Battle Blog 18 - 24 July 2004

Iraq and Afghanistan are making steady progress towards establishment of a secure and democratic form of government.  Coalition military units and Provincial Reconstruction Teams (PRT) are continuing operations to ensure all eligible Afghan citizens have the opportunity to vote in this fall's general elections.  As reported in last week's Battle Blog , six million out of 10 million eligible voters have already been registered.

Of course, this does not sit well with the remnants of the Taliban and Al—Qaeda, who periodically attempt to disrupt the elections process.  However, the elections have been delayed beyond the planned September timeframe, due to Afghanistan political party infighting.  Ironically, what the Taliban and Al—Qaeda have failed to do, 'politics as usual' in Afghanistan has accomplished,  putingt off the elections for a month.

In Iraq, anti—Coalition forces are still resorting to kidnappings of foreigners to affect withdrawal of their parent country's forces from the region.  The most recent incident involves the kidnapping of a senior Egyptian envoy, Mohammed Mamdouh Helmi Qutb.  In reality, this signals the terrorists' desperation in trying to prevent more nations, even Muslim nations, from participating in the rebuilding of Iraq.  They are not particularly effective fighting Coalition forces directly, so the terrorists have resorted to abducting foreign diplomats, and also foreign laborers and truck drivers.  The only threat for US forces in recent days has been the roadside bombs, or Improvised Explosive Device (IED).

Speaking of IEDs, the American Forces Press Service reports that a 1st Infantry Division Soldier was killed, and six others were wounded in an IED attack in the vicinity of Duluiyah, Iraq.  A little later, 1st Infantry Division Soldiers, and Marines from the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) captured two people after an attack on a Coalition convoy, and confiscated 'an AK—47 assault rifle, one improvised explosive device and materials for making IEDs.'

Staff Sgt. Raymond Bittinger, of the 2nd Battalion, 2nd Infantry Regiment, and a Chicago native, has received the Silver Star medal for courage under fire.  Soldier Awarded Silver Star with Valor reports on the ceremony honoring Sgt. Bittinger at Forward Operating Base Warhorse in Iraq.  His actions not only led to the defeat of enemy forces, but he was also instrumental in saving the lives of his fellow Soldiers.  Sgt. Bittinger said, 'I consider myself a soldier, not a hero.  I'm an infantryman.  It's my duty; it's my job.'

Soldiers from the 2d Battalion, 27th Infantry Regiment of the 25th Infantry Division have been extremely busy in the Paktika Province of Afghanistan, which borders the Pakistan border.  In Wolfhounds make impact during Operation Verendrye, we learn that the battalion escorted the Provincial Governor through six district capitals, while also providing humanitarian assistance.  Being based in the Pakistan border area means constant hazardous duty for the Soldiers.  While escorting civilian convoys, there are frequent ambushes by anti—Coalition forces.  In the engagement described in the article, "A civilian convoy, escorted by coalition forces was fired on by insurgents and we returned fire. The insurgents then fled the area."  As is the case in Iraq, it appears the ability of the terrorists to fight it out with US forces is minimal.  The Coalition provides much needed materiel and engineering assistance to the villagers in the province, but the most pressing need is medical care.  Capt. Todd Schmidt said, "The Task Force 2—27 medics treated more than 1,000 villagers for minor medical and dental procedures.  The Afghan citizens were very grateful for the medical care."

Asaad Ibrahim is a 16 year—old boy and a cook for the Iraqi Border Patrol (IBP), who seriously burned his legs with hot water while performing his duties at an IBP camp.  Marines' reactions, Navy doctors' touch heals Iraqi boy  describes how the quick thinking of the IBP and the Marine 1st Light Armored Reconnaissance (LAR) Battalion, helped the boy receive medical treatment from a forward Surgical Company.  Asaad was diagnosed as having partial thickness burns on both legs, and was evacuated to Camp Al Asad for further treatment.  Initially, the boy was afraid he would not see home again, but the hospital staff eventually gained his trust.  Apparently, Asaad is rethinking his career choice, as this is the second incident he has had with boiling water.  He later remarked, "I will look for another job."

The Navy's newest nuclear powered aircraft carrier has arrived at its homeport.  Navy News reports in USS Ronald Reagan to Arrive at New Homeport  that the carrier tied up at her berth at Naval Station North Island on Friday, July 23d.  On its initial cruise from the East coast, the ship participated in several exercises with the naval forces of several South American nations.  A brief ceremony was expected to be conducted with dignitaries, politicians, and celebrities in attendance.  Of the Reagan family, only Nancy and Michael were scheduled to participate in the ceremony.

Douglas Hanson is The American Thinker's military affairs correspondent

Iraq and Afghanistan are making steady progress towards establishment of a secure and democratic form of government.  Coalition military units and Provincial Reconstruction Teams (PRT) are continuing operations to ensure all eligible Afghan citizens have the opportunity to vote in this fall's general elections.  As reported in last week's Battle Blog , six million out of 10 million eligible voters have already been registered.

Of course, this does not sit well with the remnants of the Taliban and Al—Qaeda, who periodically attempt to disrupt the elections process.  However, the elections have been delayed beyond the planned September timeframe, due to Afghanistan political party infighting.  Ironically, what the Taliban and Al—Qaeda have failed to do, 'politics as usual' in Afghanistan has accomplished,  putingt off the elections for a month.

In Iraq, anti—Coalition forces are still resorting to kidnappings of foreigners to affect withdrawal of their parent country's forces from the region.  The most recent incident involves the kidnapping of a senior Egyptian envoy, Mohammed Mamdouh Helmi Qutb.  In reality, this signals the terrorists' desperation in trying to prevent more nations, even Muslim nations, from participating in the rebuilding of Iraq.  They are not particularly effective fighting Coalition forces directly, so the terrorists have resorted to abducting foreign diplomats, and also foreign laborers and truck drivers.  The only threat for US forces in recent days has been the roadside bombs, or Improvised Explosive Device (IED).

Speaking of IEDs, the American Forces Press Service reports that a 1st Infantry Division Soldier was killed, and six others were wounded in an IED attack in the vicinity of Duluiyah, Iraq.  A little later, 1st Infantry Division Soldiers, and Marines from the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) captured two people after an attack on a Coalition convoy, and confiscated 'an AK—47 assault rifle, one improvised explosive device and materials for making IEDs.'

Staff Sgt. Raymond Bittinger, of the 2nd Battalion, 2nd Infantry Regiment, and a Chicago native, has received the Silver Star medal for courage under fire.  Soldier Awarded Silver Star with Valor reports on the ceremony honoring Sgt. Bittinger at Forward Operating Base Warhorse in Iraq.  His actions not only led to the defeat of enemy forces, but he was also instrumental in saving the lives of his fellow Soldiers.  Sgt. Bittinger said, 'I consider myself a soldier, not a hero.  I'm an infantryman.  It's my duty; it's my job.'

Soldiers from the 2d Battalion, 27th Infantry Regiment of the 25th Infantry Division have been extremely busy in the Paktika Province of Afghanistan, which borders the Pakistan border.  In Wolfhounds make impact during Operation Verendrye, we learn that the battalion escorted the Provincial Governor through six district capitals, while also providing humanitarian assistance.  Being based in the Pakistan border area means constant hazardous duty for the Soldiers.  While escorting civilian convoys, there are frequent ambushes by anti—Coalition forces.  In the engagement described in the article, "A civilian convoy, escorted by coalition forces was fired on by insurgents and we returned fire. The insurgents then fled the area."  As is the case in Iraq, it appears the ability of the terrorists to fight it out with US forces is minimal.  The Coalition provides much needed materiel and engineering assistance to the villagers in the province, but the most pressing need is medical care.  Capt. Todd Schmidt said, "The Task Force 2—27 medics treated more than 1,000 villagers for minor medical and dental procedures.  The Afghan citizens were very grateful for the medical care."

Asaad Ibrahim is a 16 year—old boy and a cook for the Iraqi Border Patrol (IBP), who seriously burned his legs with hot water while performing his duties at an IBP camp.  Marines' reactions, Navy doctors' touch heals Iraqi boy  describes how the quick thinking of the IBP and the Marine 1st Light Armored Reconnaissance (LAR) Battalion, helped the boy receive medical treatment from a forward Surgical Company.  Asaad was diagnosed as having partial thickness burns on both legs, and was evacuated to Camp Al Asad for further treatment.  Initially, the boy was afraid he would not see home again, but the hospital staff eventually gained his trust.  Apparently, Asaad is rethinking his career choice, as this is the second incident he has had with boiling water.  He later remarked, "I will look for another job."

The Navy's newest nuclear powered aircraft carrier has arrived at its homeport.  Navy News reports in USS Ronald Reagan to Arrive at New Homeport  that the carrier tied up at her berth at Naval Station North Island on Friday, July 23d.  On its initial cruise from the East coast, the ship participated in several exercises with the naval forces of several South American nations.  A brief ceremony was expected to be conducted with dignitaries, politicians, and celebrities in attendance.  Of the Reagan family, only Nancy and Michael were scheduled to participate in the ceremony.

Douglas Hanson is The American Thinker's military affairs correspondent