War on Terrorism

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Afghan National Police Detain Ghazni Area Taliban Commander

American Forces Press Service

May 31, 2007 – Afghan National
Police and Coalition forces captured Haji Salam, a Ghazni area Taliban sub-commander and improvised explosive device expert, during early morning operations in the village of Gawmesak. Salam reportedly IS responsible for bombings that have killed dozens of Afghan women and children.

In other Afghan operations today, Afghan and coalition forces detained three suspected Taliban militants in a raid on a compound in the Khost district of Khowst province.

Coalition forces believed the compound was housing known Taliban operatives. Residents were found trying to hide Taliban identification cards as the forces approached.

No injuries were reported in either of the operations.

In operations yesterday, Afghan and coalition forces killed six Taliban militants in a firefight in the mountains west of Jalalabad City. One other militant was injured. Four militants were detained for questioning.

(Compiled from Combined Joint Task Force 82 news releases.)

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Reconciliation Needed for Peace in Iraq, Odierno Says

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

May 31, 2007 – While all eyes are focused on the surge of U.S. troops into Baghdad, a top
military commander stressed today that military force alone cannot solve the problems of the country. "While security is important and creating stability for the Iraqi people remains paramount, success cannot be achieved without those diplomatic, political and economic endeavors that also make progress," said Army Lt. Gen. Raymond Odierno, commander of Multinational Corps Iraq. "Therefore, it must be a combination of all of those for us to be successful."

Reconciliation is key to peace in the country. The general estimated that roughly 80 percent of the groups now working against the government can be brought into the political process.

"We believe a large majority of groups within Iraq are reconcilable and are now interested in engaging with us, but more importantly, they want to engage and become a part of the government of Iraq," he said during a Pentagon teleconference today.

The success the coalition and the Iraqi government have had in Iraq's Anbar province is encouraging to U.S. officials, Odierno said. Tribal
leaders and sheikhs grew weary of al Qaeda violence and threw their lots in with the government and coalition.

"We now see opportunities for further engagement across Iraq with other tribes and entities, to include mainstream Sunni and Shiia insurgents," Odierno said.

Coalition commanders at all levels are working with local Iraqi leaders. "We are attempting to create confidence-building measures among these various groups, where they will ultimately reach out to the government of Iraq, who is working hard to establish a reconciliation strategy," he said.

Some groups will not listen to reason, and those extremists must be killed or captured, Odierno said. Al Qaeda in Iraq is one of those groups. "I believe ... very few of al Qaeda are reconcilable, but there might be a small portion," Odierno said.

The general said the government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki must continue to reach out to insurgent groups of all ethnic backgrounds, including illegal militias and Sunni insurgents.

"They have reached out to the tribes in al Anbar, and they are working with them in order to continue their movement towards the political process," he said. "That's what this reconciliation is about. It's about bringing these groups into the political process so we can deal with their differences in a peaceful way instead of in violent ways."

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Gates: Political Climate Shouldn't Affect Commander's Iraq Assessment

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

May 31, 2007 –
Army Gen. David H. Petraeus needs to focus on the situation in Iraq, not the political climate in Washington, when he files his report on conditions there, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates told reporters here today. Gates, speaking at the U.S. Pacific Command headquarters, said he wants commanders in Iraq to focus on "the Baghdad clock and not the Washington clock" as they assess the situation in Iraq.

"We want them to focus on what's going on in Iraq and give us their recommendations, their evaluations, based on what's going on in Iraq," he said. "Our
military commanders should not have to worry about the Washington clock. That's for us in Washington to worry about."

The secretary's comments came as the troop surge in Iraq focused on helping stabilize Baghdad approaches full strength and the same day
Army Lt. Gen. Ray Odierno, commander of Multinational Corps Iraq, said September may be too soon to fully evaluate conditions in Iraq.

Petraeus's report is expected in September.

Gates dismissed concerns that Odierno's comments mean the timetable for Petraeus's assessment has slipped. "I don't think the goal post has changed at all," he said.

The secretary noted that the supplemental war-spending bill signed by President Bush requires a report to Congress in July. "It's not like we're even waiting until September" to evaluate conditions, he said.

Petraeus and commanders on the ground "ought to be in a position to evaluate by the end of September if the surge is working," he said.

While emphasizing that Petraeus's report will be "clearly a very important piece" of the input the president will use to make a decision about troop strength in Iraq, other assessments will be considered as well, Gates said. This includes those by the U.S. embassy in Iraq.

"A lot of people are looking at the situation," and their evaluations will "all be integrated together" as future directions are charted, he said.

Whatever decision is made, Gates said, it's critical to look at Iraq through a long-term lens.

He pointed to "the Korea model" as an example of a protracted U.S. presence postured to provide stability over the long term. This "provides reassurance" to friends in the region that the United States won't repeat its experience in Vietnam, where it "just left, lock, stock and barrel," he said.

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Defense Secretary Calls Losses in Iraq, Afghanistan 'Painful, Personal'

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

May 31, 2007 – Of all the challenges he confronts at the helm of the Defense Department, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates today said one of the most difficult for him is writing condolence letters to families who have lost a loved on in the
war on terror. "I feel very strongly about the families of every soldier and Marine who is killed in Iraq or Afghanistan," Gates told reporters today during a media roundtable at U.S. Pacific Command headquarters here.

Speaking on the last day of a particularly difficult month for U.S. forces in terms of troops killed, Gates said he feels each and every loss.

"It is very painful. It is very personal," he said. "It is why I handwrite notes on each of the letters (to families), because I want them to know that each and every one of them is important to me, important to the president."

Gates said the Defense Department is sympathetic to families' losses and is "deeply grateful" for their support and sacrifices. "We feel them very personally as well."

In the face of these losses, the secretary said he's encouraged to see that the troops remain committed to the mission in the
terror war, despite the potential risks. He noted that for the first time since in the country's history since the Revolutionary War, it is fighting a war with an all-volunteer force.

"These young men and women in uniform who are fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq are fighting there because they believe in what they are doing," he said. "And we have the greatest admiration for their willingness to serve and their willingness -- as they know, potentially -- to have a personal sacrifice."

Gates met personally today with servicemembers based here to thank them for their service and their continued commitment. A sailor who attended the brief session summed up the message he took away from Gates' troop talk as "Keep charging."

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General Works to Dispel Myths About Iraq

By Sgt. Sara Wood, USA
American Forces Press Service

May 30, 2007 – A U.S. general serving with Multinational Force Iraq recently took time out of his mid-deployment leave to let the American public know that the situation in Iraq is different from what they might think.
Army Brig. Gen. Steven Anderson, deputy chief of staff for resources and sustainment, today spoke with representatives of veterans service organizations, outlining a speech he gave earlier at James Madison University about what he believes are 10 myths about the conflict in Iraq.

"There are some signs that our new strategy is working," Anderson said in a teleconference from Baghdad. "It's going to be a long, hot summer, and it won't be really until the end of it that we'll be able to evaluate it. There is plenty of opportunity, and plenty of reason to be cautiously optimistic about what's going on over there."

The 10 myths, as outlined by Anderson, are:

-- The war in Iraq is about oil;

-- The U.S. is fighting alone in Iraq;

-- Iraq is engulfed in a full-scale civil war;

-- The Iraqis were better off under Saddam Hussein than under the new government;

-- The Iraqi government is ineffective;

-- Economic development is non-existent in Iraq;

-- Contractors cost the U.S. government too much money;

-- U.S. troops aren't properly equipped;

-- Morale is low among U.S. troops; and

-- The U.S. has lost in Iraq.

None of these myths is true, Anderson said, and the situation in Iraq is much better than is often reported here.

The war in Iraq is essentially a fight against religious extremists, Anderson said. And while oil is an important element in the situation, it is not the key element. "It is essentially about freedom and peace and democracy, in my opinion," he said.

The United States is not alone in the fight, Anderson said. About 32 countries are contributing troops to the fight in Iraq, and about 40 countries are providing contractors and logistics support.

"It's truly a coalition of many nations, and all of them are committed equally to helping the Iraqis build their security forces and counter violence and empower the Iraqis to eventually take control and secure their nation," he said.

While violence levels in Iraq still are unacceptable, the situation is not a full-scale civil war, Anderson said. The fight involves religious extremists on the fringe and does not involve large-scale force-on-force combat, he pointed out.

The existence in Iraq of free speech, a free press and a democratically elected government are all signs that the Iraqi people are better off now than they were under Saddam, Anderson said. In addition, major improvements in the country's infrastructure have improved the people's quality of life, he said. Sewer, water, trash and electricity services all are improving, and the coalition has built almost 1,000 schools, renovated 97 railway stations, built 51 primary health care centers, and renovated 32 hospitals.

The Iraqi government does have room for improvement, but it is still a young democracy and it has made significant progress since its inception, Anderson said. Four of Iraq's 18 provinces are now completely under provincial-government control for security, and their ability to provide services to the people is improving.

"Do they need to get better? Absolutely," he said. "But are there signs that they are getting better? Absolutely."

The signs of economic progress in Iraq are very encouraging, Anderson said. The Iraqi economy has cut inflation in half; the gross domestic product increased 40 percent in 2006 and is projected to grow more in 2007; the per capita income has doubled; and the economy is getting foreign investments. The United States is working with the government to reduce corruption in the economy, improve oil exports, and revitalize Iraqi businesses, he said.

"One need only to go to a place like Irbil, up north in Kurdistan, to see (what's) possible -- an Iraqi city that is vibrant, has high employment and a flourishing economy," Anderson said. "It's almost like walking down the streets of a typical European city, with restaurants and shops and car dealerships. It's a thriving place, and I believe that is a demonstration of what is possible hopefully in the very, very near term."

Contractors are valuable contributors to the coalition mission in Iraq and have actually increased their services while reducing costs over the years, Anderson said. In addition, contractors, many of whom are from countries besides the U.S., risk their lives every day alongside coalition troops, he said. "I believe that they are patriots in every sense of the word," he said of the contractors who serve in Iraq.

Although the enemy is adaptive and constantly changes tactics to defeat U.S. defenses, U.S. troops are extremely well outfitted and receive the latest technologies to protect them, Anderson said. Body armor is provided to every troop who deploys, and vehicle armor is constantly upgraded as technologies become available, he said. In addition, Iraqi troops are becoming increasingly well equipped. They have armored vehicles, mortars, helicopters and aircraft, and the government is spending $7 billion this year to improve their equipment, he said.

Retention rates among deployed troops prove that morale is high, Anderson said. The troops know that many Americans don't support the war, but they continue to see the outpouring of support for those who fight, he said.

"This new generation of kids is unbelievable, and I think they are representing Americans extremely well," he said. "They're disciplined and compassionate; they don't pull the trigger indiscriminately; and they go truly overboard to protect citizens and respect Islamic culture."

The new operational strategy for Iraq is still in the initial stages, but there are encouraging signs already, Anderson said. Coalition and Iraqi forces will, for the first time, have enough troops to secure areas of Baghdad after clearing them of insurgents. More soldiers in an area does mean more opportunities for conflict with the enemy, so leaders expect the situation will get worse before it gets better, but they believe the new strategy can work, he said.

"We understand that the
military cannot win the war (on its own), but we're certainly not losing it," he said. "We can only help set the conditions for a political solution; we understand that.

"We must continue to apply all of our political,
military and diplomatic, economic and informational power to this fight," he continued. "We understand that this is the defining international event of our time. We absolutely understand that we must win this struggle and that we must prevail, and I'm optimistic that the opportunity still exists in order to do that."

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Final 'Surge' Brigade Now in Iraq, General Says

By John J. Kruzel
American Forces Press Service

May 30, 2007 – The fifth and final brigade of the troop surge has arrived in Baghdad and should be fully operational by mid-July, the deputy director for operations on the Joint Staff said here today. "We are starting to see a shift in momentum that comes with having additional forces on the ground,"
Army Brig. Gen. Perry Wiggins told Pentagon reporters in a news conference.

Troops will clamp down on Baghdad's northern and southern belts -- areas where insurgents "have had the opportunity to sit back and plan some of these attacks," Wiggins said.

"What we're trying to do through the 'clear, hold and retain' (strategy) is take those particular areas away from the insurgents and al Qaeda, make it more difficult for them to travel, at least freely," he said. "So some of those forces will stretch in Baghdad."

Wiggins noted that
Army Gen. David H. Petraeus, commanding general of Multinational Force Iraq, is slated to update military and civilian leaders on the Baghdad security plan's progress in September.

In addition to deploying five U.S. brigades to Baghdad, the security plan that President Bush announced Feb. 13 has split the Iraqi capital into 10 districts where Iraqi army, police and coalition forces live together in joint security stations to be closer to the Iraqi people they are protecting.

U.S. ground forces' increased presence has "garnered greater support and situational awareness" throughout the country, Wiggins said, citing an increased number of tips that Iraqi citizens are providing to coalition forces.

"We're experiencing increased levels of support from local Iraqis throughout the other areas of Iraq," he said, citing the 41 kidnapping victims freed from an al Qaeda hideout by coalition forces May 27 near Baqubah.

"What's important about this is this rescue was made possible by the tip that was provided by an Iraqi citizen," he said. "And we're continuing to receive actionable tips from Iraqi citizens."

In Iraq's Anbar province, where violence levels "continue to drop significantly," an additional Marine unit has arrived and should be operational next month, Wiggins said.

"The 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit is arrived in theater; they are offloading personnel and equipment," he said. "We expect them to move north into the Anbar province and expect them to be operational on or about the middle of next month, as well."

Recruiting rates for Iraqi security forces in Anbar province are increasing. "The (number of) Iraqi
army soldiers -- as far as recruitment and volunteers -- is increasing, and we expect to have 500 Iraqi army soldiers graduating from the basic training facility in Habbaniyah," he said.

The current graduating security force class will be assigned to the 7th Iraqi
Army Division in Anbar province, Wiggins said, and the next graduating class will be expanded to 1,000 members. "That's based on the volunteer rates increasing in the Anbar province, which is positive news," he added.

Speaking about enemy tactics, Wiggins said al Qaeda operatives continue to use suicide vests and car bombs as their weapons of choice in high-profile attacks.

"These particular indiscriminate killers, as well as mass casualties-producing weapons, are seen as success through the eyes of al Qaeda," he said. "We have found more and more that, although they're unable to reach their primary targets, they will pick secondary targets, such as funeral processions, markets and mosques, as their targets to create the mass casualties."

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Officers Describe al Qaeda Prison Rescue Mission

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

May 30, 2007 – Officers from the
U.S. Army battalion that freed 41 prisoners from an al Qaeda in Iraq hideout May 27 provided details on the operation yesterday. U.S. and Iraqi soldiers were conducting operations in a town south of Baqubah when a local man approached them with information about the prison, Army Lt. Col. Morris Goins, commander of the 1st Cavalry Division's 1st Battalion, 12th Cavalry, told reporters in a teleconference from Iraq's Diyala province.

Goins said he assigned D Company of the unit, commanded by Army Capt. Paul Carlock, to check out the report. As the unit approached, the soldiers encountered 41 Iraqis who had been held by al Qaeda in Iraq, Goins said. "They showed some signs of torture," the colonel said. "We brought them back to an attack position, where we were able to give them some water, some food."

The unit then took the men to a combat outpost, where they received medical attention. The American and Iraqi units killed seven al Qaeda fighters in the operation and detained another 30, Goins said.

Carlock said some of the men, mostly Sunnis, had lash marks on their backs and rope burns on their wrists and ankles. Some had been held as long as four months. He said their main diet was figs and water.

One of the freed prisoners was a 13-year-old boy, Goins said, but most were provincial government workers and local merchants. Some Shiia hostages had been held at the prison, but al Qaeda had killed them all, the colonel added.

Goins and Carlock both said the operation shows that the local people are tired of al Qaeda in their communities. The coalition and Iraqi government forces are trying to drive a wedge between the terrorists and the population.

"We try to every day meet with local Iraqi
leaders and then also leaders of the tribes," Carlock said.

This contact, the officers said, helps to widen the division between the insurgents and the local population and allows the forces to develop intelligence sources.

"We have more sources today than we had yesterday and the day before that," Goins said. "So it's a growing and increased basis of intelligence coming in to both the Iraqi security forces and the coalition forces."

Goins said he hopes liberating the prison will have a positive effect on the attitude of the local citizens.

"If I were a local Iraqi and I would see that 41 Iraqi citizens were detained by al Qaeda, coalition forces helped secure their freedom, provided medical attention, were able to get them back to their family, it would show me that the international and the coalition forces are here to assist the Iraqi people and (would) live a peaceful life," he said.

He added that he hopes the 41 people freed in the operation and now back with their families will pass along their experiences to their friends and relatives.

"That will ensure that the Iraqi people understand that the Iraqi security forces as well as coalition forces are here to provide security with their assistance to allow them to have a democratic government and live a peaceful existence as the majority of the international community does," he said.

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U.S., Iraqi Troops Seize 47 in Iraq Operations

American Forces Press Service

May 30, 2007 – Iraqi and coalition forces captured 47 suspected
terrorists, including some suspected terror-cell chieftains, and seized contraband weaponry during operations across Iraq over the past few days, military officials reported. Coalition forces detained 30 suspected terrorists in operations around Iraq today.

During operations this morning in Baghdad, Mosul, and Anbar and Salah ad Din provinces coalition troops rounded up 28 suspected terrorists.

-- Coalition troops detained two suspected terrorists during morning operations in the Sadr City section of Baghdad.

-- In Mosul, coalition forces detained four suspected
terrorists, including an individual believed to be the key al Qaeda link in the city.

-- During morning raids in Anbar province, coalition troops detained 14 suspected terrorists believed to have al Qaeda ties associated with transport of money, weapons and foreign fighters into Iraq.

-- Coalition raids in Salah ad Din province nabbed three suspected terrorists. A discovered weapons cache produced mortars, small arms and a heavy machine gun.

-- Coalition forces captured five suspected
terrorists in Sadr City. Individuals detained are believed to be members of a secret terror cell linked to the transport of explosively formed ordnance and insurgents from Iran into Iraq.

"This morning we removed numerous, abhorrent terrorists from the Iraqi population,"
Army Lt. Col. Christopher Garver, Multinational Force Iraq spokesman, said. "Our operations will continue to seek out these lawless and dangerous terrorists."

The capture of weapons traffickers in Sadr City is sure to disrupt the flow of weapons into Iraq, he said. "We will continue to target terrorists who aid the trafficking of deadly weapons that threaten the safety and security of innocent Iraqis," Garver said.

In another operation today, coalition troops detained two suspected terrorists, found weapons and seized a local vehicle after coming under attack near Az-Zaidon, Iraq, west of Baghdad.

American soldiers with the 10th Mountain Division's 2nd Brigade Combat Team spotted a possible improvised explosive device connection wire and followed it to a small shack. A man ran from the shack upon the soldiers' approach. The soldiers then came under small-arms fire. One insurgent was killed and another was wounded during the ensuring firefight.

Upon a search of nearby vehicles, the soldiers found a rifle, a rocket-propelled-grenade launcher, falsified identification documents, six cell phones, a cordless phone, a box of ammunition, and some AK-47 rifle magazines.

A pickup truck then bore down on the soldiers at high speed. The soldiers fired on the truck and disabled it. Three men fled the truck. Upon searching the truck the soldiers found a 9 mm pistol. Another nearby pickup truck was searched, and it yielded a spool of copper wire. The truck was confiscated for further investigation.

In other news from Iraq, Iraqi special operations troops detained two people, including a suspected terror cell
leader, during a morning raid yesterday in the Baghdad area. The accused terrorist is suspected of running a kidnapping and assassination network in the Baghdad area. The cell is believed to have abducted an Iraqi nuclear power scientist and of complicity in the murders of two senior Iraqi government officials.

Elsewhere, Iraqi troops captured 15 other
terrorists during three operations conducted May 26-28 in central Iraq.

-- Iraqi special operations forces seized four people suspected of killing and torturing civilians, as well as forcing them out of their homes in the Baghdad area during a May 28 raid.

-- Iraqi soldiers captured eight suspected terrorists during a May 27 raid.

-- Iraqi soldiers detained three suspected terrorists and destroyed a car bomb and several large weapons caches during a May 26 raid.

(Compiled from Multinational Force Iraq and Multinational Corps Iraq news releases.)

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Health Study Uses Data from Global War on Terrorism

By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service

May 29, 2007 – When a landmark Defense Department-sponsored health study was launched six years ago, one of its goals was to evaluate the impact of future deployments on long-term health. The investigators did not know how timely the project would be. Today, the Millennium Cohort Study has enrolled tens of thousands of participants who have deployed in support of the
global war on terrorism, said Navy Cmdr. (Dr.) Margaret Ryan, the study's principal investigator and director of the Defense Department Center for Deployment Health Research, part of the Naval Health Research Center, in San Diego.

The study was designed in the late 1990s "in the wake of the first Gulf War to answer some of the most difficult questions that couldn't really be answered retrospectively after that conflict," Ryan said.

The joint-service study was established to evaluate the health risks of
military deployments, occupational exposures, and general military service, Ryan explained, noting that about 108,000 servicemembers have signed up to take part since program enrollment began in July 2001.

Participants' health is evaluated over a 21-year period, Ryan said, noting the size of the cohort -- the group participating in the study - likely will total more than 147,000 people.

"About 40 percent of our cohort has deployed to one of the more recent operations, either in Iraq or Afghanistan or surrounding regions, in support of the
global war on terrorism," Ryan said.

Involvement in the study is voluntary, and participants are selected randomly, Ryan said. All information is secure and safeguarded, she added.

Participants report their health status every three years and can fill out either paper or online surveys, Ryan said.

"We do strongly encourage people to use the online option," Ryan said. "It's a very secure way to transmit information."

Dr. Tyler C. Smith will replace Ryan as the study's principal investigator later this year, as the
Navy physician is slated to take a new duty assignment at Camp Pendleton, Calif.

The study is providing valuable data that will help
military epidemiologists understand possible cause-and-effect relationships between combat-zone deployments and problems such as post-traumatic stress disorder, Smith said

"We have the ability to look at a large group of individuals who were deployed and not deployed," Smith said. "And we can see what factors predict new-onset PTSD, and how PTSD evolves over time. That's what we've been focusing on."

Evaluating the incidence of PTSD among servicemembers wasn't possible until recently, "simply because we didn't have a cohort in place like this that's large and population-based," Smith explained.

"So we're learning things that we really haven't been able to investigate in the past," he said.

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Army Casualty

The Department of Defense announced today the death of a soldier who was supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Pfc. Robert A. Liggett, 23, of Urbana, Ill., died May 29 in Rustamiyah, Iraq, from injuries suffered in a non-combat related incident. His death is under investigation. Liggett was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 69th Armor Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, Fort Benning, Ga.

For more information in regard to this release the media can contact the Fort Benning public affairs office at (706) 545-3283.

Army Casualties

The Department of Defense announced today the death of two soldiers who were supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom. They died May 29 in Ilbu Falris, Iraq, of wounds suffered when an improvised explosive device detonated near their position during a dismounted patrol. They were assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 14th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry), Fort Drum, N.Y.

Killed were:
Staff Sgt. Joseph M. Weiglein, 31, of Audubon, N.J.
Sgt. Richard V. Correa, 25, of Honolulu.


For more information in regard to this release the media can contact the Fort Drum public affairs office at (315) 772-8286.

Army Casualty

The Department of Defense announced today the death of two soldiers who were supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom. They died May 28 in Muqdadiyah, Iraq, of wounds suffered when their OH-58D Kiowa helicopter crashed after receiving heavy enemy fire during combat operations. They were assigned to the 2nd Squadron, 6th Cavalry Regiment, 25th Combat Aviation Brigade, 25th Infantry Division, Schofield Barracks, Hawaii.

Killed were:
1st Lt. Keith N. Heidtman, 24, of Norwich, Conn.
Chief Warrant Officer Theodore U. Church, 32, of Ohio.


For more information in regard to this release the media can contact the Schofield Barracks public affairs office at (808) 655-8729.

Army Casualty

The Department of Defense announced today the death of a soldier who was supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Pfc. Charles B. Hester, 23, of Cataldo, Idaho, died May 26 in Baghdad, Iraq, of wounds suffered when the vehicle he was in struck an improvised explosive device. He was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 3rd Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division (Stryker Brigade Combat Team), Fort Lewis, Wash.

For more information in regard to this release the media can contact the Fort Lewis public affairs office at (253) 967-0152 or (253) 967-0147.

Army Casualties

The Department of Defense announced today the death of two soldiers who were supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom. They died May 28 in Baghdad, Iraq, of wounds suffered when an improvised explosive device detonated near their position during a dismounted patrol. They were assigned to the 1st Battalion, 38th Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division (Stryker Brigade Combat Team), Fort Lewis, Wash.

Killed were:
Staff Sgt. Thomas M. McFall, 36, of Glendora, Calif.
Pfc. Junior Cedeno Sanchez, 20, of Miami, Fla.


For more information in regard to this release the media can contact the Fort Lewis public affairs office at (253) 967-0152 or (253) 967-0147.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Police and Firearms in England

Note: the realities of terrorism and the concept of the unarmed Bobby seem to be increasingly in conflict.

Police-Writers.com is a website dedicated to listing state and local police officers who have authored books. The website also separately lists international as well as domestic federal
law enforcement officials who have written books. Today, the list added Michael J. Waldren, an expert on the use of firearms by the police in the United Kingdom.

In 1967, after attending college,
Michael J. Waldren joined the Metropolitan Police Service in London. During College, Michael Waldren developed a keen interest firearms and shooting. Following his interest, in 1977, Michael, then a sergeant, joined the Firearms Unit of the London Metropolitan Police as an instructor. At the same time, he was also a member of the Operational Firearms Team.

Today, since the vast majority of Bobbies (London Police Officers) do not carry firearms, only certain
police officers are trained and armed with firearms. They are called Authorised Firearms Officer (AFO). According to Metropolitan Police Service firearms policy, “the MPS provides an armed capability to assist in the combat of armed criminality within both the Metropolitan Police District and throughout the United Kingdom. These duties will also include diplomatic protection, Royalty protection, airport security, court security, armed surveillance, armed personal protection, proactive armed operations and Central London security patrols. The MPS will only arm officers how have undergone a specific selection and training programme and each Authorised Firearms Officer (AFO) will be equipped in accordance with their training and role. AFOs will be required to maintain specific leaves of training and fitness in order to continue their role.”

In 1982,
Michael Waldren was promoted to Inspector. His first major command responsibility was at the Libyan Peoples Bureau in 1984. In the late 1970s he was regularly being asked by the media and television companies about the history of police use of firearms and he found that there were very few books on the subject. His research developed into a 1986 book which he co-authored on the subject of police use of firearms in England; tracing the history back to 1829 when the Metropolitan Police Service was first formed by Sir Robert Peel.

In 1987, now a Chief Inspector,
Michael Waldren he became the MPS chief firearms instructor and as a result he sat on several national committees, which ultimately formulated police firearms policy throughout the United Kingdom. In 1992, he was promoted to Superintendent and in 1994, he was promoted to Chief Superintendent. In 1999, Michael Waldren was awarded the Queens Police Medal for Distinguished Police Service. He retired in 2000.

Michael Waldren authored the book Armed Police: The Police Use of Firearms Since 1945. According to the book description, “On 7 July 2005, just before 9 am, explosive devices detonated on London Underground trains at Liverpool Street, Edgware Road and Kings Cross stations and on a double-decker bus in Tavistock Square. Fifty-six people were killed and over 700 injured. Suicide bombing had come to Britain. Two weeks later, the capital's commuters narrowly missed disaster when four more devices failed to explode. Security in London was increased to unprecedented levels as Metropolitan Police Commissioner, Sir Ian Blair said his force faced 'its largest operational challenge since the war'. Heavily armed police officers patrolling the streets became a regular feature of television news programmes, leaving an enduring impression that unarmed policing in Britain had gone forever and with it the kindly image of the archetypal British bobby. Controversy rages over the increased use of firearms because in the public mind, the hallmark of British security has always been unarmed policing. Now, for the first time, former Head of the Metropolitan Police Firearms Unit, Michael Waldren, gives his insider account of the changes in Britain's policing, spanning over half a century and including many examples of extraordinary heroism, tragedy, controversy, comedy, intrigue and occasional farce.”

According to Bryn Elliott, the editor of Police Aviation News (United Kingdom), “The arrival for review of Armed Police: The Police use of Firearms since 1945 by
Michael J. Waldren was like meeting an old friend after a long time apart. A decade ago Michael Waldren teamed up with Bob Gould to write the broadly similar ‘London’s Armed Police’ which effectively covered the history and development of arming the police in the Capital City. The title has been out of print for many years.

The new book effectively updates the same story in some detail since 1945 and although it appears to suggest a treatment in a far wider context it remains very much faithful to that original theme. There are stories from other parts of the UK but from the number omitted I would assume that the knowledge displayed of them is more autobiographical rather that based on pure research. They are very selective.

Likewise the later chapters appear to have become bogged down in reciting too much detail on the reasons the Metropolitan
Police pulled their firearms operations out of their main base of Lippitts Hill for the tastes of the average reader. In the main though it is a good factual read and a worthy update on the original.”

Police-Writers.com now hosts 560 police officers (representing 234 police departments) and their 1179 books in six categories, there are also listings of United States federal
law enforcement employees turned authors, international police officers who have written books and civilian police personnel who have written books.

Afghan, Coalition Forces Detain Five, Battle Enemy Fighters

American Forces Press Service

May 29, 2007 – Afghan and coalition forces detained five suspected insurgents yesterday and today and killed about two dozen insurgents after a convoy was attacked in Helmand province May 27, military officials reported. Afghan and coalition forces detained three suspected al Qaeda militants in a raid on two separate compounds early today in the Nadar Shahkot district of Khowst province.

Credible intelligence led the forces to the location suspected of housing operatives in the Haqqani network, officials said. The forces searched the compounds for contraband and found two pistols, two AK-47s and four fragmentation grenades. The weapons were taken to a safe distance and destroyed. The detainees will be questioned on their involvement in militant activities.

"We will continue to find and capture militants who would deny peace and progress in the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan," said
Army Maj. Chris Belcher, a coalition spokesman.

No shots were fired and no one was injured in the operation.

Yesterday in the same district, Afghan and coalition forces detained two suspected al Qaeda militants in a raid on a compound. Credible intelligence led the forces to the location suspected of housing al Qaeda operatives supported locally by the Haqqani network. The detainees will be questioned as to their involvement in militant activities.

Elsewhere, a combined Afghan National
Police and coalition convoy struck two improvised explosive devices and was attacked by enemy fighters 23 kilometers east of Gereshk while escorting 24 Afghan supply trucks from Kandahar to Sangin district in Helmand province May 27.

The two IED blasts resulted in the death of one Afghan civilian truck driver and non-life-threatening injuries to three coalition soldiers. The soldiers were evacuated to a nearby treatment facility and are listed in stable condition.

The Afghan
police and coalition convoy continued its movement before being attacked with rocket-propelled grenades and small-arms fire by an unknown number of enemy fighters positioned along the road after the second IED detonated. The combined force immediately returned fire and forced the enemy fighters to retreat. Close-air support was requested and directed to fire upon enemy fighters preparing to launch multiple attacks against the convoy.

An estimated two dozen enemy fighters were killed, and four enemy vehicles and one enemy fighting position were destroyed during the 10-hour battle. No Afghan civilian injuries were reported.

"Taliban fighters are no match for Afghan national security and coalition forces," Belcher said. "We will intensify our operations to rid Afghanistan of all Taliban fighters who harm innocent Afghan civilians and threaten the government of Afghanistan."

(Compiled from Combined Joint Task Force 82 news releases.)

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Soldiers Killed, Wounded in Iraq; Defense Department Identifies Previous Casualties

American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, May 29, 2007 – Ten U.S. soldiers were killed and three were wounded in two incidents yesterday in Iraq, military officials reported. Eight other U.S. soldiers were killed and 12 were wounded in Iraq over the preceding several days. Also, the Defense Department released the identities of several servicemembers killed recently in the war on terror.

-- Six Task Force Lightning soldiers were killed when explosions occurred near their vehicles during operations in Diyala province yesterday. Three other soldiers were wounded in the incident and were taken to a coalition forces medical treatment facility.

-- Two Task Force Lightning soldiers were killed when a helicopter went down in Diyala province yesterday.

-- While conducting a combat security patrol in the southern section of the Iraqi capital, two Multinational Division Baghdad soldiers were killed when an improvised explosive device detonated yesterday.

-- A Task Force Lightning soldier was killed when an explosion occurred near his vehicle while conducting operations in Diyala province May 26. Two other soldiers were wounded in the incident and were taken to a coalition forces medical treatment facility.

-- A Marine assigned to Multinational Force West was killed May 26 while conducting combat operations in Anbar province.

-- While conducting a combat security patrol in the southern section of the Iraqi capital, a Multinational Division Baghdad soldier was killed and two others were wounded when an improvised explosive device detonated May 26. An Iraqi interpreter also was injured in the attack.

-- While conducting a combat security patrol in the western section of the Iraqi capital, a Multinational Division Baghdad soldier was killed and four others were wounded when an improvised explosive device detonated May 26. Two soldiers have been returned to duty.

-- A Task Force Lightning soldier died of wounds suffered from small-arms fire while conducting operations in Baghdad province May 25. One other soldier, also wounded in the incident, was taken to a coalition forces medical treatment facility.

-- A Marine assigned to Multinational Force West died May 25 in a non-combat related incident in Anbar province.

-- An improvised explosive device killed a Multinational Corps Iraq soldier May 25 in Maqdadiyah.

-- A Multinational Corps Iraq soldier was killed and three were wounded in a complex attack against their military vehicle near Taji on May 25. The wounded soldiers were evacuated to the 28th Combat Support Hospital in Baghdad. Two soldiers were treated for minor injuries and returned to duty.

The names of the deceased are being withheld pending notification of next of kin. Meanwhile, the Defense Department released the identities of 16 soldiers who were killed recently supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Sgt. Clayton G. Dunn II, 22, of Moreno Valley, Calif.;
Spc. Michael J. Jaurigue, 20, of Texas City, Texas; and
Spc. Gregory N. Millard, 22, of San Diego, Calif., died May 26 in Salah Ad Din province, Iraq, when an improvised explosive device detonated near their vehicle. They were assigned to 2nd Battalion, 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, Fort Bragg, N.C.

Spc. Erich S. Smallwood, 23, of Trumann, Ark., died May 26, near Balad, Iraq, of wounds suffered when an improvised explosive device detonated near his vehicle. He was assigned to A Company, 875th Engineer Battalion of the Arkansas Army National Guard in Marked Tree, Ark.

Spc. Mathew P. LaForest, 21, of Austin, Texas, died May 25 in Taji, Iraq, of injuries suffered when his unit came in contact with enemy forces using small-arms fire during combat operations. He was assigned to 4th Battalion, 9th Infantry Regiment, 4th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, Fort Lewis, Wash.

Spc. Alexander Rosa Jr., 22, of Orlando, Fla., died May 25 in Muqdadiyah, Iraq, of wounds suffered when an improvised explosive device detonated near his vehicle. He was assigned to the 89th Military Police Brigade, Fort Hood, Texas.

Pfc. Casey P. Zylman, 22, of Coleman, Mich., died May 25 in Mosul, Iraq, of wounds suffered when an improvised explosive device detonated near his vehicle May 24 in Tallafar, Iraq. He was assigned to the 3rd Squadron, 4th Cavalry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, Schofield Barracks, Hawaii.

Pvt. William L. Bailey III, 29, of Bellevue, Neb., died May 25, in Taji, Iraq, of wounds suffered when an improvised explosive device detonated near his vehicle. Bailey was assigned to the 755th Chemical Reconnaissance/Decontamination Company, Nebraska Army National Guard, O'Neill, Neb.

Sgt. 1st Class Robert E. Dunham, 36, of Baltimore, and
Staff Sgt. Russell K. Shoemaker, 31, of Sweet Springs, Mo., died May 24 in Baghdad of wounds suffered when an improvised explosive device detonated near their vehicle. They were assigned to 1st Brigade Transition Team, and attached to the 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, Fort Riley, Kansas.

Sgt. Iosiwo Uruo, 27, of Agana Heights, Guam, died May 24, in Buhriz, Iraq, of wounds suffered when his unit came in contact with enemy forces using small-arms fire. He was assigned to the 1st Squadron, 14th Cavalry Regiment, 3rd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division (Stryker Brigade Combat Team), Fort Lewis, Wash.

Pfc. Robert H. Dembowski, 20, of Ivyland, Pa., died May 24 in Baghdad of wounds suffered when his unit came in contact with enemy forces using small-arms fire. He was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, Fort Bragg, N.C.

Staff Sgt. Steve Butcher Jr., 27, of Penfield, N.Y., and
Pfc. Daniel P. Cagle, 22, of Carson, Calif., died May 23 of wounds suffered when an improvised explosive device detonated near their unit in Ramadi, Iraq. Butcher died in Ramadi, while Cagle died in Balad, Iraq. They were assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 69th Armor Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, Fort Stewart, Ga.

Cpl. Victor H. Toledo Pulido, 22, of Hanford, Calif., and
Cpl. Jonathan D. Winterbottom, 21, of Falls Church, Va., died May 23 in Nahrawan, Iraq, of wounds suffered when an improvised explosive device detonated near their vehicle. They were assigned to 3rd Squadron, 1st Cavalry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division (Mechanized), Fort Benning, Ga.

(Compiled from Multinational Corps Iraq and Defense Department news releases.)

Combined Forces Detain 37 in Iraq, Discover Alleged Prison Camp

American Forces Press Service

May 29, 2007 – Iraqi and coalition forces detained 37 suspected insurgents, found weapons caches and discovered an alleged prison camp holding 41 people in operations throughout Iraq over the past three days,
military officials reported. In operations around Iraq this morning, coalition forces detained 14 suspected terrorists, including a suspected al Qaeda regional emir.

Coalition forces raided a building in Baghdad searching for an alleged terrorist
leader. When they found the building empty, the ground force moved to a follow-on target. There, they detained four suspected terrorists, including the alleged al Qaeda in Iraq emir in charge of the Hay al-Jamah area of the city.

In Mosul, coalition forces detained a suspected terrorist
leader and his brother-in-law in two coordinated operations. Intelligence reports indicate the suspected terrorist leader was allegedly the emir of Ansar al-Sunna in Mosul until he fled to Syria in 2005 to avoid capture by coalition forces. He returned to Iraq in January.

Information gained from two successful operations yesterday led coalition forces to six buildings north of Fallujah, where they detained two suspected
terrorists for their alleged ties to the al Qaeda in Iraq senior leadership network.

North of Taji, coalition forces raided three buildings in search of an al Qaeda senior leader. Six individuals were detained for their suspected association with the al Qaeda network.

"We're continuing our deliberate and methodical operations to hunt down and capture or kill
terrorists trying to prevent a peaceful and stable Iraq," said Army Lt. Col. Christopher Garver, Multinational Force Iraq spokesman.

In another operation, Iraqi
police in Kirkuk, acting upon a tip from captured insurgents, captured two suspected criminals believed to be supplying insurgent networks with weapons and explosives in the Kirkuk area yesterday.

With coalition forces present as advisors, Iraqi
police detained their primary objectives without incident in the city of Hawijah, 40 miles southwest of Kirkuk. The detained are allegedly responsible for dealing weapons and explosives in Kirkuk, distributing artillery rounds to Sunni extremist elements, and using them as improvised-explosive-device materials for use against Iraqi security forces and coalition forces.

Coalition forces detained nine suspected terrorists in operations yesterday to disrupt the al Qaeda bombing attack network in Mosul and Anbar province.

Coalition forces raided several buildings in Mosul while targeting a senior leader of al Qaeda in Iraq known for coordinating attacks on Iraqi and coalition forces and playing a key role in the March 6 Badoush prison breakout. Two suspected
terrorists were detained at the site for their alleged ties to the leader.

Across the city in a synchronized raid, coalition forces detained two more suspected terrorists for their involvement with another senior al Qaeda in Iraq cell leader. The terrorist cell is known for trafficking arms; attacking infrastructure, Iraqi and coalition forces; and orchestrating the construction and employment of car bombs.

Information from a successful raid May 26 led coalition forces to a target northwest of Haditha, where they searched for a Syrian suspected of facilitating foreign fighters and his Iraqi liaison. Coalition forces detained both the Syrian and his contact and three more suspected terrorists allegedly tied to the foreign fighter network.

"Every operation like this one brings us one step closer toward eliminating al Qaeda in Iraq and helping the Iraqis develop a country where they can determine their own futures," Garver said.

Elsewhere, Iraqi
army and coalition force soldiers conducted a raid based on a tip from a local citizen, and discovered 41 individuals being held at a suspected prison camp six miles south of Baqouba on May 27. During the raid on Imam Ways, soldiers from 5th Iraqi Army Division and 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, discovered the men, who claimed to have been held captive by al Qaeda. Some claimed to have been held as long as four months.

A joint air and ground operation lead by the 5th Iraqi
Army Division was launched to locate the alleged prison camp after receiving information from a local citizen. The individuals, who were living in a small concrete and mud compound located about one-half mile west of the village, were sleeping in cramped rooms on dirty blankets and pillows, according to coalition forces present at the site. Soldiers also described the individuals' surroundings as having rotting food inside the building and outside on the ground. Coalition forces transported the men were to a nearby combat outpost for further medical evaluation. The individuals were provided with food and water and questioned about their captors' whereabouts. This incident remains under investigation.

In another operation on May 27, Iraqi
police acting upon a tip from an anonymous informant captured nine suspected al Qaeda in Iraq operatives and seized materials believed to be used for small-arms attacks, murder, kidnapping and ransom.

The raid netted a small cache of weapons including two AK-47 assault rifles, two grenades, more than 600 rounds of ammunition, three ski masks, military equipment, large sums of money, and a video camera with evidence of a recent car bomb attack in Samarra. The car bomb attack destroyed the home of the Samarra City Council president.

This raid was conducted in order to disrupt an entire insurgent cell operating in the Samarra area.

Multinational Division Baghdad soldiers and Iraqi security forces moved clearing operations into the East Rashid security district of southern Baghdad May 26, detaining three suspected insurgents and finding two weapons caches.

The operation, known as Dragon Fire East, includes about 2,000 U.S Army soldiers from the 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, and 3rd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division. They are joined in the operation by Iraqi troops from the 7th Brigade, 2nd Iraqi National
Police Division.

During the first hours of Operation Dragon Fire East, soldiers discovered a cache that contained six 57 mm projectiles rigged as two separate improvised explosive devices; two additional 57 mm rounds; a 60 mm mortar; a 130 mm round and a concrete block hollowed out to fit a 130 mm projectile.

A search at another location revealed 2,000 loose rounds of 7.62 mm ammunition, two rocket-propelled-grenade launchers with seven sights, a roll of white double-strand wire used for fabricating IEDs, and an AK-47 assault rifle. Soldiers found and destroyed an IED as well. The three suspected terrorists detained during the operation were held for further questioning.

In other developments, a security detainee died May 26 at Camp Cropper. An attending physician at Camp Cropper's medical facility pronounced the detainee dead at 2:59 p.m.

An investigation is pending to determine the cause of death, a standard procedure for detainees who die while in custody of the Multinational Force Iraq. The suspected cause of death is complications from diabetes, U.S. officials said. The detainee had a history of diabetes with high blood pressure and high cholesterol. The family will receive the remains upon completion of the investigation, in accordance with standard procedure.

(Compiled from Multinational Corps Iraq and Multinational Force Iraq news releases.)

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Soldiers in Afghanistan Commemorate Memorial Day

By Sgt. Timothy Dinneen, USA
Special to American Forces Press Service

May 29, 2007 – Combined Joint Task Force 82 honored the contributions and sacrifices men and women of the armed forces have made in defense of freedom and democracy during a Memorial Day ceremony here yesterday. "On Memorial Day, we remember our brothers and sisters who have paid the ultimate price, not only to keep America and the world free, but to allow people from all nations to live in peace and freedom," said
Army Maj. Gen. David Rodriguez, commander of Combined Joint Task Force 82. "We remember those moments as we stood in the dust of Bagram and Kandahar Airfield saluting fallen comrades one last time as they began their final journey home."

Rodriguez remembered soldiers who have made the ultimate sacrifice during Operation Enduring Freedom so civilians in Afghanistan may enjoy a future of liberty.

"We remember our comrades not just for the fact that they no longer walk among us, but for their actions -- the actions of men who stood up and said, 'I will defend my country; I will sacrifice for others,' and who selflessly served all of us," Rodriguez continued.

The sounds of bagpipes and "Amazing Graze" sung by a choir could be heard throughout the ceremony. There was also a 21-gun salute, which followed a "missing man" formation of Black Hawk helicopters that flew overhead.

"Honor them through your actions, and protect the legacy they have left us," Rodriguez concluded. "Let us remember those heroes whose time was short but whose impact will be felt for generations to come."

(
Army Sgt. Timothy Dinneen is assigned to Combined Joint Task Force 82 Public Affairs.)

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Pace Says Iraqis Must Step Up to Governance Challenge

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

May 28, 2007 – The Iraqi government needs to step forward to make progress in governance and revitalize the economy, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said today during appearances on various morning television talk shows.
Marine Gen. Peter Pace also used the television appearances to thank servicemembers and their families on Memorial Day.

"It is very difficult to talk about numbers of those who have died in combat, but the fact of the matter is that freedom is not free," Pace said on NBC's Today. "We must protect our freedoms at home and abroad, and the men and women in uniform today understand how important their service is. This is not an easy fight, but they understand its value and importance to our nation."

On CBS This Morning, Pace said that American servicemembers serving in Iraq understand they are buying time for the Iraqi government to set its house in order. "It is time for the Iraqi government to stand up to lead, to pull their people together, to make it so we can do what we would like us to do and they would like us to do: Come home," Pace said.

The Iraqi security forces are increasing and the readiness rates are going up. "But their leadership is going to have to show that they can pull together a unity government and lead their people," he said.

The general wants the Iraqi government to emulate the Sunni sheikhs of Al Anbar province. A year ago, the outlook in the province was bleak, he said. But tribal leaders and sheikhs saw the carnage that al Qaeda in Iraq was inflicting on the country and they joined with coalition forces and Iraqi security forces to drive the
terrorists from the region.

"The example has been set in al Anbar by Sunni sheikhs who last year were fighting against us and their own government," Pace said. "It's a great example for the central government in Iraq to pull people together."

The enemy in the
war on terror is a bloodthirsty one with a 100-year plan. The general said that coalition forces found an al Qaeda torture chamber in Diyala province and freed 41 Iraqis.

"We are up against a very ruthless enemy and this nation is going to have to defend itself for as long as it takes," he said.

Pace said he sees the enemy increasing attacks over the next few months as Americans debate the war and the surge. In part, they will increase attacks to affect the debate inside the United States. Ryan Crocker, U.S. ambassador to Iraq, and Army Gen. David Petraeus, Multinational Force Iraq commander, will issue an assessment in September as to the way forward.

"We will see the enemy in July and August try to increase our casualties," Pace said. "That said, there has been progress."

Planning goes forward across the spectrum for future operations in Iraq.

"You would expect us to be looking forward and planning ways to ramp up or ramp down depending on the situation on the ground," Pace said.

He said the assessment in September will inform leaders on the next steps in the country. "We're looking at an entire spectrum of 'next steps' to either reinforce success or make changes that may be necessary," he said.

The chairman said that when he visits troops, he often gets asked if the American people still support them.

"Americans do understand the sacrifices that have been made over 232 years to let us live free," Pace said. "They are reaching out in very special ways today to the men and women in uniform. I was in Charlotte, N.C., yesterday for the NASCAR race. (There were) 180,000 fans at the Lowe's Motor Speedway who were on their feet cheering and screaming for the troops that were there.

"I think America has found a special way regardless of their feelings about the war to reach out and say thank you to those serving today," Pace said.

On Memorial Day, Pace, a Vietnam combat veteran, said he has "some names in my head that I've carried for almost 40 years. They are very special to me, I think all of us who have served in combat have names like that. They remind of the sacrifice that's required for the nation to live free. They remind me of my very special responsibilities to those who are serving today to ensure as best I can, that we have as little sacrifice as possible, but as much as required to keep us free."

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Marine Casualty

The Department of Defense announced today the death of a Marine who was supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Lance Cpl. Emmanuel Villarreal, 21, of Eagle Pass, Texas, died May 27 from a non-hostile vehicle accident at Kuwait Naval Base, Kuwait. He was assigned to Battalion Landing Team 1st Battalion, 11th Marine Regiment, 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit, I Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Pendleton, Calif.

For more information in regard to this release the media can contact the Camp Pendleton public affairs office at (760) 725-5044.

Army Casualty

The Department of Defense announced today the death of a Soldier who was supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Spc. Clinton C. Blodgett, 19, of Pekin, Ind., died May 26 in Baghdad, Iraq, when the vehicle he was in struck an improvised explosive device. He was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 18th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, Schweinfurt, Germany.

For more information in regard to this release the media can contact the 1st Armored Division public affairs office at 011-49-611-705-4859.

Army Casualty

The Department of Defense announced today the death of a soldier who was supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Spc. Mark R. C. Caguioa, 21, of Stockton, Calif., died May 24 at the National Naval Medical Center, Bethesda, Md., of wounds suffered on May 4 in Baghdad, Iraq, when the vehicle he was in struck an improvised explosive device. He was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 5th Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, Fort Hood, Texas.

For more information in regard to this release the media can contact the Fort Hood public affairs office at (254) 287-9993; after hours (254) 291-2591.

Marine Casualty

The Department of Defense announced today the death of a Marine who was supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Sgt. Nicholas R. Walsh, died May 26 from wounds suffered while conducting combat operations in Al Anbar province, Iraq. He was assigned to the 1st Reconnaissance Battalion, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Pendleton, Calif.

For more information in regard to this release the media can contact the Camp Pendleton public affairs office at (760) 725-5044.

Marine Casualty

The Department of Defense announced today the death of a Marine who was supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Lance Cpl. David P. Lindsey, died May 25 from a non-hostile incident in Al Anbar province, Iraq. His death is under investigation. Lindsey was assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Lejeune, N.C.

For more information in regard to this release the media can contact the II Marine Expeditionary Force public affairs office at (910) 451-7200.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Army Casualties

The Department of Defense announced today the death of two soldiers who were supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom. They died May 24 in Baghdad, Iraq, of wounds suffered when an improvised explosive device detonated near their vehicle.

They were assigned to 1st Brigade Transition Team, and attached to the 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, Fort Riley, Kansas.

Killed were:
Sgt. 1st Class Robert E. Dunham, 36, of Baltimore, Md.
Staff Sgt. Russell K. Shoemaker, 31, of Sweet Springs, Mo.


For more information in regard to this release the media can contact the Fort Riley public affairs office at (785) 239-3410.

Army Casualty

The Department of Defense announced today the death of a soldier who was supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom. He died May 25 in Taji, Iraq, of injuries suffered when his unit came in contact with enemy forces using small arms fire during combat operations.

Spc. Mathew P. LaForest, 21, of Austin, Texas, was assigned to 4th Battalion, 9th Infantry Regiment, 4th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, Fort Lewis, Wash.

For more information in regard to this release the media can contact the Fort Lewis public affairs office at (253) 967-0154 or (253) 967-0147.

Army Casualty

The Department of Defense announced today the death of a soldier who was supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Spc. Alexander Rosa Jr., 22, of Orlando, Fla., died May 25 in Muqdadiyah, Iraq, of wounds suffered when an improvised explosive device detonated near his vehicle. He was assigned to the 89th Military Police Brigade, Fort Hood, Texas.

For more information in regard to this release the media can contact the Fort Hood public affairs office at (254) 287-9993; after hours (254) 291-2591

Army Casualty

The Department of Defense announced today the death of a soldier who was supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Pvt. William L. Bailey III, 29, of Bellevue, Neb., died May 25, in Taji, Iraq, of wounds suffered when an improvised explosive device detonated near his vehicle. Bailey was assigned to the 755th Chemical Reconnaissance/Decontamination Company, Nebraska Army National Guard, O'Neill, Neb.

For more information in regard to this release the media can contact the Nebraska Army National Guard public affairs office at (402) 309-7300

Army Casualty

The Department of Defense announced today the death of a soldier who was supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Spc. Erich S. Smallwood, 23, of Trumann, Ark, died May 26, near Balad, Iraq, of wounds suffered when an improvised explosive device detonated near his vehicle. He was assigned to A Company, 875th Engineer Battalion of the Arkansas Army National Guard in Marked Tree, Ark.

For more information in regard to this release the media can contact the Arkansas Army National Guard public affairs office at (501) 212-5020.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Afghan Forces Capture Al Qaeda, Taliban Leaders

American Forces Press Service

May 27, 2007 – Afghan and coalition forces continued operations in Afghanistan over the past three days, resulting in the capture of Taliban and al Qaeda
leaders. On May 25, Afghan National Police detained an al Qaeda leader known only as Mujahid in the Bak District of Khowst Province. The police detained two men who were affiliated with the al Qaeda leader.

The terrorist leader has been responsible for multiple improvised explosive device and suicide bomber attacks in Khowst Province. He targeted schools and government officials resulting in the deaths of dozens of innocent civilians. He has also been involved in weapons smuggling and supplying logistics to other al Qaeda fighters.

"The removal of Mujahid will help bring peace and stability to the Afghan civilians in Khowst Province," said Army Maj. Chris Belcher, a Combined Joint Task Force- 82 spokesperson. "Intelligence gained from this al Qaeda cell
leader will surely lead us to other al Qaeda members."

Afghan Border
Police detained Taliban leader Sayed Gulab in the Pachir Wa Agam district of Nangarhar province on May 24. The border police had received intelligence on the notorious Taliban area commander and improvised explosive device cell facilitator. The police moved quickly to the village of Shir Wagan and detained him. He is being held in a coalition detention center.

Gulab is suspected of being responsible for emplacing IEDs in the Pachir Wa Agam district resulting in the injuries and deaths of innocent Afghan civilians and Afghan National Security Forces. He is also known to have extensive connections with other senior Taliban and Al Qaeda leadership in Nangarhar and Pakistan.

In an unrelated incident, Afghan and coalition officials said an estimated 50 Taliban members stole a stockpile of United Nations World Food Program goods intended for Afghan civilians in the Khas Oruzgan District of Oruzgan Province on May 25.

The thieves, under the cover of darkness, took bulk food, clothing and survival items intended for thousands of Afghan civilians living in the District. Maliks and village elders protested the crime and reported the incident to Afghan National Security and coalition forces operating in the area. Those forces are working with local government officials to track down the Taliban criminals and recover the stolen goods.

The World Food Program is the United Nations front-line agency in the fight against global hunger. The organizations goal is to provide 525 metric tons of food aid to 6.6 million Afghans through various projects and programs by December 2008. The agency focuses on relief and resettlement for internally displaced persons and refugees including food for work and education programs.

Since June 2006, there have been 16 incidents in which enemy fighters attacked World Food program convoys. The attacks are aimed at depriving hundreds of thousands of Afghans of deperately needed food.

In other action, Afghan National
Army soldiers and coalition forces received rocket-propelled grenade and mortar fire from an unknown-size element of enemy fighters at a coalition base in the Sangin District of Helmand Province.

Enemy fighters quickly retreated into nearby compounds when Afghan and coalition forces returned fire. From four compounds, enemy fighters continued to fire upon the coalition base. Close-air support was then requested and directed to fire on the four enemy positions.

From Coalition press releases

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Coalition Forces Capture, Kill Terrorists in Iraq

American Forces Press Service

May 27, 2007 – Coalition and Iraqi forces killed and captured
terrorists, weapons caches and bomb-making materials during operations in Iraq over the past two days. Intelligence reports directed Iraqi and coalition forces to a residence in Baghdad where they captured an individual believed to have ties to a secret cell terrorist network. The network is known for facilitating the transport of weapons and explosives from Iran to Iraq, as well as bringing militants from Iraq to Iran for terrorist training.

In other operations, coalition forces in Baghdad today targeted al-Qaeda in Iraq, detaining 18 suspected terrorists and destroying a cache of weapons and bomb-making materials.

The soldiers were operating from information gleaned from a May 21 operation. The forces detained five individuals with suspected ties to the al-Qaeda network. One individual said he had attended an IED-making class in a building nearby.

The coalition forces moved on to that building and found a cache of weapons, explosives and improvised explosive device-making materials. The cache contained three fully assembled IEDs, two artillery rounds, multiple IED triggers, eight rifles and assorted IED components.

In Mosul, coalition forces detained six individuals in two separate raids targeting al-Qaeda cell leaders in the city. Outside Fallujah, coalition forces picked up four more suspects.

Yesterday, coalition forces killed two
terrorists and captured three suspects near Taji, northwest of Baghdad. One of the suspects is believed to be an al-Qaeda senior leader whose group supplies vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices for use in the Taji area. The group is also known to be responsible for indirect fire and IED attacks on Iraqi and coalition forces.

Coalition forces operating near Karmah yesterday found a cache of weapons and explosives, including 10 homemade bombs, a 55-gallon drum of ammonium nitrate, 200 anti-aircraft rounds and an anti-aircraft artillery mount and a dump truck outfitted with a detonation cord. Coalition Forces detained two suspected
terrorists and safely destroyed the weapons cache on site.

(Compiled from Multinational Force Iraq press releases.)

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Iraqi Prime Minister Visits Anbar Province

American Forces Press Service

May 27, 2007 – Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki reached out to the Sunni population of his country with a visit to Anbar province yesterday. This was Maliki's second visit to the region since taking office. He visited Ramadi March 13. Maliki made the visit against a backdrop of combat operations in his country that broke up
terrorist cells in Sadr City and captured terrorists building and planting improvised explosive devices and car bombs.

Maliki was supposed to attend a meeting of tribal
leaders in al Qaim - a city on Iraq's border with Syria - but bad weather grounded all flights. Instead, the meeting was held at Al Asad Airbase. Maliki did talk by telephone with leaders from the area, including Sheikh Kurdi Al Rafah Albu Mahal and the Mayor of Husaybah, Farhan Tekan Farhan.

Also attending the meetings were U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker,
Army Gen. David Petraeus, the commander of Multinational Force Iraq, Marine Maj. Gen. W.E. Gaskin, commander Multinational Force West, Anbar Governor Mamoun Sami Rasheed Al Awani, Provincial Chairman Abdulsalam Abdullah Mohammad, Iraqi Foreign Minister Rafa'a Al Issawi, and Iraqi Interior Minister Jawad al-Bulani.

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Navy SEALs Share War Stories From Anbar Province

By John J. Kruzel
American Forces Press Service

May 25, 2007 – Two
Navy SEALs who recently returned from Iraq shared some of their combat experiences and described the progress they witnessed in Anbar province, during a panel discussion yesterday at the Naval Heritage Center here. Petty Officer 2nd Class Brian, a heavy weapons operator and breacher, and Lt. Chris, SEAL Team Five Bravo Platoon's commander, are identified only by their first names for security reasons. They spent seven months in Anbar province training Iraqi security forces to operate independently.

The SEALs painted an unfiltered picture of their experience on Camp Corregidor in the city of Ramadi, which was mortared an average of three times a day when they first arrived.

"No matter where we went, whether it was a PortoJon, the chow hall, wherever, if you left 25, 50 meters outside of your base or outside your barracks, you had to have full kit on," Brian said.

As platoon commander leading a foreign internal defense mission, Chris held the reins in "developing Iraqi security force capability to fight insurgents or terrorists, in order to create a self-sustaining and capable Iraqi security force," the lieutenant said.

During SEAL operations the platoon brought six to 10 Iraqis who either led or followed, depending on operational and tactical requirements.

"We would go in at night under the cover of darkness and get positioned to overwatch or basically provide support for an operation during the daytime," Chris said. "We're in there shaping the operation for decisive action.

"So we get setup and we're checking the environment out, looking at the battle space," Chris said. "And as the
Army's coming through and we're kind of covering them, we get attacked pretty heavily."

Brian, who was closer to the enemy than Chris, recalled the ensuing ambush.

"(The platoon) was in three different operating positions. Our operating position started taking fire," Brain said. "It was ineffective - shots against the wall, stuff like that - we took a couple grenades against the side of the building.

"Shortly after, our two buddies who were down the street about 100 meters from me, they took heavy fire - rocket-propelled grenade attacks," he said. "One of my buddies got fragged pretty good.

"So when they called in a Quick Reaction Force to come pick him up, we had two Iraqis open the door and go out in the street. Well sometime during the night there was an IED left out there for him. It was either command-detonated or pressure-plate," Brian said. "It was detonated; the Iraqi lost both of his legs at the waist.

"Two other guys were hurt really bad - my buddy Joe and my buddy Elliott - took it pretty bad," Brian said. "Everybody bagged out of our operational positions. Once we heard guys were down we bagged out of there - we took off running down the street; running and gunning."

Brian, Chris and the other SEALs consolidated near their "wounded brothers."

"We grabbed both guys and brought them in a house and started taking care of the wounded to getting those guys ready for transport," Brian said.

Elliott, one of the two wounded, was the biggest corpsman on their team - weighing 250 lbs. without gear, Chris recalled.

"He was laying there bleeding out, and he was telling us how to fix Joe, with no concern for himself," Chris said. "That pretty much sums up Navy SEAL corpsmen."

Meanwhile, aerial surveillance showed "bad guys jumping roof to roof coming after us," Brian said.

"So Chris had a great idea," Brian explained. "He said, 'Everybody (get beneath) a door jamb, get down low, and I'm going to have these Bradley (infantry fighting vehicles) come through here and take off the second decks of all these houses."

In a bold decision, Chris ordered enough ordnance to destroy the second-story of the building in which they were taking cover, and where the enemy fighters were positioned.

"It worked great!" Chris said in a Texas twang and with a wide smile.

The tank artillery campaign crippled the insurgency, what Chris remembered as "two distinct 30-minute periods of intense" fire fights. After the heavy tank reinforcements arrived, Brian, equipped with a machinegun, said he "went through about 800 rounds total."

The mission the SEALs described was one of roughly 65 direct-action combat operations they engaged in during their time in Anbar province, including an operation on the following night.

To illustrate symbols of the cultural progress they witnessed, Brian and Chris projected photographs on a large screen before the audience here.

In one image, a group of Sunni and Shiite members of the Iraqi army carry the casket of a deceased Iraqi soldier as a
U.S. Army Colonel looks on. The wooden coffin is draped in an Iraqi flag.

"This is the norm," Chris said. "This is what you're seeing on a daily basis; combined tribal and combined religious connection at things like funerals, mission planning out on operations. It's amazing."

In another one of Chris' slides, Iraqi police and civilians celebrate boisterously on a crowded street.

"After we were able to clear the city of (the enemy) in Eastern Ramadi, the people are able to go to the market, they're able to talk with Iraqi policemen out in the street openly, U.S. forces were able to patrol out in the street," Chris said. "It used to be very dangerous for us to even go down the road because of improvised explosive devices and sniper attacks and small-arms fire attacks."

In another picture, Chris and another SEAL flank a smiling Arab.

"Tribal engagement," Chris said. "This is us with Sheik Jossum up in Sofia, which was the genesis of the whole 'tribal awakening.'

"We trained them in foreign internal defensive and they eventually were able to bring other tribes on board and it really opened up the Anbar province," he said.

After conducting about 110 combat operations with Iraqi security forces in Anbar, the mortaring at Camp Corregidor in Ramadi stopped, Brian recalled.

"We were free to exercise on base," Brian said. "We were free to use the bathroom without having a helmet and body armor on."

Chris added, "That was about the best experience of the whole six months."

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