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Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Spiegel Interviews US Ambassador to Afghanistan

"We Are Not Going to Evacuate.
We Are Not Going Anywhere.

After a bloody summer in Afghanistan, the country now seems to be facing a bloody autumn. SPIEGEL spoke with US Ambassador Ronald Neumann, 61, about the growing Taliban presence, the need for more international support, and how dangerous it would be to give up.

SPIEGEL: Mr. Ambassador, since January you have managed to escape two separate attacks uninjured. Did those personal experiences change your perception of the security situation?

Neumann: No, this is the fourth war in my diplomatic career. I have had my embassy attacked by a mob, I have lived through assassination threats. But the evaluation of a situation depends on facts, not on emotional responses. It's a difficult situation but it's in much better shape than Iraq.

SPIEGEL: So, there is no heliport in case of an emergency?

Neumann: There are 20,000 American troops in this country. We are not going to evacuate, we are not going anywhere.

SPIEGEL: Before the summer started, you warned that it would be a bloody one. Now it looks like it could become a bloody autumn too. When do you think it will be possible to drive from Kabul to Kandahar again, Afghanistan's most important city in the south?

Neumann: I don't know. It's just one rather large battle next to that highway, where there is a fairly large Taliban presence. The operation requires getting security down to fairly little villages and districts. That's a complicated task. I think no insurgency in the 20th century has been less than a 10 year battle and I do not expect this one to be any better. I'm glad nobody asked us in 1942 what our exit strategy was.

SPIEGEL: Still, Europe was quite surprised that the Taliban was able to reorganize and to show such a strong presence in this country.

Neumann: Sometimes I think that dissatisfaction masquerades as surprise, because the facts were indeed not so terribly surprising. The Bonn process was about building national institutions. At the same time there was very limited governance in the provinces. Donations were slow to arrive. In some places you had contested tribal leaders, there were factions. Then you had the reorganization of the Taliban on the other side of the border. Then you had this development in NATO that troops went to places where it was quiet, not because those places were under government control but because they were under somebody else's control. Then we began the poppy eradication program and that threatened those interests. I think a combination of these factors produced this large offensive of the insurgents.

SPIEGEL: The Taliban were able to reorganize in Pakistan. Who is helping them? Who is training them?

Neumann: What I know is that President Pervez Musharraf has in the last couple of weeks taken a much greater responsibility and he has acknowledged the presence of the Taliban in his country. He acknowledged the need to work against them. These are all very good first steps which all need to be followed by actions.

SPIEGEL: How many insurgents are there? Is there an endless amount of angry young men who go to Jihad and are ready to die?

Neumann: My perception is still that the Taliban are a fairly weak force, despite the increase in violence in Kabul. But there is no comparison to Baghdad at all. There are a lot of places in this country where people are going about their business with only occasionally a bit of violence. That is much more a testimony to Taliban weakness than to government strength. There is also not a lot of ideological support for the Taliban, even if local people are fighting for them.

SPIEGEL: How do you explain that?

Neumann: We learn from interrogation of prisoners that it is more a matter of local grievances, tribal differences, things that can be dealt with -- not necessarily the deep ideological commitment of a suicide bomber.

SPIEGEL: What conclusions do you draw from such information?

Neumann: That we should continue with a double track approach. We should go on with major actions but also move parallel with the task of bringing more security to bear in local areas. And bringing development projects along with it. I think in this way the insurgency can be pushed back but I think it could go on for quite a while.

SPIEGEL: You were talking about 10 years?

Neumann: Easily.

SPIEGEL: At the same level as this summer?

Neumann: Not necessarily. We have a rather critical gap right now. The development of the army, of the police takes time. It will take at least two years for the army, possibly more for the police. And that is the period in which we need to concentrate on our own forces in the theater of war and, of course, on getting money for the Afghan forces and police. This can be done reasonably successfully.

SPIEGEL:What would be the next step?

Neumann: We have to put more guns in the field. Afghans have to believe they can survive in their home at night. You can't win their hearts and minds if they think somebody else will put bullets through them. At the same time we have to keep that from being a means to rebuilding warlords and tribal militias because that works against the government.

SPIEGEL: Who is going to implement this, since -- as you say -- the government is fairly weak?

Neumann: We have to do it and it would be nice if others would help. But it would also be nice if other people would be willing to pay more into the law and order trust fund. We expect Afghan police to take these risks for $70 a month and we don't even have enough money to pay them through the end of the year. I think several countries could put more money into that if they don't want to put their troops in harm's way.

SPIEGEL: Do you think the international community is prepared to put their money up for such a long time?

Neumann: I think they will. There is a clear learning curve. You can see that in the number of forces stationed here, the flexibility of their missions ...

SPIEGEL: That's not totally true. The Germans lack of flexibility meant a refusal to deploy in the more dangerous southern part of the country. The German forces were heavily criticized for that decision...

Part II: "Just because something is difficult, it is not a reason to immediately become a coward".

Category: Afghanistan.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Iraq takes charge of Dhi Qar province

Iraq takes charge of Dhi Qar province.
By Zalmay Khalilzad, U.S. Ambassador to Iraq , and Gen. George W. Casey Jr., Commanding General, Multi-National Force - Iraq

BAGHDAD — "Today’s transfer of security responsibility in Dhi Qar province from the Multi-National Force – Iraq to the Government of Iraq and civilian controlled Iraqi Security Forces is another sign of progress toward a stable and secure Iraq. Dhi Qar is the second of 18 Provinces to be transitioned. This is an important milestone along the successful path toward Iraq's capability to govern and protect itself as a sovereign nation."

"The joint decision between the Iraqi Government and the MNF-I to transition security responsibility reflects a satisfactory assessment of the overall threat situation in Dhi Qar, and increased capabilities of the ISF. Additionally, Dhi Qar’s provincial leadership has demonstrated the ability to take the lead in managing its own security and governance duties at the provincial level. Transition terms are in place to facilitate the transfer process, and Coalition forces stand ready to provide assistance if needed."

"As Iraq develops and its needs continue to evolve, so too will the nature of international assistance and investment. The United States remains committed to the development of Dhi Qar province by providing funding for additional humanitarian relief and reconstruction projects."

Currently, $8.9M in Economic Support Fund money and $5M in Commander’s Emergency Relief Program funds are programmed for the completion of additional projects in Dhi Qar. Several other provinces are close to meeting the criteria necessary to assume security independence.

"After decades of dictatorship and oppression, the Iraqi people have taken another step toward security self-reliance. With the steadfast support of the Coalition, Iraq is on a path to national unity, improved security, and increasing prosperity that benefits all its citizens."

"May God bless the people of Iraq."

Category: (Military) Press Release and Iraq.

What Extremists Are Saying

This post has been moved to Rosemary's Thoughts, Rosemary's News and Ideas and (Military) Press Release.

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Gen. Abizaid on CNN's The Situation Room

CNN - Gen. Abizaid.

WOLF: Hard-pressed U.S. Troops face a raging insurgency in Iraq . A Taliban comeback in Afghanistan . The hunt for Osama bin laden and the possibility of military action against Iran . Is the U.S. Military central command stretched too thin? And joining us now is the U.S. Military commander of the central command, [G]eneral John Abizaid. You got a tough job, [G]eneral [A]bizaid. Not only [I]raq , but [A]fghanistan, the war on terror, [I]ran. I don't know how you get through it, but let's start going through some of these issues beginning with your priority number one right now, presumably [I]raq. What do you have, about 140,000 [U].S. Troops there right now?

ABIZAID: That's correct, [W]olf. Slightly over 140,000. About 142,000. There's well over 300,000 [I]raqis under arms now as well working for the [I]raqi government. About 23,000 [A]llied [T]roops on the ground. Pretty substantial [M]ilitary force there.

WOLF: There are a lot of experts who say it's not enough. That if you really want to get the job done, you need twice as many [U].S. Troops.

ABIZAID: Well, [I] think those experts want the [U].S. Troops to do all the work, and [G]eneral [C]asey and [I] don't want [U].S. Troops to do all the work. It's very, very clear to both of us that in order to win in [I]raq, the [I]raqis have to assume more and more responsibility[;] and they're doing that[,] and we intend to keep doing that.

WOLF: It looks like they're a long way off from being able to get the job done. They have desertion rates and enormous problems with the [I]raqi [M]ilitary. I heard yesterday they have 300,000 [T]roops in the [I]raqi [A]rmy right now, but you wouldn't know it.

ABIZAID: Look, [W]olf, [I] know where we started. We started with zero in the [I]raqi [I]rmy and police. Now we're up to well over 300,000. They have their good days. They have their bad days. Iraqi troops are fighting and dying for their country at double the rate that our own troops are taking casualties. The [I]raqi [T]roops become more and more effective over time. No doubt there have been some instances where [I]raqi units have failed to perform their duties, but it's getting better over time. We're making progress in that regard, and that's the most important thing can [I] say.

WOLF: The president keeps saying he relies on you and [G]eneral [C]asey, the commander in [I]raq, for advice. That if you say to him, we need more troops, he will give you more troops. Are you ready to tell the president you need more troops?

ABIZAID: No, [I] just talked to [G]eneral [C]asey about it the other day. We've got a [R]eserve formation that's down in the [K]uwait area. We've got additional [R]eserves that belong to me in the [A]rabian [G]ulf area. We don't see a need to commit them to the fight yet, and until they're committed, [w]e don't see a need to ask for more you should [at] the present circumstances. On the other hand, this notion that troop levels are static is not true. Never has been true, and it won't be true. We'll ask for what we need when we need it, but it's key, [W]olf, that the [I]raqi [M]ilitary take on more and more responsibility. It's a hard thing to do. It's hard to have a [U].S. Formation in the same area that could do the job and an [I]raqi [U]nit that's not quite as ready doing the same job, and letting them get through it.

WOLF: If you asked for more [T]r[oo]ps -- if you asked the [D]efense [S]ecretary, [D]onald [R]umsfeld, or the president, for more troops, have they ever turned you down?

ABIZAID: No. There's certainly been staffing actions that have taken place where certain types of units weren't available, but by and large, any amount of troops that we've asked for have shown up on the battlefield.

WOLF: And the other criticism sometimes that's leveled is you are afraid to ask for more troops because of the political pressure on you. Don't ask, that's the word coming from the [P]entagon or the [W]hite [H]ouse.

ABIZAID: You know, [W]olf, if [I] were afraid, [I] wouldn't be in this job, and [I]'m not afraid of asking for what [I] need. I absolutely, positively want to win just like [G]eneral [C]asey and all the other [C]ommanders in the field want to. We'll ask for what we need. It's not a matter of getting promoted. It's not a matter of going to another job. It's a matter of doing the job th[e] at way we see it needs to be done.

WOLF: You saw the intelligence report from that [M]arine [C]olonel in the al [A]nwar [P]rovince who said militarily it possibly could be run if you committed another division, 6,000-16,000 troops, but the situation there, which is a huge western part of [I]raq, is already lost.

ABIZAID: Wolf, this war needs to be won politically and militarily. They need to move together. It's not a matter of the application of [M]ilitary [F]orces only. You've got to have governance moving forward. You have to take down the militias. Have you to apply [M]ilitary [F]orces when you need to. Over time you need to apply more and more [I]raqi [M]ilitary and governance power to the equation. We can do that.

WOLF: Have you given up on the al [A]nbar [P]rov[idences?]

ABIZAID: [I] have not. But the clear priority for [M]ilitary action right now is [B]aghdad, for obvious reasons.

WOLF: And building a trench around the Iraqi [C]apitol with 28 checkpoints to prevent suicide bombers and others from getting in?

ABIZAID: I think it's a misnomer to say we're building a trench all the way around Baghdad. We are controlling access in and out in a very, very specific number of locations that we've worked out with the Iraqi police and the Iraqi [D]efense [F]orces.

WOLF: When you testified in [A]ugust, [A]ugust 3rd, before the U.S. Congress, [I] want to play for you and for our viewers what you said about a civil war.


ABIZAID: The sectarian violence is probably as bad as [I] have seen it in [B]aghdad in particular and that if not stopped, it is possible that [I]raq could move towards civil war.

WOLF: Now, you know a lot of people are already saying, for all practical purposes, this is a civil war between the [S]hia and the [S]unni?

ABIZAID: I know you can argue this until the cows come home, but it just -- it just won't work. I mean, if the [A]rmy is holding together, if the government is holding together, if people in the [I]raqi government are confident that they can move forward towards greater stability, if we are confident that the [I]raqi [A]rmed [F]orces will get better, [I] think we can prevent civil war.

WOLF: On a daily basis, dozens of bodies show up at the [B]aghdad morgue mutilated, tortured, drilled. It's as if this situation is getting worse rapidly on a daily basis.

ABIZAID: Well, [I] understand how it's easy to just look at the violence and come to the conclusion that things are only going to get worse, but [I] don't come to that conclusion. I come to the conclusion that [I]raqis are fighting and dying for their country, that the government has pledged their sacred honor and their future to making this work. Their lives are on the line. You see numerous [I]raqi officials come through [W]ashington lately, and every one of them shows confidence and the ability to get things done. Now, [I] know which [I] testified back in [A]ugust, since then [I] have been in [B]aghdad, [I] have been on the ground. We're certainly not out of the woods yet with regard to sectarian violence in [I]raq. It is difficult, but in the areas that we've employed [M]ilitary [F]orces, it shows a slight increase of improvement. It will take some months before we're able to say whether or not we're having an affect. Things in a counter insurgency violence, as you well know, take time to mat[ter] politically and militarily, and we're confident with the measures we're taking now, we can be successful.

WOLF: One of our reporters in [B]aghdad, [M]ichael [W]ear, just out and said there's real fear embedded with [U].S. Troops, went that the [I]raqi [M]ilitary right now is penetrated with moles from some of the militia, largely the [S]hia militia of [M]uqtada al [S]adr, and that [A]merican [T]roops are worried that sensitive information involving the lives of [U].S. Forces could be jeopardized by these moles, presumably, throughout the [I]raqi [M]ilitary and the [P]olice force.

ABIZAID: I wouldn't say they're throughout the [M]ilitary. I think that the [P]olice force is a well-recognized fact that the [P]olice forces have been infiltrated by militia interests that have the interests of their militia above that of the state. That's recognized by the [P]rime [M]inister. It's recognized by the [P]resident. It's recognized by our [C]ommanders. It's recognized by the [M]inister of the [I]nterior. We've got to work on this. It's very, very important that loyalty to the state take priority over any alliance to any sectarian group. Over time [I] believe that we will isolate that infiltration and eradicate it.

WOLF: The [U].S. Ambassador in [B]aghdad, you work very closely with him, and he said publicly that [I]ran is playing a very negative role right now in [I]raq, fomenting the sectarian violence. I want you to turn around and look at a picture that came in last week when the [P]rime [M]inister of [I]raq met with the president mahmoud all hmadinedjad and say is this why the [men] and women went to war, so there could be this relationship existing between [I]ran, a country that the [U].S. [s]ays supports terrorism, and [I]raq?

ABIZAID: Look, the question for us is, ["][W]ill [I]raq emerge as a member -- a responsible member of the community of nations in the region? Will [I]raq be a member of the [A]rab [L]eague? Will it play its role in the region in a country that respects the rights of its own people and is not conducive to terrorism?["] I believe that that's absolutely what [P]rime [M]inister [M]aliki intends to do. He will not allow his country to be dominated by [I]ran. He will not allow his country to be dominated by special interests. Is he going to build an [I]raq for all [I]raqis[?] [A]nd it's a hard thing to do. They can do it.

WOLF: Did that picture bother you?

ABIZAID: There's nothing that bothers me after as long as [I] have spent in the [M]iddle [E]ast.

WOLF: And can you see much more of this exclusive interview with [G]eneral [A]bizaid right here in "[T]he [S]ituation [R]oom" during our 7:00 [P].M. Eastern hour. Among other things, we'll broaden the interview to discuss the war in [A]fghanistan, the war on terror, the hunt for bin [L]aden, and the possibility of a [U].S. Military strike against [I]ran's nuclear facilities. More in my interview with [G]eneral [A]bizaid coming up 7:00 [P].M. Eastern.

Category: (Military) Press Release and Interviews.

Iraq Army and Coalition Soldiers Discover Weapons Cache

TIKRIT, Iraq – Soldiers and Paratroopers from the 1st Company, 4th Iraqi Army Division and Delta Company, 2nd Battalion, 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment, discovered a weapons cache during Operation Delta Snag on Sept. 14 in Salah ad Din province, northwest of Samarra.

Iraqi soldiers led the mission in which they discovered more than 300 82 mm mortar rounds, 79 fuses, seven 57 mm anti-aircraft rounds, four 130 mm mortar rounds and a cell phone. Three individuals were also detained during the Iraqi-led operation.

"The commander, 1st Company, 4th IAD and his company demonstrated their increasing capabilities and commitment to taking complete control of this sector," said Capt. Brian Roeder, commander, Company D, 2-505 PIR. "They are capable of conducting these missions with minimal U.S. involvement."

An explosive ordnance team and weapons intelligence team were dispatched to handle the munitions, which were detonated in place at the cache site.

"This is a significant find for us. Besides making significant progress in defeating indirect capabilities of anti-Iraqi forces, Delta Company and 1st Company have eliminated literally hundreds of potential IEDs from the enemy’s inventory," Maj. Brian K. Flood, executive officer, 2-505 PIR. "This is a huge boost for the safety of civilians and security forces in Salah Ad Din."

There were no injuries or damage to IA or CF Soldiers during Operation Delta Snag which continued through Friday.

Category: (Military) Press Release and Iraq.

Dhi Qar: Rich past, hopeful future

Monday, 18 September 2006
By Staff Sgt. James Sherrill
124th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment

BAGHDAD — With all its history in tow, Dhi Qar province in southern Iraq is looking toward the future. It’s scheduled later this month to become the second of Iraq’s 18 provinces to be transferred to provincial Iraqi control.

This means Coalition security forces will pull back and let the local provincial police and Iraqi military handle security of the province, a key step for the eventual withdrawal of Coalition forces from the country.

Both Coalition officials and Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki have said they hope to have all 18 of the country’s provinces under Iraqi control by the end of next year.

Dhi Qar province is an archeologist’s dreamland. It contains the site of the ancient city of Ur, purported to be the hometown of the biblical figure Abraham. Near the ruins of the ancient city stands the Ziggurat of Ur, a towering ancient temple dating back more than 4,000 years.

Iraqis and tourists are now able to freely visit this area, something they could not do under the oppression of Saddam Hussein, said Maj. Gen. Kurt A. Cichowski, Multi-National Force - Iraq,Deputy Chief of Staff for Strategy, Plans and Assessment.

Brig. Gen. Carmine De Pascale, right, commander of the Italian Joint Task Force - Iraq, along with British Soldiers, climbs the stairs of the ancient Ziggurat of Ur in Dhi Qar province. Italian troops have shouldered much of the work in preparing the province for transfer to provincial Iraqi control later this month. Department of Defense photo by Air Force Capt. Thomas Montgomery. Cichowski, speaking to reporters from Baghdad Sept. 19, said there are four key conditions to determine a province’s eligibility for transfer: the capability of the Iraqi security forces, threat levels in the province, local government capacity, and the provincial government's relationship with Coalition forces.

“We are always in that process … of evaluating the four areas in all of the provinces. When the conditions are met for the provinces in the remaining areas then they will transfer too,” Cichowski said.

“I firmly believe that the Dhi Qar provincial committee is well ready to run their province.”

The responsibility for getting Dhi Qar ready to transfer has been shouldered mostly by members of the Italian contingent there, led by Brig. Gen. Carmine De Pascale, commander of the Italian Joint Task Force – Iraq.

“This result was attained by Dhi Qar provincial authorities and Coalition forces through a long and intense period of sacrifices and efforts,” De Pascale said.

About 1,500 Italian troops, along with Romanian, Australian and some British Soldiers, have been based out of Camp Mittica, just outside Ali Base, near Ur. The task force has worked closely with the local government in the province – training and equipping the local Police and Army, mentoring government officials, and organizing construction projects like schools and clinics.

“In the next days, Coalition forces in the province of Dhi Qar will hand over the security responsibility to Iraqi civilian authorities. This result is a clear evidence of the capability of Iraqi security forces, Police (and) Army, of guaranteeing security in Dhi Qar autonomously," De Pascale said. "It is also evidence of the maturity of the population in Dhi Qar. From now on, they will be able to contribute to the security, the social and economic growth of the province of Dhi Qar and Iraq."

The Coalition transferred neighboring Al Muthanna province on July 13. Since then, Al Muthanna’s local police and military forces have had full responsibility for the province's security and continue to run operations there without Coalition prodding.

“I wish all the best to the provincial leaders and to the people of Dhi Qar,” De Pascale said.

A ceremony marking the transfer to provincial Iraqi control is scheduled for later this month

Category: (Military) Press Release and Iraq.

Monday, September 25, 2006

IRAQ POLL: Kurds Grateful for U.S. Support

I have recently heard a lot about how poorly we are doing in Iraq, even as I bring you these massive achievements. Okay. Don't believe me. Maybe you will believe someone who actually lives in the region? Let us hope so.
    A delegation of Iraqi Kurdish officials is currently traveling through the United States right now. The mission is to build upon the great friendship between the Kurdish people and the United States of America.

    Most specifically, the people of Iraqi Kurdistan wish to invite American businesses to come and help invest in the rebuilding of Kurdistan. It's a win for the people of Iraqi Kurdistan to have help in building a brighter future, and it's a win for American businesses seeking promising new opportunities.

    We have launched an advertising campaign called "The Other Iraq" because there is a story to be told about Iraqi Kurdistan that most Americans have not heard. We hope you've taken a moment to watch not just our television ads - but the documentaries that tell the full story at The Other Iraq.

    In fact, a poll taken earlier this year provided results that will likely surprise you. We hope you will review these results, and share them with others. And if possible, we'd like to hear from you about your feedback on our public relations campaign for "The Other Iraq" in the U.S.

    If you, or someone you know of, can help play a role in the rebuilding of our region's future, or wish to learn more information on investment or business opportunities, please email us at info AT TheOtherIraq.com.
    The following poll was conducted by WorldPublicOpinion.org and their Program on International Policy Attitudes. The poll was fielded by KA Research Limited/D3 Systems and was conducted among 1,150 Iraqis. The views of Iraqi Kurds in particular are highlighted below

    >>> Thinking about any hardships you might have suffered since the US-Britain invasion, do you personally think that ousting Saddam Hussein was worth it or not?

    Iraqi Kurds: 91% said it was WORTH IT.

    >>> Do you think that Iraq today is generally headed in the right direction or the wrong direction?

    Iraqi Kurds: 76% said RIGHT DIRECTION.

    >>> Do you think that the government to be established by the newly-elected parliament will or will not be the legitimate representative of the Iraqi people?

    Iraqi Kurds: 81% said WILL BE.

    Despite a "negative" bias in some of the questions, Iraqi Kurds remained optimistic and resolute in supporting a better future for their country and their people and resisted attempts to "bash" the United States.

    >>> It is offensive to me to have foreign forces in my country?

    Iraqi Kurds: 0% said it was offensive.

    >>> Do you approve of the U.S. being involved in Iraq - assisting with the economic development of Iraq?

    Iraqi Kurds: 87% APPROVE of U.S. involvement.

    >>> Do you approve of the U.S. being involved in Iraq - assisting with the development of Iraq's oil industry?

    Iraqi Kurds: 87% APPROVE of U.S. involvement.

    >>> Do you approve of the U.S. being involved in Iraq - training Iraqi security forces?

    Iraqi Kurds: 96% APPROVE of U.S. involvement.
Now, you tell me. Are we welcomed in Iraq or not? Are we doing anything good? Do you even care about other people? If you do not, stop hiding behind those phony Human Rights organizations. Stop the protests, because you obiviously do not care others. You are very selfish and ungrateful. I wish you were not in my country, but there is room for you.

Just remember one thing: Lead, follow, or get the hell out of the way.

We are at war whether you like it or care or not. Enough is enough. Now it is time to come together as a country or shut up. Thank you.

Category: (Military) Blogger News and Kurdistan.

NGAUS Legislative Update 9/25/2006

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NGAUS Notes: Sept. 22, 2006

Key Conference Speakers Highlight Guard Success, Challenges

The 128th NGAUS General Conference wrapped up Monday after three days that featured a collection of notable speakers who applauded the Guard, but offered some pointed criticism about the world in which the Guard operates.

New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson on Monday set his sights on Washington, addressing the National Defense Enhancement and National Guard Empowerment Act of 2006, insisting the Guard has earned decision-making power commensurate with citizen-soldier and airman contributions to the nation since 9/11.

At the conference, more than 2,500 members signed banners supporting the act that were unveiled to Congress Tuesday.

He also took aim at attempts by Congress to allow the president to activate the Guard during emergencies, which would simply take that power away from governors. He also addressed readiness issues for troops at home.

"As many as one out of five at-home Guardsmen have no health coverage at all. That is wrong," he said. He insisted the Guard should be treated as the operational force it has become.

The same day, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff noted the Guard's border contribution and the drop in the number of illegal entries to the country.

Mr. Chertoff also noted improvements between federal cabinet-level departments, including synchronizing communications capabilities and joint training and preparation for possible domestic disasters, such as hurricanes or floods.

Lt. Gen. H Steven Blum, National Guard Bureau chief, praised the Guard's efforts in the past year in the war on terror and in recruiting, but he noted serious equipment problems that leave many units unable to properly respond to unforeseen domestic emergencies, such as floods, hurricanes or the unthinkable.

NGAUS Conferees Select New Board Chairman

Maj. Gen. R. Martin Umbarger is the new NGAUS chairman of the board.

Delegates to the 128th General Conference in Albuquerque, N.M, elected the Indiana adjutant general (TAG) and sitting association board member last weekend.

General Umbarger replaces Brig. Gen. Robert V. Taylor of Michigan. Association bylaws limit the chairman to a single two-year term. He has 37 years in uniform, 34 as a part-time Guardsman.

Recent assignments include that of commander of the 76th Infantry Brigade and deputy commanding general for the U.S. Army Forces Command.

Delegates also elected Brig. Gen. Norman Arflack of Kentucky as vice chairman for Army and re-elected Maj. Gen. David B. Poythress of Georgia as vice chairman for Air.

Retired Brig. Gen. Ken Ross of Louisiana and Col. Al Faber of Ohio were unopposed in their re-election bids for treasurer and secretary, respectively.

Board representatives for Areas III and VI, warrant officers and Army company grades were also up for election.

Delegates selected past-chairman Maj. Gen. Gus L. Hargett (TAG) of Tennessee and Lt. Col. Steven Joyce (Army) and Lt. Col. Murray Hanson (Air), both of Georgia, to represent Area III.

In addition, they chose Maj. Gen. Edward L. Wright (TAG) of Wyoming, retired Col. Raymond Jardine (Army) of Hawaii and Brig. Gen. Daniel B. Ohollaren (Air) of Oregon to represent Area VI.

Capt. Rollin L. Roberts of Mississippi is the new Army company-grade representative and retired Warrant Officer 5 Larry Massey of Indiana was re-elected to the board's warrant officer position.

Defense Department to Review Military Awards Policies and Procedures

In an effort to provide clarity in awards standards, the Defense Department has begun a comprehensive review of military awards and decorations.

"It's been about 10 years since we've reviewed our directive in a comprehensive way and, given the events of the Global War on Terror - our experience operationally in that environment, there are some changes we think we can make to give greater clarity and consistency to the awards," said Bill Carr, deputy undersecretary of defense for military personnel policy.

He said the changing nature of warfare in the Global War on Terror and lessons learned over the past few years have prompted some changes to make the system work better.

One of these areas is the criteria for "V" devices and Purple Heart Medals. In the Army, the "V" device only is awarded for valor, whereas in the other services, members can receive it simply for presence in the theater of operations. When it comes to Purple Hearts, Mr. Carr said the different services have slightly different standards.

Officials will also address the definition of "theater of operations" when it comes to expeditionary medals.

The Air Force defines the theater of operations as the globe, because their pilots fly all over the world, but other services define the theater as a specific piece of ground.

"Concerns have been expressed by one service about the practices of another service, and as we saw that pattern, it was pretty clear that it was now time to conduct a more comprehensive review," Mr. Carr said.

Job Openings in Legislative Departmnent

Deputy Director of Legislative Programs

Candidate will be responsible for assisting director in the daily operations and execution of legislative agenda.

Duties will include lobbying, strategy development, conducting administrative duties, and assisting in staff management.

Successful candidate will have a bachelor's degree in political science or government, 3-5 years of legislative experience and strong knowledge of the defense community.

Joint Programs Lobbyist

Candidate will be responsible for lobbying for Army and Air National Guard personnel and benefits issues on Capitol Hill.

Duties include direct lobbying, strategic planning/implementation and other duties relevant to joint programs.

Successful candidate will have a bachelor's degree in political science or government, 3-5 years of legislative experience, strong knowledge of the defense community, advocacy and communication skills. Military experience a plus.

Interested candidates should send cover letter and resume to: NGAUS, Legislative Director, One Massachusetts Ave., N.W., Washington, D.C. 20001, or e-mail richard.green@ngaus.org. Today is the closing date for both positions.

This Week in Guard History

Sept. 20, 1917: St. Nazaire, France - The 26th "Yankee" Division, which included soldiers from Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont, becomes the first American division to arrive in Europe during World War I.

More than one million American soldiers and Marines will join them by war's end in November 1918. All 18 National Guard divisions would serve in France, but only 11 see combat as intact units. Six others become "depot" divisions, serving as a source of replacements for casualties suffered by the frontline divisions.

The 93rd Division, composed of all of the Guard's African American units, has each of its four regiments parceled out to three different French divisions because Army leadership did not want black and white soldiers serving together.

NGAUS History

In 1940, Maj. Gen. Edward Martin, commander of Pennsylvania's 28th Infantry Division, became NGAUS president.

Shortly thereafter, the peacetime Guard mobilization began. With most elected NGAUS officers on active duty, the association's activities diminished.

Army efforts to push Guard general officers out of their commands and active service soon provided the association with a body of senior leaders available for association duties.

Back in Pennsylvania, General Martin ran for governor. Elected to the first of several terms in 1943, he stepped down as NGAUS president to focus on running the commonwealth.

Category: (Military) NGAUS Notes.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Legislative Alert #06-21

The Issue: National Defense Enhancement and the National Guard Empowerment Act of 2006 as contained in the 2007 Senate National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).

Action Required: Contact your Congressmen and Senators and ask them to urge the Armed Services Committees’ Leadership to support National Guard Empowerment in Conference

The Senate passed an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act, S. 2766, that incorporated features of the National Defense Enhancement and National Guard Empowerment Act. S. 2658. Although some pieces of the original legislation are omitted, it will be a major step forward for the National Guard in providing significant leverage at the bargaining table with the Pentagon. The amendment still promotes the NGB Chief to a four-star position, directs the Deputy Commander at Northern Command be a Guard officer, designates the National Guard as a joint activity of DOD and allows the National Guard Bureau to establish more direct lines of communication with the Office of the Secretary of Defense, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, states and federal agencies.

Although USNORTHCOM is the combatant command with the ultimate responsibility for defending our homeland, it is the National Guard, located in over 3000 communities across our country that will answer the call. The National Guard has a unique constitutional responsibility to our governors, making them the first choice to assist our first responders in responding to natural disasters or terrorist attacks. This logically leads to the conclusion that the Guard needs a seat at the table as Deputy Commander of USNORTHCOM, and in the Pentagon, as a four-star Chief of NGB when decisions are being made concerning force structure and defense budgets.

Continuing Department of Defense decisions made without National Guard participation must end. The NDAA Empowerment language is a critical first step, ready now, to further that goal. Those who wish to harm this country will not wait. Neither can the National Guard.

Senate Conferees: Warner, R-VA; McCain, R-AZ; Inhofe, R-OK; Roberts, R-KS; Sessions, R-AL; Collins, R-ME; Ensign, R-NV; Talent, R-MO; Chambliss, R-GA; Graham, R-SC; Dole, R-NC; Cornyn, R-TX; Thune, R-SD; Levin, D-MI; Kennedy, D-MA; Byrd, D-WV; Lieberman, D-CT; Reed, D-RI; Akaka, D-HI; Nelson, D-FL; Nelson, D-NE; Dayton, D-MN; Bayh, D-IN; and Clinton, D-NY

House Conferees: Hunter, R-CA; Weldon, R-PA; Hefley, R-CO; Saxton, R-NJ; McHugh, R-NY; Everett, R-AL; Barrett, R-SC; Thornberry, R-TX; Hostettler, R-IN; Jones, R-NC; Ryun, R-KS; Gibbons, R-NV; Hayes, R-NC; Calvert, R-CA; Simmons, R-CT; Drake, R-VA; Davis, R-KY; Skelton, D-MO; Spratt, D-SC; Ortiz, D-TX; Taylor, R-MS; Abercrombie, D-HI; Meehan, D-MA; Reyes, D-TX; Snyder, D-AR; Smith, D-WA; Sanchez, D-CA; Tauscher, D-CA; Brady, D-PA; Andrews, D-NJ; Hoekstra, R-MI; LaHood, R-IL; Harman, D-CA; McKeon, R-CA; Kline, R-MN; Miller, D-CA; Barton, R-TX; Gilmor, R-OH; Dingell, D-MI; Davis, R-VA; Shays, R-CT; Waxman, D-CA; King, R-NY; Reichert, R-WA; Thompson, D-MS; Hyde, R-IL; Leach, R-IA; Lantos, D-CA; Sensenbrenner, R-WI; Coble, R-NC; Conyers, D-MI; Pombo, R-CA; Walden, R-OR; Grijalva, D-AZ; Boehlert, R-NY; Sodrel, R-IN; Gordon, D-TN; Manzullo, R-IL; Kelly, R-NY; Velazquez, D-NY; Young, R- AK; LoBiondo, R-NJ; Oberstar, D-MN; Buyer, R-IN; Boozman, R-AR; Herseth, D-SD

By using the “Write to Congress” feature on the NGAUS web page www.ngaus.org you can email your elected officials immediately and send a pre written message or edit it as you desire for the issue described above. This is the quickest and most effective method of expressing your views to the President or members of Congress.

Also, contact your friends and family and urge them to "Write to Congress" as well

For more in-depth information and background visit our web site at www.ngaus.org.

Please direct any questions concerning this issue to Scott Hommel, NGAUS Deputy Legislative Director at: 202-454-5307 or email
: scott.hommel@ngaus.org.

Category: (Military) NGAUS Leg.

Pop Star: Guests at 128th NGAUS Conference

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- One of rock music's enduring icons will debut a National Guard musical tribute to more than 2,000 members of the force at the 128th NGAUS General Conference and Exhibition, which begins here tomorrow.

Pat Boone, who has sold more than 50 million records in his 52-year career, will sing For My Country: Ballad of the National Guard at the conclusion of a speech by his longtime friend, Secretary of Veterans Affairs R. James Nicholson, at 11:45 Monday.

"It's hard to imagine America's existence without our National Guard, in time of war or peace," Mr. Boone said. "It happens we're at war--with an enemy who is determined to destroy us and our way of life," he said. "We've got to close ranks and give our Guardsmen and women our tribute, support and gratitude. I hope this song--long overdueÑwill encourage that."

Mr. Boone plans to release the song in November. Sales proceeds will go to Paralyzed Veterans of America, an organization that assists veterans of the armed forces who have experienced spinal cord injury or dysfunction.

The song debut is but one highlight of the conference and exhibition that runs through Monday.

Runners will get a jump start on the conference with the 11th Annual 5K Fun Run at 6:30 a.m. Saturday. The conference opens with the call to order from Brig. Gen. Robert V. Taylor, NGAUS chairman, and then a welcome from Brig. Gen. Kenny C. Montoya, New Mexico adjutant general, beginning at noon.

Attendees will then get a taste of New Mexico with a local cultural celebration, followed by the colorful Roll Call of States Lt. Gen. H Steven Blum, chief, National Guard Bureau, will highlight afternoon events with a speech at 3:45 p.m., followed by Air Force Gen. Ronald E. Keys, commander, Air Combat Command, at 4:15 p.m.

The day will end with the New Mexico GovernorÕs Reception at the Albuquerque Zoo beginning at 6 p.m. Sunday's events begin earlier with an 8 a.m. call to order, followed by various reports from other associations as well as awards presentations. Army Secretary Francis J. Harvey will then take the stage for a 9:30 a.m. speech.

Afternoon events are reserved for professional development and task force meetings. Evening festivities include hospitality night beginning at 6 p.m.

Monday events start very early with the Air and Army Guard separate sessions at 7:30 a.m.

Headlining the Air Separate Session is Lt. Gen. Craig McKinley, Air Guard director, Gen. Bruce Carlson, commander, Air Force Materiel Command, and retired Air Force Maj. Gen. Stephen P. Condon, Air Force Association chairman.

Lt. Gen. Clyde Vaughn, Army Guard director, will headline the Army Separate Session, along with Lt. Gen. Russel Honore, commanding general, First U.S. Army, and Lt. Gen. Jack C. Stultz, chief, U.S. Army Reserve.

Homeland Secretary Michael Chertoff will address the Third Business Session at 10:45 a.m. followed by New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson at 11:15 before Secretary Nicholson's speech on Monday.

The conference will then close with the States Dinner beginning at 7:30 p.m.

TSGLI for Guardsmen and Active Component Trooops Receiving Good Reviews
The Traumatic Servicemembers' Group Life Insurance (TSGLI) program, established in 2005 to help injured military personnel who found themselves financially strapped after their return to the states, is getting good marks.

Retroactive coverage applies to active-component personnel, Guardsmen and reservists who suffered traumatic injuries in the line of duty between Oct. 7, 2001, and Nov. 30, 2005.

Beginning Dec. 1, 2005, every service member who has Servicemembers' Group Life Insurance automatically began receiving TSGLI coverage according to Michael Dominguez, principal deputy undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness.

TSGLI coverage will pay a benefit of between $25,000 and $100,000, depending on the injury, according to information on the Department of Veterans Affairs Web site at www.va.gov. The VA is a co-administrator of the insurance program.

Within DoD, "a total of 2,261 retroactive claims have been approved as of Aug. 25, 2006," Dominguez reported, noting that 403 claims have been paid as of late August 2006.

Army Sgt. John Keith who lost his left leg and suffered other injuries in an explosion in Iraq, testified that the TSGLI payment helped him replenish his savings, pay off most of his debts and buy his wife a van.

Job Openings in Legislative Department

Deputy Director of Legislative Programs
Candidate will be responsible for assisting director in the daily operations and execution of legislative agenda. Duties will include lobbying, strategy development, conducting administrative duties, and assisting in staff management. Successful candidate will have a bachelor's degree in political science or government, 3-5 years of legislative experience and strong knowledge of the defense community.

Joint Programs Lobbyist
Candidate will be responsible for lobbying for Army and Air National Guard personnel and benefits issues on Capitol Hill. Duties include direct lobbying, strategic planning/implementation and other duties relevant to joint programs.

Successful candidate will have a bachelor's degree in political science or government, 3-5 years of legislative experience, strong knowledge of the defense community, advocacy and communication skills. Military experience a plus.

Interested candidates should send cover letter and resume to: NGAUS, Legislative Director, One Massachusetts Ave., N.W., Washington, D.C. 20001, or e-mail richard.green@ngaus.org. Closing date for both positions is Sept. 22, 2006.

This Week in Guard History
Sept. 11, 2001: Terrorists fly hijacked airliners into both towers of the World Trade Center in New York City and the Pentagon outside Washington, D.C.

Within minutes of the first report of a hijacking out of Boston, Mass., and just six minutes after the scramble order was issued, F-15s from Massachusetts' 102nd Fighter Wing are airborne, but arrive too late to prevent either plane from striking the towers. In the meantime, another two planes are reported hijacked and on course to Washington, D.C. North Dakota Air Guard F-16s from the119th Fighter Wing, permanently assigned to Langley Air Force Base, Va., are scrambled to try to intercept the planes headed for D.C., one of which crashes into the Pentagon. The second crashes in a Pennsylvania field.

Throughout the day, and for months to come, Air Guard aircraft from all over he country, including Vermont (right), flew patrols over major American cities with shoot down orders to prevent further attacks.

In the wake of the strikes, Army Guard units responded across the nation on the ground. Within days, Guardsmen in every state and territory were guarding airports, bridges, and seaports as well as patrolling AmericaÕs northern and southern borders.

NGAUS History
Nearly 130 years ago, National Guard officers met in New York City and planned an October 1879 convention in to bring Guardsmen together to discuss the Guard's funding needsÑeffectively launching the National Guard Association.

As delegates, Guardsmen and guests descend upon Albuquerque for the 128th NGAUS General Conference, the goal of maintaining the nation's freedom and security through a strong National Guard remains the association's focus. As National Guard troops deploy around the world, the association's impact has never been more vital.

Category: (Military) NGAUS Notes.

Friday, September 15, 2006

al Qaeda in Iraq #2 Killed

BAGHDAD - A senior member of al Qaeda in Iraq was killed during an operation in Baghdad this week while carrying letters for Osama bin Laden and the new leader of the terror group's Iraqi offshoot, an Interior Ministry official said yesterday.
In a separate announcement, the top U.S. military spokesman in Iraq said U.S. forces had arrested a senior al Qaeda terrorist and personal associate of the group's new leader, Abu Ayyoub al-Masri.

Abu Jaafar al-Liby, who was either the second or third most important figure in al Qaeda in Iraq, was killed by police during an operation three days ago, Interior Ministry spokesman Brig. Abdul-Karim Khalaf said.

Four other insurgents were killed in the raid.

Liby had been in charge of the Baghdad sector of al Qaeda.

Khalaf said two letters were found on his body - one for bin Laden and the other for Masri, who took over from Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, who was killed in a U.S. airstrike north of Baghdad on June 7. Both letters pledged loyalty and promised more attacks.

It was not known if the killing announced by Khalaf was related to the operations that led to the Tuesday arrest of the unidentified al Qaeda terror suspect described by Maj. Gen. William B. Caldwell, the top U.S. military spokesman. Caldwell said the arrested man was a "personal associate" of Masri.

Editor's Note: I would like to explain why I am copying and still linking to the article. I have been posting for over 2 years now, and too many times I have tried to use links I have provided my readers that were no longer good. THAT is why. This way, if the link is no good anymore? I still have the text! Hey, if they'll play fair, so will I. As of right now, they are not. So there.
Source: Washington Post online, September 15, 2006.
Category: (Military) News.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

America Supports You Freedom Walk(s)

All weekend long, Americans took to the streets in displays of patriotism and unity as America Supports You Freedom Walks stepped off in cities large and small across the country. A final count showed 134 Freedom Walks in all 50 states nationwide. From Anchorage, Alaska to Tampa, Florida, citizens helped establish a new national tradition to remember the families and victims of 9/11 and honor our veterans, past and present, for their service.

In Washington, DC, thousands of walkers gathered at the National Mall for the second annual Freedom Walk to show their support for our troops and observe the fifth anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks at the World Trade Center, Pentagon, and Shanksville, Penn. Volunteers wore white Freedom Walk t-shirts and carried glow sticks as they walked the route from the Mall to the Pentagon, concluding near the crash site and the site of the future Pentagon Memorial.

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Peter Pace kicked off the evening with brief remarks on the significance of the event before leading the walkers up Independence Avenue and across Memorial Bridge. "You and some 130-plus other gatherings like this across all 50 states today are telling our fellow Americans and the world that we do stand together, and we do stand for freedom and we will walk for freedom and we will fight for freedom," said Pace.

Also leading the walk were Deputy Defense Secretary Gordon England, students from three local schools that lost students and faculty on Flight 77, and more than 400 family and friends of victims who died at the Pentagon. Nancy May, whose daughter Renee was a flight attendant on Flight 77, traveled from Nevada for the Walk. May admitted that she would not ever "find solace" about the events of 9/11, but she called the gathering of Freedom Walk participants reassuring because she "never want[s] it to be forgotten."

Upon arriving at the Pentagon, walkers enjoyed a brief musical tribute from noted opera star Denyce Graves. Graves performed a stirring rendition of "God Bless America" as a memorial display of 184 lights was illuminated from the Pentagon center courtyard. The lights, each representing a life lost at the Pentagon, remained lit throughout Sept. 11 as a vivid reminder of their sacrifice. "I got a bit of goose bumps when the lights came on," said one onlooker of the tribute.

America Supports You's grassroots groups were also out in force for the Freedom Walk. Eighteen groups set up tables at the Pentagon to share their information with walkers as they finished the Freedom Walk. Groups represented included: The American Legion, Armed Services YMCA, Armor 4 Troops Foundation, Defenders of Freedom, Freedom Alliance, Hero Hugs, MarineParents.com, Operation Family Fund, Operation First Response, Operation Helmet, Operation Homefront, Operation Paperback, Packages from Home, Salute Our Services, Sew Much Comfort, Serving Those Who Serve and Treat the Troops.

Elsewhere across the country, groups found their own ways to memorialize the occasion. The first Freedom Walk took place on Sept. 7 at White Sands Missile Range, N.M. as more than 30 of the Range's military and civilian employees gathered for a "3K/5K Freedom Walk." In Aurora, Colorado, America Supports You team member Operation Hope organized hundreds of walkers on Sept. 9 for a full program of activities, including the reading of a letter from President Bush thanking the participants in the Aurora Freedom Walk and praising the nation's service members. Despite the rain, hundreds of people still turned out for Chicago's Freedom Walk on Sept. 10. Illinois Lt. Gov. Pat Quinn addressed the gathered walkers and praised the Freedom Walk for providing an opportunity "for people to come together as a community." Virginia Beach, one of seven communities in the Hampton Roads, Va.-area hosting walks on Sept. 11, brought more than 1,200 service members, civic leaders and community members together to construct a human flag during the "Hampton Roads Remembers" ceremony that kicked off the local Freedom Walks.

There were also Freedom Walks happening overseas to commemorate the anniversary of 9/11. At Diego Garcia Naval Support Facility in the Indian Ocean, the First Class Petty Officer Association organized a Walk, and the U.S. Embassy in Iraq hosted a Freedom Walk in Baghdad led by Ambassador Zal Khalilzad.

To read all the Freedom Walk coverage, log on to www.AmericaSupportsYou.mil.

Category: (Military) ASY.

New tools to fight insurgents

BAGHDAD — It may appear to some that the task of restoring law and order to the streets of Baghdad is too daunting a job for the Iraqi Police. However, the officers of Baghdad ’s Rusafah Police Directorate believe that through proper training, hard work and advanced technology they can rid the city of insurgency and terrorism.

The directorate recently unveiled some of its tools, showcasing a bomb-sniffing dog and a new secure communications system. The police also demonstrated an advanced detainee database and an improvised explosive device-detecting robot.

The Rusafah Police demonstrated one of their new improvised explosive device-detecting robots. Department of Defense photo by Navy Journalist 2nd Class John J. Pistone.

During the demonstration, Iraqi Police Gen. Adnon, commanding officer of the Rusafah Directorate, said he was very proud of the Police officers in his area.

"These officers have worked very hard to learn the skills necessary to fight the insurgency," Adnon said with the help of an interpreter. "We are very proud to be able to show you our skills and new technologies."

Adnon said the addition of new equipment will help Police secure the streets of Baghdad , while the new armored vehicles will insure the safety of his officers.

"Thanks to the help of our Coalition brothers we now have some of the most modern weapons available to defeat the terrorists," he said. "The new trucks mean that our officers can safely stay out on patrol, which means our city will be safer."

The Rusafah Police demonstrated one of their new improvised explosive device-detecting robots. Department of Defense photo by Navy Journalist 2nd Class John J. Pistone.

According to U.S. Army Capt. Rob Rodock, commander of the 204th Military Police Company working with the Rusafah Police, getting the equipment into the hands of the Iraqis was just one piece of the puzzle.

"This police department is responsible for quite a large area in Baghdad – basically anything that happens on the east side of the Tigris falls under this directorate," Rodock said. "They now have and know how to use a K9 unit, IED-detecting robots, the JUMP detainee database system and night vision goggles. Their proficiency in using these new tools is what matters most."

At the end of the showcase, Adnon issued a warning to those who practice or support terrorism or the insurgency.

"To the terrorists I say: ‘Beware. We now have the tools and the skills to defeat you, our officers are no longer sitting waiting for you. We are going to take the fight to you, find you and those who support you and in the name of Iraq , we will defeat you.'"

Category: (Military) Press Release and Iraq.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

U.S. Military veternarian teams provide care in Kenya

Commentary by CPT Gwynne E. Kinley, VC, USA.

NGINYANG, Kenya – This story begins with the E Company/96th Civil Affairs Civic Action Team* at the base of an isolated livestock watering hole in the Northern Rift Valley Province of Kenya. The heat of the day was starting to make an appearance rapidly through the dry dust kicked up by the arrival of our vehicle convoy. In what looked like the middle of a lunar landscape (no cellular phone coverage here, folks), a livestock watering hole sprouted, protected by a berm and formidable cactus bushes.

As the team, along with East African Community (EAC) soldiers and locals, closed in at the foot of the watering hole they encountered herds and herds of goats and sheep already being led in an organized fashion towards two holding pens. The circular holding pens were nothing more than neatly arranged tree and thorn bush branches allowing a herd of about 150 goats and sheep to be comfortably confined. The tribal leader of these nomadic people whom the team had coordinated with several days earlier had certainly spread the word about the upcoming VETCAP. News travels fast even by word of mouth!

VETCAP stands for Veterinary Civic Action Program, which is a special form of Humanitarian Assistance (HA) called Humanitarian and Civic Assistance (HCA). HCA is assistance provided to the local populace by predominantly U.S. forces in conjunction with military operations, such as the Exercise Natural Fire 2006, in which this particular VETCAP was supporting.

Guidance from local Kenyan veterinary health officials recommended that the VETCAP concentrate on vaccinating sheep and goats for sheeppox and goatpox (Pox) and goats for Contagious Caprine Pleuropnemonia (CCPP). The poxviruses are serious and often-fatal diseases characterized by skin eruptions (somewhat similar to smallpox in humans). In addition the team also treated several animals presented on sick call. The vets ended up setting a fractured left forelimb in a goat and cleaning an infected facial wound in a lamb.

The Civic Action Team, along with the EAC and local people, split up into groups: a preparation center (mixing and drawing up vaccines) and two animal teams each consisting of two vaccinators (one for Pox and one for CCPP), one "marker" and three handlers. The animal teams then gathered in a corral and started the process. One after another each animal was collected and restrained by a handler, vaccinated, marked on the head with a non-toxic, long-lasting paint stick in either blue or green (to prevent re-vaccinations) and finally released outside of the corral. This went on for most of the day. As one herd of animals was completed another herd would materialize out of the bush and the team would start all over again. Overall, more than 2000 animals were treated. Not a bad day for a Civil Affairs Civic Action Team!

The Civic Action Team was made up of one U.S. Air Force physician, one U.S. Army veterinarian, one U.S. Army Reserve veterinarian and one U.S. Army Reserve animal care.

Category: (Military) Health, (Africa) Horn of Africa and (Military) HOA.

9/11: A retrospective from one military officer

Story by Major David Westover, USAF.

CAMP LEMONIER, Djibouti –As I approach the conclusion of a 4-month deployment here in the Horn of Africa, I realize that the horrific events of September 11, 2001, are exactly why I’m serving in this part of the world today, and why I am still serving in the military after 14 years.

Here it is five years later, when many of us will recount the time and place we were on that tragic day in America, when the world literally changed before our eyes.

I was a junior captain at the Pentagon working as a media relations officer on the Air Force Press Desk with about 10 other public affairs officers. Shortly after our morning meeting, one-by-one we gathered around the bank of TV monitors, as all the major news networks focused their lenses and the world’s attention on the World Trade Center in New York City.

Like many people, we couldn’t understand how a small aircraft could have mistakenly crashed into one of the Twin Towers. Although somewhat perplexed, I went back to my workspace to get on with my daily routine of responding to press inquiries and arranging media interviews.

Next thing I remember, one of my colleagues began shrieking as she watched a commercial jet crash into the other tower. In that instant, the whole world knew this was not an accident. It was an act of terrorism – a deliberate attack on America. I can still remember the anxiety as the Air Force crisis action team (CAT) was activated in the bowels of the Pentagon. Although I was not recalled to the CAT, I proceeded to the weekly staff meeting with the Air Force Director of Personnel. As expected, the mood in the small conference room was extremely somber as the 3-star general began the meeting. He had very few, solemn words as he spoke of the tragic events that had just taken place in New York City. I had difficulty focusing as the horrific images were still fresh in my mind.

Then, as the first staff officer began his weekly update to the general, the conference room and the rest of the 17-miles of hallways and office spaces in the Pentagon trembled as a third commercial jet crashed into the southwest side of the building. At the time, my first thoughts were “it’s a car bomb -- we’re under attack,” and that it had to be related to the events in New York City. Within seconds, a young sergeant busted through the door telling us that we need to evacuate the building -- now!

It was quite unclear who was directing the nearly 20,000 employees out of the building that day. It was controlled chaos as we quickly made our way down the stairwells and through the long hallways, elbow to elbow, doing my best to conceal my fear and anxiety. I’ll never forget leaving the south exit and looking over my right shoulder and seeing the huge plume of black smoke rolling over the massive 5-story structure. The Pentagon – the symbol of U.S. military strength and power – on fire. It was surreal.

The most difficult part was knowing that my wife, Laura, didn’t know where I was or if I was all right. She was with our 4 year-old twin daughters at Bolling Air Force Base, right across the Potomac River, watching the news and seeing that same plume of smoke coming from the Pentagon. There was no cell phone service, as a steady stream of people walked across I-395 towards Pentagon City where thousands of military members and government employees had fled that morning.

I can recall hearing subsequent explosions, which must have been the aircraft’s fuel tanks. It seemed to raise the crowd’s anxiety. But not as much as when we heard that there was another plane in the air. We all feverishly scanned the sky above the smoke-filled sky, in the direction of the Washington Monument and east toward Reagan National Airport. What was going to happen next? I had never felt as vulnerable, as I did that morning.

Although there was panic in the air, the crowd continued to move south toward Crystal City. I can recall encountering people that I knew asking, “Do you have a cell phone? Are you all right? Did you get in touch with your family yet?”

We soon learned that the fourth commercial jet went down in the rural Pennsylvania field in Shanksville.

While I tried to comprehend what was happening that day, I remained focused on reaching my family and telling them that I’m alive and well.

About two or three hours later, I finally was able to locate a vacant phone in a business office. I made a call to my wife and children. They were ecstatic to hear that I was safe. Still, my wife and I, like much of our generation, were in a state of absolute shock and dismay. Together we wept with joy and sorrow, all at once.

I finally made my way back home via the Metro at nearly 2 p.m. When we met, Laura and I did our best to conceal our fears and anxiety in front of our daughters, who were just happy to have Daddy home from work early. Their innocence was not going to be broken that day.

As I walked in the door, I was greeted with a phone message that I needed to work the night shift on the alternate CAT. It was a logical request, because it was now set up right there on the base.

Despite a mix of fatigue and adrenaline, I attempted to get some rest before the overnight shift. However, I couldn’t help but flip from one news network to the next to get the latest updates of the day’s tragic events. I reported into work that night emotionally exhausted.

After a few hours of trying to assemble some sort of a public affairs plan, the decision was made to move the Air Force CAT back to the Pentagon. I can still remember boarding one of the several blue military aircrew buses. In silence, we stared straight ahead and others looked out the window as we made our way back to the Pentagon. We all knew that more than 180 people were killed or missing there that day.

It was around 3 a.m., and the building was still on fire. However, it was now under control. I’ll never forget the stringent smell of burning debris, or seeing the fine black dust in the hallways as we entered the dark, empty building.

We all went our separate ways to get our respective sections up and running for what would eventually be…the Global War on Terrorism…and now the Long War.

Within 18 hours after the attack, we were back in operation at the Pentagon – a true sign of American military strength and resolve. However, I was worn out as I completed my overnight shift. I drove back home to Bolling AFB. As I pulled into the driveway, my emotions well up within me as I noticed one thing out of place.

It was right then and there, at the first break of light on the morning of Sept. 12th, as I was displaying the American flag near the entrance to my house, I knew exactly why I served in the U.S. military. I felt a rush of patriotism and a love for my country like never before -- one that most Americans also seem to embrace over the next several weeks and months. I can still remember how simply seeing an American flag provided an unexplainable sense of comfort and a genuine sense of duty.

Now five years later, I am deployed to Djibouti, Africa. Our mission here is to conduct operations and training to assist host nations to combat terrorism, in order to establish a secure environment and enable regional stability. I’ve had the opportunity to work with our U.S. Embassy staffs in this region and have visited the former embassy sites in Nairobi, Kenya and Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania, where terrorism reared its ugly head more than 8 years ago.

It is even more evident to me now why I continue to serve in the U.S. military. As the public affairs director for CJTF-HOA, it is our mission to educate the public and to effectively communicate what it is that we are doing here in the Horn of Africa.

From my perspective, it’s quite simple…if we can continue to build partnerships and offer a positive contribution to help the people in this part of the world help themselves, then we will continue to be successful.

Reflecting back on the tragic events of 9/11 five years ago today, it has truly been an honor to serve with CJTF-HOA – a team that has decisively stepped up to this daunting challenge.

Category: (Military) HOA and (Africa) Horn of Africa.

Fallen Paktya Leader set the example for service to country

KABUL, Afghanistan - In an effort to reverse the progress the Afghan people have experienced in Afghanistan, on Sept. 10, a Taliban extremist suicide bomber killed Abdul Hakim Taniwal, governor of Paktya Province, his nephew and his driver.

Gov. Taniwal’s legacy in his province will not be forgotten.

Forced into exile in the mid-1980s by the Taliban’s rule, Gov. Taniwal was a sociology professor in Melbourne, Australia. He left his family and a life of comfort to return to Afghanistan and take part in rebuilding his home country.

"Gov. Taniwal was a dedicated public servant," said Lt. Gen. Karl W. Eikenberry, commander, Combined Forces Command - Afghanistan. "His selfless service to the Afghan people should serve as a role model for others to emulate."

Gov. Taniwal, a close friend of President Karzai, was a professor at Kabul University when he was selected to be the governor of Khowst Province. Prior to his selection as the governor of Paktya Province, Taniwal served as the minister of Mines and Industry and Labor and Social Affairs.

Admired for his commitment to influence positive change in his province through honest and professional work, Gov. Taniwal had the qualities needed to fill senior posts throughout the country and set the example for other leaders to follow.

"His murder will only serve to resolve the Coalition forces to continue to relentlessly pursue those who threaten the Afghan people," said Eikenberry.

The attack comes at a time when NATO, Coalition and Afghan forces continue on the offensive to seek out extremist safe havens and re-establish security for the Afghan people.

Category: (Military) Press Release.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Status of al-Anbar Province

Statement on the Status of al-Anbar Province by Maj. Gen. Richard Zilmer.

FALLUJAH, Iraq – Recent media reports fail to accurately capture the entirety and complexity of the current situation in the Al Anbar Province of Iraq. The classified assessment, which has been referred to in these reports, was intended to focus on the causes of the insurgency. It was not intended to address the positive effects Coalition and Iraqi forces have achieved on the security environment over the past years.

That said, there is an active insurgency in Anbar. The enemy we face has no concern for the welfare of the Iraqi people, nor any peaceful vision for their future. We believe the Iraqi people want something more and are willing to fight and die for it.

We are making steady progress in the accomplishment of our primary mission to train and develop the Iraqi Security Forces to defeat the insurgency. This is due in large measure to the successful recruiting and training of thousands of Iraqi Police and improvements in the overall capabilities of the Iraqi Army.

This has resulted in the transfer of increasing responsibilities to the ISF for fighting the insurgency. Finally, the progress we have made has been due to the dedicated and heroic actions of both US and Iraqi forces.

Despite these consistent advances in the security environment, we have found making the same progress politically and economically, throughout all of Anbar, to be much more challenging. In areas where the presence of Iraqi Security Forces is combined with an effective local civil government, we have seen progress made. Not just in the area of security, but in economic development and the establishment of social order and public services. These are the conditions which must be set that will result in the support of the local people, and ultimately cause the defeat of this terrorist backed insurgency.

For lasting progress to take place, comparably effective advances must be made in the development of governmental and economic institutions at the local, provincial and national levels. Only then, will the people of Al Anbar be able to realize their goal of long-term security, prosperity and confidence in their government.


Category: (Military) Press Release.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

NGAUS Legislative: Congress Returns

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NGAUS Notes: Sept. 9, 2006

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Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Team Member of the Week

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Corporation Targets Group for Support

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Teens Nominated for Charitable Work Award

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NASCAR Fans in California Support Our Troops

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ASY: Freedom Walk

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Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Iraqi & US SF capture 30 terrorists, 38 suspects

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Monday, September 04, 2006

2-3 Receives Combat Patch

Written by Sgt. Dennis Gravelle, 138th MPAD
Posted on 08.30.2006 at 10:43am

Soldiers from 2nd Battalion, 3rd Infantry Regiment are awarded and authorized to wear the 3rd Infantry Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division combat patch. The Soldiers were awarded the combat patch at a ceremony held at Forward Operating Base Marez, Mosul, Iraq, Aug. 28. Photo by Sgt. Dennis Gravelle, 138th MPAD
ID: 28960
Photographer: Sgt. Dennis Gravelle, 138th MPAD
138th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment.

MOSUL, Iraq (August 28, 2006) –During a combat patch ceremony held at Forward Operating Base Marez, Mosul, Iraq, Soldiers from 2nd Battalion, 3rd Infantry Regiment received the 3rd Infantry Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Inf. Division combat patch.

The value of the patch is recognized as a means of building morale, camaraderie, and solidarity. Soldiers received the patch for their participation in combat operations during Operation Iraqi Freedom.

“Since WWI, the Indian Head patch of the 2nd Inf. Div. has marked an American warrior,” said Col. Steven Townsend, commander, 3rd SBCT, 2nd Inf. Div. “Since WWII, the Indian head patch on the right sleeve marked a combat veteran.”

The evolution of the insignia began in March 1918, during WWI when vehicle markings were requested for division vehicles to identify themselves from French traffic in the Verdun sector of the front. An Indian head, painted red, and a war bonnet, painted blue, were stenciled on all 2nd division vehicles.

Maj. Gen John Lejeune, USMC, commander of the unit until 1918 proposed an Indian head embodied on a white star.

The Indian head would then be copied from that of the head of a five dollar coin. Lejeune justified the insignia by stating that the design had been used in the division for some time and had already been painted on all the transportation in the division. In November 1918, the division was given approval to wear the Indian head patch.

Most of the insignia used by the U.S. Army is based on historic facts or on some attribute of the organization concerned. All symbols, whether animals, birds or inanimate objects must face the honorable side or appear in full face. This is a carry over from the Middle Ages, when a Knight defended with his sword in his right hand.

After WWII, wearing of a unit patch on the right shoulder was approved to denote service in combat with that unit.

“Today, and forever more you are combat veterans of the 2nd Inf. Div,” said Townsend. “Be proud of that.”

Category: DVIDSHub.

Route Clearence, Patrolling and IED Detection

CAMP LIBERTY, Iraq -- Col. Ahmed Khalifa, commander, engineers, 6th Iraqi Army Division, watches the progress of a Multi Agile Remote Control robot toward an improvised-explosive device here Friday during "Capstone" training conducted by Soldiers from Multi-National Division -- Baghdad's 5th Engineer Battalion, 16th Engineer Brigade. IA soldiers showed their prowess on route clearing, patrolling and IED detection and disposal during lanes training. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Kevin Lovel, 363rd MPAD)
ID: 29097
Photographer: Staff Sgt. Kevin Lovel
363rd Mobile Public Affairs Detachment

IA Combat Engineers Prove Prowess
Written by Staff Sgt. Kevin Lovel, 363rd MPAD
Posted on 09.01.2006 at 01:39pm

CAMP LIBERTY, Iraq – Engineer soldiers from the 6th Iraqi Army Division proved their prowess on the latest methods of route clearance, patrolling and improvised-explosive device detection Friday during “Capstone” training conducted here by Soldiers from Multi-National Division – Baghdad’s 5th Engineer Battalion, 16th Engineer Brigade.

The ability of IA engineers to fight terrorism and keep the roads safe for local residents is important for the future of the Iraq, said Sgt. 1st Class Richard Seville, assistant operations sergeant and combat engineer, 5th Eng. Bn., 16th Eng. Bde.

“They’re the future for their country. The more (IEDs) they find, the more it validates our training,” said Seville. “The lane training is important to tie everything in. It’s better for them to learn from their mistakes here, take the learning to heart and improve. They’re hard workers and they want to make a difference. I get on them just like my own troops. They’re learning and that’s the main thing.”

The U.S. engineers agreed that the future of Iraq depends on the ability of Iraqi Security Forces to become fully capable of stabilizing the country so the Iraqi government can stand on its own and work towards democracy.

“Every day that we do (training), you see them using more and more of what they have learned in class,” said Capt. Luis Gonzalez, combat engineer and explosive ordnance disposal advisor to the 6th IAD. “We’re getting these guys trained so that they can be effective in the greater Baghdad area,” said Gonzalez.

IA explosive ordnance disposal soldiers take part in the training as
well. When their counterpart IA combat engineers find an IED and secure the area, they are called to eliminate the threat, said Gonzalez. “We have EOD embedded in their engineer formation, just like in our Army,” he said.

Many of the IA soldiers appreciated the experience, knowledge, expertise and the camaraderie MND-B Soldiers shared with them.
“I see some special guys (MND-B Soldiers). They are disciplined, polite and they give us experience and knowledge that they have,” said Col. Ahmed Khalifa, commander, 6th IAD Engineers.
Khalifa said his soldiers enjoyed working with their MND-B counterparts.

“They love the training. They can’t wait until morning when they can train again,” said Khalifa.

Category: DVIDSHub.

A Common Bond

CAMP LIBERTY, Iraq - From Monmouth County, N.J., to Baghdad, Iraq, pictured from left to right, are Ray Hewitson from Neptune City, Sgt. 1st Class Michael Woody from Tinton Falls, Lt. Col. Ivan Shidlovsky from Colts Neck and Rocco Colabella from Manalapan. All four work for Multi-National Division- Baghdad's 4th Infantry Division. (U.S. Army photo by Spc. David Hodge, 4th ID PAO)
ID: 29099
Photographer: Spc. David Hodge, 4th Inf. Div. PAO
363rd Mobile Public Affairs Detachment.

MND-B Soldiers, DA Civilians Find Common Bond During Their Year Long Deployment
Written by Staff Sgt. Kevin Lovel, 363rd MPAD
Posted on 09.01.2006 at 02:34pm

CAMP LIBERTY, Iraq – Two Soldiers from Multi-National Division – Baghdad’s 4th Infantry Division, along with two government contractors they work with, found out during casual conversation during the deployment that they all grew up in the same county: Monmouth County, N.J.

Lt. Col. Ivan Shidlovsky, assistant chief of staff, intelligence, 4th Inf. Div., who hails from Colts Neck, N.J; Sgt. 1st Class Michael Woody, infantryman and information operations non-commissioned officer, 4th ID, from Tinton Falls, N.J.; Ray Hewiston, a civilian employee who serves as a shift leader, persistent surveillance and dissemination, MPRI Company, from Neptune City, N.J.; and Rocco Colabella, a civilian employee who works as a field engineer, detached tactical exploitation system, Northrup Grumman, from Manalapan, N.J., all work together in the 4th Inf. Div. headquarters building here.

“I was reading the Asbury Park Press newspaper and Sgt. 1st Class Woody and Ray saw me reading it. We just started talking and found out we were all from the same area,” said Shidlovsky.

All agree that finding others who are from their own community back home has made the deployment experience more enjoyable than it might have been otherwise.

“There’s a special bond between all the people from New Jersey. We find ourselves all talking about the restaurants and the places we’ve visited there,” said Woody.

“It makes life easier here because you can connect with a whole group of people (from the same county),” said Hewiston, who recently retired from the Army as a sergeant major after serving 26 years in the infantry. “It’s very rare to find that in the military. I’ve never experienced anything like it. Our families send care packages and make sure they send enough to share with the guys from New Jersey,” he said.

“Coming from the same area gives us things to talk about to take our minds off what is going on here,” added Colabella.

Some credited their growing up in Monmouth County as a contributing factor in their decision to join the military.

“There is a strong patriotic sentiment there,” said Shidlovsky. “You can’t enjoy the freedoms unless you (are willing) to fight for them. I’m a first generation Russian- (American). My father fought in World War II for the U.S., and I felt it was my duty to support the country which gave my family freedoms that they wouldn’t otherwise have had in Russia.”

“There’s also a strong respect for the military (in Monmouth County) because there are a lot of government contracting companies located there,” added Woody.

All four said they plan on staying in touch with each other after the deployment.

Category: DVIDSHub.

Jurn Well Complete

Written by Sgt. Dennis Gravelle, 138th MPAD
Posted on 08.28.2006 at 01:31pm

by Sgt. Dennis Gravelle
138th MPAD

JURN, Iraq -- Helping the Iraqi people rebuild an infrastructure devastated from years of neglect, is the job that Civil Affairs have in Iraq.

Restoring essential services and helping the Iraqi people get their basic needs without having to rely on the coalition is a main goal. Providing clean, accessible water is another step towards sanitary and stable living for the Iraqi people.

On Aug. 22, the Jurn, Iraq, village water well was opened so residents in the small village could have clean water to drink and help curb water related illnesses.

With the intense heat of summer in Iraq, clean drinking water is more important than ever. Several of these small villages in Iraq have an overwhelming number of non-functional wells.

It is important that Coalition Forces support the local economy, ensuring that essential services such as water are available for humanitarian purposes.

Money to complete this project came from the Commanders Emergency Relief Fund and it helps local villages in the Ninevah Province, northern Iraq rebuild after years of neglect.

“CERP is a sub category under a funding called Iraqi Reconstruction & Relief Effort,” said Lisa Lawson, project engineer, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, gulf region north. “This is what Congress authorized to help restore Iraq.” Lawson is from Tulsa, Okla.

The next phase of the Jurn well will be the addition of a reverse osmosis filter. One reverse osmosis well is currently in operation in the village of Bishmana. The well will improve the quality of the water to an even higher level. It is a long term solution to a problem that has plagued the area for years.

Reverse osmosis systems can often improve the quality of water. This water treatment method has been used extensively to convert brackish or seawater to drinking water, and to clean up wastewater.

Reverse osmosis treatment reduces the concentration of dissolved solids, including a variety of ions and metals and very fine suspended particles such as asbestos; that may be found in water. It is an effective method of reducing the concentration of total dissolved solids and many impurities found in water.

Category: DVIDSHub and Iraq.

Anaconda Takes Action During String of Surprise Attacks

Written by Sgt. Gary A. Witte, 210th MPAD
Posted on 09.01.2006 at 11:53am

LSA ANACONDA, Iraq – The injured were scattered behind the building, each covered in blood. One woman, her broken arm extended in front of her, cried out for help as the Air Force firefighters arrived.

The firefighters, some with bags of medical equipment, began quickly checking each of the four people lying in the sand behind the West Morale, Welfare, and Recreation Center. Then they spotted a fifth victim sprawled against a nearby chainlink fence.
As the first responders dealt with the dead and wounded, a vehicle exploded at the North Entry Control Point, maiming and killing more people.

There was a small arms attack against one of the towers and Security Forces and other units began screening traffic throughout the base. It was a busy afternoon for leaders here Aug. 24, as the mass casualty exercise piled complications on top of calamity.

Capt. Yancy W. Caruthers, assistant medical plans officer for Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 3rd Corps Support Command, oversaw the portion of the exercise at the West MWR. “This is as much for the leadership as the first responders, because the leaders need to know where the weaknesses are so they can fix them,” he said.

Caruthers, who is an emergency room nurse in his civilian job, spent more than two hours creating realistic-looking wounds – including burns and an amputation – for the “injured” personnel. He gave instructions on how to act and how medics should treat their injuries.

The idea was to give responders a feel for what it’s like to respond to a real emergency and get them to consider what they should do when the situation is as difficult as possible, he said. “I want to make them think under pressure,” Caruthers said. “You get chaos … It’s the medic’s job to manage that.”

Sgt 1st Class Don C. Hammons, acting first sergeant for 864th Adjutant General Company, has had previous experience being a casualty during one of these exercises. He said it helps everyone involved learn to deal with such situations.

“The Army’s mantra is train as you fight,” Hammons said. “So the more realistic we can make it, the more the Soldiers benefit. The more information they retain.”

Tech. Sgt. Chris D. Stafford, fire station captain, 332nd Expeditionary Civil Engineer Squadron, said afterwards that what he saw of the exercise was a success. “I thought the coordination between all the entities went really well,” he said, noting there were only a few minor communications difficulties. “This was a really good learning environment for all of us to come together.”

Sgt. Miguel A. Garibay, NCOIC at one of the traffic control points, said the exercise helps his unit, B Battery, 5th Battalion, 113th Field Artillery Regiment, to be more flexible given different missions on short notice. “It gets us out of the norm,” he said.

Col. Martin J. Christensen, the 3rd COSCOM surgeon, said the exercise stresses the need for quick action by Combat Lifesaver-trained personnel and the medics. The medical facility at Logistical Support Area Anaconda is “one of the best hospitals in Iraq,” he said. “The bottom line is to save lives,” Christensen said.

Category: (Military) DVIDSHub.