Battle Blog 4 - 10 July 2004

The establishment of a sovereign Iraq has put the onus of security squarely on the shoulders of the Iraqis themselves.  They are not doing this alone, of course, since recruiting and training occur under the watchful eye of the Coalition.  It appears that this effort is paying off, as there have been no coordinated ground assaults on Iraqi police and government buildings since the heavy fighting in and around these facilities in Baqoubah last month.

Since Coalition and Iraqi security forces have proven a tough nut to crack, the terrorists go for less protected targets.  Reports indicate they are now taking revenge on 'soft' targets such as local Iraqi translators and other Iraqis who support Coalition forces on a daily basis.  Also, there are still problems with Improvised Explosive Devices (IED) and roadside bombs, and indirect fire mortar attacks still occur on Coalition base camps.

The new Iraqi Prime Minister, Ayad Alawi, remains strong in the face of threats from the Sunni triangle.  He has stated he will not hesitate to institute martial law if the situation so dictates.  Two beneficial things are slowly, but surely emerging in Iraq: first, the general public is getting fed up with terrorists, regardless of their ethnic and religious affiliation, and, second, Iraqi police and the Civil Defense units are gaining more confidence as more units come on line, and as they gain operational experience.

Headquarters CENTCOM reports in a news release on July 8 that the 6th Iraqi Army Battalion has completed its basic training at the Kirkush Military Training Base, and is fully manned with about 700 soldiers.  What was significant about this basic training graduation was that the battalion was trained solely by the Iraqis themselves. The 523 recruits received training from the cadre of more experienced Iraqis, and the entire battalion will return to the base to conduct more extensive training in collective unit operations. 

This method is the ideal way to organize and train these units.  Once the cadres have been trained by the Coalition, they in turn, will be responsible for the training of the young recruits.  As Marine Corps Lt. Col. Kevin Foster, Coalition Military Assistance Training Team operations officer stated, 'it validates that the training model produces a cohesive unit with well—trained soldiers that will only increase in capability over time."

Recognizing the threat from Iran to the Iraqi oil terminals in the Northern Persian Gulf, and the threat to shipping lanes, the US Navy and Marine Corps continue to build up forces in the area.  ESG 3 Assumes Maritime Security Mission  describes the deployment of Expeditionary Strike Group 3 to the Northern Arabian (Persian) Gulf to conduct maritime security operations.  This group reinforces the naval patrol craft already protecting Iraqi off—shore oil terminals in the vicinity of the Al—Faw Peninsula.  Commanded by Marine Brigadier General Joseph Medina, the strike group provides a potent force to counter any attempted enemy attack in the littoral environment.  It is comprised not only of a Marine Expeditionary Unit and its amphibious assault ships, but is accompanied by Navy guided missile cruisers and destroyers, and a fast attack submarine.  One thing any potential adversary (hint: Iran) needs to make note of, is that a force of this size can assume an offensive role very quickly; say for example, seizing small islands if required .

When most people hear the term 'medevac,' they usually think of the heroic crews of US Army medevac helicopters flying into the thick of battle to transport our wounded Soldiers and Marines to a field hospital.  However, the US Air Force also has dedicated medevac crews who transport wounded GIs to higher levels of medical care not available in the combat zone.  Taking care of patients in air  chronicles the work of Air Force aeromedical evacuation squadrons, who prepare transport aircraft with litters and life support equipment, and then monitor patients while enroute to their destination.  In critical care cases, the medical crew on the flights can include a medical technician, a nurse, and a physician.  Recently, some of the Air Force aeromedical evacuation crews have been accompanying Army medevac helicopters on missions to the forward combat areas.  Capt. Karl Schaab of the 376th Expeditionary Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron, said that 'We've been embedding our aeromedical—evacuation crews on Army (helicopters) going downrange and bringing injured people.  This is providing additional capability and is a great help for the Army.'

Army News Service reports in Afghanistan region reaches female registration goal that the objective to have a 50 percent rate of registration for female voters has already achieved in the Central Highlands Region of Afghanistan.  In fact, the number of women who have registered actually surpass the number of men; 190,116 to 169,774.  Kudos have gone out to the New Zealand Defense Force members who make up the Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) in Bamyan.  Lt. Col. Dave Pirie, the Chief of Staff for the PRT, said that, 'By conducting presence patrols in known trouble spots in the area, we have been able to provide reassurance that it is safe for people to come out and register to vote.'  Where's the NOW gang when you need them?

The establishment of a sovereign Iraq has put the onus of security squarely on the shoulders of the Iraqis themselves.  They are not doing this alone, of course, since recruiting and training occur under the watchful eye of the Coalition.  It appears that this effort is paying off, as there have been no coordinated ground assaults on Iraqi police and government buildings since the heavy fighting in and around these facilities in Baqoubah last month.

Since Coalition and Iraqi security forces have proven a tough nut to crack, the terrorists go for less protected targets.  Reports indicate they are now taking revenge on 'soft' targets such as local Iraqi translators and other Iraqis who support Coalition forces on a daily basis.  Also, there are still problems with Improvised Explosive Devices (IED) and roadside bombs, and indirect fire mortar attacks still occur on Coalition base camps.

The new Iraqi Prime Minister, Ayad Alawi, remains strong in the face of threats from the Sunni triangle.  He has stated he will not hesitate to institute martial law if the situation so dictates.  Two beneficial things are slowly, but surely emerging in Iraq: first, the general public is getting fed up with terrorists, regardless of their ethnic and religious affiliation, and, second, Iraqi police and the Civil Defense units are gaining more confidence as more units come on line, and as they gain operational experience.

Headquarters CENTCOM reports in a news release on July 8 that the 6th Iraqi Army Battalion has completed its basic training at the Kirkush Military Training Base, and is fully manned with about 700 soldiers.  What was significant about this basic training graduation was that the battalion was trained solely by the Iraqis themselves. The 523 recruits received training from the cadre of more experienced Iraqis, and the entire battalion will return to the base to conduct more extensive training in collective unit operations. 

This method is the ideal way to organize and train these units.  Once the cadres have been trained by the Coalition, they in turn, will be responsible for the training of the young recruits.  As Marine Corps Lt. Col. Kevin Foster, Coalition Military Assistance Training Team operations officer stated, 'it validates that the training model produces a cohesive unit with well—trained soldiers that will only increase in capability over time."

Recognizing the threat from Iran to the Iraqi oil terminals in the Northern Persian Gulf, and the threat to shipping lanes, the US Navy and Marine Corps continue to build up forces in the area.  ESG 3 Assumes Maritime Security Mission  describes the deployment of Expeditionary Strike Group 3 to the Northern Arabian (Persian) Gulf to conduct maritime security operations.  This group reinforces the naval patrol craft already protecting Iraqi off—shore oil terminals in the vicinity of the Al—Faw Peninsula.  Commanded by Marine Brigadier General Joseph Medina, the strike group provides a potent force to counter any attempted enemy attack in the littoral environment.  It is comprised not only of a Marine Expeditionary Unit and its amphibious assault ships, but is accompanied by Navy guided missile cruisers and destroyers, and a fast attack submarine.  One thing any potential adversary (hint: Iran) needs to make note of, is that a force of this size can assume an offensive role very quickly; say for example, seizing small islands if required .

When most people hear the term 'medevac,' they usually think of the heroic crews of US Army medevac helicopters flying into the thick of battle to transport our wounded Soldiers and Marines to a field hospital.  However, the US Air Force also has dedicated medevac crews who transport wounded GIs to higher levels of medical care not available in the combat zone.  Taking care of patients in air  chronicles the work of Air Force aeromedical evacuation squadrons, who prepare transport aircraft with litters and life support equipment, and then monitor patients while enroute to their destination.  In critical care cases, the medical crew on the flights can include a medical technician, a nurse, and a physician.  Recently, some of the Air Force aeromedical evacuation crews have been accompanying Army medevac helicopters on missions to the forward combat areas.  Capt. Karl Schaab of the 376th Expeditionary Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron, said that 'We've been embedding our aeromedical—evacuation crews on Army (helicopters) going downrange and bringing injured people.  This is providing additional capability and is a great help for the Army.'

Army News Service reports in Afghanistan region reaches female registration goal that the objective to have a 50 percent rate of registration for female voters has already achieved in the Central Highlands Region of Afghanistan.  In fact, the number of women who have registered actually surpass the number of men; 190,116 to 169,774.  Kudos have gone out to the New Zealand Defense Force members who make up the Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) in Bamyan.  Lt. Col. Dave Pirie, the Chief of Staff for the PRT, said that, 'By conducting presence patrols in known trouble spots in the area, we have been able to provide reassurance that it is safe for people to come out and register to vote.'  Where's the NOW gang when you need them?