27 January 2006

Getting the Job Done

FORWARD OPERATING BASE HIT, Iraq -- Eight days of back-breaking searches through villages and fields along the western Euphrates River valley have yielded thousands of pieces of ordnance as Iraqi Army soldiers and U.S. Marines continue Operation Wadi Aljundi (Koa Canyon) in Iraq’s Al Anbar province.

Aimed at isolating insurgents and their weapons, the combined Iraqi and U.S. force began the latest sweep Jan. 15, and have uncovered a staggering amount of weaponry.

BARWANA, Iraq - Marines with Lima Company, 3rd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, provides security for each other during a halt during a patrol down a riverbed for any possible weapons caches Jan. 15. Photo by: Cpl. Michael R. McMaugh

The soldiers and Marines are making their way inch-by-inch through caves, fields, wadis, and islands in an attempt to disrupt the insurgents.

So far, the combined force has found and destroyed more than 4,300 artillery and mortar rounds, rockets, and mines; 267 kilograms (590 pounds) of explosive powder, 10,000 rounds of various types of ammunition (ranging from small-arms to tank main gun rounds), 300 blasting caps, approximately 100 ft. of detonation cord, and several working machine guns and mortar systems.

Marines with the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit (Special Operations Capable) unload recently uncovered artillery shells during Operation Koa Canyon (Wadi Aljundi) Jan. 20. Photo by: Lance Cpl. Peter R. Miller

"Every piece of ordnance that is uncovered is one less potential IED [improvised explosive device] that may be used against Iraqi civilians, Iraqi Security and Coalition forces." said Marine Col. Kenneth F. McKenzie, Jr., the commander of the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit (Special Operations Capable).

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TIKRIT, Iraq -- Iraqi security forces and Task Force Band of Brothers Soldiers detained 51 suspected terrorists during a series of unrelated actions throughout northern Iraq Jan. 24.

In the largest action of the day, Iraqi troops from the 2nd Brigade, 5th Iraqi Army Division planned and conducted a large early morning raid in three villages outside of Baqubah. The unit detained 19 suspects, including eight known to have strong ties to terrorists in the area.

January 18, 2006 Capt. Adam Lackey, commander of Company A, 1st Battalion, 187th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) awaits UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters to extract his Soldiers after an early morning raid on Bayji Island, Iraq. by Spc. Jose Ferrufino

In the Bayji area, Soldiers from the 101st Airborne Division’s 3rd Brigade Combat Team continued to make progress against terrorists that have plagued the area. Ten known or suspected terrorists were captured in and around the city.

Tips from Bayji area residents generated a series of early-morning searches south of the city which led to the capture of four men closely tied to a terrorist ring responsible for committing murders and beheadings in the area. A fifth man was killed after firing a pistol at the Soldiers searching his home.

January 11, 2006 Soldiers from 2nd Platoon, Company B, 1st Battalion, 187th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division, wait for their dismounted patrols to return during an early morning foot patrol in Bayji, Iraq. by Spc. Jose Ferrufino

In another positive development, a local tribal leader brought three suspected members of an IED cell from the Bayji area to a coalition base and turned them in to coalition forces.

The troops began their mission working from one tip and with each turn of events, another tip surfaced that carried the Soldiers to two separate caches and 12 individuals.

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