Skip to comments.Soldiers, Iraqis clear out al-Qaeda along Tigris
Posted on 09/14/2007 6:13:26 PM PDT by SandRat
FORWARD OPERATING BASE HAMMER Coalition troops teamed with Iraqi policemen and concerned local citizens to rid a major road of improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and al-Qaeda cell members during a two-day operation in Tuwaitha.
The purpose of the mission was to not just clear the route, but to also establish an Iraqi capability to keep the route safe for civilian and military traffic.
Capt. Brian Gilbert, of Boise, Idaho, commander of Company D, 1st Battalion, 15th Infantry Regiment, 3rd (Heavy) Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, currently attached to 3rd Squadron, 1st Cavalry Regiment, was met by about 60 citizen volunteers at his companys combat outpost at the outset of the operation. The volunteers from Tuwaitha then led his Soldiers south into the village of Tuwaitha as they provided additional eyes during the route clearance.
This was in stark contrast to the reception 3-1 Cav. Regt. Soldiers had previously received in Tuwaitha.
When they (3-1 Cav. Regt.) went down there before, the citizens were very non-compliant; no waving, no smiling, Gilbert said. There was nobody willing to fight (terrorists) and they encountered multiple IEDs.
After clearing the route, Soldiers worked with volunteers and policemen from the 1st National Police Brigade to establish checkpoints with blast protection. The checkpoints will be manned by national policemen and Iraqi civilian volunteers from the local Concerned Citizens group. Concerned Citizen groups are made up of volunteers who commit to work with Coalition forces to decrease violence in their neighborhoods.
By manning the checkpoints, Iraqi Security Forces and local citizens will be better able to monitor and control traffic around Tuwaitha. Leaders from 3-1 Cav. Regt. are optimistic that national police and Concerned Citizens will help reduce violence in Tuwaitha following the expulsion of al-Qaeda elements from the area.
As night approached during the two-day operation, local citizens provided an empty house for the Soldiers to rest in and contributed personnel for security patrols throughout the night. Soldiers were also treated to meals provided by the local populace.
The route into Tuwaitha had been a dangerous stretch of road for Sledgehammer Brigade Soldiers with a history of roadside bombs. The clearing operation resulted in the discovery and neutralization of four IEDs along the route. Soldiers and Iraqis found two anti-tank mines, one mortar round and one large homemade explosive device in plastic containers.
Traveling on the road into Tuwaitha from Jisr Diyala has been a dangerous proposition for both Soldiers and citizens. In the days following the mission, Gilbert received feedback that citizens are now able to travel to Jisr Diyala to shop for the first time in six months.
Gilbert said he believes the common threat of al-Qaeda prompted the Tuwaitha citizens desire to work with the 3rd (Heavy) Brigade Combat Team Soldiers.
Al-Qaeda is a threat to the locals and also a threat to U.S. Soldiers, Gilbert said. They wanted us to come down there and fight with them. So we did.
Gilbert said 3-1 Cav. Regt. plans to clear out greater numbers of insurgents and help legitimize more Concerned Citizens groups.
Now that they have cleared out AQI (al-Qaeda in Iraq) and established Concerned Citizens groups, we can provide medical operations and projects that will provide enduring employment, Gilbert said.
(Too much to ask I suppose.)
are you sitting down? The MSM (print and broadcast) has all these stories that I put up on FRWN. They have them before I begin putting them up on FR. The stories are sent directly from the same DoD sites that I use.
How’s you blood pressure now?
Same as it was. I said too bad, it's not like I'd expect the MSM to publish news that puts our work in Iraq in a good light.
This never would have happened during WWII, back when the Congress and Hollywood was backing our troops.
These people have no idea that this war could be even more important to our country than that one was.