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Days-Long Dig Yields Thousands of Munitions
Defend America News ^ | Oct 17, 2005 | Army Sgt. Matthew Wester

Posted on 10/17/2005 5:44:08 PM PDT by SandRat

Photo, caption below.
U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Owen Williams, assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 70th Engineer Battalion, 3rd Brigade, 1st Armored Division, carries two artillery shells out of a weapons cache site northwest of Baghdad, Iraq, Oct. 4, 2005. Williams is from West Plains, Mo. U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Matthew Wester
Days-Long Dig Yields Thousands of Munitions
During a traffic stop, two men were questioned about the fuses in their truck;
the information they provided led U.S. soldiers to thousands of buried munitions.
By U.S. Army Sgt. Matthew Wester

3rd Brigade, 1st Armored Division

TAJI, Iraq, Oct. 17, 2005 — A U.S. Army combat engineer sifts through the sun-bleached sand and uncovers a shiny rocket tube as other soldiers scramble into the pit to pry the tube from the ground.

They've been at this for hours and found hundreds of pounds of explosives, but the site isn't empty yet.

The soldiers of 70th Engineer Battalion, 3rd Brigade, 1st Armored Division, found the weapons cache in a remote area northwest of Baghdad and worked to uncover the munitions for several days.

"Just like a good fisherman can look at the water and say, 'Hey, there are probably fish over there,' our guys have developed the ability to do that (with weapons caches) as well."
U.S. Army Command Sgt. Maj. Anthony M. Cady

Since the battalion, nicknamed "Kodiaks," started digging in the arid, desert-like terrain, they have unearthed more than 700 mortar rounds (ranging from 60-millimeter to 120-millimeter), more than 700 rocket-propelled grenades, hundreds of rockets and 51,000 rounds of anti-aircraft ammunition.

The Kodiak soldiers, assisted by troops from 977th Military Police Company, also found several mortar tubes, various explosives, small-arms weapons, homemade rocket launchers, wires and timing devices.

"Any time we find a cache this size, we take a lot of pride in it. It's a big win for us," said U.S. Army Capt. Jesse Curry, commander of 70th Engineer Battalion's C Company. "We know that these are rounds that won't be buried on the side of the road in our sector or around Baghdad."

The catalyst for the cache discovery was a routine patrol conducted by C Company miles away from the site.

"We found the cache based on a 'snap' traffic stop and that led us out to this site in the first place," said U.S. Army Command Sgt. Maj. Anthony M. Cady, command sergeant major for the Kodiaks. "It's kind of like a piece of string frayed on a sweater. We just pulled on it and instead of the piece of string ending, we ended up with a whole sweater."

During their combat operations, the C Company patrol pulled over a truck and found fuses inside. The soldiers detained the two men in the truck, questioned them and got the information that led them to the general area of the weapons site.

Once they were there, they had to rely on their experience and instincts to unearth all the hidden munitions.

"We started off with picks and shovels," Curry said. "You identify where you think there is a cache, and you call your buddies over with the picks and shovels and start digging."

"The combat engineers in the Kodiak Battalion have become very adept at identifying what appears to be likely places that anti-Iraqi forces have stored their munitions," Cady said. "Just like a good fisherman can look at the water and say, 'Hey, there are probably fish over there,' our guys have developed the ability to do that (with weapons caches) as well."

 

Photo, caption below.
U.S. Army Spc. Jeremy Poly, a St. Louis, Mo., native and miitary policeman assigned to 4th Platoon, 977th Military Police Company, carries a rocket tube out of a weapons cache site northwest of Baghdad, Iraq, Oct. 4, 2005. Poly's unit assited 70th Engineer Battalion, 3rd Brigade, 1st Armored Division clear the site in a remote rural area. U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Matthew Wester
Mortars are stacked and organized at a weapons cache northwest of Baghdad, Iraq, Oct. 4, 2005. The cache was discovered by troops of 70th Engineer Battalion, 3rd Brigade, 1st Armored Division in a remote rural area on Sept. 28, 2005. U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Matthew Wester
Photo, caption below.
Mortars are stacked and organized at a weapons cache northwest of Baghdad, Iraq, Oct. 4, 2005. The cache was discovered by troops of 70th Engineer Battalion, 3rd Brigade, 1st Armored Division in a remote rural area on Sept. 28, 2005. U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Matthew Wester

"Initially, it's all done by hand with shovels," said the Kodiaks' commander, U.S. Army Lt. Col. Anthony Wright. "There is a lot of hard work involved."

As the troops dug in the fine, powdery sand, which some soldiers call "moon dust," they realized they needed heavier equipment to get to all the buried explosives.

"Our ability to get a small-emplacement excavator out here saved our soldiers from a lot of back-breaking work," Cady said. "Then, they ended up yanking (munitions) out of the hole and carrying them somewhere to set down so the explosive ordnance disposal team could get rid of it for us."

Getting rid of those illegal weapons was the purpose behind the whole operation and an important part of the Army's mission here in Iraq.

"It's one of the key missions we do. Obviously, we're disrupting anti-Iraqi forces' ability to construct improvised explosive devices and put direct fire on our forward operating bases," Cady said. "We're making Iraq a safer place for coalition forces and civilians."

"We're pretty pleased with this because it puts a big cramp in the enemy's style and his ability to execute operations," Wright added. "There is a lot of stuff here that he could have used against us and he can't now."

Finding the cache motivated the engineers to keep grinding away and patrolling, continuing to make a difference in the waning months of their combat tour here.

"It's really a boost to our morale." Curry said. "You do this kind of thing and you feel you're making tangible progress,"

He is determined to finish the tour strong.

"We're not done yet, " he said. "We've got more progress to make."



TOPICS: Foreign Affairs; War on Terror
KEYWORDS: dayslong; dig; gnfi; iraq; munitions; of; thousands; yields

1 posted on 10/17/2005 5:44:11 PM PDT by SandRat
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To: 2LT Radix jr; 68-69TonkinGulfYachtClub; 80 Square Miles; A Ruckus of Dogs; acad1228; AirForceMom; ..

Cleaning up the trash buried in Iraq


2 posted on 10/17/2005 5:44:50 PM PDT by SandRat (Duty, Honor, Country. What else needs to be said?)
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To: SandRat

Looks like we found a cache of potential IED's. This is great news!


3 posted on 10/17/2005 5:46:45 PM PDT by manwiththehands
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To: SandRat

I thought Saddam told the UN that those were wine casks?!!


4 posted on 10/17/2005 5:47:30 PM PDT by Mrs. Shawnlaw (Rock beats scissors. Don't run with rocks. NRA)
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To: SandRat

Rat....

Thanks again for keeping the good news front and center.


5 posted on 10/17/2005 5:47:33 PM PDT by ButThreeLeftsDo (Enjoy Every Sandwich)
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To: SandRat

Cleaning up the trash indeed ... both human trash (terrorists) and munitions trash (weapons cashes).

Liberating Iraq PING.


6 posted on 10/17/2005 5:59:37 PM PDT by WOSG (http://freedomstruth.blogspot.com/)
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To: SandRat

HOO-AAAHHH FOR MISSOURI!!!!


7 posted on 10/17/2005 6:07:11 PM PDT by Mrs. Shawnlaw (Rock beats scissors. Don't run with rocks. NRA)
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To: Mrs. Shawnlaw

I saw that too. Guess ya just have to Show Me !


8 posted on 10/17/2005 6:09:49 PM PDT by Eric in the Ozarks (Troubled by NOLA looting ? You ain't seen nothing yet.)
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To: SandRat

This, of course, will be the lead on all the morning news shows.


9 posted on 10/17/2005 6:11:39 PM PDT by Pete'sWife (Dirt is for racing... asphalt is for getting there.)
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To: SandRat

Makes me wonder if even saddam knew how much stuff he had buried. WMD?? Hell yes ,the whole country is a WMD with arms buried all over the place. Think of how his countrymen could have lived if they had shared in this wealth. The look at Chavez starting to do the same thing. What is the matter with these tin-pot dictators who starve their countrymen to buy crap.


10 posted on 10/17/2005 6:16:02 PM PDT by sgtbono2002
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To: SandRat
I read these stories daily on FR and I love them. They impart a feeling of pride in the military and the country as a whole. It would be so refreshing if a major news network would air this kind of stuff nightly (perhaps they actually do, I wouldn't know since I haven't watched a MSM newscast in twenty years, but I doubt it)
11 posted on 10/17/2005 6:18:14 PM PDT by TheHound (You would be paranoid too - if everyone was out to get you.)
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To: TheHound

Nope they don't.


12 posted on 10/17/2005 6:24:56 PM PDT by SandRat (Duty, Honor, Country. What else needs to be said?)
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To: SandRat

Perhaps there is still a hundred thousand tons of stuff to be found. We don't seem to hear much about any tallys, as had been voiced during mid 2004 period, where perhaps more then half of an estimated 600 thousand tons of ordance was already found/cataloged then destroyed. But at least we continue to hear major caches found in many of the provinces, as operations proceed. One has to wonder at just what is still buried, and I don't refere only to typical ordanance. I'm still convinced that there are a lot of WMD's buried in the dirt as well as at the bottom of river beds. Picture long lines of 55 gallon drums of precursors for making things like VX and Sarin just to name two.


13 posted on 10/17/2005 6:37:12 PM PDT by Marine_Uncle (Honor must be earned)
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To: Marine_Uncle

How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.:>)


14 posted on 10/17/2005 6:43:37 PM PDT by TheHound (You would be paranoid too - if everyone was out to get you.)
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To: Squantos

Looks like your skills are needed on this one!

:)


15 posted on 10/17/2005 6:51:51 PM PDT by 2111USMC
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To: ducks1944; Ragtime Cowgirl; Alamo-Girl; TrueBeliever9; maestro; TEXOKIE; My back yard; djreece; ...
Days-Long Dig Yields Thousands of Munitions

During a traffic stop, two men were questioned about the fuses in their truck; the information they provided led U.S. soldiers to thousands of buried munitions.

16 posted on 10/17/2005 6:56:48 PM PDT by Calpernia (Breederville.com)
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To: 2111USMC

Wow.....that'll be a day or two prep for that shot and 2 milliseconds of fun ........after we see stuff like this and the MIG's found buried there has to be a site with WMD's cached....has to be. Just a matter fo time !

As to this cache....sure glad all them pups get to do the heavy work. Don't think my old back could hump that much uxo into the hole these days......:o)

Thanks for the Ping Sir !.........Stay safe !


17 posted on 10/17/2005 7:10:29 PM PDT by Squantos (Be polite. Be professional. But, have a plan to kill everyone you meet. )
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To: SandRat
"Just like a good fisherman can look at the water and say,
'Hey, there are probably fish over there,' our guys have
developed the ability to do that (with weapons caches) as
well."
U.S. Army Command Sgt. Maj. Anthony M. Cady

That's a lot of words to say they've learned to smell 'em out! :-)

18 posted on 10/17/2005 7:16:23 PM PDT by JoeSixPack1 (The Price of Freedom is Written on the Wall.)
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To: SandRat

BTT. You don't just throw that much stuff on the ground and throw some sand over it. It took awhile to assemble it and dig the hole and cover it discreetly. Who, and when? And what else might they be able to tell us about?


19 posted on 10/17/2005 7:18:20 PM PDT by Billthedrill
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To: SandRat

Magnificent work!


20 posted on 10/17/2005 7:38:21 PM PDT by skr (Shopping for a tagline that fits or a fitting tagline...whichever I find first.)
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To: TheHound

"How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.:>)"

You got it. Nothing else we can do. Who would have ever thought they would have gone to so much trouble to bury so much crap. I really don't fault our military on not thinking they would go to such measures. And for all we know a lot of this burying may had gone on during the time our troops where moving into the gathering areas in Kuwait and elsewhere preparing to move in. Saddam knew we where going to cream his forces regardless of how they choose to fight. So like a good chicken shit coward Arab in the end analysis, he choose the evil route he was familiar with. A criminal mind easily would have came up with the idea. Just like a criminal low life coward would have felt happy about setting hundreds of oil wells on fire during the first Gulf War. This man is a combo between Stalin and Hitler. Surely he will get his earthly reward soon, if the Iraqi Courts do a good job.


21 posted on 10/17/2005 7:46:22 PM PDT by Marine_Uncle (Honor must be earned)
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To: Calpernia

Thanks for the ping!


22 posted on 10/17/2005 8:12:01 PM PDT by Alamo-Girl
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To: SandRat

I recall reading an article right after the liberation that said basically sadam had turned Iraq into one giant ammo dump.


23 posted on 10/17/2005 9:35:56 PM PDT by Valin (The right to do something does not mean that doing it is right.)
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To: SandRat

BTTT


24 posted on 10/18/2005 3:11:41 AM PDT by E.G.C.
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To: SandRat

Disarming the bad guys ~ Bump!


25 posted on 10/18/2005 8:03:02 AM PDT by blackie (Be Well~Be Armed~Be Safe~Molon Labe!)
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