Skip to comments.Operation cuts weapons flow in Baghdad
Posted on 01/04/2004 5:37:44 AM PST by Ragtime Cowgirl
Operation cuts weapons flow in Baghdad
BAGHDAD, Iraq Just days after the capture of Saddam Hussein by Coalition Forces, Task Force 1st Armored Division continued driving forward to help liberate the Iraqi people from terrorist activity in their own backyard.
More than 500 paratroopers from the 2nd Brigade, 82nd Airborne Division, which is attached to the Germany-based U.S. 1st Armored Division, halted traffic on Highway 8 in the Al Rashid District of southern Baghdad on Dec. 16, in hopes of discovering and preventing illegal activities on one of Baghdad's busiest highways. Although Hussein is in custody, Col. Kurt Fuller, 2nd Brigade commander, said there are many operations still to be done.
"We are still out there running offensive operations and rounding up these guys and interrogating them. Those interrogations lead to the capture of more bad guys," he said. "We are not packing our bags and going home just because he was captured. There are still bad guys out there and, as long as they are terrorizing soldiers and Iraqis, our job isn't done here."
With increased improvised explosive device (IED) attacks against Coalition Forces and Iraqis, these operations disrupt the insurgents ability to bring IED-making material and illegal weapons into Baghdad, a city of more than five million people.
"We are attempting to locate people who are transporting illegal weapons, equipment or IEDs into our area of operations," said Capt. Sam Mokhiber, brigade plans officer.
With the increasing numbers of attacks on Coalition Forces on Highway 8, Mokhiber said the choice of any operational targets comes from a variety of sources.
Targets are nominated by the battalion, other governmental agencies and special operations soldiers," he said.
With information gained from different sources of intelligence and given to brigade intelligence officers, planners are able to make the best decision with the best possible outcome, Mokhiber said.
"In the end, we want the bad guys off the streets," he said. "We can disrupt enemy attacks by attempting to disrupt the flow of these illegal weapons and equipment being transported in and out of the city."
Although the desired result would be a large amount of weapons being confiscated, just having U.S. paratroopers out in force on the roads in Baghdad is a deterrent for anyone thinking of committing a crime, he said. With a plan and with intelligence in hand, the "Blue Falcons" of third battalion, quickly put the operation into motion.
Wearing mud-covered uniforms and vehicles muddied from the previous days of rain, paratroopers from the Falcon brigade spent the early afternoon cleaning their weapons and making last-minute adjustments to the operational plan. Within minutes of notification to move to the highway, several large trucks rolled out of the forward operating base, carrying the paratroopers to a nearby neighborhood for last-minute preparations before the operation would begin.
First Platoon, A Company, dismounted out of sight of the highway traffic and local onlookers who could give early warning of the search. AH-64 Apache attack helicopters kept watch and served as eyes in the sky while the paratroopers made their way to the busy objective.
The crackling sounds of commands from tactical radios gave the go-ahead for the swift movement of the armored vehicles and military police High Mobility Multi-Wheeled Vehicles (HMMWV) to block both ends of the isolated zone on a one-mile stretch of one of Iraq's deadliest roads.
Iraqi civilian vehicles were no match for 1st Squadron, 1st Calvary Regiment's M-3A2 Calvary Fighting Vehicles.
Within minutes, Highway 8 was transformed into a large traffic jam that resembled any major metropolitan areas highway during rush hour. Local Iraqis, most of whom have had experience going through checkpoints, got out of their vehicles and cooperated with the paratroopers.
With traffic at a complete standstill, paratroopers searched vehicles and marked each one with colored soap ensuring that vehicles were not searched twice. Within an hour, the search was over. Razor wire was collected, highway markers were picked up and paratroopers walked back to their waiting vehicles giving each other high-fives after a long afternoon of collective work to make Iraq a better place to live.
"We are making a difference," Fuller said. "There are a million things that have to be done. There's a long way to go. You can't repair 30 years of neglect in a couple months."
Just invoke NY city's Sullivan Law, or the Brady Bill.