Battle Blog 30 May - 5 June 2004

To the consternation of the left, military action in Iraq remains at a relatively low level as compared to the previous few months.  This does not mean the danger has completely gone away, as evidenced by two Improvised Explosive Device (IED) attacks in Baghdad in the last two days that resulted in several US casualties.

However, the leaders of the new transitional Iraqi government have been appointed, and have been accepted by the vast majority of the people of Iraq.  There remain a few hardcore holdouts of Muqtada al—Sadr's militia in Southern Iraq, but the focus this past week indicates great progress on the reconstruction front and in the continuing effort to destroy weapons and ammunition.

As attention is focused on the 60th Anniversary celebrations of the D—Day landings, and the passing of President Reagan, let us not forget those who continue the tradition of citizen—soldiers who sometimes sacrifice all in the defense of liberty.  Let's hope and pray for continued calm and restoration in Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere in the Central Region.

Speaking of Sadr's militia, soldiers from the 1st Armored Division had another run—in with the renegade cleric's gang near Kufa this last week in Muqtada Militia Attacks U.S. Soldiers, More Weapons Found.  A 'significant number' of attackers were killed, while three US soldiers were wounded.  Sadr's thugs apparently have no problem using mosques, or, in this case, a school, for storing their weapons and ammunition.  The article also gives an excellent summary of some of the humanitarian aid projects performed by the Coalition.

An area in CENTCOM that does not receive much publicity, but is crucial in maintaining security of the Arabian Peninsula, is the Horn of Africa.  Engineers finish well in Assamo describes the construction of a well in Djibouti near the Ethiopian border, by the Cincinnati—based US Army 322nd Engineer Detachment.  Sgt. 1st Class George R. Nelson, Jr., the detachment commander, stated that the new well will not washout, as have several of the existing wells in the isolated village of Assamo.

Army soldiers of the 1st Battalion, 16th Infantry Regiment have teamed up with US Marines near Ar—Ramadi to help provide a clean water source for the villages of Teabon and Qutnyah.  In Army—led project brings clean water to villages in Marine—run zone, Lt. Col. Thomas S. Hollis, the battalion commander, describes how villagers had to haul contaminated water from the Euphrates River and irrigation canals by bucket back to the villages.  This was necessary because during 'Saddam Hussein's reign, Teabon's Mahal Tribe and Qutnyah's Assaf Tribe were neglected and denied clean water.'  Thanks to the Coalition, clean water will now be available to the people of these villages.

Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan is getting a facelift with the help from some long—time Allies.  American, Korean engineers 'cement' friendship describes a major joint construction project to increase parking space for wide—body aircraft at the base.  The 455th Expeditionary Operations Group's civil engineer Airmen and the South Korean army's 100th Korean Engineer Corps soldiers teamed up to expand the strategic airlift ramp.  Captain Yoon of the South Korean Engineers summed it up beautifully when he said 'We are a friend of the United States, so we (came) here to help them.  This effort will help to stop terrorism. Also, because of the situation in our own homeland [where North and South Korea remain divided more than 50 years after the official end of the Korean War], we can relate to the people being separated here, and we want to help keep Afghanistan unified.'

Link to Battle Blog 23 — 29 May

Link to Battle Blog 16 — 22 May

To the consternation of the left, military action in Iraq remains at a relatively low level as compared to the previous few months.  This does not mean the danger has completely gone away, as evidenced by two Improvised Explosive Device (IED) attacks in Baghdad in the last two days that resulted in several US casualties.

However, the leaders of the new transitional Iraqi government have been appointed, and have been accepted by the vast majority of the people of Iraq.  There remain a few hardcore holdouts of Muqtada al—Sadr's militia in Southern Iraq, but the focus this past week indicates great progress on the reconstruction front and in the continuing effort to destroy weapons and ammunition.

As attention is focused on the 60th Anniversary celebrations of the D—Day landings, and the passing of President Reagan, let us not forget those who continue the tradition of citizen—soldiers who sometimes sacrifice all in the defense of liberty.  Let's hope and pray for continued calm and restoration in Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere in the Central Region.

Speaking of Sadr's militia, soldiers from the 1st Armored Division had another run—in with the renegade cleric's gang near Kufa this last week in Muqtada Militia Attacks U.S. Soldiers, More Weapons Found.  A 'significant number' of attackers were killed, while three US soldiers were wounded.  Sadr's thugs apparently have no problem using mosques, or, in this case, a school, for storing their weapons and ammunition.  The article also gives an excellent summary of some of the humanitarian aid projects performed by the Coalition.

An area in CENTCOM that does not receive much publicity, but is crucial in maintaining security of the Arabian Peninsula, is the Horn of Africa.  Engineers finish well in Assamo describes the construction of a well in Djibouti near the Ethiopian border, by the Cincinnati—based US Army 322nd Engineer Detachment.  Sgt. 1st Class George R. Nelson, Jr., the detachment commander, stated that the new well will not washout, as have several of the existing wells in the isolated village of Assamo.

Army soldiers of the 1st Battalion, 16th Infantry Regiment have teamed up with US Marines near Ar—Ramadi to help provide a clean water source for the villages of Teabon and Qutnyah.  In Army—led project brings clean water to villages in Marine—run zone, Lt. Col. Thomas S. Hollis, the battalion commander, describes how villagers had to haul contaminated water from the Euphrates River and irrigation canals by bucket back to the villages.  This was necessary because during 'Saddam Hussein's reign, Teabon's Mahal Tribe and Qutnyah's Assaf Tribe were neglected and denied clean water.'  Thanks to the Coalition, clean water will now be available to the people of these villages.

Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan is getting a facelift with the help from some long—time Allies.  American, Korean engineers 'cement' friendship describes a major joint construction project to increase parking space for wide—body aircraft at the base.  The 455th Expeditionary Operations Group's civil engineer Airmen and the South Korean army's 100th Korean Engineer Corps soldiers teamed up to expand the strategic airlift ramp.  Captain Yoon of the South Korean Engineers summed it up beautifully when he said 'We are a friend of the United States, so we (came) here to help them.  This effort will help to stop terrorism. Also, because of the situation in our own homeland [where North and South Korea remain divided more than 50 years after the official end of the Korean War], we can relate to the people being separated here, and we want to help keep Afghanistan unified.'

Link to Battle Blog 23 — 29 May

Link to Battle Blog 16 — 22 May