War on Terrorism

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Marine Casualty

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

Lance Cpl. Ralph J. Fabbri, 20, of Gallitzin, Pa., died Sept. 28 while conducting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan.  He was assigned to the HeadquartersBattalion, 1st Marine Division, IMarine Expeditionary Force, Camp Pendleton, Calif.

For additional background information on this Marine, news media representatives may contact the 1st Marine Division public affairs office at 760-725-6573.

Afghanistan Airstrike Kills 4 Insurgents

Compiled from International Security Assistance Force Joint Command News Releases

WASHINGTON, Sept. 29, 2010 – An air weapons team engaged insurgents who’d fired on Afghan and coalition forces conducting a patrol in eastern Afghanistan today, military officials reported.

The combined patrol came under effective small-arms fire from about eight insurgents in the Andar district of Ghazni province. After gaining positive identification on the insurgent position, an air weapons team engaged the insurgent firing position. After the engagement ended, the combined force called for a medical evacuation for wounded insurgents and reported that approximately four insurgents had been killed.

The wounded were evacuated to an International Security Assistance Force medical facility for treatment. ISAF is aware of allegations in the media of civilian casualties associated with this operation. ISAF is receiving reports from this operation and will provide updates as they become available.

In other news and operations today:

-- Afghan and coalition security forces engaged several insurgents during a combined operation in Ghazni province. The combined force came under fire from a group of armed insurgents, who left the area when the combined force returned fire. As the force moved to the suspected insurgent location, they discovered a cave and while searching the cave they were engaged by insurgents. The patrol returned fire, killing two insurgents. Initial reports indicate no civilians were involved in the operation.

In yesterday’s Afghanistan news and operations:

-- An insurgent suicide bomber attacked and killed the Deputy Governor of Ghazni province, Mohammad Kazim Allahyar, his two sons and three of his nephews. Deputy Governor Allahyar had served as deputy provincial governor for more than seven years. “We join President Karzai in condemning this attack against Deputy Governor Allahyar and his family,” said Rear Admiral Greg Smith, director of communication, International Security Assistance Force. “Deputy Governor Allahyar was a dedicated public servant who was working to improve the lives of the people in Ghazni. As both President Karzai and Bizmullah Khan, Minister of the Interior, commented yesterday, these attacks by insurgents on Afghan officials and innocent civilians are un-Islamic and inhumane. We offer our sincere condolences and sympathy to the family of Deputy Governor Allahyar and to the people of Ghazni,” said Admiral Smith. “We remain resolute and will stand by our Afghan partners to bring about peace and security.” Afghan authorities are working to bring the perpetrators of this attack to justice. There were no ISAF servicemembers involved in the incident.

-- A group of Afghan children found an unexploded rocket and took it to an International Security Assistance Force operating base in western Afghanistan. The children turned the ordnance, a 107 mm rocket, over to troops at Forward Operaing Base Leimbach in Farah province for disposal. An ISAF explosive ordnance disposal team destroyed the rocket. "While we are happy to have safely destroyed this weapon, we encourage people who find any device like this to notify an ISAF servicemember and not attempt to pick it up," said Italian Army Col. Franco Federici, Italian Task Force commander. "Rockets and other weapons are very dangerous and we will remove them safely."

-- Afghan and coalition security forces captured a Taliban leader heavily involved in improvised explosive device attacks, in Paktiya province. The individual is known to conduct pressure plate, remote-controlled and command-wire IED attacks, endangering the local population. He was also involved in attacks on reconstruction operations and the assassinations of Afghan government officials. "This was a key capture for Afghan and coalition forces as well as Afghan civilians living in Paktiya province," said U.S. Army Col. Rafael Torres, International Security Assistance Force Joint Command Combined Joint Operations Center director. "This leader haunted the Afghan people with his indiscriminate and violent activities. We're happy to remove him from the battlefield." Intelligence reports led the security force to a remote compound in Gardez district to search for the targeted individual. Afghan forces used a loudspeaker to call for all occupants to exit the buildings peacefully and then the joint security force cleared and secured the area. After initial questioning at the scene, the security force identified and detained the leader along with one of his associates. The security force also discovered an 82mm artillery round and ammunition at the scene. The assault force did not fire their weapons and they protected the women and children for the duration of the search.

-- The International Security Assistance Force confirmed that a Sept. 25 precision air strike in Kunar province killed Abdallah Umar al-Qurayshi, an al-Qaida senior commander who coordinated the attacks of a group of Arab fighters in Kunar and Nuristan provinces. The al-Qaida facilitators and extremists he worked with throughout the Middle East directly threaten the safety and security of Afghan civilians. He routinely facilitated the travel of foreign fighters, including Arabs, into the region. Abu Atta al Kuwaiti, an al-Qaida explosives expert, and several Arabic foreign fighters also were killed in the strike. ISAF is working to confirm the exact identities of other high-level insurgent commanders, who were meeting when the strike was conducted. "The death of Abdallah Umar al-Qurayshi is a significant victory for the people of Afghanistan," said U.S. Army Col. Rafael Torres, ISAF Joint Command Combined Joint Operations Center director. "We deliberately targeted a major threat to Afghanistan, which will significantly degrade the al-Qaida activities throughout the region. We will relentlessly target the remaining foreign fighters, al-Qaida, and senior Taliban leadership still operating in Afghanistan and those who harbor them."

-- Afghan and coalition security forces detained two insurgents in Kandahar province including a Taliban leader who conducted improvised explosive device attacks in Kandahar City. The leader also facilitated the movement of IED material throughout the city. Based on intelligence tips, the security force targeted a compound in Kandahar City to search for the targeted individual. During the clearance, one individual threatened the security force with an AK-47. The security force engaged the threatening individual, killing him. After the area was secure, the security force conducted initial questioning at the scene, identifying and detaining the leader and one of his associates. The assault force protected the women and children for the duration of the search.

-- Afghan and coalition security forces detained several suspected insurgents in Helmand province while in pursuit of a Nawa-ye Barakzai Taliban Shura member and Taliban leader with influence throughout the Nawa and Lashkar Gah districts. Afghan and coalition security forces have degraded the Nawah Taliban network through recent operations resulting in the capture of several high-level commanders within the network. Intelligence reports led the security force to a remote compound in Nawa-ye Barakzai district to search for the targeted individual. Afghan forces used a loudspeaker to call for all occupants to exit the buildings peacefully and then the joint security force cleared and secured the area. After initial questioning at the scene, the security force detained four suspected insurgents. The security force also found improvised explosive device material and Taliban propaganda at the scene. The assault force did not fire their weapons and they protected the women and children for the duration of the search.

-- Afghan and coalition security forces detained several insurgents in Khost province, including a Haqqani Network leader responsible for attacks against coalition forces. The leader was detained by coalition forces previously and spent a year in custody before being released in April 2009, when he resumed his illegal activities. Intelligence reports led the security force to a compound east of Guldar in Bak district to search for the targeted individual. Afghan forces used a loudspeaker to call for all occupants to exit the buildings peacefully and then the joint security force cleared and secured the area. After initial questioning at the scene, the security force identified and detained the leader along with two of his associates. The security force also discovered multiple automatic weapons and rifles, a machine gun, magazines and military uniforms at the scene. The assault force did not fire their weapons and they protected the women and children for the duration of the search.

-- Afghan and coalition security forces detained several insurgents in Kandahar province while in pursuit of a Taliban senior leader operating in the Kandahar City and Panjwa'i districts. The target leads small groups of fighters in their attacks against coalition forces. Intelligence reports led the security force to a remote compound southwest of Kandahar City to search for the leader. Afghan forces used a loudspeaker to call for all occupants to exit the buildings peacefully and then the joint security force cleared and secured the area. After initial questioning at the scene, the security force detained several insurgents. The security force also discovered improvised explosive device making material including 70 pounds of nitrogen fertilizer, often used to make explosives and copper wire at the scene. The assault force did not fire their weapons and they protected the women and children during the search.

In Sept. 27 Afghanistan operations:

-- Acting on multiple intelligence reports and tips from concerned citizens, Afghan and coalition security forces detained a wanted insurgent during a combined operation in the village of Mullah Hadzrat in Logar province. The captured insurgent commander was an expert in the manufacturing and use of improvised explosive devices. He was directly responsible for the planning and execution of numerous IED attacks against Afghan forces and ISAF troops. He was also an expert in the use of remote-control technologies to initiate IEDs. Upon securing the compound, the force called-out the inhabitants multiple times in order to allow them to peacefully exit the building. There was no response. The combined force then entered the compound and without incident detained the insurgent commander and several suspected insurgents. The detainees were taken for processing and further questioning.

Gates Calls Development Integral to Security

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Sept. 28, 2010 – Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates was part of a high-powered panel discussion of the new U.S. global development policy here today.

“Development is a lot cheaper than sending soldiers,” Gates said during the discussion.

Gates, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner and Rajiv Shah, director of the U.S. Agency for International Development, told a meeting of the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition that focused development is an integral part of American foreign and security policies.

President Barack Obama laid out the policy during his speech to the United Nations last week. The idea is that the global development policy will be a pillar of American power, alongside diplomacy and defense. The policy seeks broad-based economic growth, promotion of good governance and it seeks the stabilization of countries emerging from crisis or conflict. At its heart, the policy looks to alleviate poverty and advance basic human dignity.

“We are making sure that development is an integral part of America’s national security policy and is part of an integrated approach that includes development, diplomacy and defense,” Clinton said.

There are short- and long-term objectives to the policy, Gates said. In the short run, the United States cannot succeed in Iraq and Afghanistan without development. “In the fights that we’re in, the civilian component is absolutely critical to success,” he said. “What we’ve discovered as we went along – and I think we came to it way late – was that the civilian side of the government in the arena of development was significantly under-resourced.”

When he retired as director of Central Intelligence in 1993, Gates said, the Agency for International Development had 16,000 people. “They were deployable, they were expert, they expected to live in harsh conditions – often in fragile security,” he said. “When I came back into government (in 2006), AID had about 3,000 people and it was basically a contracting agency.”

The U.S. government needs an inherent development capability with committed professionals to carry out this work, Gates said.

For the longer term, development policies support what in the military is known as ‘Phase 0,’ the way to prevent conflict and the need to send in troops, Gates said. “The way you do that is through development. Development creates stability, it contributes to better governance,” he said. “If you are able to do those things, if you are able to do it in a focused and sustainable way, then it may be unnecessary to send soldiers.”

Still, in some areas and for some crises, it may be necessary to send military personnel to provide security, Gates said. “But development and security are inextricably linked – you can’t have development without security and you can’t have security without development,” he said.

Gates outlined three aspects of the policy he thinks are most important: sustainability; the need for U.S. government and the country being helped to make choices; and partnering with non-governmental organizations.

The military has carried the burden of development since 2001, but that burden is lifting, Gates said. “In the past year, the civilian representation in Afghanistan has tripled,” he said. “We can contribute and we do some development work, but it’s not our core competency. The truth is, if you talk to a colonel who is a brigade commander in Afghanistan and ask him about the contribution that a single civilian professional leading a (provincial reconstruction team) brings, he will tell you they are a giant force multiplier.”

Having that civilian expertise and the kind of people who look on this work “as a calling and a profession,” makes all the difference, Gates said.

Clinton and Gates both criticized congressional action to strip development money from the State Department budget. Clinton joked that the Defense Department gets all the money it asks for, while State has to argue over what would be small change in Defense. Gates compared the stripping of the money to the scene in the movie Charlie Wilson’s War when Congress, after spending billions to help the Afghan mujaheddin toss the Soviets out of Afghanistan, wouldn’t spend a million dollars for schools.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Petraeus Discusses Future of Afghan Detainees

By U.S. Navy Chief Petty Officer Maria Yager
American Forces Press Service

PARWAN PROVINCE, Afghanistan, Sept. 28, 2010 – The top U.S. commander in Afghanistan toured the U.S. Detention Facility here yesterday, and discussed his vision for detention operations in Afghanistan.

“When I took command of Multinational Force-Iraq in February 2007, we still had Camp Bucca with 17,000 detainees at that time and it grew larger,” said Army Gen. David H. Petraeus, commander, International Security Assistance Force and commander, U.S. Forces Afghanistan. ”We still had all of the detainees in huge enclosures. It was just fenced-in enclosures of about 800 to 900 detainees per enclosure. Obviously, we have come a long way since then.”

Combined Joint Interagency Task Force-435, in partnership with the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, and U.S. interagency and international partners, conducts operations in detention, corrections, the judicial sector and biometrics. Next year the CJIATF will transition detention operations to Afghan control while partnering with Afghan authorities to promote rule of law practices.

Petraeus said his team had implemented job training and rehabilitation programs, routine detainee review boards, integration of host nation legal activities, and shuras, or meetings, to get communities to re-embrace detainees when they were released.

“All that began a good bit of what you see today,” said Petraeus, who was joined by his deputy commander for detention operations, U.S. Navy Vice Adm. Robert Harward, commander, Combined Joint Interagency Task Force-435.

Petraeus said when he left Iraq and assumed command of U.S. Central Command in 2008, one of his first acts was to send U.S. Marine Corps Maj. Gen. Douglas Stone to survey the detention operations situation in Afghanistan. Now retired, Stone served as Petraeus’ deputy commander for detention operations in Iraq.

“He came back in the spring of 2009 and had a number of recommendations -- a number of those have led to what you have seen right here,” said Petraeus. Parwan’s state-of-the-art theater internment facility opened in December 2009.

Petraeus said the focus was initially on detainee operations, which, over time, expanded to training Afghans to take on detention facility tasks.

In January 2010, Afghan government officials signed a memorandum of understanding that guides the process for the Afghan Ministry of Defense to take the lead on assuming responsibility for the Parwan detention facility.

In the memo key ministries agreed to identify and assign personnel to staff the facility, working alongside American personnel through the transition process. Currently more than 160 Afghan soldiers have completed required training and joined the 1,200 U.S. servicemembers who make up the guard force. Another 600 ANA soldiers are currently in training to join their Afghan and U.S. counterparts.

The detention facility’s design accommodates detainee reintegration efforts and enables CJIATF-435 to better align detention operations with the overall strategy to defeat the extremist insurgency in Afghanistan.

“This is about doing it right. And I really mean that,” Petraeus said. “The fact is that what we wanted to do was do it properly.”

During his tour of the detention facility, Petraeus received a briefing on detainee reintegration programs and he also visited the detainee agriculture training area. Eligible detainees at the facility may participate in literacy and educational programs. Earlier this year reintegration officials at the detention facility implemented vocational training for eligible detainees including bread making, agriculture and tailoring.

Reintegration, under Petraeus’ counterinsurgency strategy, includes removing Afghan fighters by bringing those willing to renounce violence and accept the Afghan constitution back into their communities with honor and dignity. It is about creating conditions through community-based programs, public protection, and sustainable economic opportunities so fighters have incentives to live peacefully and return to their communities.

As part of ongoing efforts to evaluate the effectiveness of reintegration programs, last week, Harward and CJIATF-435’s Afghan Deputy Commander, Maj. Gen. Marjan Shuja, met with members of the Afghan government, community members and 22 former detainees to discuss reintegration successes and challenges for the released men.

Petraeus said he has seen progress in the short time since the Parwan detention facility opened and implemented reintegration and rehabilitation programs for detainees.

“The recidivism rates so far on those who have been released are very low indeed,” the general said.

Afghan, Coalition Troops Detain Insurgents

Compiled from International Security Assistance Force and ISAF Joint Command News Releases

WASHINGTON, Sept. 28, 2010 – Afghan and International Security Assistance Force troops detained several insurgents during a combined operation in Helmand province yesterday, military officials reported.

Intelligence sources and tips from citizens led a combined force to two vehicles with suspected insurgents in them. After the combined force stopped the vehicles, they were fired upon by some of the individuals as they exited the vehicles and attempted to run away.

Afghan and coalition forces pursued the fleeing insurgents and detained them without incident. During a search of the vehicles and suspected insurgents, the combined force found 20 kilograms of wet opium and improvised explosive device components. The narcotics and bomb components were destroyed on site. The men were detained by Afghan authorities for processing and further questioning.

In other Afghanistan operations yesterday:

-- Acting on intelligence reports and tips from citizens, Afghan and coalition forces detained several insurgents during a combined operation in Helmand province. The forces detained the suspected insurgents at a compound associated with a senior Taliban commander in the area. He has coordinated attacks against Afghan and coalition forces, and oversees the emplacement of improvised explosive devices in the area. Upon securing of the compound, the force called-out the inhabitants multiple times in order to allow them to peacefully exit the building. After getting no response, the Afghan and coalition forces entered the compound, and were then confronted by an armed insurgent. They engaged the insurgent, killing him. Shortly thereafter, several men, women and children exited the building. The men were separated and questioned, while the women and children were protected. The joint security group continued through the compound, detaining several men and protecting a total of 10 women and 15 children. Nine men were detained because they tested positive for handling explosives.

-- Afghan and coalition forces found and destroyed large weapons caches in Nangarhar and Zabul provinces. A combined force found and destroyed a cache in the Khugyani district of Nangarhar that included: 11 82 mm mortars, seven anti-tank mines, 23 kilograms of explosives, 23 kilograms of propellant, two recoilless rifle rounds and two remote detonators. In the Qalat district of Zabul province, a combined patrol found and destroyed a cache consisting of: 21 107 mm rockets, nine rocket-propelled grenades, two anti-tank mines and an RPG launcher.

-- Afghan and coalition security forces detained two suspected insurgents in Helmand province in their continued pursuit of a dual-hatted Taliban civil and military commander for the Lashkar Gah and Nahr-e Saraj districts. The recently appointed commander was forced to take over the role of military commander after his predecessor was captured earlier this month. Intelligence reports led the security force to a compound in the village of Mohammad Jan Kalay in Nahr-e Saraj district to search for the commander. Afghan forces used a loudspeaker to call for all occupants to exit the buildings peacefully and then the joint security force cleared and secured the area. After initial questioning at the scene, the security force detained two suspected insurgents.

-- Afghan and coalition security forces detained two suspected insurgents in Paktika province while in pursuit of a Taliban subcommander linked to improvised explosive device and suicide. Based on intelligence reports, the security force targeted a remote compound in Mota Khan district to search for the commander. Afghan forces used a loudspeaker to call for all occupants to exit the buildings peacefully and then the joint security force cleared and secured the compound. After conducting initial questioning with the residents at the scene, the security force detained two suspected insurgents. They also found multiple weapons and 50 pounds of explosives at the scene.

-- Afghan and coalition security forces captured a Haqqani Network facilitator known to make and distribute improvised explosive device materials throughout the province, during an operation in Khost province. Intelligence tips led the security force to a compound in Khost district to search for the facilitator. Afghan forces used a loudspeaker to call for all occupants to exit the buildings peacefully and then the joint security force cleared and secured the area. After initial questioning at the scene, the security force detained the facilitator along with two of his associates. The security force also discovered multiple weapons and magazines, along with a grenade at the scene.

-- Afghan and coalition security forces detained two insurgents in Kandahar province, including a Taliban facilitator responsible for moving improvised explosive device supplies from Pakistan to Kandahar City. Based on intelligence tips, the security force targeted a compound in Spin Boldak district to search for the facilitator. Afghan forces used a loudspeaker to call for all occupants to exit the buildings peacefully and then the joint security force cleared and secured the area. After initial questioning at the scene, the security force identified and detained the facilitator and one of his associates.

-- ISAF confirmed one Afghan civilian was killed by an ISAF servicemember in the Ali Sheng district of Laghman province Sept. 26. An investigation is ongoing into the circumstances of the man's death. "We take allegations of civilian casualties very seriously and we will conduct a thorough investigation of this isolated incident," said Maj. Patrick Seiber, Combined Joint Task Force-101 and Regional Command-East spokesman. "We make every effort to ensure the protection of Afghan civilians and will take the steps necessary to prevent an incident like this from happening again in the future."

In Sept. 25 Afghanistan news:

-- An air weapons team engaged a significant number of insurgents following an attack on a remote Afghan security force outpost in Khost province. The Narizah outpost came under attack, receiving direct and indirect fire from the Pakistan side of the border. An air weapons team in the area observed the enemy fire and engaged the enemy in the border area under the right of self defense. The engagement resulted in more than 30 insurgents killed. After the engagement, additional ISAF helicopters arrived to conduct an aerial assessment and received small-arms fire again. The aircraft returned fire resulting in several additional insurgents killed. Initial reports indicate no civilians were injured or killed during the operation. At no time during the engagement did ground forces cross into Pakistani territory.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

More NATO Trainers Needed in Afghanistan, General Says

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Sept. 28, 2010 – More NATO trainers are needed to train Afghanistan’s soldiers and police to support the coalition’s strategy to turn over security responsibilities to the Afghans, the commander of the NATO Training Mission in Afghanistan told the alliance Military Committee yesterday.

“Tactical gains on the battlefield will not be enduring without a self-sustaining Afghan security force,” Army Lt. Gen. William B. Caldwell IV said in prepared remarks to the committee. The general appealed to the military leaders for more trainers to “professionalize” Afghan forces and build the infrastructure to sustain the numbers and quality of the force.

The mission, Caldwell said, needs a thousand more trainers from NATO nations. The trainers will work with Afghan army and Afghan police forces.

There are now 143,000 coalition troops in Afghanistan with 95,000 of them American. The NATO-led International Security Assistance Force has an operational mission, but also a mission to train Afghan forces so coalition troops can transition the mission to them.

NATO’s training mission in Afghanistan is at a critical crossroads, the general said. For the past year, he said, the emphasis has been on producing combat formations to combat the Taliban and other terror groups.

“But now, we must create a force that can generate, equip and sustain itself to serve and protect its people; therefore, we must build the critical support formations over the next year, and professionalize this force,” Caldwell said. “Accomplishing this mission will require additional NATO institutional trainers with special skill sets – skill sets to create and develop Afghan logisticians, maintainers, communicators, intel[ligence] analysts and the leaders this security force requires.”

Caldwell said the development of professional Afghan military and police leaders is paramount to achieving success in Afghanistan.

“Professionalism is the key ingredient to an enduring force that can serve and protect its people,” the general said. “The limiting factors to building this professional force are leader development, literacy and losses through attrition.”

In the U.S. Army, it takes 15 years to develop a battalion commander, Caldwell said. In Afghanistan – with a literacy rate of around 25 percent – the process of developing military and police leaders is more complicated, he said.

NATO trainers also serve as role models and mentors for Afghans, the general said, and he urged NATO member nations to provide more.

“Your nations have the right people, with the right skills, in the right numbers and the right multi-national experience,” Caldwell said. “Every one of your nations has a capability that will sustain the momentum we have created together in the past 10 months.”

The NATO Training Mission comprises just 2 percent of the coalition forces currently deployed to Afghanistan, but their impact is enormous, Caldwell said.

“Our trainers have generated an Afghan National Security Force that today makes up 63 percent of all security forces,” he said. “By improving their capability to generate, equip, field and sustain their force, we have begun to create a force that will be able to take the lead for security in the future. This would not have been possible without the professional trainers from your countries.”

Army Casualties

The Department of Defense announced today the deaths of two soldiers who were supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.

They died Sept. 26 at Kandahar, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when insurgents attacked their military vehicle with an improvised explosive device on Sept. 25 at Forward Operating Base Frontenac, Afghanistan.  They were assigned to the 20th Engineer Battalion, 36th Engineer Brigade, Fort Hood, Texas.

Killed were:

Sgt. Mark A. Simpson, 40, of Peoria, Ill.

Spc.  Donald S. Morrison, 23, of Cincinnati, Ohio.

For more information the media may contact the Fort Hood public affairs office at 254-287-9993.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Expeditionary Leaders Participate in Operational Stress Control Training

By Chief Mass Communication Specialist (AW/SW) Essex D. Moore III, Navy Expeditionary Combat Command Public Affairs

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (NNS) -- Officers and senior enlisted Sailors from Explosive Ordnance Disposal Group 2 participated in Operational Stress Control (OSC) Training for Operational Leaders, Sept. 23.

The fourth and final session of the six-hour pilot course was conducted to further the chief of naval operations' goal to change the mental health culture in the Navy.

According to Capt. Lori Laraway, Navy OSC coordinator and course facilitator, the training is part of a Navy initiative to reinforce the importance of OSC at all levels of Navy training, from boot camp to the Navy War College.

"Everyone experiences stress," said Laraway. "Too much over a long period can have negative, lasting effects."

The Navy's OSC program was developed by the Navy and Marine Corps Public Health Center to provide leaders with tools to help mitigate the negative effects of stress, and to highlight the importance of identifying and dealing with stress issues at the deckplate level.

The training focused on raising awareness and giving simple tools to operational leaders to help them understand and recognize the indicators of stress.

"I think the Navy's come a long way in identifying stress indicators," said Chief Intelligence Specialist Kirk Deleonardo. "Many Sailors coming back from places like Afghanistan and Iraq experience very stressful environments. The training will help me be aware and notice things that are different about them on a day-to-day basis."

For many, the highlight of the training was the leadership panel during which leaders volunteered to be open and honest in sharing problems they have had and how they dealt with them. It emphasized a leader's commitment to Sailors, families and overall command health.

"The training helps us recognize potential problems and symptoms and shows us how we can go about correcting them," said Cmdr. Dean Muriano, commanding officer of Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit 6. "I hope my leaders gained knowledge on what to look for, and that there are assets and resources available to seek additional care and treatment."

For information on handling stress and building resilience, go to http://navstress.navy.dodlive.mil.

Army Casualties

The Department of Defense announced today the deaths of two soldiers who were supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.

They died Sept. 24 of wounds suffered while traveling between Ghanzi and Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, when their military vehicle was attacked with an improvised explosive device.  They were assigned to the 17th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 3rd Maneuver Enhancement Brigade, U.S. Army, Alaska, Fort Richardson, Alaska.

Killed were:

Pfc. William B. Dawson, 20, of Tunica, Miss.

Pfc. Jaysine P. S. Petree, 19, of Yigo, Guam.

For more information, the media may contact the U.S. Army Alaska public affairs office at 907-384-1542 or 907-384-2072.

Army Casualty

The Department of Defense announced today the death of a soldier who was supporting Operation New Dawn.

Spc. Marc C. Whisenant, 23, of Holly Hill, Fla., died Sept. 24 in Kuwait of injuries sustained in a military vehicle roll-over.  He was attached to the Florida National Guard’s 1st Battalion, 124th Infantry Regiment, Miami, Fla.

For more information, the media may contact the Florida National Guard public affairs office at 904-823-0166 or the Army Human Resources Command public affairs office at 502-613-4212.

Army Casualties

The Department of Defense announced today the deaths of two soldiers who were supporting Operation New Dawn.

They died Sept. 24 in Fallujah, Iraq, of injuries sustained Sept. 23 in a non-combat incident.  They were assigned to 3rd Battalion, 15th Infantry Regiment, 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, Fort Stewart, Ga.

Killed were:

Spc. John Carrillo Jr., 20, of Stockton, Calif.

Pfc. Gebrah P. Noonan, 26, of Watertown, Conn.

For more information, the media may contact the Fort Stewart public affairs office at 912-435-9879 or 912-435-9874.

Army Casualty

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

Pfc. Clinton E. Springer II, 21, of Sanford, Maine, died Sept. 24 in Kabul, Afghanistan, in a non-combat related incident.  He was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 22nd Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry), Fort Drum, N.Y.

For more information, the media may contact the Fort Drum public affairs office at 315-772-8286.

Afghan, Coalition Forces Capture, Kill Insurgents

Compiled from International Security Assistance Force Joint Command News Releases

WASHINGTON, Sept. 27, 2010 – Afghan and coalition forces detained several Taliban insurgents in Kandahar province yesterday, including a Taliban commander who carried out attacks against Afghan government officials and coalition forces in Kandahar City, military officials reported.

Based on intelligence tips, the security forces targeted a compound in Arghandab district to search for the commander. Afghan and coalition forces used a loudspeaker to call for all occupants to exit the compound peacefully and then secured the area.

After initial questioning at the scene, the security force identified and detained the commander along with several of his associates.

During this operation -- as in all others -- Afghan and coalition security forces made it a priority to protect women and children.

In other Afghanistan news yesterday:

-- Afghan and coalition forces killed Azizullah, a Taliban subcommander who operated mainly in Logar province, during an overnight operation in Paktika province. Azizullah was connected to the July kidnapping and deaths of two US sailors. Additionally, a Taliban improvised explosive device manufacturer was among several insurgents detained during the operation. Intelligence reporting led the security force to a remote compound in Sharan district to search for the commander. As the security force approached, several individuals ran from the compound. The security force tracked and peacefully detained them. Additionally, the assault force killed an insurgent hiding in a ditch after he threatened the security force. The security force later identified him as Azizullah. After the area was secure, Afghan forces used a loudspeaker to call for all occupants to exit the compound peacefully and then the combined force secured the area. After initial questioning at the scene, the security force detained several more insurgents. The security force also found multiple Taliban propaganda videos at the scene.

-- Afghan and coalition security forces detained several insurgents in Helmand province, including a Taliban commander operating in Nawah-ye Barakzai district. The commander terrorized the local population by conducting improvised explosives device attacks and kidnapping Afghan civilians. Afghan and coalition security forces have degraded the Nawah Taliban network through several recent operations resulting in the capture of several high-level commanders within the network. The targeted individual was being considered to replace the former Nawah-ye Barakzai district commander, who was detained by an Afghan-led force in August. Based on intelligence tips, the security force targeted a remote series of compounds in Marjah district to search for the commander. As the security force approached one of the targeted compounds, several insurgents ran from the compound. The security force pursued and detained them peacefully. Once the area was secured, Afghan forces used a loudspeaker to call for all occupants to exit the buildings peacefully and then the joint security force cleared and secured the compound. After conducting initial questioning with the residents at the scene, the security force detained additional insurgents.

-- Afghan and coalition forces detained several suspected Taliban insurgents in Badghis province, including a Taliban sub-commander operating in Qal'ah-ye Now district, who is responsible for attacks against Afghan and coalition forces. Based on intelligence information, the security force interdicted several vehicles in Qadis district to search for the Taliban commander. They secured the area and subsequently searched an associated tent. After initial questioning at the scene, the security force detained the commander and five of his associates.

-- Afghan and coalition forces detained two suspected Taliban insurgents in Logar province while in pursuit of a Taliban commander responsible for attacks against Afghan and coalition forces, including indirect fire attacks against Forward Operating Base Shank. Intelligence reports led the security force to a compound in the village of Khanshirin in Charkh district to search for the commander.
Afghan and coalition forces used a loudspeaker to call for all occupants to exit the compound peacefully and then secured the area. After initial questioning at the scene, the security force detained the suspected insurgents.

-- International Security Assistance Forces confirmed one Afghan civilian was killed by an ISAF servicemember in the Ali Sheng district of Laghman province. An investigation is ongoing into the circumstances of the man's death. "We take allegations of civilian casualties very seriously and we will conduct a thorough investigation of this isolated incident," said Maj. Patrick Seiber, Combined Joint Task Force-101 and Regional Command-East spokesman. "We make every effort to ensure the protection of Afghan civilians and will take the steps necessary to prevent an incident like this from happening again in the future."

In Sept. 25 Afghanistan news:

-- Coalition forces conducted a precision air strike in Kunar province targeting an al-Qaida senior commander who coordinates the attacks of a group of Arab fighters in Kunar and Nuristan province. The al-Qaida facilitators and extremists he works with throughout the Middle East directly threaten the safety and security of Afghan government officials and civilians. He routinely facilitates the travel of foreign fighters into the region. The commander's older brother was killed in a coalition force precision strike in March 2009. The brothers worked in tandem for several years facilitating for the al-Qaida network. "These operations prevent violent extremists from being able to threaten Afghan sovereignty or maintain safe havens from which they can threaten the security of people around the world," said U.S. Air Force Col. James Dawkins, ISAF Joint Command Combined Joint Operations Center director. "We deliberately targeted a major threat last night, which will significantly degrade the al-Qaida activities throughout the region." Based on intelligence sources, coalition forces tracked the commander to a remote compound in Darah-ye Pech district. After verifying his location and careful planning to help reduce the collateral damage, coalition forces conducted a precision air strike on the targeted compound, which was subsequently destroyed. The ISAF is still gathering information to assess the results of the strike. "Just like we do with all of our precision air strikes, we balanced the possible risks posed by precision air strikes with the dangers posed by the targeted individual. In this instance we decided we could not let this opportunity pass us by," Dawkins said. "Careful planning, de-confliction with Afghan authorities and intelligence gathering helped ensure collateral damage was kept to a minimum."

-- Afghan and coalition security forces detained several suspected insurgents in Helmand province Saturday while in pursuit of a dual-hatted Taliban civil and military commander for Lashkar Gah and Nahr-e Saraj districts. The recently appointed commander was forced to take over the role of military commander after his predecessor was captured earlier this month. Intelligence reports led the security force to a compound in the village of Mohammad Jan Kalay in Nahr-e Saraj district to search for the commander. As the security force approached the targeted compound, several individuals ran from the compound. The security force pursued and detained them peacefully. At the targeted compound, Afghan forces used a loudspeaker to call for all occupants to exit the buildings peacefully and then the joint security force cleared and secured the area. After initial questioning at the scene, the security force detained additional suspected insurgents.

-- Afghan and coalition security forces detained two insurgents and killed four in Takhar province while in pursuit of a Taliban facilitator involved in attack planning. The facilitator is associated with several Al Qaeda, Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan and Taliban leaders operating in Baghlan province. Based on intelligence tips, the security force targeted a compound in the village of Marzek in Ishkamish district to search for the facilitator. As the security force approached the targeted compound, insurgents immediately threatened the security force from several areas outside the targeted compound. The security force engaged from the ground and from coalition force aircraft, killing four insurgents. After the area was secure, Afghan forces used a loudspeaker to call for all occupants to exit the buildings peacefully and then the joint security force cleared and secured the compound. After initial questioning at the scene, the security force detained two insurgents. Also, the security force discovered a weapons cache inside a building with automatic weapons, pistols, 50 mortar fuses, nine improvised explosive devices, an anti-tank mine and a remote detonator. The security force destroyed the weapons cache in place after they were unable to defuse the anti-tank mine.

-- Afghan and coalition security forces detained several suspected insurgents in Zabul province while in pursuit of a mid-level Taliban commander operating in Tarnek wa Jaldak district. The commander coordinates and participates in attacks against Afghan government officials. Based on intelligence tips, the security force targeted a compound in the village of Ramazi Kalay in Tarnek wa Kalay district to search for the commander. Afghan forces used a loudspeaker to call for all occupants to exit the buildings peacefully and then the joint security force cleared and secured the compound. After initial questioning at the scene, the security force detained three suspected insurgents.

-- Afghan and coalition security forces detained several insurgents in Paktika province, including a Taliban subcommander involved in improvised explosive device attacks in Mata Khan district. The commander is the sixth chieftain in the Mata Khan Taliban network captured in the last two months. Intelligence tips led the security force to a compound south of the village of Rowston Kheyl in Sharan district to search for the commander. Afghan forces used a loudspeaker to call for all occupants to exit the buildings peacefully and then the joint security force cleared and secured the compound. After initial questioning at the scene, the security force identified and detained the commander along with several of his associates.

-- Afghan and coalition security forces detained several insurgents in Khost province, including a Haqqani remote-controlled improvised explosive device facilitator responsible for the movement of weapons and IED making materials. Based on intelligence reports, the security force targeted a compound in the village of Naray Torah in Sabari district to search for the facilitator. Afghan forces used a loudspeaker to call for all occupants to exit the buildings peacefully and then the joint security force cleared and secured the compound. After initial questioning at the scene, the security force identified and detained the facilitator along with some of his associates. The security force also discovered multiple automatic weapons and ammunition at the scene.

-- Afghan and coalition forces conducted another multi-day clearing operation aimed at disrupting the Taliban's freedom of movement outside Kandahar City. During the operation, at least five insurgents were killed. The joint security force is continuing their efforts to disrupt enemy safe havens in Kandahar province. This operation focused on an area east of the village of Ghundey Kalay in Zharay district. Taliban leaders use villages throughout the district to plan, coordinate and execute attacks along Highway 1, also known as ring road. Previous operations uncovered and secured areas plagued with improvised explosive devices and insurgent fighting positions. "Afghan and coalition forces are repeatedly hitting the insurgents in their backyard - allowing them no time to regroup," U.S. Army Col. Rafael Torres, International Security Assistance Force Joint Command Combined Joint Operations Center director, said. "The ultimate goal is to disrupt the enemy's sanctuaries and staging areas for attacks into Kandahar City so that the people of Kandahar City can continue their efforts building security and more importantly, re-building their lives without the Taliban threat." The joint force encountered heavy enemy contact, including rocket-propelled grenade, machine gun, recoilless rifle and small-arms fire. At least five insurgents were killed during several engagements. No Afghan or coalition forces were killed or wounded during the operation.

-- An Afghan National Security and coalition force detained one suspected insurgent during a combined operation in Kabul. The suspected insurgent was detained without incident and taken by Afghan authorities for processing and further questioning. The targeted compound is associated with a wanted Taliban shadow governor for the Charkh District, Logar province. The shadow governor is also wanted for coordinating attacks against ANSF and ISAF.

-- Afghan National Security and International Security Assistance Force conducted two combined operations resulting in several suspected insurgents being detained. The first operation occurred in Helmand province. Upon arrival and the securing of the target compound, the force called out the suspected insurgents and encountered no resistance. The force protected numerous women and children, while detaining several individuals for further questioning. The target of the operation is a Taliban commander who often receives and distributes a range of supplies, including weapons, improvised explosive device components and explosives. His geographical location between northern and central Helmand provides a link between the two insurgency network areas in regards to command and control and facilitation. The second operation took place in Ghazni province. After arriving at the targeted compound, a combined Afghan and ISAF force secured the suspected Taliban commander's house and called out the suspected insurgent. One suspected insurgent was detained without incident. The suspected Taliban commander is a significant Taliban leader in Ghazni districts. He is responsible for production and placing of IEDs targeting ANSF and ISAF forces. He also trains other insurgents in IED building and placement.

-- Two Afghan civilians riding a motorcycle were killed after failing to adhere to several warnings to stop while approaching a security perimeter in southern Afghanistan. The perimeter was set up after a patrol in the Musa Qal'ah district of Helmand province was attacked with small-arms fire. After several verbal and visual warnings, the motorcycle briefly stopped and then accelerated in the direction of the security force at a high rate of speed. Following additional warnings by the security force and the threat posed by the motorcycle, the two individuals were engaged with lethal force. Initial reports indicate coalition forces followed the appropriate escalation of force procedures. ISAF troops follow strict rules in regards to escalation of force procedures and do not intentionally target civilians.

-- ISAF confirmed the capture of a Taliban subcommander operating in Mata Khan district during an overnight operation in Paktiya province. The commander coordinated and conducted improvised explosive device attacks and facilitated weapons and ammunition for future attacks. Following detainment, Afghan and coalition forces also directly linked him to a recent pressure plate IED discovered in Mata Khan district. Intelligence tips led the security force to a compound in the village of Shakian in Zurmat district to search for the commander. Afghan forces used a loudspeaker to call for all occupants to exit the buildings peacefully and then the joint security force cleared and secured the compounds. After initial questioning at the scene, the security force detained the commander and two of his associates.

-- Coalition forces conducted a precision air strike in Paktika province, killing Halel, a Taliban subcommander directly linked to last week's election attacks. Halel helped conduct indirect fire and improvised explosive device attacks. The security force also recovered a significant amount of IED material and weapons at the scene. Based on intelligence sources following an earlier attack against coalition forces, the combined force tracked Halel to a remote area southeast of the village of Nazar Mohammad Kala in Yahya Khel district. After careful planning to ensure no civilians were present, coalition aircraft conducted a precision air strike against the commander. A follow-on ground force went to the engagement site to assess the results of the strike. The security force confirmed four insurgents, including Halel, were killed and also discovered and destroyed a significant weapons cache including multiple automatic weapons, rocket-propelled grenades, hand grenades and various types of ammunition. The security force also searched several area compounds. Afghan forces used a loudspeaker to call for all occupants to exit the compounds peacefully and then the combined force cleared and secured the compounds. The security force discovered a significant amount of IED material including multiple remote transmitters, detonation cord, batteries and homemade explosives. They also found multiple mortars, an RPG motor and machine gun ammunition. All of the weapons were destroyed at the scene. After initial questioning at the scene, the security force detained two insurgents for additional questioning.

-- Afghan and coalition security forces detained several insurgents in Khost province, including a Haqqani commander linked to attacks against Afghan officials. The commander was also involved in ambushing a vehicle during last week's elections and stealing a ballot box. The security force also discovered a significant cache of improvised explosive device material and military equipment at the scene. Based on intelligence reports, the security force targeted a remote compound in Tanai district to search for the commander. Afghan forces used a loudspeaker to call for all occupants to exit the buildings peacefully and then the joint security force cleared and secured the compound. After initial questioning at the scene, the security force identified and detained the commander along with three of his associates. The security force also discovered an automatic weapon, pistol, rocket-propelled grenade launcher, magazines and loose ammunition, along with three U.S. combat uniforms at the scene. These types of uniforms were recently used in attacks against a coalition force base. Additionally, they discovered and destroyed improvised explosive device material, including 100 blasting caps, artillery rounds, a land mine, pressure plates and electrical circuitry.

In Sept. 24 Afghanistan news:

-- A combined force of more than 250 Afghan National Army, Afghan National Police and coalition soldiers conducted an air assault into eastern Afghanistan to clear insurgent activity in the area. While conducting their security and clearing patrols in the Alisheng district of Laghman province, the combined force received small-arms fire and engaged several insurgents in the area. More than 30 enemy fighters have been killed in the engagement. Initial reports indicate that there are no injuries or damages to any civilians in the area. The operation is currently ongoing.

-- Approximately 30 kilograms of narcotics were found by Afghan and coalition forces in Helmand province. The narcotics were found after a combined force random vehicle check in the area conducted to intercept insurgent's material, narcotics traffickers and weapons being transported in and out of Helmand province. Two vehicles were stopped during a vehicle checkpoint operation. Two men in the first vehicle were detained for suspected insurgent and narcotics links. While the patrol was detaining the suspects in the first car, the second vehicle left the scene. The combined forces followed the second vehicle to a nearby compound. Afghan and ISAF forces then secured the compound and searched it, discovering 20 kilograms of wet opium and 10 kilograms of marijuana. The narcotics were destroyed in place. The detainees were taken by Afghan police for processing and further questioning.

-- An air weapons team engaged a significant number of insurgents following an attack on a remote Afghan National Security Force outpost in Khost province. Afghan security forces received direct and indirect-fire at Combat Outpost Narizah near the Pakistan border. An air weapons team in the area observed the enemy fire, and following ISAF rules of engagement, crossed into the area of enemy fire. The ISAF aircraft then engaged, killing more than 30 insurgents. Two ISAF helicopters returned to the border area Saturday and were engaged by small-arms fire. The aircraft returned fire, resulting in several additional insurgents killed. Initial reports indicate no civilian were injured or killed during either operation.

-- Afghan National Army and coalition forces detained a Taliban deputy shadow governor in Kandahar province. The ANA partnered with the Headquarters and Headquarters Troop of 1- 75th Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) to detain the deputy shadow governor of Zharay district. He is a high-level Taliban leader associated with improvised explosive devices facilitation, foreign fighter transport and attacks against coalition forces. The shadow governor's detention was possible through the efforts of the ANA soldiers on the ground and reporting from Taliban informants, according to Army Capt. Matthew Crawford, the intelligence officer for Headquarters and Headquarters Troop, 1st Battalion, 75th Cavalry Regiment. The loss of the shadow governor will have a significant impact on high level Taliban planning and disrupt their operations in Zharay, said Crawford.

Afghan and coalition security forces always make it a priority to protect women and children during all operations.

Face of Defense: Father Promotes Daughter in Iraq

By Army Cpl. Daniel Eddy
1st Armored Division

BAGHDAD, Sept. 27, 2010 – An Army father promoted his Army daughter during a Sept. 19 ceremony held at Camp Liberty here.

Army Warrant Officer Romeo Garin, a maintenance technician, promoted his daughter, Army 2nd Lt. Aiana Janica Garin, a communications officer with Company B of the 1st Armored Division’s special troops battalion, to first lieutenant in front of a group of fellow soldiers.

“This is a great family affair,” said Lt. Col. Lane Turner, the newly promoted lieutenant’s battalion commander.

This is now-1st Lt. Garin’s first deployment to Iraq; her father had deployed with the 1st Armored Division in 2003 during Operation Iraqi Freedom. When she’d got word that her father would return to Iraq this July, she knew that she wanted him to promote her.

“It’s a huge deal,” Garin said of having her father promote her. “It means a lot to me to be serving under the same division as my dad. This is my first promotion and it was an honor.”

The father said he was very proud to have the chance to promote his daughter and that Army values helped him to raise her.

“I can apply it to my kids on how to be successful in life and how to discipline yourself,” he said.

Even though father and daughter serve in the same division in Iraq, they are not in the same location. Garin is stationed at Camp Liberty while her father is stationed farther west at Camp Ramadi.

Garin’s father was at Camp Liberty for a maintenance course and he was fortunate to have the dates coincide with his daughter’s promotion.

Next year, Garin’s daughter will return the favor by promoting him to Chief Warrant Officer 2.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

EOD Team Supports 5th Fleet Mission, Returns Home

From U.S. Naval Forces Central Command Public Affairs

MANAMA, Bahrain (NNS) -- Navy Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) teams are routinely deployed throughout the U.S. 5th Fleet AOR in support of major combat operations in Afghanistan and stability operations in Iraq.

"I'm very proud of the performance of our Sailors," said Cmdr. Stephen Jackson, EODMU 2 commanding officer. "They excelled while planning, leading and executing combat operations in a challenging expeditionary environment, and they safely disarmed over 100 improvised explosive devices (IEDs) during this deployment which directly contributed to the safety of U.S. Soldiers and Iraqi Forces."

Teams like EODMU 2 dispose of all types of ordnance, whether conventional or unconventional, and can demolish explosive or hazardous material on land and underwater.

While deployed, approximately 35 EODMU 2 Sailors staffed the battalion headquarters operational EOD forces of Joint Task Force Troy-North, a specialized Counter-IED Task force at Contingency Operating Base (COB) Speicher, located approximately 90 miles north of Baghdad. The task force neutralizes IED threats, conducts weapons technical intelligence collection and exploitation to defeat IED networks, provides training and recommends materiel solutions to protect U. S. forces, and advises, trains, assists and equips Iraqi Security Forces in building sustainable security capabilities.

"EODMU 2 Sailors significantly increased the capacity of our Iraqi partners to defeat our enemies' weapon of choice – the IED," Jackson said. "It is through our partnership efforts that we will have a lasting impact on the long term stability of Iraq."

With the help of EODMU 2 Sailors, Joint Task Force Troy-North coordinated more than 600 combat missions conducted by multi-service EOD companies, weapons intelligence teams and a combined explosive exploitation cell during the deployment. They found and cleared 113 IEDs, destroyed 201 arms caches, destroyed more than 22,000 lbs of captured enemy ordnance, and conducted more than 200 post blast analyses. The analysis provided critical forensic evidence in support of follow-on violent extremist network targeting.

Additionally, the task force mentored and partnered with five Iraqi Bomb Disposal units and four Iraqi Police Counter-Explosive Teams to develop their counter-IED capability. That partnership marked the beginning of the transition of counter-IED responsibilities to Iraqi Security Forces which will enable a security environment that promotes the rule of law throughout Iraq, and sets conditions for further political and economic development.

EODMU 2 also participated in the transition to Operation New Dawn during their deployment. Operation New Dawn marked the official end to Operation Iraqi Freedom and combat operations by U.S. forces in Iraq Sept. 1, and also the start of a comprehensive transition of responsibilities to the Iraqi government and military.

"U.S. Navy EOD supports the NAVCENT mission by providing the full spectrum of EOD capabilities in support of stability operations in Operation New Dawn, combat operations in Operation Enduring Freedom, carrier strike group operations and humanitarian assistance," said Cmdr. John Lewis, Combined Task Force (CTF) 56 director of operations and plans.

CTF 56 is the U.S. Naval Forces Central Command (NAVCENT) liaison for EOD units deployed to the Middle East. CTF 56 expeditionary combat forces control EOD, naval coastal warfare units, seabee, expeditionary logistics support forces and riverine forces.

The NAVCENT/ U.S. 5th Fleet AOR encompass approximately 2.5 million square miles of area including the Arabian Gulf, Red Sea, Gulf of Oman, parts of the Indian Ocean and 27 countries. Fifth Fleet's priority mission is to conduct persistent maritime operations to deter and counter disruptive countries, defeat violent extremism and strengthen partner nations' maritime capabilities in order to promote a secure maritime environment in the U.S. Central Command AOR.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Marine Casualty

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

Lance Cpl. Anthony J. Rosa, 20, of Swanton, Vt., died Sept. 23 while supporting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan.   He was assigned to 2nd Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Lejeune, N.C.

For additional background information on this Marine, news media representatives may contact the 2nd Marine Division public affairs office at 910-378-6193 or http://www.marines.mil/unit/2ndmardiv/Pages/Media/default.aspx.

Louisiana, Hawaii Guardsmen distribute care packages to families of fallen Iraqi policemen

By Maj. Thomas W. Mehl
Louisiana National Guard

BAGHDAD, Iraq, (9/23/10) -- Widows and orphaned children of 15 Iraqi policemen who sacrificed their lives in recent months, sat quietly at Baghdad Police Patrol Headquarters.

One by one, the families were called to the front of the room where Maj. Gen. Sabah Hasan, chief of Police Patrol Baghdad, and Hawaii Army National Guard Col. Matthew Nagasako, chief of the Baghdad police advisory team, presented them with care packages.

"This was a way for us to show compassion for the Iraqi Police families," said Nagasako, who prior to deploying was chief of the Special Security Division at National Guard Bureau in Arlington, Va. "Most of these male children will not have a childhood now because they will be expected to give up school and provide for the family. In the Iraqi culture, the oldest son becomes the man of the family."

Nagasako was instrumental in organizing the event, along with Chaplain (Capt.) Page Brooks of the Louisiana Army National Guard's 1st Battalion, 141st Field Artillery, 256th Infantry Brigade Combat Team.

"The idea came from my chaplain's assistant," said Brooks. "We began brainstorming about such an event six weeks ago, then the attacks happened."

The August attacks in Baghdad and across Iraq by insurgents killed and wounded hundreds of Iraqi police and soldiers as they prepared to take full responsibility for the country's security on Sept. 1.

Brooks said he knew it was time to act. On Sept. 8, he partnered with Nagasako and soldiers of Det. 1, 94th Military Police Company to collect 40 boxes of toys from a Baghdad church. Donations also came from families of the 1-141st Field Artillery and 94th MP Company.

"Specifically, we distributed 20 bags of clothing, food, candy, toys and personal hygiene products," said Brooks, an Army Guard chaplain since 2003 and professor of Theology and Islamic Studies at New Orleans Baptist Seminary. "Even though it was a small event, it had such a large meaning for what we are doing in Operation New Dawn. It gave our Soldiers a chance to give something to these Iraqi police families personally and help strengthen the relationship we have with the Iraqis."

"The Guard opens its heart," Nagasako said. "I was so proud and appreciative of all the people in our Guard family. To see the smiles on the kids' faces, it was wonderful."

Sabah thanked the American Soldiers at the ceremony and noted the Police Patrol has lost about 750 policemen since 2003.

"What you did was a beautiful humanitarian effort which is truly appreciated," he said. "As a police headquarters, we have 750 fallen policemen whose blood has been shed to show the stability and security of Iraq and to protect the citizens. We also appreciate the sacrifices of your soldiers who helped liberate us. Thanks be to God that we live in a democracy now."

"This event showed me personally the sacrifice the Iraqi people are making for their freedom," Brooks said. "It made an impact seeing these eight or 10-year-old boys who are now the head of the family because of the sacrifice of their fathers.

"Seeing the partnerships that Col. Nagasako and the MPs have formulated with the Iraqi Police has been the most rewarding experience of this deployment," Brooks added. "I love my ministry to Soldiers, but this event was such a focal point."

Brooks said the interpreter told him afterward how appreciative and thankful the families were for the care packages and for honoring their loved ones.

He added that he and Col. Nagasako are planning another event in the near future for families of fallen members of the Baghdad Police River Patrol.

Looking back on the events that took place, Brooks recalled something the interpreter told him.

"She told me, 'You can't put a price on democracy, it's priceless!'"