Skip to comments.The New Band of Brothers With the 1-506th Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division in Ramadi
Posted on 06/17/2006 5:29:22 PM PDT by Cannoneer No. 4
Terrorist-infested Ramadi in the wild west of Iraq is for U.S. troops the meanest place in the country, "the graveyard of the Americans" as graffiti around town boast. There is no better place to observe American troops and the fledgling Iraqi army in combat. That's why I came. When military public affairs asked where I wanted to be embedded, I told them, "the redder, the better" (red means hostile). So they packed me off to Camp Corregidor in eastern Ramadi with the 1st Battalion, 506th Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault). The 506th's official motto is "Currahee," Cherokee for "stands alone." But they're better known as the "Band of Brothers" so dubbed by author Stephen Ambrose and HBO (although the term originally applied to just one company in the regiment).
During the Battle of Fallujah in November 2004, many of the enemy who had vowed to fight to the death, including foreign terrorists, slipped the U.S. cordon. Ramadi, a city of 400,000, was a logical destination. The southwest point of the Sunni Triangle, it lies about 30 miles west of Fallujah and that much closer to Syria a reliable source of both supplies and foreign jihadists. It's also the capital of Al Anbar province and a favorite stomping ground of al Qaeda in Iraq, led by Jordanian-born terrorist Abu Musab al Zarqawi until two 500 lb. bombs blew apart his hideout last Wednesday.
To most of the media, Baghdad is where Iraq begins and ends. So naturally, they think Baghdad is the most dangerous part of the country. Wrong.
(Excerpt) Read more at fumento.com ...
Using Iraqi 'stringers' to do the legwork in the news gathering business practically guarantees that, over time, the enemy will gain control of the information being feed to us throught the Media. Not that the editors of the major news outlets give a d@mn...
Good read at link #1 - (good video as well throughout).
Ten days before I arrived, during the night of April 9, 1st Battalion suffered its worst casualties of the deployment in a mini-"Black Hawk Down" situation. An IED flipped a Humvee, killing the driver from D Company. An M-1 Abrams tank went to retrieve it.
For good reason, Corregidor has a large complement of tanks and other armored vehicles. Unfortunately, another IED made a lucky strike on the tank, cutting the fuel line and setting it ablaze. The men inside scrambled to safety, but now things got really messy.
You can't just abandon an Abrams, because it has unique equipment and armor. If the bad guys get hold of a single vital piece they could use it to determine ways of defeating these otherwise almost invincible behemoths. Further, they could sell the information to anybody with a vested interest in blowing up M-1s. You also can't just call in an airstrike on a tank, as is routinely done with downed aircraft. That's fine for destroying secret electronics, but blasting a tank just spreads out the parts.
To make things even more dicey, the Abrams carries a powerful 120mm main gun and three machine guns. The rounds for these weapons were "cooking off" in the fire, flying in all directions. They would continue to do so for the rest of the night, making retrieval too dangerous.
So the troops set up a perimeter and waited. As with the real downing of the Black Hawks in Somalia, the burning tank attracted bad guys from throughout the city. They kept pouring into the area to kill the infidels. But with their night-vision equipment and laser pointers, Americans own the night. The enemy came in droves and they died in droves. "The insurgents were so desperate to gain momentum against us that they were literally running into the streets to plant IEDs right in front of us or throwing them over walls," says Claburn. "It was purely amazing." By the time the rounds had stopped flying and the tank was recovered, 30 jihadists were confirmed dead. Disaster had been averted. But the price in blood was high. Two more soldiers from Headquarters Company had died when another IED ripped their Humvee apart. Later the engineers whose job it was to detect and remove IEDs came into Col. Clark's office, apologizing with tears in their eyes. "I told them you tried; you did your best; but you can't get all of them all the time," Clark said. Firefight at Mulaab
My first patrol was with A Company, at night. The most exciting event was finding a cow tied up in a backyard. The bad guys had learned their lesson about night attacks. But next up was a day patrol with C Company to Mulaab, an area in southeastern Ramadi pretty much just outside the gate from Corregidor.
For this patrol, we're joined by 19 Navy SEALs. There seems no reason to have special ops around; apparently they just want to stay in practice. And so they will. We start out in a convoy of Humvees and M-113 armored personnel carriers. The M-113s are given extra protection from RPGs by metal cages (the soldiers call them "cheese graters") that detonate rounds before they strike the hull. We only travel a short distance before the reporters are invited to jump out and join the Iraqi army patrols. These aren't like the ones near Fallujah, which are split about 50/50 between Iraqis and Americans. Here two Americans are attached to each patrol, but the Iraqis are in charge. These Iraqis seem far more professional than what I'd seen in the Fallujah area. They've been repeatedly bloodied, and that makes all the difference.
The full story (linked above) is worth the read -
Good read if you haven't already caught this one -
Thank you kind sir.
A good read - Very much worth it - Click the link at #1 -
Thanks! Looking forward to it.
This is an interesting fact I wasn't aware of. The media makes it appear that the terrorists are so competent and invincible that every IED finds its target. They fail to report most IEDs are ineffective.
An added "attraction" is the snipers who occasionally pop off a round into the camp from the minarets. They know of Americans' unwillingness to attack "religious" buildings, even when they're clearly being used for military activity. When I asked Col. Clark why Iraqi army or police couldn't be used to make sure nobody entered the mosques with weapons, he was quick to say, "We never hesitate" to fire back when fired upon. "However," he added, "our fight requires strict cultural and religious sensitivity in order to be successful and legitimize the Iraqi government and army." If, he said, "the Iraqi army and Iraqi police established check points and conducted security screens at mosques it would undoubtedly be viewed negatively by the Iraqi people whose trust is vital to our success."
I regret that we're again tying our troops' hands. I realize we can't fight a scorched earth campaign, but it seems to me if a mosque is being used as a staging area for attacks, it should be fair game. Surely the Iraqis must see that the terrorists are misusing a religious shrine to launch attacks. I'm not saying destroy the building, but if there's a sniper in a minret, take it out!
Anyway, great read! Thanks,
Isnt this the same unit that is now missing to brave soldier?
You in there?
No, Im an Army Momma, oldest son was 101st at the start of the war and is returning to the unit and Iraq in Sept
1st Battalion, 502nd Infantry