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Monday, January 17, 2005

The Big Red One in Iraq

Master Sergeant Mitchell Duvall, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Infantry Division, hands out books to children near Al-Alam, Iraq, on Jan. 10. (Photo by Capt. John Bleakley, HHC 1st Infantry Division)

LTG Moufti Aziz, left, and MG John R.S. Batiste, right, discuss the equipment the 1st Infantry Division donated to the Iraqi National Guard's 4th Division Jan. 2 at Forward Operating Base Danger in Tikrit, Iraq. (Photo by Sgt. W. Wayne Marlow, 1st Infantry Division Public Affairs Office)

Mariwan Noory (middle), an Iraqi Police officer, prepares to kick a soccer ball past Bravo Co. defenders in a soccer game Dec. 19 on Bull Base within Kirkuk, Iraq. Bravo Co. lost 2-1 to the Kirkuk Iraqi Police officers. (Photo by Sgt. Sean Kimmons, 25th ID (L) PAO)

USAREUR Commander Gen. B.B. Bell meets with SGT Trace R. McIver and Soldiers from the 1st Infantry Division's 2nd Battalion, 63rd Armor Regiment stationed at FOB Scunion in Baqubah, Iraq, Jan. 2. McIver is a native of Bowie, Texas. (Photo by Sgt. Kimberly Snow, 196th MPAD)

2nd Lt. John Herman, a platoon leader with Co. B, TF 1-21 Inf., passes out candy to Iraqi children while on a joint dismounted patrol with Iraqi Police officers Dec. 20 in Kirkuk, Iraq. (Photo by Sgt. Sean Kimmons, 25th ID (L) PAO)

Sgt. 1st Class Scott A. Davis, a motor sergeant with Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, DIVARTY (Division Artillery), 1st Infantry Division, conducts a preliminary inspection of a vehicle while the opertor, Staff Sgt. Jerry W. Matthews, a Soldier with 1st Battalion, 150th Armor Regiment, watches and waits for the results at the Camp Doha, Kuwait washrack on Dec. 24. Davis, a native of Newport News, Va. is a washrack officer in charge for Task Force Breakout. (Photo by Sgt. Roland G. Walters, 196th MPAD)

from the 1st Infantry Division website

From the USS Abraham Lincoln

Soldiers' Angels recently sent some goodies to our Heroes on the USS Abraham Lincoln, currently deployed to assist with tsunami relief efforts. We are thrilled that they took some time to reply to us...

I just wanted to thank you for the bag of candy it may be a little bag of candy but it means a lot to the guys that are deployed. I was over in Spain when the war was on and we didn't get anything like this. All we saw on the news was that the country was protesting the war and we didn't know what was going on back in the states.. It means a lot to us to know that people appreciate what we do for our country. And also they understand that we are just out here doing a job that we are told to do.... So THANK YOU....And if you could tell anyone that helped you that I said thank you...
-- AD2 S.

I just wanted to say thank you for the goodie bags that you sent us out here on the Lincoln. They were much appreciated. Let everyone know that was involved that their hard work was recongnized. Thanks again.
-- AD3 L.

Hi! Wanted to say thank you for sending the goodies out to the USS LINCOLN. It always means a lot when we're reminded that people back home we've never met are thinking about us. Thank you and God bless.

Dear Mrs. M-----,
Thank you very much for taking time out of your day to remember us out here. sometimes you forget about your family and only concentrate on yourself. You can easily loose sight of things that are important. But because of people like you, letting us know that we aren't forgotten, I can stay strong. so thank you

Sincerely, J. L.

They also sent a picture along:

Medevac Helicopter Crews in Iraq Stand Ready

Knight Ridder Newspapers

TAJI ARMY AIRFIELD, Iraq - Capt. Joel Neuenschwander was just powering down his Black Hawk helicopter after a routine transport flight when the call came, the one he often waits for hours each shift to hear.
"Medevac, medevac, medevac." The words are spoken sharply through the crackle of a walkie-talkie that each crewmember carries around their headquarters on this sprawling base north of Baghdad.Neuenschwander began running to the radio room, while the three other crewmembers sprinted back out to the aircraft. It's his job to get the exact location, the seriousness of the injuries, how dangerous the area might be.
The call was marked "urgent." A U.S. soldier had been wounded by a roadside bomb about 15 miles north of Baghdad.
The pilot in charge, Capt. Scott Brown, prepared the helicopter for flight. The crew chief, Sgt. Douglas Study, quickly hooked up a headset and microphone for a reporter flying along. The medic, Staff Sgt. Thomas Harris, re-checked his equipment.
Three minutes after the request came in, the Black Hawk - call sign Eagle Dust-Off 4-1, a stuffed Tasmanian Devil wedged in its front windshield - soared forward and upward into the sky.
More than 10,000 U.S. soldiers have been wounded in the Iraq war. More than 90 percent of those who have been hurt in battle survived, according to a Harvard University study - up from 76 percent in Vietnam and 30 percent in World War II. That is due in no small measure to the men and women who make up the medical evacuation helicopter units.
They aim to fly to the scene, pick up the wounded and rush them to a combat support hospital within 30 minutes. Each Black Hawk can carry as many as six stretchers and a seventh patient in a seat.
They're among the only helicopter crews in Iraq whose job is to land in potentially hostile areas outside the fortified bases that most U.S. soldiers never leave. They're armed only with M-4 rifles and handguns.
One medevac helicopter, emblazoned with bright red hospital crosses, crashed while evading ground fire in January, killing all nine soldiers aboard. Countless others have been shot at.
Knight Ridder spent four days recently with the 50th Medical Company, which covers greater Baghdad from Taji base. The 50th is part of the 101st Airborne Division, which was involved in the Iraq invasion and later occupied the northern town of Mosul. Most members of the company are on their second Iraq tour. They expect that it won't be their last.
Neuenschwander, 29, of Bandera, Texas, has missed most of the short life of his 19-month-old daughter.
Here, in a small building near the helicopter pad, two crews of four idle away their days and nights watching DVDs, surfing the Internet and doing paperwork while they wait for a call that will send them flying low and fast over cities and countryside. They work 12-hour shifts, alternating days and nights, with one day off every 10 days.
The "first-up" crew takes the urgent missions, and the "second-up" crew takes what are called "priority" calls, which could be anything from transporting blood to picking up a soldier with food poisoning. When one crew goes to lunch, the other takes whatever call comes in.
Almost every day or night, and typically more than once, a call comes.
In a recent week, Neuenschwander's crew flew more than a dozen missions. Although they don't usually retrieve dead bodies, they helped pick up the seven National Guard soldiers killed Jan. 7 when their Bradley hit a giant bomb in the road, to spare their comrades the gruesome work, said the company commander, Maj. William G. Howard of Shinglehouse, Pa.
The next morning they took an American soldier whose appendix may have burst to the hospital. Minutes after returning from that flight, they responded to the scene of an accident in which a car full of Iraqi civilians collided with a Bradley fighting vehicle, badly injuring five Iraqis.
The following night, they flew in total darkness to transport a badly burned Iraqi prisoner from a base to the hospital in Abu Ghraib prison. The medevac crew was told he had tried to blow up a tank."One day we fly wounded Americans, and the next day we fly the guys who try to kill them," said Harris. "And we give them all the same medical care."
Like any emergency responders, they have become inured to the carnage. But not totally."The hardest thing is when somebody dies, and you know there's a family somewhere who doesn't know,' said Study, a soft-spoken 23-year-old from Worland, Wyo.
It took Eagle Dust-Off 4-1 seven minutes to reach the injured American. Along the way, Neuenschwander and Brown, a 29-year-old from Warwick, R.I., made note of power lines, birds and kites. They talked to military air traffic controllers on the radio to learn what other helicopters were flying in the area.
The Black Hawk landed on the highway, where soldiers had already stopped traffic by parking their Humvees across the road. Study climbed out with his rifle to "pull security," as the army calls it, his eyes scanning the horizon.
Harris ran to where the soldier, Lt. William Rebrook of the 1st Cavalry Division, was lying next to his Bradley. The field medic had tied a tourniquet on his right arm to staunch bleeding from a severe shrapnel wound. He had been standing in a Bradley turret when the bomb exploded. He also suffered what looked like a minor head injury.
Harris helped several soldiers put 24-year-old Rebrook on a stretcher and carry him toward the Black Hawk, whose rotors never stopped whirring. As they neared the door, someone lost their footing and dumped Rebrook on the hard pavement. That happens a lot, Harris said later, because soldiers move too fast trying to get their buddies to the aircraft.
Rebrook, of Charleston, W.Va., was strapped into the litter, and the helicopter took off after just three minutes on the ground. He was conscious but pale and shivering, showing signs of shock.
Harris put an oxygen mask over his face and a blanket over his body. Rebrook's desert camouflage top was soaked with blood.
It took eight minutes to fly back to Baghdad, over trash dumps and palaces, to the site of the 86th Combat Support Hospital. Upon landing, hospital medics drove a small-wheeled vehicle to pick up Rebrook and take him into the trauma center. Harris hopped on.
Inside the hospital, medics and nurses lifted their patient into a gurney."God, that hurts so bad," he moaned.
"Let's get him some morphine," said an army doctor, Lt. Col. William Smith.
"I already had one," Rebrook said."
Well, we're gonna get you some more."
A nurse took the hand of his injured arm: Can you squeeze my hand? "No," he said.
Within minutes, he would go in for a cat scan and then up to surgery, doctors said.
News reports would later quote his father saying that doctors put pins in his multiple fractures and put him on a plane to a hospital in Germany.
But Harris couldn't linger. The helicopter was waiting on the pad. It had to hurry back and be ready for the next call.
(Dilanian reports for the Philadelphia Inquirer)

Wearing his new spurs, Spc. Thaddeus Dawkins of B Company, 101st Military Intelligence Battalion, 1st Infantry Division, salutes Lt. Col. Christopher Ballard, commander of 312th Military Intelligence Battalion, 1st Cavalry Division. Dawkins, and members of his unit were awarded gold combat spurs and were named “Honorary Cavalry Troopers” Jan. 11 for serving a combat tour under the First Team’s 5th Brigade Combat Team in Baghdad. (U.S. Army photo by Spc. Al Barrus, 122nd Mobile Public Affairs Detachment)

from the 1st Cavalry Division website

Task Force Baghdad Soldiers Round Up Insurgents

Troops from the 1st Cavalry Division’s Task Force Baghdad spent the weekend rounding up suspected insurgents.

Task Force Baghdad soldiers arrested six suspected insurgents early Saturday in a series of operations in Baghdad.

Seven more were detained on Sunday.

Troops from 2nd Brigade Combat Team (Commandos), 10th Mountain Division, including the 303rd Iraqi National Guard and Fort Hood based 91st Engineer Battalion carried out a series of eight operations early Saturday morning targeting suspected insurgent strongholds.

Six suspects were detained for questioning, among them a former Iraqi General suspected of running a terrorist safe house and planning attacks on coalition troops and Iraqi government officials.Tips from Iraqis helped the troops locate the suspects.

“Many of these tips were passed by the Iraqi citizens through the ‘tips hotline’ we have set up,” said Maj. Web Wright, spokesman for the brigade. “This is a fantastic way for Iraqis who want to put an end to the insurgents’ reign of terror, to give us the information we need to hunt down these murderers and criminals.”

Then on Sunday, soldiers from 2nd Brigade Combat Team (Commandos), 10th Mountain Division arrested seven more suspected insurgents after stopping a van that matched the description of a vehicle used by insurgents.

The commandos also carried out six raids on various insurgent targets throughout Baghdad and detained three other individuals for questioning, the military said.

from KWTX

In Today's News, Monday, January 17, 2005 Associated Press
Israel holds off on action in Gaza Strip
Israel decided to hold off on a major military offensive in the Gaza Strip to give new Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas more time to act against militants, a senior government official said Monday, after a top PLO body urged armed groups to halt attacks on Israel.

Insurgents kill 16 in attacks in Iraq
Gunmen killed eight Iraqi National Guard soldiers at a checkpoint in central Iraq on Monday, and eight people died in a suicide car bombing at a police station north of Baghdad, as insurgents struck at security forces on the day exiles began to register for Iraq's national elections.

Poll: Americans hopeful on 2nd Bush term
A majority of Americans say they feel hopeful about President Bush's second term and have a generally positive view of him personally, but they also express continued doubts about Iraq.

Official: Sri Lanka in reconstruction mode
U.S. Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz said Monday that Sri Lanka is moving swiftly from relief to reconstruction three weeks after the devastating tsunami and help from U.S. military engineers won't be needed much longer.

Ex-Chinese Communist leader Zhao dies
Zhao Ziyang, who was ousted as China's Communist Party leader after sympathizing with the 1989 Tiananmen Square pro-democracy protests and became a symbol of the era's shattered hopes, died Monday after 15 years under house arrest. He was 85.

Weather information provided by HamWeather
Iraq, Baghdad

The U.S. News: Iraq News
Iraqi Expatriates Eager to Vote in Election
By GILLIAN FLACCUS Associated Press Writer LOS ANGELES (AP) - For most Americans, registering to vote can be a tedious, humdrum process. For most Iraqis in this country, it's a brand new world. Tho... [in The Guardian] The US News: Iraq News

Two Iraqi Officials Killed in Kut Region
Two Iraqi government auditors were shot to death after armed gunmen stopped their car in an area southeast of Baghdad that has seen a recent flare-up in violence.The two Iraqis, who worked in the prov... [in Gadsden Times] The US News: Iraq News

Italy to Extend Iraq, Afghan Missions Through End of June .....
ROME: Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi's government today extended its foreign missions, including those in Iraq and Afghanistan, through the end of June. [in Pak Tribune] The US News: Iraq News

Iraqi Confesses to Killing German Designer
A 25-year-old Iraqi man has confessed to strangling German fashion designer Rudolph Moshammer, allegedly after the designer refused to pay for sex, police said Sunday. [in Yahoo] The US News: Iraq News

Witnesses May Say Saddam Didn't Gas Kurds
web sites )'s legal team claimed Sunday it has witnesses willing to testify that the fallen dictator's regime was not responsible for gassing thousands of Kurds in the northern Iraqi town of Halabja i... [in Yahoo] The US News: Iraq News

Iraqi Translators Face Tough Dilemma
"She was young," her elderly mother said recently, her voice trembling. Remembering the way that her 24-year-old daughter's blood stained the sheet and pillow and even the walls, the mother, Sabihah A... [in Yahoo] The US News: Iraq News

Iraqi Exiles in Australia Begin Registering to Vote in Their Homeland's Election
SYDNEY, Australia (AP) - Exiled Iraqis began registering to vote Monday in their homeland's first independent election in nearly 50 years, with dozens lining up at polling stations in Australia - the ... [in Tampa Bay Online] The US News: Iraq News

Iraq to Resume Oil Exports in 10 Days
Almost a month after saboteurs shut down a northern Iraqi oil pipeline, the government said Sunday it should resume pumping crude from northern fields to an export terminal in southeastern Turkey by m... [in Yahoo] The US News: Iraq News

U.S. Not Rushing to Leave Iraq
AP Photo MAC104 By NEDRA PICKLER Associated Press Writer WASHINGTON (AP) - President Bush says the U.S. military will pull out of Iraq ``as quickly as possible,'' but he is not endorsing Secretary ... [in The Guardian] The US News: Iraq News

Seattle Post-Intelligencer: War on Iraq
Forces told to prevent Israel attacks
The Palestinian Cabinet on Monday asked the security forces to prevent attacks against Israel and ordered an investigation into a shooting at a Gaza crossing that killed six Israeli civilians last week, ministers said. Seattle Post-Intelligencer: War on Iraq

Exiled Iraqis start registering to vote
Exiled Iraqis began registering to vote Monday in their homeland's first independent election in nearly 50 years, with dozens arriving at polling stations from Australia to Britain - and many expressing confusion at the process. Seattle Post-Intelligencer: War on Iraq

Ananova: War In Iraq
Troops face abuse court martial
Shocking images of British soldiers allegedly abusing Iraqi prisoners are to be revealed in a courtroom in Germany. Ananova: War In Iraq

Yahoo! News: War with Iraq
Current Quotations "What we fear now most is terrorists wearing police uniforms. The uniforms and body armor used by the police are available on the market for anyone to buy." — Shiite politician Salama Khafaji, who survived an ambush in central Baghdad by gunmen wearing police uniforms. She's canceled campaigning in southern Iraq after her staff discovered terrorist checkpoints on major routes. Yahoo! News: War with Iraq

Violence in Iraq as exiles register...Israel hold off...King Day Iraq & Terror

16 Iraqis killed in pre-election attacks
BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) - Gunmen killed eight Iraqi National Guard soldiers at a checkpoint in central Iraq on Monday, and eight people died in a suicide car bombing at a police station north of Baghdad, as insurgents struck at Iraqi security forces ahead of national elections. Fresno Bee: Iraq

From Fox News:
Violence Flares in Iraq
Terrorists carry out strikes that kill 16 in effort to derail impending elections

Indonesia Still in Tsunami Disarray; U.S. Lauds Sri Lanka
Ukraine Court Mulls Appeal
Female Shiite Candidate Survives Ambush
Bush: No Troops Out of Iraq Yet
U.S. Launches New Mosul Offensive
Iraqi Red Cross Driver Killed
Shiites Won't Seek Islamic State

From the Department of Defense:
More Insurgents Captured, Citizens Help
WASHINGTON, Jan. 16, 2005 — With Iraq's Jan. 30 national assembly election drawing closer, coalition and Iraqi forces continue rounding up insurgents. In northern Iraq early today, three operations resulted in the detention of 36 suspected insurgents. Story

Reconstruction in Iraq Moves Forward
Supply Operation Delivers Goodwill

Marine Combat Engineers Fortify U.S. Camp
'Wolfhounds' Ensure Stability, Security

Embassy Employee Risks All for a New Iraq
BAGHDAD, Iraq, Jan. 16, 2005 — A hero doesn't necessarily have to perform brave acts on a battlefield. Sometimes, the mere act of showing up for work is heroic. At his job, Ali serves as a bridge between Iraq and America. Story

Attack Again From Mosul Mosque
Iraq Daily Update
Iraq Reconstruction
Weekly Progress Report (pdf)

Fact Sheet: Iraqi Elections

Afghanistan Daily UpdateMaps

Security Conference Ends
Ridge: U.S.-European Effort Vital
Bush Visits Pentagon for Updates
Waging and Winning the War on Terror
Terrorism Timeline
Terrorism Knowledge Base

National Guard, Reserve Update

LANDING — U.S. Navy Lt. Cmdr. Roger Hartman, officer in charge of the “Grandmasters” of Helicopter Antisubmarine Squadron Light 46, Detachment 4, directs an SH-60B Seahawk in for landing aboard the guided missile cruiser USS Monterey, in the Arabian Sea, Jan. 10, 2005. The Monterey and the helicopter squadron are currently on a regularly scheduled deployment in support of the Global War on Terrorism. U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Richard J. Brunson.