in tomorrow!



Five Years in the Fight for Freedom

Sunday, March 23 at 8 and 11 p.m. ET
Monday, March 24 at 3 a.m. ET

Hosted by Oliver North

On March 20, 2003, nearly 170,000 American and coalition soldiers, sailors, airmen, Guardsmen and Marines were poised for battle along the borders of Iraq. Hours later when they launched into the attack, they were outnumbered nearly three to one by Saddam Hussein’s military, yet, it took U.S. troops just three weeks to liberate Baghdad. No military force in history has ever gone further, faster or with fewer casualties – and FOX News and "War Stories" were there, documenting their tenacity, skill and valor.

Despite the lightning-fast victory over the dictator’s Republican Guard and Fedayeen, the challenge of leaving Iraq better than we found it proved to be demanding and dangerous. In the half decade since Operation Iraqi Freedom began, our 'War Stories' team has spent months in the field with more than 30 U.S. combat units – covering heroic young Americans serving in the line of fire. From “shock and awe,” to the “thunder runs” to gunfights in “bloody Anbar,” to “the surge” – all are here in this awe-inspiring chronicle of courage, sacrifice and commitment: “Five Years in the Fight for Freedom.”

3/17 - 3/22 Dog Face Daily's



Saturday, 22 March 2008
Canine receives first-class medical care; Female Soldier employs dad’s teachings at work; Coalition forces link state-side NGO with child needing surgery; Ge...

Friday, 21 March 2008
3ID completes re-up goal in unprecedented time; Knighthawk pilot overcomes injury to succeed in career; Man gets jail time for taco theft

Thursday, 20 March 2008
Marne Rugged continues in honor of fallen; Soldiers help Iraqi boy get prosthetic leg; Japanese police enticing elderly to give up driving

Wednesday, 19 March 2008
U.S. Senators walk the streets of Iskandariyah; Night raid leads to capture of high-value target; Microgrants enable tailors to tackle tall order; Sailor tak...

Tuesday, 18 March 2008
New bridge reconnects communities; Water pump station open in 2 BCT area; Tiny Iowa town, new task force call off $5 cat bounty

Monday, 17 March 2008
Soldiers meet with sheikhs, chase insurgents; 3rd CAB reaches yearly re-up goal in 6 months; Traditional coca usage defended by lawma...

Friday, March 21, 2008

Hammer Medics Support Local Dentists in Narhwan

Maj. Cynthia Majerske, from Bar Harbor, Maine, the 3rd Brigade Combat Team surgeon, speaks with dental specialists at the Narhwan dental clinic during an assessment of the clinic, March 18.

Maj. Cynthia Majerske, from Bar Harbor, Maine, the 3rd Brigade Combat Team surgeon, speaks with dental specialists at the Narhwan dental clinic during an assessment of the clinic, March 18.


By Staff Sgt. Sean Riley
3rd Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division Public Affairs Officer

FORWARD OPERATING BASE HAMMER, Iraq – Medics of the 203rd Brigade Support Battalion and 3rd Brigade Combat Team visited the Narhwan dental clinic, March 18.

The medics assessed the clinic, delivered much-needed anesthetics and discussed dental practices with Dr. Qusay, the head dentist, offering advice and help.

“This assessment of the Narhwan clinic is one of many assessments happening in the region focusing on government-run and funded clinics,” said Capt. Steven Jones, a native of Starkville, Miss., the 3rd BCT medical operations officer.

The Narhwan clinic provides limited dentistry services to families and is primarily a general practice.

Jones said information collected during the assessment will be forwarded to the Iraqi ministry of health.

“With this assessment, we will address their concerns and decide how to streamline their operation while going through the Iraqi government,” Jones said.

Capt. Louis Cintron, the Company C, 203rd BSB dentist, and Maj. Cynthia Majerske, from Bar Harbor, Maine, the 3rd BCT brigade surgeon, assessed the clinic’s lab and pharmacy.

The 203rd BSB 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 2007.

Soldiers Adapt, Grow During Deployment

Staff Sgt. Dan Bates (left), from Dickson, Tenn., with Battery B, 1st Battalion, 10th Field Artillery, helps an instructor assigned to the 16th Military Police Brigade, from Fort Bragg, N.C., demonstrate self-defense techniques during a class at the Bucca Detention Facility in Umm Qasar, Iraq. Artillerymen from 1-10 FA guarded detainees at the facility for eight months. Courtesy photo.

By Spc. Ben Hutto
3rd HBCT, 3rd Inf. Div. PAO

FORWARD OPERATING BASE HAMMER — From guarding detainees at the Bucca Detention Facility in Umm Qasar, to helping the British Army defend Basra Air Base, to patrolling the streets of Narhwan and executing fire support missions at Forward Operating Base Hammer, Soldiers of Battery B, 1st Battalion, 10th Field Artillery, have done everything asked of them during their deployment to Iraq.

Their duties changed many times during their current deployment, but Battery B Soldiers met each new task without complaint, said 1st Sgt. Michael Patton, from Memphis, Tenn., first sergeant of Battery B.

“No matter what we have been asked to do, we have stepped up,” he said. “We say we not only have done what we were asked to do, we’ve always exceeded the standard doing it.”

Patton’s Soldiers worked hard to reach their current level of success.

Battery B honed their field artillery skills for eight months back at Fort Benning, Ga., home of the 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, and at the National Training Center at Fort Irwin, Calif. While at Camp Buehring, Kuwait, the battalion learned they would be leaving the 3rd HBCT and going to the Bucca Detention Facility. At the facility, they would guard detainees instead of shooting rounds down range.

“It was a challenge,” said Sgt. Donovan Ford, from Butler, Ala., a section sergeant in Battery B. “The ratio was at least 10 detainees to one of us. We had to be very careful and deliberate. Every time you thought you’re going to get a break, they were up to something. They were constantly thinking of ways to get out.”

To prepare for their new duty, the battery went through two weeks of intensive training.

“The training was challenging,” Ford said. “For 12 hours a day we worked hard to learn everything we needed to know.”

The Soldiers learned detainee control techniques, riot squad tactics and were sprayed with mace as part of their training.

Despite the difficulties, the training paid off. No one in the battery was seriously injured during their eight month stay there.

The Soldiers were able to learn things from the detainees there, too.

“It was amazing to see the dedication some of them had,” Ford said. “Those guys would adapt anything into a shovel. They would dig tunnels that were six feet deep and nine feet long in 48 hours using only their hands and makeshift tools. That shows you something about their commitment. They aren’t lazy. Whether they were motivated to get out and escape, or get out and try and attack us, they were motivated. I think we all learned not to underestimate them.”

Before the battery rejoined the 3rd HBCT at FOB Hammer, many of them traveled to Basra Air Base to help British soldiers in Battery A, First Royal Horse Artillery Regiment with counter-fire missions.

“I enjoyed working with the Brits,” said Staff Sgt. Thierry Miley, from Panama City, Fla., a cannon crew chief of one of the battery’s M109A6 Paladins. “When we first arrived there, we got mortared every day. By the time we left, the number of attacks had gone down because of our counter-fire missions. It was good to help out and help secure the area.”

Capt. Chris Vegas, from Douglassville, Ga., commander of Battery B, said that 1-10 FA’s performance earned them high marks with the British Army.

“All of our guys understand the significance of what we do,” he said. “I think they take a lot of pride in their job. Our NCOs (non-commissioned officers) do a good job of making sure there are no bumps in the road and that shows in our performance in places like Bucca. We work well with others.”

The battalion’s return to FOB Hammer was well-received by the members of the battery.

“It’s always nice to be with your brigade,” Vegas said. “We were glad to be back here.”

Their return did not slow down their schedule, though.

“We’ve got Soldiers all over the AO (area of operation),” Patton said. “We’ve got Soldiers down at Combat Outpost Cleary helping the Georgian Army. We have Soldiers out at Combat Outpost Salie doing combat patrols. It can be tough because we have to split up again, but our Soldiers have adapted well.”

“If you look at how we are performing, you can see we have matured a lot,” Patton said. “We have young sergeants stepping up and running gun lines and leading combat patrols. That experience will pay off down the road.”

Ford thinks his current deployment has improved his perspective on the future of the Army and the future of Iraq.

“The Army is not a 9-to-5 job,” Ford said. “Our Soldiers know that they are part of something they can leave their mark on. Everyone here wants to be a winner. They want to make history.”

The 1st Battalion, 10th Field Artillery, 3rd HBCT, 3rd Infantry Division, from Fort Benning, Ga., has been deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom since March 2007.