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Tuesday, February 01, 2005

One Step at a Time

Schoolchildren greet U.S. Army Maj. Brian P. Stevens (right) of the 56th Brigade Combat Team, Texas Army National Guard, and Capt. Adil B. Elnour of the 197th Field Artillery Brigade, New Hampshire National Guard, during their visit to the newly completed schoolhouse in Abu Tabor, Iraq.U.S. Army photo by Master Sgt. Lek Mateo

A newly completed schoolhouse funded by the Iraqi government is ready for the children of Abu Tabor, Iraq. U.S. Army photo by Master Sgt. Lek Mateo

Curious children surround U.S. Army Spc. Brandon Laird, assigned to the 1st Battalion, 133rd Field Artillery Regiment, 56th Brigade Combat Team, 36th Infantry Division, Texas Army National Guard, during a visit to their village in Baatah, Iraq. U.S. Army photo by Master Sgt. Lek Mateo

A U.S. soldier of the 197th Field Artillery Brigade, New Hampshire National Guard, receives a hug by a little Iraqi girl she befriended during her tour in Iraq. U.S. Army photo by Master Sgt. Lek Mateo

A newly completed schoolhouse funded by the Iraqi government is ready for the children of Al Hasna, Iraq. U.S. Army photo by Master Sgt. Lek Mateo

An old mud and straw schoolhouse will be replaced by a newly constructed schoolhouse funded by the Iraqi government for the children of Zebin, Iraq. U.S. Army photo by Master Sgt. Lek Mateo

A little girl heads back to her village with her father after receiving a brand new pair of shoes from U.S. soldiers of the 197th Field Artillery Brigade, New Hampshire National Guard. U.S. Army photo by Master Sgt. Lek Mateo

Iraqi children wait their turn to receive a pair of new shoes being distributed by U.S. soldiers of the 197th Field Artillery Brigade, New Hampshire National Guard. U.S. Army photo by Master Sgt. Lek Mateo

Iraqi construction workers mortar bricks into place for a wall of a schoolhouse that will be built to educate Iraqi children. U.S. Army photo by Master Sgt. Lek Mateo

A smile beams across the face of an Iraqi girl after receiving a gift from U.S. soldiers of the 197th Field Artillery Brigade, New Hampshire National Guard, during a visit to her village. U.S. Army photo by Master Sgt. Lek Mateo

A little Iraqi girl holds several holiday ornaments given to her as a gift from U.S. soldiers of the 197th Field Artillery Brigade, New Hampshire National Guard during a visit to her village. U.S. Army photo by Master Sgt. Lek Mateo



You may have noticed a new link over there on the right...JAG-ged Edge.

It's a different perspective on deployment, with a lot of photos. Andrew Efaw is stationed in Kuwait, with the Trial Defense Services (deployed), and gives you a sense of what it's like to be there, as well as what it's like to be involved in the military's trial system. A definite must see!

JAG-ged Edge
U.S. military: No soldier missing in Iraq
02/01/05 03:44 PM, EST
The U.S. military said Tuesday that no American soldiers have been reported missing in Iraq after a Web statement claimed that an American soldier had been taken hostage.

This is an excerpt of an email received from a Soldier who was an eyewitness to the missile attack on the Green Zone in Baghdad, at the Embassy. Be advised, some of the material contained here is unsettling and graphic, and not for the faint of heart. In some cases, I have removed identifying information to protect the identity of our heroes in the field, and so as not to identify casualties described here. It is posted here not for shock value, but as an example of what our heroes risk to protect us, and of the bravery they continue to display at every turn. It is also posted as an example of the reason that terrorism must be dealt with.

Hi Everyone,
I am sure by now you have heard about the Embassy (Palace) attack last night on the news...I am still pretty shaken up, but I am okay.

Last night after dinner in the palace I decided to use the DSN phones in the palace to call home. I had just gotten off the phone. I was helping someone use the DSN phone when I heard the missile hit the palace. It was very loud. I immediately put on my helmet and locked and loaded my weapons. Everyone just kinda stood around and didn't know what to do. I went out in the hallway to see if any of my folks were still at the table that we were eating ate. No one was there. I announced that I was a nurse and if anyone needed my help. People said yes and took me to the scene. It was just next store to where I was when I was on the phone. Alarms were going off and the smoke was awful. I was trying to cover my nose and mouth with my hand. At the scene there was a woman on her abdomen with both legs blown off, clothes blown off, her buttocks were exposed. I asked the medic if she was alive. He told me that she was breathing and had a heart rate. They had already put tourniquets on her stumps to stop bleeding. She didn't look alive to me. I told the medic to check for a pulse again. He checked and there wasn't one. She was a civilian. The medic stayed with her while he waited for a body bag. I moved on looking for more casualties. There was debris everywhere. Everyone kept telling me that the various areas were clear, so I went up the second floor to look for casualties. I yelled down the hallways asking if the areas were all clear. They kept saying yes, so I went back down stairs. I went back to the original scene. There were a lot of people standing around. I told everyone to stay out unless they were medical because the smoke was real bad. Someone yelled at me saying that they found another body. He, male ---------- already pronounced dead. I assisted with placing him in a body bag. It was awful.... When we laid him on top of the body bag his right side of his head was opened with brain matter all over the place. We zipped up the bag and carried him to a holding area. He was so heavy, I didn't think I was going to be able to make it to the holding area, but I made it. People were asking me for the names of the KIAs (Killed in Action). I walked over to the Medical Clinic in the palace. There was a male Army officer with blood on his face, hands, and clothing. I introduced myself and asked him if he was okay. I stayed with him until he was transported via ambulance to the hospital. I washed all the blood off of him. I cut his brown T-shirt off. It was destroyed anyway. I redressed his head wound. It was still bleeding so I had him apply pressure. He had an abrasion on his forehead. I cleaned it up and put a dressing on it. He was very freaked out. I stayed with him to help calm him down. An IV was inserted in him to give him fluid because of his blood loss. He was also given antibiotics. I was going to go to the hospital with him because I felt bad that he was all alone. I didn't because I was worried that I wasn't going to get back to the palace.

I walked back to the dining facility. I was alone and scared. I didn't want to walk back to my trailer by myself. In came walking 3 personnel from my office. They had just come from the hospital. They went there to take care of some business. They didn't really know what had happened. I was happy to see them and they were happy to see me. I wasn't accounted for. They were worried about me because they knew that I was on the south end of the palace making a call when the missile hit. The missile hit on the south end. I then ran into my room-mate and C------'s friend, M------. They saw that I was very shaken up. They got me tea and sat down with me. My roommate then walked me over to her office so I could call home. I wanted to call D----- to let him know that I was okay, because I knew that he would see the attack on the news and would be worried. We talked to the NATO guys for a while. They were worried about me too. We finally walked back to our trailer. I slept okay. I got up around 0530. I went and did some laundry and then I worked out at the gym. When I got to the Health Affairs Office I went to the hospital to check on the male officer that suffered the head wound. I wanted to make sure that he was okay. He was fine. He had several staples put in the back of his head where his injury was. His head was really hurting him. His hearing still wasn't back to normal, but he was very happy to be alive. A general was visiting him and other casualties. He thanked me for helping last night. When I got back to the Health Affairs Office I was told that General ------- wanted to see me. I went to his office. He wanted to make sure that I was okay. He already knew that I was already involved in the bombing incident. He thanked me for being a soldier and for using my nursing skills. He introduced me to Psych officer. He wanted me to meet him in case I need to talk to him in a couple of days. I have his card and I will see him if I need to.

Col A----- also spoke to me. She told me that I am a true soldier, because the first thing I did was put on my helmet and locked and loaded my weapon. She also encouraged me to speak to a psych person. Her goal is for all of us to return home alive and mentally intact.

I am sorry if this email frightens you...I have to express myself, I can't hold it all in or I will go crazy. Please continue to pray for me. I want to come home safely...

A Hero Heals - Joey's Update, 2/1/05

I talked with Joey today at noon by phone and he said that he went to the emergency room this weekend. The doctors found a kidney stone that had traveled to his bladder and that he passed it this weekend. Maybe that was part of why he felt so bad last week. I still don't know when his hand surgery will be scheduled but as soon as I know I will let you know too. Please keep praying for his left leg as it is very painful and not much range of motion. The picture below was taken 1-26-05 while Joey was being interviewed by TIME magazine. The TIME photographer is supposed to come this week so I'll let you know when it will be published. Thanks again for your love and support.


Gail, Joey and Jaime

As always, please keep Joey and his family in your thoughts and prayers.

In Today's News - Tuesday, February 1, 2005 Associated Press
Iraq begins final tally of historic vote
Iraq reopened its borders Tuesday and flights again took off from Baghdad International Airport as authorities eased security restrictions imposed to protect last weekend's elections. Election staff began the final vote tally in an election center in the capital.

Nepal's king dismisses government
King Gyanendra dismissed Nepal's government on Tuesday and declared a state of emergency, taking control of the Himalayan kingdom for the second time in three years.

U.N. clears Sudan of genocide in Darfur
Sudan's government and the Janjaweed militia are not guilty of genocide but did commit mass killings, torture, rape and other atrocities in the Darfur region that merit the trial of suspects in the International Criminal Court, a U.N.-appointed panel said in a new report.

Israel to slow planned West Bank pullout
Israel is going to slow its planned pullout from five West Bank towns after a day of violence strained an informal cease-fire, and will stop the process altogether if Palestinians don't halt all attacks on Israeli targets, Israeli security officials said Tuesday.

Pentagon would raise military death pay
President Bush will propose that families of U.S. troops killed in Iraq, Afghanistan and war zones of the future receive an extra $250,000 in government payments.

Ananova: War In Iraq
10 feared dead in Iraq plane crash
Ten members of the armed forces were missing believed dead in the biggest single loss of life to hit the UK since the military action in Iraq began. Ananova: War In Iraq

Election blow to rebels - Straw
The success of the elections in Iraq has dealt a "real blow" to the insurgents fighting the American-led coalition, said Foreign Secretary Jack Straw. Ananova: War In Iraq

Ban Sinn Fein, Blair told
Tony Blair faces new demands to ban Sinn Fein from any future power-sharing administration in Belfast after the Northern Bank heist. Ananova: War In Iraq

Hillary Clinton collapses
Hillary Rodham Clinton collapsed as she delivered a speech in Buffalo, New York. Ananova: War In Iraq

Iraq prison riot...Bigger death benefit...California quarter rush Iraq & Terror

Woman who lost father in Iraq loses husband, too Iraq & Terror

Iraq Marine deaths...Jackson trial...Phone service celebration Iraq & Terror

Electronic Iraq
Nearly 94 percent of registered Iraqi expat voters cast absentee ballots in election, agency says
Nearly 94 percent of registered Iraqi voters living abroad cast absentee ballots in Iraq's election, international organizers said Monday. San Diego Union-Tribune: In Iraq

The US News: Iraq News
Tech Stocks Finish Higher on Iraq Election, Economic Data
The Wall Street Journal Online NEW YORK A successful election in Iraq and good news on personal income sent technology stocks higher Monday after a disappointing month, while a confirmed merger be... [in Morning Star] The US News: Iraq News

Arab Media Call Iraq Election Day 'Historic'
Editor's Note: Among Arab media, even the most ardent critics of U.S. occupation of Iraq saw the Iraqi elections as groundbreaking. SAN FRANCISCO--Arab newspapers of all political stripes agreed th... [in Pacific News Service] The US News: Iraq News

US, Iraqi Officials Praise Iraqi Forces' Work During Election
By Al Pessin. US and Iraqi officials are praising the performance of the Iraqi security services during Sunday's election. They say [in Voice of America] The US News: Iraq News

In election year in Mideast, Iraqi election may affect other Arabs
Hamadeh said the message of the election is that if Iraq could carry out "an all-weather democratic process" there is no excuse for other countries not to reform. Many are feeling the pre... [in San Diego Union-Tribune] The US News: Iraq News

Iraq Insurgents' Failure Raises Questions
Nevertheless, the insurgents' failure to launch a catastrophic attack on election day may be a sign their power "has been more localized than thought previously," said Paul Sullivan, an Iraq... [in Herald Sun] The US News: Iraq News

Lorraine Ali: Why I voted in Iraq's election
As the daughter of an Iraqi, NEWSWEEK's Lorraine Ali was able to vote in Sunday's election. Why she did, and why she hopes her relatives inside Iraq did not [in MSNBC] The US News: Iraq News

Allawi Calls for Unity After Iraqi Vote
Prime Minister Ayad Allawi urged Iraqis Monday to unite behind democracy in the wake of the country's historic elections, but al-Qaida's arm in Iraq vowed to press ahead with its "holy war" despite it... [in Gadsden Times] The US News: Iraq News

Europe to step up Iraq security effort
BERLIN European Union governments, which were divided over the U.S.-led war against Iraq, pulled together Monday and agreed to step up efforts to improve security after Iraqis held their first democra... [in International Herald Tribune] The US News: Iraq News

Leaders Praise Iraq Voting, Urge Caution
web sites ) also said it was prepared to send more aid to bolster Iraq's move to democracy. "These elections mark an important step in the political reconstruction of Iraq. The strategy of terrorist... [in Yahoo] The US News: Iraq News

Bush Promises Continued Aid to Iraq
AP Photo WHLJ107 By NEDRA PICKLER Associated Press Writer WASHINGTON (AP) - The White House on Monday commended Iraqi security forces for protecting voters during Sunday's election but said those f... [in Guardian] The US News: Iraq News

Yahoo! News: War with Iraq
Woman Who Lost Father in Iraq Loses Spouse
A woman whose father died in Iraq last year suffered another tragedy when her husband was killed in a helicopter crash in Baghdad last week. Yahoo! News: War with Iraq

US media sees Iraqi vote as first step toward democracy
Echoing remarks by President George W. Bush, US media hailed Iraqi elections as the country's first step toward democracy, but cautioned that the event was not likely to lead to a quick withdrawal of US troops. Yahoo! News: War with Iraq

CENTCOM: News Release

From Fox News
Iraqi Leader Backs U.S. Troops
Terrorists Claim Four Iraqi Hostages
Concerns Over Low Sunni Turnout
Iraqi Vote Counting Begins
GIs May Get Higher Death Benefit
U.S. Guards Kill 4 in Iraq Prison Riot
Iraqi Expat Turnout About 23 Percent
World Leaders Praise Iraqi Vote
Crash Biggest U.K. Loss of War
Millions Cast Ballots Despite Violence
Minister: Troops Out in 18 Months

Bush Praises Iraqi Election
Will Iraqi Insurgents Continue?

Photo Essays
The Road to Democracy

From the Department of Defense
Iraq Begins Next Phase After Election
BAGHDAD, Iraq, Jan. 31, 2005 — By any measure, the Jan. 30 Iraqi elections for a national assembly were a success. Members of the Independent Electoral Commission for Iraq said the elections exceeded their expectations. Story

Bush Praises Iraqis for Successful Election
Iraqis Turn Overwhelmingly to Democracy
Votes Prove Stronger Than Bullets in Elections

Riot Leaves 4 Detainees Dead, 6 Injured
BAGHDAD, Iraq, Jan. 31, 2005 — A riot at the Camp Bucca Theater Internment Facility, which took place shortly after noon today, left four detainees dead and six injured, according to Multinational Force-Iraq officials. Story

Humanitarian Work Big Part of Wolfhound Fury
HEYCHEL AREA, Iraq, Jan. 31, 2005 — As Task Force 1-27 Infantry soldiers hunted down suspected terrorists during Operation Wolfhound Fury II, the mission also had a whole different side -- providing humanitarian and reconstruction assistance to the Iraqi people in this remote area. Story

Soldiers Conduct Operation Keystone Sweep
BAYJI, Iraq, Jan. 31, 2005 — In the predawn hours of a chilly January morning, three units from the 1st Infantry Division and a Pennsylvania National Guard battalion prepared to do a sweep of As Siniyah, home to anti-Iraqi forces who are either actively involved in the insurgency or fund it. Story

Rebuilding Effort Targets Energy Needs
TALLIL, Iraq, Jan. 31, 2005 - The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, in conjunction with the Program and Contracting Office, is rebuilding various gas-oil separation plants in the South Rumulia and West Quarna oil fields of southern Iraq. Story

MPs Train, Observe Afghan Police in Action
HERAT, Afghanistan, Jan. 31, 2005 — Police tactical advisory teams have the enormous task of training and equipping police throughout Afghanistan. One group in Herat province has found success teaching their lessons outside the classroom. Story

Retention Experts Explain Options to Troops
BAGRAM AIR BASE, Afghanistan, Jan. 31, 2005 — Active duty soldiers here who are preparing to go back to civilian life get plenty of help if they're thinking about continuing their service in the National Guard or Army Reserve. Story

Anti-Terror Team Marines Train in Germany
PANZER KASERNE, Germany, Jan. 31, 2005 — U.S. Marines from 5th platoon, 3rd Fleet Anti-terrorism Security Team Company recently spent a week training in the Swabian region of southern Germany. Story

Engineer Battalion Helps Refurbish Iraqi Clinic

Support Teams Maintain Forward Equipment
Bagram, Task Force Host Diplomat Day

Marine Lieutenant Enjoys Contributing to Society
ABOARD THE USS BONHOMME RICHARD, Jan. 31, 2005 — "That I contributed something meaningful to society, that I didn't just sit back and watch and say, 'I could have done something,'" is what Marine 1st Lt. Marc Lewis's service means to him. Story

Foundation Benefits Troops
WASHINGTON, Jan. 31, 2005 — A nonprofit foundation created by a military- related credit union has expanded its services to help servicemembers and veterans deal with more than just their finances. Story

Special Report
Iraqi Elections
Elections Go 'Better Than Expected'
Democracy a Blow to Terrorism
Elections Represent Turning Point
Expatriot Vote has Effect in Iraq
Big Voter Turnout Predicted
Coalition Plays Support Role
Fact Sheet: Timeline
Fact Sheet: Transitional Admin Law
Fact Sheet: Candidate List Regulations

Businesswomen Join Rebuilding
Four Marines Killed in Action
British C-130 Transport Crashes
Embassy Attackers Caught
Engineers Gain Iraqi Confidence
Iraq Daily Update
Year in Review 2004 Fact Sheets (pdf)
Iraq Reconstruction
Weekly Progress Report (pdf)

Afghans Field Tsunami Mission
13 Weapons Caches Found
Afghanistan Daily Update

Waging and Winning the War on Terror
Terrorism Timeline
Terrorism Knowledge Base

Helo Crash Hits Unit 'Like Beirut'
Top Doc Discusses Help for Stress
National Guard, Reserve Update

Weather information from The Weather Channel

Al Azamiyah
Al Basrah
Al Hillah
Al Karkh
Al Kazimiyah
Al Kut
An Nasiriyah
Tall Kayf