View Full Version : Kicking butt in Iraq

03-21-2005, 04:25 PM
Iraq Sees Largest Militant Toll in Months

Updated 4:33 PM ET March 21, 2005


BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) - U.S. soldiers, ambushed by dozens of Iraqi militants near the infamous "Triangle of Death," responded by killing 26 guerrillas in the largest single insurgent death toll since last fall's battle for Fallujah, the U.S. military said Monday.

The high number of deaths in Sunday's daylight battle south of Baghdad was attributed to the large number of attackers, unusual in a country where most clashes are carried out by small bands of gunmen or suicide bombers.

"I was surprised at the numbers," said Staff Sgt. Timothy Nein, a squad leader for the 617th Military Police Company of Richmond, Ky., and a native of Henryville, Ind., involved in the firefight. "Usually we can usually expect seven to 10."

As the U.S. military reported that and other successes against the insurgency, attackers struck several times Monday, killing seven civilians and three Iraqi soldiers. A roadside bomb in Aziziyah, 35 miles southeast of Baghdad, killed four women and three children, police said.

Reporting on Sunday's big firefight, the U.S. military said MPs and artillery units from the Kentucky National Guard were traveling along a road 20 miles southeast of Baghdad around noon when 40 to 50 militants emerged from a grove of trees and a roadside canal firing automatic weapons and rocket-propelled grenades.

The soldiers returned fire, killing or wounding all the insurgents in a field and driving away those attacking from the canal. Seven Americans were reported wounded, but no details were given on their conditions. Commanders said seven wounded insurgents and one unwounded attacker were captured.

The guerrilla death toll _ 26 _ was the highest in a single clash in Iraq since U.S. forces took control of the formerly insurgent-held city of Fallujah west of the capital.

In late December, an attack on a U.S. military outpost in Mosul resulted in the deaths of 25 insurgents and one U.S. soldier.

Military officials said the road where Sunday's attack occurred has seen a surge in violence against coalition forces, including an ambush Friday in nearly the same spot that killed a foreign driver. They blame a nearby village believed to be an insurgent hideout.

After the battle, U.S. troops recovered six rocket-propelled grenade launchers, 16 rockets, 13 machine guns, 22 assault rifles, more than 2,900 bullets and 40 hand grenades.

It was one of several blows to the insurgency that were reported Monday.

A pre-dawn raid Monday by U.S. and Iraqi forces in Kirkuk captured 13 people believed tied to a fatal attack on a local police officer and the bombing of his funeral procession that killed three more officers. Thirty other suspects were detained Friday in Karbala.

U.S. officials also said two suspects were arrested in the suicide bombing Sunday that killed the anti-corruption director in the northern city of Mosul, Walid Kashmoula.

In addition, they said 10 men captured by Iraqi soldiers last week had confessed to staging a March 9 suicide bombing in Baghdad using a garbage truck near the Agricultural Ministry and a hotel favored by Westerners. At least four people, including the attackers and a guard, were killed in that attack.

Officials also said two insurgents were killed and two wounded in two separate incidents when they were found digging roadside holes for homemade bombs in Salaheddin province north of Baghdad.

In violence Monday:

_An Iraqi solider died and four were wounded when their vehicle was hit by a rocket-propelled grenade in western Baghdad. Also in the capital, gunmen in two speeding cars fired at an Iraq army foot patrol, killing one soldier and wounding one.

_Another Iraqi soldier was killed in Sherqat, 160 miles north of Baghdad, when a mortar shell struck his army camp.

_The head of the police force in Baghdad's Kazimiyah neighborhood, Col. Mou'yad Farhan, escaped unhurt when gunmen shot at his car but his driver suffered serious injuries.

_In Samarra, a pickup truck driven by a suicide bomber exploded prematurely near a hospital, wounding about a dozen civilians and damaging homes.

Political negotiations to form a coalition government remained snagged in a disagreement between Shiite Arabs and Kurds.

03-21-2005, 06:38 PM
A roadside bomb in Aziziyah, 35 miles southeast of Baghdad, killed four women and three children, police said.

I want to see one of the raging libs on this board start a thread about the terrorist bastards that kill women and children.

And no, I'm not going to hold my breath.

03-21-2005, 09:02 PM
March 18, 2005

"The Nation that makes a great distinction between its scholars and its warriors will have its thinking done by cowards and its fighting done by fools."
- Thucydides

This morning SPC Frances was taking a practicing test for the SAT, and asked me if I would help him with an especially difficult question. I read through the question and dissected it for him, pointing out the definitions for each of the myriad terms. He settled on the correct answer, and happily continued on with the test.

I promptly forgot about the incident and went back to putting together a safety class for my soldiers. Seriously. As I sat there fabricating a powerpoint presentation I was struck by the incongruity between reality and my tasking. I was sitting at my desk in the middle of a war zone making a briefing for soldiers in combat about how to stay safe. As I built the class I realized there were some valid points that needed to be covered, but it still felt wrong.

After lunch I pulled together my soldiers and several other troops from other shops and hammered through the briefings. I spent a good hour covering all the issues and then turned off the slides and happily transitioned back to mission. A few minutes later the shop emptied and SPC Frances slowly approached my desk and asked permission to ask a question. I agreed, pushed my paperwork away, and leaned back in preparation for another SAT question. As I waited for the question SPC Frances started fumbling for words, only managing to get out “you don’t have to answer”. I patiently waited until he finished, and then told him to fire away. When he finally managed to string together the question I was shocked by the blunt impact of the words. The flicker of pain came not for the content of his question, but from its unspoken implications. What SPC Frances said as he sheepishly stood before my desk staring at the floor was “Sir, you’re like, ummmm, you know, really smart. And you’re doing this when you could ummmm, you know, so many other things. Don’t you wish you were, ummm doing something better?”.

The question is one I’ve heard from several well meaning individuals, but never, ever from a soldier. If it were possible I would have torn the implicit assumption that question housed and crushed it beneath my muddy heels. Because wrapped in that question like two fat maggots in an otherwise perfect roast sits two false postulates that have poisoned many clear thinking individuals. The first deadly lie is that soldiers are stupid. The second is that the Army is a dumping ground for people with no other options.

I paused for a long moment after SPC Frances asked his question, unsure of how to answer the question and simultaneously leach its poisonous implications. And then I stood up, told SPC Frances to follow me out of the TOC, and we went outside to sit in the sun and talk. I had hoped the desert sunlight might somehow burn away the bitter responses that were welling up like raw crude. Instead I walked into the acrid smell of burnt plastic, which seemed fine tuned to match the frequency of my heart.

By time we were outside I had stalled long enough, and I started to talk. I spoke from experience, and I spoke from the heart. I told him about the misery of feeling my feet rot in the swamps of Florida during ranger school. I told him about getting stuck in knee deep mud during a blinding deluge in Germany. I talked about having to pull my frozen finger off the trigger while riding through the Balkan winter. I talked about the string of missed birthdays, holidays and weddings I never had the opportunity to celebrate. And I told him about living in the sun stoked furnace that was Kuwait in the summer. I purged all the collective misery of my decade in the service. Having finished my impromptu confession I paused for a long moment, letting SPC Frances absorb the full weight of my response.

As the silence stretched like a teardrop waiting to fall I broke the silence and told him that I would do it all over again. His face contorted into a mask of disbelief, his jaw drooping slightly from the strain of following this verbal about-face. His lips shaped the word “Why?” but there was no breath to give it voice.

Before answering him I told him about how part of my heart chipped off when I looked into a mass grave in Bosnia. How for days after my dreams were clouded with an image of the very earth opening a yawning pit to engulf the dead, only to choke on their numbers and leave them on the surface half swallowed. I talked about countries where famine and disease left people whose bodies left shadows that gave the illusion you were looking at a photographic negative of a skeleton. About places where the only rule of law was the brutal and unswerving laws of physics and ballistics and the only peace one could hope for was the grave. And the story that did not need telling, the story of our ongoing struggle with insurgents who revel in the misery and deaths they cause our forces and the Iraqis.

As I finished I noticed my mouth was dry and I had to take a long draw of water before continuing. When I slaked my thirst I told SPC Frances to close his eyes and I would tell him why. As he closed his eyes I told him to imagine his young wife, his beautiful infant daughter and the future he wanted for them. He paused a moment and a smile slowly creased his face. As he looked up I caught his eyes and told him a simple truth. I told him that the thin line that separates the two realities isn’t a line on a map or the signature block on a document filled with hollow proclamations. The dividing line between the two kingdoms is a long line of soldiers. And that is why I’m proud to call myself a soldier. Its not about a lack of options, or the size of my paycheck. Its about what kind of world I want to leave for my children if I am lucky enough to be a father.

SPC Frances thanked me for the explanation and moved back into the office. I don’t if the words resonated but as he walked away SPC Frances seemed to stand a little taller and step with a little more confidence. As he should... as he should.


the Talking Can
03-21-2005, 11:59 PM
imagine if we sent enough soldiers to secure peace in the first place...what a cluster****

03-22-2005, 12:37 AM
imagine if we sent enough soldiers to secure peace in the first place...what a cluster****
To secure a place like that you'd need one soldier to follow and be responsible for each citizen. Then you'd probably also need to line them up, shoulder to shoulder, around the entire border of the country. Even then you'd STILL have to have patrols. Hell, you act like murders and crazy s**t don't happen every day in NY, LA, Detroit, Washington DC...hey, you know, all those places are controlled by libs. You'd think they would be feeling the love by now.

You can't secure peace with people (terrorists) who don't want peace without killing them. Our men and women over there are doing that, and quite well I might add. However, there will always be psychos and a desire to grab power through violence. And for whatever reason the ME has more than it's share of those types.

Duck Dog
03-22-2005, 08:31 AM
imagine if we sent enough soldiers to secure peace in the first place...what a cluster****

How would more soldiers equate to securing peace? Have you really been that breain washed, to think that more troops would stop the Islamist's from attacking?

Using that logic, Israel should bolster their military size. That would certainly stop the suicide bombers.

It's hardly a cluster ****. Anyone who thinks this was going to be easy and quick is foolish.

03-22-2005, 06:25 PM
Ordinary Iraqis Wage a Successful Battle Against Insurgents

Published: March 22, 2005

AGHDAD, Iraq, March 22 - Ordinary Iraqis rarely strike back at the insurgents who terrorize their country. But just before noon today, a carpenter named Dhia saw a troop of masked gunmen with grenades coming towards his shop and decided he had had enough.

As the gunmen emerged from their cars, Dhia and his young relatives shouldered their own AK-47's and opened fire, police and witnesses said. In the fierce gun battle that followed, three of the insurgents were killed, and the rest fled just after the police arrived. Two of Dhia's young nephews and a bystander were injured, the police said.

"We attacked them before they attacked us," Dhia, 35, his face still contorted with rage and excitement, said in a brief exchange at his shop a few hours after the battle. He did not give his last name. "We killed three of those who call themselves the mujahedeen. I am waiting for the rest of them to come and we will show them."

It was the first time that private citizens are known to have retaliated successfully against insurgents. There have been anecdotal reports of residents shooting at attackers after a bombing or assassination. But the gun battle today erupted in full view of half a dozen witnesses, including a Justice Ministry official who lives nearby.

The battle was the latest sign that Iraqis may be willing to start standing up against the attacks that leave dozens of people dead here nearly every week. After a suicide bombing in Hilla last month that killed 136 people, including a number of women and children, hundreds of residents demonstrated in front of the city hall every day for almost a week, chanting slogans against terrorism. Last week, a smaller but similar rally took place in Baghdad. Another demonstration is scheduled for Wednesday in the capital.

Like many of the attacks here, today's gun battle had sectarian overtones. Dhia and his family are Shiites, and they cook for religious festivals at the Shiite Husseiniya mosque, across from Dhia's shop. The insurgents are largely Sunnis, and they have aimed dozens of attacks at Shiite figures, celebrations, even funerals. The conflict has grown sharper in the past year, with Shiites now dominating Iraq's new police force and army and holding a narrow majority of seats in the newly elected national assembly.

The attack unfolded in Doura, a working-class neighborhood in southern Baghdad where much of the capital's violence is concentrated. A number of assassinations and bombings have taken place here in recent weeks, and the police openly acknowledge they have little control.

Just hours before the gun battle this morning, an Interior Ministry official was gunned down in Doura as he drove to work, officials said.

Elsewhere in Iraq, insurgents continued their campaign of violence. In the northern city of Mosul, four civilians were killed this morning and 14 wounded when a roadside bomb detonated near an American military convoy, health officials said. The bomb did not appear to have harmed the convoy, witnesses said, but destroyed four or five civilian cars that were passing near it on the Sunharib bridge, in the city center.

In Anbar province, the troubled area west of Baghdad, gunmen kidnapped six Iraqi soldiers today as they walked to a bus station, The Associated Press reported.

Just before the gun battle in Doura began, witnesses saw the gunmen circling near the Husseiniya mosque in three cars, said Amjad Hamid, 25, who works in Iraq's Ministry of Justice. They stopped near Dhia's shop, across from the mosque.

The men carried pistols and guns, and one had a belt full of hand grenades, Mr. Hamid said. They drove an Oldsmobile, a gray Honda, and a red Volkswagen Passat.

When the shooting began, Mr. Hamid said, his mother ran outside shouting his name, and was struck by bullets in the leg and the ear.

After a group of insurgents fled, leaving the Honda and three of their dead behind them, one was left behind, said the Doura police chief. The gunman broke into a nearby house and hid there, holding the residents at gunpoint, until his friends arrived and drove him away, the police chief said.

The owner of the house, who spoke on condition that he not be named, said the gunman entered through the garage and made his way to the living room.

"I heard the screaming of the women, so I went to see what was the matter and I saw a guy holding an AK-47," the man said.

The homeowner said the gunman then shouted: "Keep me here for a short time until I can leave the area or I will kill you all. I don't want anyone to leave this room."

They obeyed. The gunman telephoned some friends, and stayed for about an hour until they arrived to pick him up. Before he left, the owner of the house said, he issued a final warning: "If you scream or call the police, my friends will come and kill you. They know where you are."

Two of Dhia's nephews who were with him during the attack, one aged 13, one 24, were wounded, family members said. After the police arrived, they recovered the bodies of the three dead insurgents, who were identified through documents in their clothing as Abdul Razzaq Hamid, Abdul Hamid Abed, and Zaid Safaa, officials said.

Hours later, Dhia was still furiously cursing the mujahedeen when he spoke to a reporter in his carpentry shop. A Shiite cleric quickly told him to stop talking, and he complied.

Meanwhile, a group of armed neighborhood men stood watch on the roof of the house, guarding the streets leading to the Husseiniya mosque and Dhia's shop.

"I am sure they will be back," one of the guards said. "We killed three of them."


03-25-2005, 05:57 PM
'Over the next few days you will see on the television news shows, and in the print news media the story of a Military Police Squad who are heroes. Through those outlets, I doubt that their story will get out in a truly descriptive manner. I can't express to you the pride, awe, and respect I feel for the soldiers of call sign Raven 42.

On Sunday afternoon, in a very bad section of scrub-land called Salman Pak, on the southeastern outskirts of Baghdad, 40 to 50 heavily-armed Iraqi insurgents attacked a convoy of 30 civilian tractor trailer trucks that were moving supplies for the coalition forces, along an Alternate Supply Route. These tractor trailers, driven by third country nationals (primarily Turkish), were escorted by 3 armored Hummers from the COSCOM*. When the insurgents attacked, one of the Hummers was in their kill zone and the three soldiers aboard were immediately wounded, and the platform taken under heavy machinegun and RPG** fire.
Along with them, three of the truck drivers were killed, 6 were wounded in the tractor trailer trucks. The enemy attacked from a farmer's barren field next to the road, with a tree line perpendicular to the ASR***, two dry irrigation ditches forming a rough L-shaped trenchline, and a house standing off the dirt road. After three minutes of sustained fire, a squad o f enemy moved forward toward the disabled and suppressed trucks. Each of the enemy had hand-cuffs and were looking to take hostages for ransom or worse, to take those three wounded US soldiers for more internet beheadings.

About this time, three armored Hummers that formed the MP Squad under call sign Raven 42, 617th MP Co, Kentucky National Guard, assigned to the 503rd MP Bn (Fort Bragg), 18th MP Bde, arrived on the scene like the cavalry. The squad had been shadowing the convoy from a distance behind the last vehicle, and when the convoy trucks stopped and became backed up from the initial attack, the squad sped up, paralleled the convoy up the shoulder of the road, and moved to the sound of gunfire.

They arrived on the scene just as a squad of about ten enemy had moved forward across the farmer's field and were about 20 meters from the road. The MP squad opened fire with .50 cal machineguns and Mk19 grenade launchers and drove across the front of the enemy's kill zone, between the enemy and the trucks, drawing fire off of the tractor trailers.

The MP's crossed the kill zone and then turned up an access road at a right angle to the ASR and next to the field full of enemy fighters. The three vehicles, carrying nine MPs and one medic, stopped in a line on the dirt access road and flanked the enemy positions with plunging fire from the .50 cal and the SAW machinegun (Squad Automatic Weapon). In front of them, was a line of seven sedans, with all their doors and trunk lids open, the getaway cars and the lone two story house off on their left.

Immediately the middle vehicle was hit by an RPG knocking the gunner unconscious from his turret and down into the vehicle. The Vehicle Commander (the TC*****), the squad's leader, thought the gunner was dead, but tried to treat him from inside the vehicle. Simultaneously, the rear vehicle's driver and TC, section leader two, open their doors and dismount to fight, while their gunner continued firing from his position in the gun platform on top of the Hummer. Immediately, all three fall under heavy return machinegun fire, wounded. The driver of the middle vehicle saw them fall out the rearview mirror, dismounts and sprints to get into the third vehicle and take up the SAW on top the vehicle. The Squad's medic dismounts from that third vehicle, and joined by the first vehicle's driver (CLS trained****) who sprinted back to join him, begins combat life-saving techniques to treat the three wounded MPs. The gunner on the floor of the second vehicle is revived by his TC, the squad leader, and he climbs back into the .50 cal and opens fire. The Squad leader dismounted with his M4 carbine, and 2 hand grenades, grabbed the section leader out of the first vehicle who had rendered radio reports of their first contact. The two of them, squad leader Staff Sergeant and team leader Sergeant with her M4 and M203 grenade launcher, rush the nearest ditch about 20 meters away to start clearing the natural trenchline. The enemy has gone into the ditches and is hiding behind several small trees in the back of the lot. The .50 cal and SAW flanking fire tears apart the ten enemy in the lead trenchline.

Meanwhile, the two treating the three wounded on the ground at the rear vehicle come under sniper fire from the farmer's house. Each of them, remember one is a medic, pull out AT-4 rocket launchers from the HMMWV and nearly-simultaneously fire the rockets into the house to neutralize the shooter. The two sergeants work their way up the trenchline, throwing grenades, firing grenades from the launcher, and firing their M4s.

The sergeant runs low on ammo and runs back to a vehicle to reload. She moves to her squad leader's vehicle, and because this squad is led so well, she knows exactly where to reach her arm blindly into a different vehicle to find ammo-because each vehicle is packed exactly the same, with discipline.

As she turns to move back to the trenchline, Gunner in two sees an AIF***** jump from behind one of the cars and start firing on the Sergeant. He pulls his 9mm, because the .50 cal is pointed in the other direction, and shoots five rounds wounding him.****** The sergeant moves back to the trenchline under fire from the back of the field, with fresh mags, two more grenades, and three more M203 rounds. The Mk 19 gunner suppresses the rear of the field.

Now, rejoined with the squad leader, the two sergeants continue clearing the enemy from the trenchline, until they see no more movement. A lone man with an RPG launcher on his shoulder steps from behind a tree and prepares to fire on the three Hummers and is killed with a single aimed SAW shot thru the head by the previously knocked out gunner on platform two, who now has a SAW out to supplement the .50 cal in the mount.

The team leader sergeant--she claims four killed by aimed M4 shots.

The Squad Leader--he threw four grenades taking out at least two AIF, and attributes one other to her aimed M203 fire.

The gunner on platform two, previously knocked out from a hit by the RPG, has now swung his .50 cal around and, realizing that the line of vehicles represents a hazard and possible getaway for the bad guys, starts shooting the .50cal into the engine blocks until his field of fire is limited. He realizes that his vehicle is still running despite the RPG hit, and drops down from his weapon, into the drivers seat and moves the vehicle forward on two flat tires about 100 meters into a better firing position. Just then, the vehicle dies, oil spraying everywhere. He remounts his .50 cal and continues shooting the remaining of the seven cars lined up and ready for a get-away that wasn't to happen. The fire dies down about then, and a second squad arrives on the scene, dismounts and helps the two giving first aid to the wounded at platform three. Two minutes later three other squads from the 617th arrive, along with the CO, and the field is secured, consolidation begins.

Those seven Americans (with the three wounded) killed in total 24 heavily armed enemy, wounded 6 (two later died), and captured one unwounded, who feigned injury to escape the fight. They seized 22 AK-47s, 6x RPG launchers w/ 16 rockets, 13x RPK machineguns, 3x PKM machineguns, 40 hand grenades, 123 fully loaded 30-rd AK magazines, 52 empty mags, and 10 belts of 2500 rds of PK ammo.

The three wounded MPs have been evacuated to Landstuhl. One lost a kidney and will be paralyzed. The other two will most likely recover, though one will forever have a bullet lodged between second and third ribs below his heart. No word on the three COSCOM soldiers wounded in the initial volleys. Of the 7 members of Raven 42 who walked away, two are Caucasian Women, the rest men-one is Mexican-American, the medic is African-American, and the other two are Caucasian-the great American melting pot.

They believed even before this fight that their NCOs were the best in the Army, and that they have the best squad in the Army. The Medic who fired the AT-4, said he remembered how from the week before when his squad leader forced him to train on it, though he didn't think as a medic he would ever use one. He said he chose to use it in that moment to protect the three wounded on the ground in front of him, once they came under fire from the building. The day before this mission, they took the new RFI bandoliers that were recently issued, and experimented with mounting them in their vehicles. Once they figured out how, they pre-loaded a second basic load of ammo into magazines, put them into the bandoliers, and mounted them in their vehicles---the same exact way in every vehicle-load plans enforced and checked by leaders!

Leadership under fire-once those three leaders (NCOs) stepped out of their vehicles, the squad was committed to the fight.

Their only complaints in the AAR were: the lack of stopping power in the 9mm; the .50 cal incendiary rounds they are issued in lieu of ball ammo (shortage of ball in the inventory) didn't have the penetrating power needed to pierce the walls of the building; and that everyone in the squad was not CLS trained.

Yesterday, Monday, was spent with the chaplain and the chain of command conducting AARs. Today, every news media in theater wanted them. Good Morning America, NBC, CBS, FOX, ABC, Stars and Stripes, and many radio stations from Kentucky all were lined up today. The female E5 Sergeant who fought thru the trenchline will become the anti-Jessica Lynch media poster child. She and her squad leader deserve every bit of recognition they will get, and more. They all do.

I participated in their AAR as the BDE S2, and am helping in putting together an action report to justify future valor awards. Lets not talk about women in combat. Lets not talk about the new Close Combat Badge not including MPs."



COSCOM* : Corps Support Command-The echelon that provides supply, Military Police, Medical, and other support to deployed combat Divisions and other tactical units.

RPG** Rocket Propelled Grenades-Cheap, accurate, devastating weapons. I wish we had them.developed by the Soviets.they are everywhere!

ASR*** Alternate Supply Route. This convoy was obviously on a mission off the MSR (Main Supply Route).

CLS trained**** Combat Life Saving Trained. This is a remarkable addition to the basic medical training we used to receive. It is saving lives on the battlefield as it supplements and enhances the skills the Company Medics have.

*****AIF: Anti-Iraq Forces