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Sunday, September 25, 2005

Defenders of Iraq war counter-rally
Gathering follows anti-war protest09/25/05 12:19 PM, EDT
Military families and others defending the war in Iraq claimed on Sunday their turn to demonstrate on the National Mall, a response to the massive protest against the war a day earlier.

Major Keith Couch, the acting commanding officer of Marine Wing Headquarters Squadron 2 (Forward), poses in front of an AV-8B Night Attack Harrier in Al Asad, Iraq. The night before, the Leslie County, Ky., native flew over various hostile cities in Iraq, guarding the Marines with boots on the ground. Photo by: Cpl. Cullen J. Tiernan

Read his story here

New precision MLRS helps in battle for Tal Afar

By Sgt. Michael J. Carden and Pfc. Matthew Clifton

A precision-guided missile was fired during its first test-fire outside of the U.S. recently near Tikrit, Iraq. The Guided MLRS Unitary rocket is the latest addition to the U.S. Army's artillery arsenal and is designed to minimize collateral damage. The GMLRS was just used for the first time in actual combat at Tal Afar. Spc. Alisan Gul

BAGHDAD (Army News Service, Sept. 23, 2005) — The newest addition to the Army’s artillery arsenal was successfully fired this month during Operation Restoring Rights in Tal Afar, Iraq, and Operation Sayaid in Iraq’s Al Anbar Province.

The Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System destroyed two insurgent strongholds from a distance of more than 50 kilometers away. Battery B, 3rd Battalion, 13th Field Artillery Regiment fired eight guided rockets in Tal Afar Sept. 9 and 10, killing 48 insurgents, said Maj. Jeremy McGuire, deputy of operations, Force Field Artillery, Multi-National Corps – Iraq.

Battery A, 3-13 FAR fired another six rockets Sept. 11, destroying the Mish’al Bridge and preventing its use for insurgent forces in the Al Anbar province in Western Iraq, McGuire added.

Battery tests GMLRS Unitary rockets

Last month B Battery, 3/13th FAR conducted the first in-theater tests of GMLRS Unitary rockets, according to Lockheed Martin. These rockets were designed to greatly reduce collateral damage by providing enhanced accuracy up to 70 kilometers away, according to the defense contractor.

When the GMLRS was used in Tal Afar Sept. 9 and 10, damage to surrounding buildings was almost non-existent and the target’s destruction was absolute, said Capt. Robert J. Hannah, 3-13th FAR.

“This system is something the artillery community has been working on for some time,” McGuire said. “It was tested in the continental United States, and now we’ve demonstrated in Iraq that we’re extremely effective with it.

Precision has psychological effects

“We can be accurate, we can be lethal and we can also have a very low collateral damage estimate,” McGuire said. “We can engage the target without compromising the safety of the civilians nearby and also take out the terrorists or insurgencies that engage our forces.”

Operation Restoring Rights’ senior U.S. officer, Col. H. R. McMaster, commander, 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment, weighed in on the combat effectiveness of the new system. “The GMLRS proved itself in combat in Tal Afar and provided the regiment with tremendous capability. It not only was able to hit enemy positions with a great deal of precision, but was able to limit collateral damage.”

The physical and psychological effect the system had on the enemy in Tal Afar – who was trying either to successfully defend against an attack or goad the Coalition into destroying large portions of the city – was extremely valuable, McMaster said.

GMLRS better than smart bombs?

The first GMLRS weapons arrived at Fort Sill, Okla., about 18 months ago and 3rd Battalion, 13th FA Regiment has been training with the system since June 2004. GMLRS was designed to reduce the amount of collateral damage in combat, giving commanders on the ground the ability to take out a terrorist or insurgent target accurately and effectively without creating the excess damage other artillery and air-dropped munitions may cause, McGuire said.

“This (system) allows ground commanders to precisely attack small targets, even in an urban environment, with even lower collateral damage than precision bombs used by the U.S. Air Force,” said Hannah.

If the aircraft are unable to support a mission because of communication or weather issues, ground commanders will still have access to the new MLRS system, which provides the same capabilities as the air power, McGuire said.

Urban combat requires precision

Before sending ground troops into Tal Afar during Operation Restoring Rights, there were a number of buildings that needed to be destroyed in preparation. Two separate targets were successfully destroyed by the guided MLRS system. The missiles were fired from an area more than 50 kilometers away.

The targets were two housing complexes that had been fortified and were known to contain at least 40 insurgents, McGuire said.

“Each of the targets (was) pre-planned,” said Maj. James Daniels, Regimental Fire Support Officer, 13th FAR. “Before we fire on a target, we have to prove the structure is linked to the insurgency, using intelligence from units in the field that have been engaged from the structure or have made contact with the terrorists around the structure.”

Troops on the ground engaging the enemy will also benefit from the missile system’s small blast radius and effectiveness, improving their survivability and safety. The troops will be able to maneuver closer toward their aggressors to maintain a better visual of their targets, said Sgt. 1st Class Paul Luketich, senior fire control non-commissioned officer, FFA, MNC-I.

“Basically, it’s a safer munition for our troops and nearby civilians, but a more deadly munition for the insurgents,” Luketich said. “It’s the best munition in the arsenal today.”

‘GMLRS can save lives’

The intent of Coalition forces in combative situations is not to demolish an entire city block to eliminate a single insurgent or group of terrorists. Their intent is to purge the country of insurgency to help stabilize security and improve the quality of life for the citizens of Iraq, McGuire said.

This new missile system helps that cause dramatically, McGuire said. Commanders on the ground will have another option to engage the enemy with, allowing them to make better-informed decisions focused on the safety of innocent civilians as well as effectively countering Iraq’s insurgency, McGuire said.

“We’re engaging terrorists who are reckless and have no regard for civilian life, as they have demonstrated day-in and day-out,” McGuire said. “It’s very difficult for us to make the population believe that our choice is the best.

“It’s very important that we’ve come up with this weapon. It will help the commanders make the call that will not only accomplish the mission and keep the population safe, but rid the country of terrorists as well.”

(Editor’s note: Sgt. Michael J. Carden and Pfc. Matthew Clifton write for Multi-National Corps-Iraq. Information used in their story was provided by the 366th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment and a Lockheed Martin release.)

RETURNING TO IRAQ — U.S. Army soldiers of the 527th Military Police Company bid farewell to family and friends in a ceremony at the Miller Hall Fitness Center in Giessen, Germany, Sept. 23, 2005. The 527th will return to Iraq for their second deployment. U.S. Army photo by Martin Greeson

In Today's News - Sunday, September 25, 2005

Quote of the Day
"For what avail the plough or sail, or land or life, if freedom fail?"
-- Ralph Waldo Emerson

News of Note
Hurricane Season

Photos: Aerial Views
Fires Break out in Texas
Bush: U.S. 'Well-Organized'
Refineries Escape Danger
N.O. Suffers More Floods
Video: Anatomy of a Levee
Rita in Pictures and Videos
Rescue workers search for Hurricane Rita survivors
Texas plans staggered return for Houston evacuees

Operation Iraqi Freedom
Iraq Bombing Kills Elite Police

Operation Enduring Freedom
Deadly U.S. Chopper Crashin Afghanistan

Homeland Security / War on Terror
Adams: IRA Disarmament Will Help Talks
Suspect in Madrid Bombing Returns to Spain

Fox News
Iran: IAEA Resolution 'Illogical' (Thank you, Mr. Spock)
U.S. Urges Iran Review
AP: Navy Contracted Planesto Ship Terror Suspects
Israel Launches Gaza Attacks
D.C. Anti-War Rallies Draw Thousands
Pushing Back (Slain servicemember's dad counters Sheehan and the Moonbats)
Bank to Forgive $40B Debt
President Bush's Weekly Radio Address

Reuters: Top News
Abbas says no plan for October 2 summit with Sharon
Israel launches new Gaza strike, raids West Bank
Iran threatens to end spot checks of nuclear sites
VIDEO: U.S., Militants Clash In Sadr City
PICTURES: Central Baghdad Suicide Bomb
No date for UK troops to leave Iraq, says Blair
Cheney surgery for aneurysms successful

AP World News
Strong Earthquake Hits Eastern Indonesia
North Korea Seeks Less Dependence on Aid
Ouster Likely for Ex-Communists in Poland
American Fights to Run in Haiti Election
Protesters Denounce Conference in Turkey
Iran Rejects IAEA Resolution on Nukes
Rape Remarks Stain Musharraf's Reputation
Aruba Party Keeps Majority in Parliament

The Seattle Times
Who profits the most when gas prices rise
Foreign surgeons attract U.S. patients

Chicago Sun-Times
Shiite politician also backs constitution

Boston Globe: World
In Zimbabwe, hope survives destruction
Shanghai offers guide to avoid swindlers
Election leaves Germans uncertain of future
Poland leaning right in election
Shark attacks bring debate over protections in Australia
Turks debate whether genocide was committed
Operation shows Iraqi troops' skills

CENTCOM: News Release

Department of Defense
U.S. Soldiers Thwart Terrorist Acts in Iraq — Story

Hurricane Coverage

Iraq Reconstruction
Iraq Daily Update
Multinational Force Iraq
Eye on Iraq Update (pdf)
Iraq Progress Fact Sheet (pdf)
Weekly Progress Report (pdf)

Photos: Afghan Election Day
Afghanistan Daily Update
Afghan Reconstruction Group Recruiting

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

National Guard, Reserve Update

Officials Identify Army Casualties — Story

Al Azamiyah Al Basrah Al Hillah Al Karkh Al Kazimiyah Al Kut An Nasiriyah Baghdad Baqubah Mosul Najaf Nineveh Tall Kayf

Bost/Laskar Ghurian Herat Kabul Qandahar


National Hurricane Center

Today in History
1493 - Columbus sails on his second voyage to America.
1513 - Vasco Nuñez de Balboa becomes the first European to see the Pacific Ocean.
1639 - The first printing press in America becomes operational.
1690 - In Boston, Publick Occurrences, the first U.S. newspaper, publishes its first - and last - edition.
1775 - American Revolutionary War hero Ethan Allen is captured.
1789 - Congress proposes the Bill of Rights (10 of 12 will ratify).
1804 - The 12th amendment to the U.S. Constitution, regulates judicial power.
1861 - The U.S. Secretary of the Navy authorizes the enlistment of slaves.
1890 - Congress establishes Yosemite National Park in CA.
1911 - Groundbreaking begins in Boston for Fenway Park.
1919 - President Wilson becomes seriously ill and collapses after a speech.
1926 - Henry Ford introduces the 8 hour, 5-day work week.
1926 - The International slavery convention is signed by 20 states.
1939 - Since the Versailles Peace Treaty forgot to include Andorra, Andorra and Germany finally sign an official treaty ending WWI.
1956 - The first transatlantic telephone cable goes into operation.
1957 - 300 U.S. Army troops guard nine African-American children returning to Central High School in AR; the Soviet 7-year plan (1959-1965) is announced.
1973 - The 3-man crew of Skylab II makes a safe splashdown in Pacific after 59 days.
1981 - Sandra Day O'Connor is sworn in as the first female Supreme Court Justice.
1986 - Antonin Scalia is appointed to the Supreme Court.
1990 - Saddam Hussein warns that the U.S. will repeat its experience in Vietnam; the U.N. Security Council votes 14-1 to impose an air embargo against Iraq.

1644 - Olaus Rímer, first to accurately measure the speed of light
1725 - Nicolas-Joseph Cugnot, designer/builder of the first automobile
1766 - Armand-Emmanuel duc de Richelieu, French PM (1815-18, 1820-21)
1866 - Thomas Hunt Morgan, biologist, Nobel Prize winner (1933)
1877 - Plutarco El¡as, Mexican revolutionary, president (1924-28)
1897 - William Faulkner, author (The Sound and the Fury), Nobel Prize winner (1949)
1931 - Barbara Walters, newscaster (Today, 20/20, ABC-TV)
1934 - John S. Bull, astronaut
1951 - Mark Hamill, actor (Star Wars)
1952 - Christopher Reeve, actor (Superman)
1967 - Lezlie Lund, Miss ND-America (1991)
1968 - Prince Johan Friso of the Netherlands
1970 - Kerri Kendall, Playboy playmate (Sep, 1990)

- S.W.R.D. Bandaranaike, Ceylon's PM, assassinated by a Buddhist monk
1960 - Emily Post, etiquette expert
1975 - Bob Considine, newscaster (Tonight! America After Dark)
1988 - Billy Carter, President Carter's brother

Reported Missing in Action
Cheney, Joseph C., Civilian; reportedly killed in Air America C46 shoot-down, not on official DIA list

Burgess, Richard G., USMC (WA); released by PRG March, 1973 - alive as of 1998

Bossman, Peter R., USN (NY); UH34D shot down (Navy Corpsman), KIA, body not recovered

Cushman, Peter R., USAF (ND); F105D shot down (pilot)

Ducat, Phillip A., USMC (IN); UH34D shot down (pilot), KIA, body not recovered

Reiter, Dean W., USMC (MO); UH34D shot down (co-pilot), KIA, body not recovered

Chan, Peter, USN (CA); fell overboard and drowned, KIA, body not recovered