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Monday, May 21, 2007

Air, ground units continue search for missing Soldiers

21 May 2007
U.S. Army story by Spc. Nathan Hoskins
1st Cav. Div. Public Affairs Multi-National Division-Baghdad PAO

BAGHDAD - Soldiers continue 24 hour full spectrum air and ground operations dedicated to the search and rescue of three missing Soldiers, today.

Since May 12, pilots and Soldiers from 3rd “Spearhead” Battalion, 227th Aviation Regiment, 1st Air Cavalry Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division, – a UH-60 Black Hawk battalion – have been conducting air assaults and air movements of Soldiers and cargo around the clock supporting the search for the missing Soldiers, said Maj. Gail Atkins, operations officer for 3-227th.

Spearhead also assisted in an information campaign by dropping leaflets onto the battlefield in an effort to recover information about the missing Soldiers’ whereabouts from the locals, said Atkins.

“Both the air to ground integration and also the air to air integration has worked well and I hope it has provided the support that they’ve needed,” she said.

Along with 3-227th, the 4th “Guns” Battalion, 227th Aviation Regiment, an AH-64D Apache attack helicopter battalion, is providing support to the recovery effort, as well.

“Ultimately, we support the ground guys. If they need our support, that’s our top priority,” said Chief Warrant Officer 2 Terry Eldrige, an Apache and maintenance test pilot from Company B, 1st Battalion, 227th Aviation Regiment.

Since their first response to the attack May 12, 4-227th has kept two teams of Apaches in the air to support the mission 24 hours a day, said Capt. David Roman, battle captain and Apache pilot for 4-227th.

Because the Soldiers searching on the ground are stretched throughout a large area, not only do they need supplies taken to them, but they need help relaying information to their headquarters, said Roman.

“One of the best ways we’ve been combat enablers for them is through reconnaissance and radio retransmissions – being able to talk to them and enable their communications,” he said.

Both air and ground Soldiers are committed to finding their comrades at all costs.

“Coalition forces are currently using every means at our disposal to find the missing Soldiers, and we will continue these efforts until all are accounted for,” said Maj. Gen. William B. Caldwell IV, Multi-National Force-Iraq spokesperson.

Photo: Spc. Theron Williams keeps an eye out for terrorists during a spring rainstorm May 16 while searching for three Soldiers who went missing after a May 12 attack. Williams, a rifleman with Company B, 4th Battalion, 31st Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry) out of Fort Drum, N.Y., was one of over 4,000 Soldiers searching for the missing comrades. U.S. Air Force photo.

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