231 days and a wake-up until December 15, 2006...
Volume Two, Number 60- 4-28-06
Another relatively slow two days of news from Iraq. Donald Rumsfeld and Condaleeza Rice visited with 4ID leaders and Soldiers, we continued to get rid of bad guys and do good things to help the Iraqi people. No new casualties to report but we do start with the identification of four Soldiers who were killed last Sunday and Monday.
Identifies Army Casualties
Department of Defense announced today the death of three Soldiers who
were supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom. They died of injuries
sustained in Taji, Iraq, on April 23, when an improvised explosive
device detonated near their HMMWV during combat operations. All three
Soldiers were assigned to the 7th Squadron, 10th Cavalry
Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, Fort Hood,
Sgt. Robert W. Ehney, 26, of Lexington, Ky.
Cpl. Jason B. Daniel, 21, of Fort Worth, Texas
Cpl. Shawn T. Lasswell Jr., 21, of Reno, Nev.
Several times during the memorial service for Captain Ian Patrick Weikel, his friends and family referred to him as a "hero." Captain Weikel was killed on April 18 th when his Humvee ran over a roadside bomb in Iraq. He was a "Ghost 6" Commander A TRP, 7-10 CAV, a father, son and husband. And there is no doubt -- Captain Weikel was a hero.
Captain Weikel and his family had been "adopted" by Temple Bible Church - a church located near the sprawling Fort Hood military reservation. We didn't know the family, but like hundreds of other members of that congregation, we attended the service to show our respect.
With tears flowing freely, friends and family who knew him best told the rest of us what kind of a person he was. He loved his family, his country and his God. He was said to have carried a list of his men with him at all times so he could pray for their safety. He also carried scans of ultrasound images of his new son. Jonathan, now just a few months old, will not remember his father, but he will be told of Ian's wonderful legacy.
I was struck by many things at this service including the military roll call during which the name "Captain Ian Weikel" was answered by a rifle volley. And there was the last line of Ian's biography in the church bulletin: "It was not the way Ian died that made him a hero; it was the way he lived."
The word "hero" has been co-opted, twisted, mangled, misused, maligned and misapplied. Michael Jordan was deemed a hero for playing in a basketball game even though he was ill. Vince Young was called a hero for his accomplishments in the Rose Bowl. Even George H.W. Bush once commented that he never felt he was a hero for being shot down over the Pacific in World War II.
President Bush is right. A true hero is someone who believes so much in life that he is willing to put his own life on the line for someone else.
And so a service such as this one really makes you stop and think. Cindy Sheehan, whose son Casey was killed in the war, and Congressman John Murtha, himself a decorated veteran, both are critics of the war. Do their contentions that Bush "misled" us into this war outweigh the truths that Saddam Hussein spat in the face of seventeen United Nation resolutions, and that spreading democracy in the Middle East may be the only way to avoid an all-out war with radical Islam?
There's another point of view that sums up our mission in Iraq better than I ever could:
"No sacrifice is easy and the loss of every Soldier is heart wrenching. However, the liberty of 26 million people is worth it. The Iraqi people were under the boot of an oppressive and ruthless regime. When we have the means and political will we must act. A large amount of the population is under the age of 18. The guys on patrol can attest to this as they're mobbed daily by the "munchkin brigades" demanding chocolate and soccer balls. You see these children and can't help but feel that their future is worth it.
"It's an uncertain future fraught with danger and the pitfalls of an emerging government with no democratic tradition and sectarian tension. It's an uphill battle, and they're fighting against all odds to succeed (against) incredibly difficult odds. That doesn't mean we should give up on them or turn our back on the efforts and sacrifice of the past three years. The new Iraq is an underdog and Americans traditionally love an underdog. Don't forget that about 230 years ago, we were fighting for our freedom against all odds. Over our history we've had to overcome a civil war, world wars, and nuclear annihilation. Over our history we've saved millions of lives from around the globe through our willingness to act on behalf of our fellow man."
These are the words of the late Captain Ian Weikel, taken from his website. I thank Captain Weikel and his family for their sacrifice. Captain Ian Weikel is a hero.
Lynn Woolley is a nationally syndicated talk show host on the SSI radio network. E-mail him at lynn@BeLogical.com
From the Program of the Memorial Service for B/1-67 AR Soldiers - FOB Iskandariyah, Iraq, April 26, 2006
Secretary of Defense visits Iraqi Soldiers, attends luncheon with MND-B Soldiers
Story by Staff Sgt. Brent Williams
4th BCT PAO, 4th Inf. Div.
April 26, 2006
BAGHDAD — The Honorable Donald Rumsfeld, the U.S. Secretary of Defense, visited Iraqi and Multi-National Division – Baghdad Soldiers, making an impromptu appearance at the Iraqi army’s Forward Operating Base Honor and MND-B’s FOB Prosperity Wednesday.
The tour provided Rumsfeld an opportunity to observe the soldiers of the 5th Brigade, 6th Iraqi Army Division, as they trained on infantry tactics and first-aid procedures.
While visiting with Maj.
Gen. J. D. Thurman, commanding general, MND-B, Rumsfeld
also took advantage of an opportunity to observe
“It was monumental to have the Honorable Mr. Rumsfeld here today to observe our Iraqi partner brigade honing their battle skills and to meet and eat with the fine Soldiers of the 4th BCT,” said Col. Michael Beech, commander, 4th BCT, 4th Inf. Div.
Rumsfeld also took the time to
visit with Soldiers from 4th BCT and to partake in a special luncheon
at the King Cobra Dinning Facility at FOB Prosperity. Command Sgt. Maj. John Moody, Jr., 4th BCT, hosted the
luncheon for the brigade, allowing each of the battalions to select
Soldiers to attend the special occasion. “It is
good for the Soldiers to see someone from
Upon finishing his lunch with the Soldiers, who serve in south and central Baghdad, the Secretary of Defense energetically made his way from table to table, joining the variety of Soldiers, shaking their hands, posing for photographs and listening to their concerns. This time, he would ask the questions. “How are you? Where are you from? What do you do?” he individually asked the more than 60 Soldiers, who joined him for lunch.
“It was interesting, very
interesting,” said Pfc. Allah Johnson, a fuel specialist
with Company C, 704th Support Battalion, a 22-year old
For 1st Lt. Casey Newell, platoon leader, Company A, 704th Spt. Bn., having the Secretary of Defense visit was an incredible boost to morale. “It’s important to know that the people who are making the policies stand behind what they are trying to do – to know that they are pushing through with us, that they support us,” said Newell, a graduate of Illinois State University.
Newell said that a visit from a dignitary like Rumsfeld reminds the Soldiers that they are all fighting for the same cause. “It’s nice to know that the leadership is behind us,” he said.
Caches seized in north central Iraq
Iraqi Soldiers from the 1st Brigade, 5th Iraqi Army Division, teamed up with local police and an Iraqi explosive ordnance disposal team to seize a cache in eastern Diyala province. The cache consisted of 32 tank rounds and eight anti-tank mines. The 1st BDE assumed full control of the eastern portion of the province April 24 and is continuing to demonstrate its capabilities.
A tip from a local resident led Soldiers from the 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, to another cache in Ad Dujayl. The unit seized 28 rockets, 39 tank rounds, 125 rounds of 20 mm ammunition and four artillery shells. All of the munitions were transported to a nearby military base for disposal. Soldiers from the 3rd HBCT also discovered a large cache in eastern Diyala province that contained 46 large artillery shells, 14 recoilless rifle rounds, six mortars and eight anti-personnel mines.
Every cache discovered removes weapons from the hands of
terrorists who have shown little discrimination in their attacks
against civilians and security forces. Tip lines have been set up in local and provincial Joint
Coordination Centers throughout northern
1STB "Phoenix" Newsletter - 16-30 Apr 06
The NCO Corps… by Sergeant Major Seaman
Hello again from
Professional Soldiers care and know about their Soldiers and families. First and foremost, NCOs get the mission done and accomplished. Training our Soldiers is one of the most important things we do. I want to assure you all that the Phoenix Battalion has one of the most modern, professional cadres of NCOs in this Brigade. It is evident in everything this Battalion does. Mistakes are made, naturally, but the mistakes that are made by our NCOs are not made with malice, neglect, or dereliction; they are honest mistakes. This Battalion has some of the hardest working NCOs I’ve ever served with and they compliment their commanders and bring credit to their units. NCOs are primarily responsible for the individual training of our Soldiers and they do it well. When we get our new Soldiers in theatre, we take care of them by continuing to train them for 2 weeks prior to assuming their full duties. NCOs are responsible for this additional integration training to certify that the Soldier is ready. The NCOs of the Phoenix Battalion are also responsible for the care of our Soldiers. I’m not talking about tucking them into bed at night – I mean hard, sweaty training is taking care of Soldiers; ensuring that Soldiers know and understand the standards is taking care of Soldiers.
I am proud of the NCOs of this
Battalion, we’ve been through a lot together. I’ve
seen them grow, learn, develop and become technical experts at what
they do. I’ve also seen them challenged with
adversity and hardship, worry and doubt, and watched as they faced
every challenge and task – and succeeded in accomplishing the mission. Most importantly, I’ve seen them become leaders or
better leaders. I hope you are proud of these
Sergeants. They deserve a lot of credit for the
successes of this Battalion. Until
SOLDIER SPOTLIGHTS from the “RENEGADES”
Every day, dozens of flights
arrive and depart from
The Brigade Aviation Element, or
BAE, is yet another part of the Brigade Headquarters Detachment making
the Brigade successful here in
The BAE remains a 24 hour operation in the Brigade Headquarters, overseeing the air requests for the over 3,000 Soldiers of the Raider Brigade. Dedicated professionals help save lives. That’s because every flight scheduled is one less ground patrol needed.
Renegade 6 – CPT Ed Cox
“LITTLE BY LITTLE” – A LOOK INTO THE WORLD OF CIVIL AFFAIRS
Many people have expressed
amazement that I am back over here in
It helps to remember that
I have driven through the area I
was responsible for during my first deployment. The
first deployment was in the NW quadrant of
This time I was amazed to see
the number of new businesses and new construction all over the place. In the
We had some damage to
electricity lines and fresh water pipelines recently and the respective
ministries were out within 12 hours repairing the damage.
And last but not least, I met with the regional director of the
Ministry of Irrigation this week to determine if he needed any help
with funding canal cleaning, pump station repair, equipment, or
anything else. He told me the canal maintenance
was running on schedule, the only pump station needing repair was the
one I was already working on, and he told me the Ministry of Irrigation
already had newly purchased heavy equipment on the way from
It is hard for Soldiers to
explain the differences we see over here every day. It
is even harder to explain our reactions to what we see.
I am not talking about the combat patrols, improvised explosive
devices, or occasional rocket or mortar fire. I
am talking about the basic functions of government and the differences
between an established democracy and a nation coming out from under
years of neglect. I am amazed to realize the
number of things I took for granted. Things our
culture and country have that are only now being established over here. Can you imagine an area the size of
How about no fire departments, no ambulance service, and schools with six teachers and 400 students? How about having to have an armed guard at any government facility, even a simple water pump station, 24 hours a day? How about only seven gas stations to serve a population of about 1.5 million? Can you imagine having electricity for two hours and then none for the next three to four hours every day when the temperature ranges from 115 to 125 degrees? These are the things we are dealing with and making a serious impact in improving.
My team is currently involved in
many projects for the people of
The Iraqi government ministries
are becoming more active and more effective. Eventually
the ministries will have the capacity to accomplish all of these types
of projects on their own but they just aren’t there yet.
You can’t realize how good we have it in
Hopefully this article helped answer some questions and shed some light on the positive things going on over here. American military personnel and civilians are doing great work over here and the good stories deserve to be told. I am proud of what my team is accomplishing to assist the Iraqi people and government to stand on their own.
Civil Affairs Team Chief - MAJ Jeffrey Pugh
704 SB "Blacksmiths" Newsletter - April 2006
Hello to all family, friends and associates of the Blacksmiths! As of this correspondence, we have been deployed for over 145 days (and counting)!
I could not be prouder of our Soldiers. With each passing day, they continue to exceed the standard. Just this past week, we had a team come and visit us from the Joint Improvised Explosive Device Defeat Organization (JIEDDO). This team works directly for the Undersecretary of Defense and is charged with observing and advising units on ways to mitigate and defeat the IED threat that is all around us. After observing our daily operations and going out on our combat logistics patrols (CLP), they stated that we were one of the very best units they had seen. They did not lump us into a “support unit” category, but that our techniques, tactics and procedures (TTPs) were simply outstanding and were some of the best they observed out of ALL types of units. This is a testament to our outstanding noncommissioned officers, Soldiers and officers who make it happen daily.
Recently we have been reminded about how dangerous and real the threat is here in our area of operations. In the last three weeks, two of our patrols have hit IEDs while traveling on our routes. In each instance, the Soldiers did everything right and responded according to our training and TTPs. I am thankful that we only had one Soldier receive minor shrapnel injures to his arm between both attacks. Again, all of the tough and realistic training we did is working and our uparmored vehicles and personal protective equipment work!
I received a ton of positive feed back and some great photos of the FRG’s Easter Party. In every photo I saw, children of all ages were having a great time. I would like to thank all those involved for putting together such a wonderful event for our children and families. This is just another example of how the Blacksmith FRG and rear detachment are leading the way.
After he made his rounds on the
FOB, we quickly took him to the airport. I am
sure glad he made it back to
Thank you all for your continued support, encouragement and prayers. We could not do what we are doing without them.
LTC Victor M. Harmon
Commander, 704th Support Battalion
Service & Recovery – helping 4th Bde. adapt, overcome by “starting fires for a living”
By 1st Lt. Winfield S. Pinkstaff
704th Spt. Bn. 4th BCT, 4th Inf. Div.
April 26, 2006
BAGHDAD – It is not only the growing heat of the upcoming summer making the tin-roofed open bay of the 4th Brigade Combat Team’s 704th Support Battalion Service and Recovery section hot.
Inside the building, the S&R
section of Company C, “starts fires for a living,” or welds, and is
constantly on the go to provide recovery and fabrication assets for the
brigade. The section has the task of supporting
the battalion as well as the forward support companies working with the
4th BCT in its mission to secure and rebuild the nation of
It supports units on Forward Operating Base Falcon, including the 1st Battalion, 22nd Infantry, 4th Inf. Div.; 2nd Battalion, 506th Infantry Regiment; and 2nd Battalion, 6th Infantry Regiment, 1st Armored Division.
Chief Warrant Officer 2 Robert Pruitt, an Allied Trades Technician, who has spent his military career, in his own words, “starting fires for a living,” heads the section. Led by Pruitt, the S&R section is composed of three Soldiers serving in different Military Occupational Specialties: 63B, Wheeled Vehicle Mechanic; 63H, Tracked Vehicle Mechanic; and 44B, Metal Worker.
The three MOSs combined give the section the ability to remain adaptable to whatever mission may come their way. With two wrecker trucks and one M88A2 Hercules Tracked Recovery Vehicle at its disposal, the section has the ability to recover any piece of equipment from the High Mobility Multi-Wheeled Vehicle to the M1A2 Abrams Main Battle Tank. With the ever-changing battlefield and the constant change of the terrorists’ techniques and procedures, the ability to adapt is extremely important.
1st Lt. Casey Newell, a gun truck platoon leader, with Company A, 704th Spt. Bde. said he recognizes the necessity for a section such as the Blacksmith’s S&R. “To be successful in this conflict means that you need to be able to adapt to an ever-changing enemy,” Newell said. “The technical expertise offered by Chief Warrant Officer 2 Pruitt and his Soldiers provides us with that means of adaptation,” he said.
The S&R provides the means of adapting by fabricating devices such as the installation of the ballistic glass around the turret of the M1114 humvee, which allows gunners to have a greater field of view while remaining protected from enemy fire.
The Soldiers of S&R are learning to adapt as well by cross-training with the other MOSs of the section, said Staff Sgt. Gerald Williams, the section noncommissioned officer-in-charge and a wheeled vehicle mechanic. “I thought there would be more of a mission for recovery than welding; however, with the higher demands for fabrication, it has allowed me the opportunity to cross train with chief and learn more about welding and develop a better understanding of what the 44Bs are capable of.”
Williams’ positive outlooks are shared by the rest of the Soldiers of the sections. “I am proud just to be a member of the section that helps make up the backbone of the battalion,” said Sgt. Eddie Corpuz.
Coalition forces kill 12 terrorists
Upon arrival the troops took direct fire and immediately engaged the threat with small arms fire as well as rotary wing aircraft machine gun fire. The troops initially killed five terrorists outside of the safe house, and then called for an air strike to neutralize the persistent direct fire coming from the safe house.
After the precision air strike, the ground troops conducted a tactical search of the destroyed safe house and located the bodies of seven more terrorists and a woman. Every male who was found in the rubble was wearing an AK-47 vest with two loaded magazines and two grenades. The troops also discovered suicide notes on one of the terrorists, body bombs, weapons to include a shoulder-fired rocket and ammunition.
The first terrorist who ran out of the safe house upon the troops’ arrival was attempting to launch the shoulder-fired rocket and was immediately engaged and killed.
Two wanted terrorists, one potentially transnational, were believed to be operating from this safe house. However, it is unknown at this time if the two were killed in the raid. Coalition forces are currently determining the identity of those killed. The troops destroyed the weapons, suicide vests/body bombs and ammunition on-site.
Many of you, like me, followed the 4ID/TF Ironhorse actions in the Sunni Triangle during the first deployment. Names like Samarra, Tikrit, Baqubah, and Ad Dwar are names we all remember well. Even though 4ID does not have that area on this deployment, I thought you would like to see these successes of our 101st Airborne Divisions Soldiers who are now working there.
Mortar attack stopped
TIKRIT, Iraq, April 26, 2006 – Task Force Band of
Brothers Soldiers shot and killed a terrorist preparing a mortar attack
The Soldiers engaged the men before they could fire the mortar, killing one and forcing the other two to flee. A search of the truck uncovered two mortar systems, 13 mortar rounds, a rocket-propelled grenade launcher with two warheads as well as several items commonly used in IED construction.
IED triggerman captured
Tikrit, Iraq, April 26, 2006 - Task Force Band of Brothers Soldiers detained a suspected IED triggerman April 25 shortly after the man detonated a roadside bomb against a coalition convoy in Ad Dawr. A coalition aircraft spotted the man hiding on a nearby rooftop when the attack occurred. Soldiers from the convoy were guided to the building and captured the suspect. The man tested positive for explosives residue and was detained for further questioning. No Soldiers were injured in the attack.
Kidnappers stopped; victim rescued
Units stationed in Samarra had already been aware of a “be on the lookout” (BOLO) report for a silver sedan suspected of being involved in a kidnapping when some alert Soldiers noticed a pair of silver sedans along a major thoroughfare in southern Salah ah Din province.
The two automobiles were parked next to each other as observers noticed the occupants passing what appeared to be a rifle between the two vehicles. Soldiers began pursuit of the vehicles but were unable to maintain contact.
The pursuing Soldiers radioed other troops in the area to be on the lookout for the two sedans. Soon afterward another patrol spotted one of the sedans and was able to stop the vehicle. Three occupants inside the car were detained while the vehicle was searched. While searching the vehicle Soldiers soon discovered the bound and gagged kidnap victim inside the trunk of the car.
Shortly thereafter Soldiers stopped two more cars matching the description of the suspected criminals involved, and detained their two occupants. The victim was promptly transported to a nearby military medical facility and the five detainees taken to a secured location for further questioning.
Anti-Iraqi Forces, to include criminals, continue to
victimize the common people of
AIF routed after attacks on Iraqi security forces in Baqubah
The attacks began in southern Baqubah in the afternoon when the Buhriz police station and five police checkpoints were simultaneously attacked with mortar rounds, rocket-propelled grenades and small arms fire. Iraqi Soldiers and police killed 17 AIF and detained 28 responsible for the attacks. One Iraqi Soldier was killed and two were wounded. Four Iraqi police were wounded.
In Dali Abbas, the 3rd Brigade, 5th Iraqi Army Headquarters was reportedly attacked by more than 100 terrorists with mortar rounds, RPGs and small arms fire. The Soldiers returned fire, killing four AIF and detaining 15. Six Iraqi Soldiers died and eight were wounded. Two civilians were also killed and four were wounded during the attack on the 3-5th Headquarters.
Diyala police forces and 5th Iraqi Army quickly reacted to
these attacks and have secured the city of
An Answer to a Question From a Reader
just a curious wife of a Soldier in (pick your unit). I was curious
why we don't see much about those Soldiers in that unit? I'm sure it
may not be as exciting as Kalsu or Baghdad, but I would love to see
some things about the guys in our unit. Thanks so much for all you do.
I was just curious - please don't think I am trying to be rude. You
provide a profound connection from us to our Soldiers.
Great question - and here is the answer I sent that wife: Very simple - no one sends me news about them. The public affairs office reporters do a good job of reporting from a strong cross section of units but they can't cover them all. It seems that we get more reports from 2BCT and 4BCT than from the others. I do my best to use most articles that come to me from the PAO teams and from unit newsletters and other sources I find.
And, as far as hearing from families, I put whatever news I receive in my updates - it is totally dependent on what family members send me. The only unit that gets preferential treatment is 1-22 IN (my old unit that I served with in Vietnam) - I'll admit to giving them a little more space than any other unit but I think you'll agree that I am fair in my overall reporting.
If you want news from your unit in the updates, talk to your fellow families and get them to send me the news they hear from their Soldiers.
22nd Georgian Light Inf. Bn. joins MND-B, assumes security operations in IZ
Staff Sgt. Brent Williams
4th BCT PAO, 4th Inf. Div.
April 27, 2006
Attached to the 4th Infantry Division’s 4th Brigade Combat Team, the Georgian army’s 22nd Light Infantry Battalion, 2nd Brigade, uncased its unit colors during the ceremony at Forward Operating Base Union I.
The ceremonious act signified the successful completion of the Georgian Armed Forces’ 21st Light Battalion, 2nd Brigade’s seven-month mission to provide force protection and stabilization operations within the International Zone and Iraq.
“This is a special day,” said Col. Michael Beech, commander, 4th BCT, 4th Inf. Div. “I’d like to especially recognize and congratulate
the 21st Bn. on their successful tour of duty completing seven months
Beech thanked the Georgian soldiers for their disciplined and professional performance, wishing Capt. Nikoloz Nemsitsveridze, the outgoing battalion commander, and his soldiers luck and speed during their redeployment. “Over the past seven months, the 21st Bn. has more than just accomplished this mission, but has built for itself a reputation for being a tough and well disciplined military force,” Beech said to the company commanders standing in formation before him.
The brigade commander also used
the ceremony as an opportunity to officially welcome the incoming unit
to its mission in
With the casing of their colors,
the commander of the 21st Lt. Inf. Bn. officially transferred his
(Editor's Note from Bob: I'm proud to see another 22nd Infantry battalion working with the 4ID and MND-B. With the US 1-22 IN and 2-22 IN already there, we have even more 22nd Infantry Soldiers taking the fight to the enemy - Deeds not Words! Hooah!).
What Our Families Are Hearing From Our Soldiers in Iraq
1) HI Bob !!!! Yes, it is one of those nights (early AM hours) that I can't sleep, so here I am at the computer. I found the article on the 8-10 CAV, 4 BCT hitting very close to home. My husband is in 8-10 Cav. My husband is so proud of his Soldiers / all Soldiers who serve. Some of the Soldiers comments that were quoted -- it was if I was talking to my husband . These were exact words that I have heard from my husband! I am so proud of my husband and all of the Soldiers. I can hear in the distance Soldiers here at Fort Hood training in the field, and my thoughts are I can only imagine what the Soldiers are going through 24/7 in Iraq. Thank you for being part of the 4 ID family.
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