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Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Freedom Belongs to ALL Mankind

The following 4th of July message is from Master Sergeant John Ubaldi, a United States Marine Reservist who served in Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom. Ubaldi is a founding board member of Move America Forward.

On Tuesday, Americans across the nation will celebrate the 230th birthday of the United States of America. Everyone will be enjoying picnics, backyard barbeques, and the traditional fireworks display viewed throughout the country. Today, the armed forces of this republic are engaged in the monumental undertaking that determines if the democratic experiment begun on July 4th, 1776 will begin to sprout in the turbulent lands of the Middle East.

It’s easy to forget the noble undertaking begun so long ago, easy to forget the auspicious beginning that gave hope to a world that a government can be ruled by its citizens. President George Washington warned Americans that they had a new responsibility when he stated in his first inaugural address, “The preservation of the sacred fire of liberty and the destiny of the republican model of government are justly considered, perhaps, as deeply, as finally, staked on the experiment entrusted to the hands of the American people.”

From the birth of this Republic, the foundation of this country was the proposition that all men are created equal. As President Abraham Lincoln stated in the Gettysburg Address, “That this nation under God, Shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”

Abraham Lincoln envisioned that the guiding principles of the Declaration of Independence and the rights conveyed in the United States Constitution would be the foundation that humanity rests on, eloquently written in the Declaration of Independence, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.” It’s instructive that many of our brave military men & women understand they are serving the cause of freedom enumerated in that cherished document, sacrificing and establishing the basic foundation of democracy in the unstable often volatile region of the Middle East...

Read the Rest at

On target

Airman 1st Class Brandon Newton fires an M-9 Beretta at a match at Victory Base Complex, Iraq, on Monday, July 3. Nine teams from Sather Air Base and Iraqi New Al Muthana Air Base competed, testing their endurance, skill and marksmanship. The four-person teams were made up of deployed Airmen from various career fields. Airman Newton is assigned to the 447th Air Expeditionary Group, and is deployed from the 96th Services Squadron at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Bryan Bouchard)

District dedicates hydropower plant, government center

The 9,000-square-foot Shutol District Center is the flagship project for the district. Dedicated Wednesday, June 28, it is one of two projects undertaken by the Panjshir Provincial Reconstruction Team at the request of the province governor. (Courtesy photo/Tech. Sgt. John Cumper)

by Capt. Joe Campbell
Panjshir Provincial Reconstruction Team Public Affairs

7/4/2006 - PANJSHIR PROVINCE, Afghanistan (AFPN) -- Governor Haji Bahlol and provincial leaders dedicated a new micro-hydropower station and governance facility at ceremonies in the Shutol District here June 28.

The two projects, which have an important link, are provincial reconstruction team initiatives undertaken at the request of the governor. The governor is the lead agent for all reconstruction projects in the province.

"The micro-hydropower plant provides the electricity for the new Shutol District Center where there will be a law office and offices for the district manager, director of administration and police chief," Governor Bahlol said.

The 9,000-square-foot facility is known by some as the flagship project for the district.

"The Shutol District Center is one of the first projects a traveler will notice while coming into the valley, and it is quite a value at a cost of about $16 per square foot," said 1st Lt. Chris White, Panjshir PRT engineer.

The contractor hired local villagers to do much of the construction, which added a sense of ownership of the facility.

"The opening of a district center is new for us and it will provide good service to the people who needed a meeting place," said Mr. Sayeed, a resident who served as a Mujahideen general fighting against invading Soviet troops more than 20 years ago.

The Shutol micro-hydropower plant, located along the Panjshir River, powers the new district center's offices from a clean and renewable energy source, and also supplies electricity to the police station and the entrance to the valley, known as Lion's Gate.

"There were some firsts for this area on the project, including the use of steel utility poles and porcelain insulators on the cross arms," Lieutenant White said.

The $90,000 project also includes retaining walls to channel the water to the turbine and insulated conductors to distribute the electricity.

"I thank Governor Bahlol for his leadership, partnership and friendship with the PRT," said Lt. Col. Neal Kringel, Panjshir PRT commander. "These projects are not only functional, beautiful and welcoming to the Panjshir Valley, they are yet one more step toward the future of peace for Afghanistan."

Panjshir Governor Haji Bahlol invites Lt. Col. Neal Kringel, Panjshir Provincial Reconstruction Team commander, to help him cut the ribbon at the dedication ceremony for the Shutol micro-hydropower plant on Wednesday, June 28. (Courtesy photo/Tech. Sgt. John Cumper)

The Shutol micro-hydropower plant is one of two projects undertaken by the Panjshir Provincial Reconstruction Team at the request of the province governor. It was dedicated Wednesday, June 28. (Courtesy photo/Shahla Hammond)
Vladivostok, Russia (July 4, 2006) - Commander, U.S. Seventh Fleet, Vice Adm. Jonathan W. Greenert, lower-right, salutes alongside his Russian counterparts during a wreath laying ceremony held at the Russian Navy Pacific War Memorial. The amphibious command ship USS Blue Ridge (LCC 19) and the embarked staff of Commander, U.S. Seventh Fleet are currently in Vladivostok to foster camaraderie between the U.S. and Russian navies and allow Blue Ridge and Seventh Fleet Sailors the opportunity to experience Russian culture. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Terry Spain

Iraqi Forces 'Getting Better Every Day,' U.S. Officer Says

By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, June 30, 2006 – Iraq's soldiers and police are steadily gaining in capability so they can one day take charge of their country's security, a senior U.S. military officer said from Baghdad today.

"The Iraqi security forces are getting better every day," Army Col. Jeffrey J. Snow, commander of the 1st Brigade of the 10th Mountain Division, told reporters at a satellite teleconference at the Pentagon.

Snow's unit patrols western Baghdad and outlying areas in tandem with two Iraqi army brigades. The 1st Brigade is preparing to return to its home base at Fort Drum, N.Y., after a year's deployment to Iraq.

The new Iraqi army has "growing pains like any new army," the colonel acknowledged. Yet, the Iraqi troops, he said, have demonstrated "a strong will to fight and protect the Iraqi people."

Iraqi security force capabilities "will only get better with time," Snow said.

The 1st Brigade's area of responsibility encompasses 300 square kilometers and contains about 1.3 million Iraqis, Snow said. Baghdad International Airport is part of the brigade's AOR.

The colonel said his unit is also tasked with providing maintenance and logistics training for new Iraqi security forces, noting he's pleased with their progress.

"We have trained two Iraqi army brigades and one national police brigade that to a certain extent can plan, execute and sustain counterinsurgency operations with limited coalition support," Snow said.

Snow said the 1st Brigade had controlled two-thirds of the battlespace within its AOR when it arrived in Iraq. Today, "Iraqi security forces are in the lead in two-thirds of the battlespace," the colonel said, freeing U.S. and other Iraqi forces to engage the enemy outside of Baghdad.

"Because of the growing effectiveness of Iraqi security forces, we were able to expand coalition efforts to the west of Baghdad," Snow explained. "We have been able to disrupt insurgent networks and the route lines they used to travel into Baghdad by denying insurgents crucial support zones and destroying their caches."

This increased pressure has forced the enemy "to adopt new tactics as our combined offensive operations have continually disrupted insurgent activities," Snow said.

Any increases in the number of terrorist attacks within his sector are likely caused by stepped-up U.S. and Iraqi offensive operations, Snow said.

More and more Iraqis are informing on terrorists living in their area, Snow said, noting, "Iraqis want to see the enemies of freedom and oppression defeated as much as we do."

The colonel said $150 million has been spent to improve the quality of life for Iraqi citizens living within his area. Brigade troops, he said, have provided medical care, built water treatment and sewage facilities, repaired electric generating stations and renovated 35 schools.

The 1st Brigade's accomplishments in Iraq have come at a cost. Eleven 10th Mountain soldiers "will not return with us when we go home," Snow said.

"They are gone, but not forgotten, and I assure you they will never be forgotten," the colonel vowed.

Yet, the soldiers' morale remains high, Snow said, noting the 1st Brigade has met its annual unit re-enlistment goal in just seven months.

"These soldiers understand the mission, and they're willing to continue the fight," Snow said.

Related Sites:
Multinational Force Iraq
10th Mountain Division
A Soldier from Company A, 1st Battalion, 187th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division, patrols Bayji, Iraq. Photo by Staff Sgt. Russell Klika.

'Gunrunners' celebrate 35th birthday at Al Asad

Master Sgt. Anthony L. Sexton and Staff Sgt. Nelson Mondaca stand at their positions during Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron 269's birthday ceremony July 1 at Al Asad, Iraq. Sexton and Mondaca shared a piece of cake to celebrate the oldest and newest members of the squadron. Sexton, a native of High Point, N.C., is the avionics chief for HMLA 269, Marine Aircraft Group 16 (Reinforced), 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, and has been with the squadron since 1984. Mondaca, a Miami, native, is a maintenance administrator for HMLA-269 and is the newest to the unit.

July 3, 2006

By Lance Cpl. Brandon L. Roach, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing

AL ASAD, Iraq (July 3, 2006) -- Marines, sailors and civilians gathered under the shade of an old hanger here to celebrate the 35 years of hard work, dedication and service by the Marines of Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron 269, July 1.

The squadron, HMLA-269, Marine Aircraft Group 16 (Reinforced), 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, was activated July 1, 1971, at Marine Corps Air Station New River, N.C., and was the first designated light attack helicopter squadron.

While history was made in the hangar, Master Sgt. Anthony L. Sexton, avionics chief, and Staff Sgt. Nelson Mondaca, maintenance administration, shared a piece of cake to celebrate the oldest and newest members of the unit.

After the ceremonial March on the Colors, the members of the squadron listened to a Marine read through some of the highlighted missions and statistics from their squadron history.

Throughout its time, HMLA-269 has had many achievements and awards and as the Marines stood in formation, their pride could be seen as Lt. Col. Scott S. Jensen, commanding officer, HMLA-269, praised and recognized their hard work.

Although birthdays are celebrated routinely throughout the military services, it is a great boost to morale and something for Marines to remember when it is done in a combat zone.
"It is good that even during a war we can have some normality and celebrate the traditions of the squadron and the Marine Corps," said Mondaca.

Sgt. Maj. Terry Stanford salutes Lt. Col. Scott S. Jensen, commanding officer of Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron 269 during their 35th birthday ceremony July 1, 2006, at Al Asad, Iraq. Stanford is the squadron sergeant major for HMLA-269, Marine Aircraft Group 16 (Reinforced), 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing. Photo by: Lance Cpl. Brandon L. Roach

Sgt. Maj. Terry Stanford calls for the ceremonial March on the Colors during Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron 269's birthday ceremony July 1 at Al Asad, Iraq. Stanford is the squadron sergeant major for HMLA-269, Marine Aircraft Group 16 (Reinforced), 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing. Photo by: Lance Cpl. Brandon L. Roach
PRESIDENTIAL THANKS — President George W. Bush shakes hands with Sgt. James Stanek, a combat-veteran infantryman assigned to the 525th Military Intelligence Brigade, during the President's Independence Day visit July 4, 2006, to Fort Bragg, N.C. Bush thanked troops and their families for their service in the War on Terrorism during his visit. U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Michael J. Carden

In Today's News - Wednesday, July 5, 2006

Quote of the Day
"We've captured and killed more al Qaeda in Pakistan
than just about any place in the world."
-- Vice President Richard B. Cheney,
in a June 19, 2006 speech at the
Gerald R. Ford Journalism Awards luncheon
in Washington, D.C.

News of Note
Operation Iraqi Freedom
U.S., Iraqi Forces Raid Hospital in Search of Insurgents
Troops celebrate low-key 4th in Iraq
Bush says enemies are vulnerable
Former regime said at core of insurgency

Operation Enduring Freedom
Three Explosions Kill 1, Injure 47 in Afghanistan

Homeland Security / War on Terror
Israeli aircraft attack Interior Ministry in Gaza
Palestinians Hit Israeli City
Video: Gaza Standoff

Troops on Trial
General Vows Investigation Of Iraq Murder, Rape Case
Iraq Rape-Slay Reaction
Iraqis blast U.S. over rape-slaying case
In Texas town, few knew ex-soldier charged
Inquiry Focuses on Supervision of Soldiers

Other Military News
Navy to use passive sonar in exercise
Clerical Error Sends Man to Iraq
Homelessness a Threat for Vets

Immigration / Border Control
Bush Signaling Shift in Stance on Immigration

Report: CIA Closes Unit Leading Hunt for bin Laden

Worldwide Wackos
North Korea Launchs 7th Missile
North Korea Test Fires Another Missile
Asian Nations Condemn Launches
White House: Firings a 'Provocation'
Japan to Introduce U.N. Resolution
South Korea: Return to Nuke Talks
Video: North Korean Missile Launch Fails
NORAD Monitored Launch of Missiles
Iran says EU nuclear talks postponed

Politics / Government
Bush Praises Troops- Video: Bush at Fort Bragg
Bush vows to stay course in Iraq

AIDS Speaker Faked Illness?
Japanese man eats record 53 3/4 hotdogs
Scorpions, worms and ants on the menu at NY club
Pranksters play hard ball with soccer fans
Man prefers jail to being at home with grandpa

Fox News
Space Shuttle Discovery Launches on Fourth of July
Sudan Seeks Foreign Help After Raid by Darfur Rebels
Stocks to Watch: GM
Italy Advances to Finals
Sharapova Heads to Semis

Reuters: Top News
Mexican leftist threatens street protests over vote - Video
Cheaper US housing overshadows world economy: Soros
Astronauts to inspect shuttle Discovery for damage
Foam still vexes NASA after fixes to shuttle
Music industry prepares lawsuit against Yahoo China
Paris wants wireless Internet access across city
Study finds breast feeding wards off bed-wetting
Canada confirms mad cow disease in Manitoba cow
Final two "Sopranos" end pay rift
Keira Knightley plays down anorexia rumors
BAE Systems says plans to conduct Airbus audit
Renault CEO set to meet GM head in July: report
Bertelsmann mulls sale of part of Sony BMG: source
Starbucks Japan to open at least 100 stores a year
Pfizer eyes Y48 bln peak yr sales from Japan Zoloft
UBM buys Commonwealth Business Media for $152 mln
Stocks set to ease, weighed by N. Korea fears - Video
Asian markets fall after N.Korea missiles
European stocks track Asia down after N.Korea test
Nikkei ends down after N.Korea tests missiles
TomTom shares rise on takeover talk, firm denies
Dollar woes seen continuing despite Fed

AP World News
N.J. casinos slated to close Wednesday
Parades, fireworks mark July 4 festivities
Tahoe bear swills booze with pizza snack
High Tylenol doses linked to liver woes
Royals stop Twins 11-game winning streak
Tribe fireworks barrage blasts Yanks 19-1
Keith Richards to be in 'Pirates' movie
Italy boots Germany 2-0 to reach final
Sharapova streaks into Wimbledon semis
Obituaries in the news
State news of national interest
In Ramadi, Fetid Quarters and Unrelenting Battles
Bush Denounces Early Pullout in Iraq
Troops Swap Aggression for Courtesy
Veterans March on Frostburg

CENTCOM: News Releases





Department of Defense
Servicemembers Gain U.S. Citizenship in Iraq - Story
Forward Operating Base Repeats History - Story
Reporter Spends 101 Days with 101st Airborne - Story
Store's Grand Opening Boosts Troop Morale - Story
Aviation Provides Troops Safer Transportation - Story

Soldiers Help Save Life of Wounded Student
Husseiniya Firefighters Move into New Facility

Engineers Move Mountains to Improve Roads
KC-135 Aircrew Vital Part of Mission Success

Renewal In Iraq
Iraq: Security, Stability
Fact Sheet: Progress and Work Ahead
Report: Strategy for Victory in Iraq
Iraq Daily Update
This Week in Iraq (PDF)
Multinational Force Iraq
State Dept. Weekly Iraq Report (PDF)
'Boots on the Ground' Audio Archive
Weekly Reconstruction Report (PDF)
Iraq Reconstruction

Afghanistan Update

Fact Sheet: Budget Request
Fact Sheet: War on Terror
Fact Sheet: Terror Plots Disrupted
Waging and Winning the War on Terror
Terrorism Timeline
Terrorism Knowledge Base

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


Today in History
1643 - Essex County, Massachusetts, sees the first recorded tornado in the U.S.
1687 - Isaac Newton's PRINCIPIA is published in England.
1808 - Battle of Buenos Aires.
1811 - Venezuela becomes the first South American country to gain independence from Spain.
1814 - American forces defeat the British and Canadians at Chippewa, Ontario.
1830 - France invades Algeria, beginning a forty-year conquest.
1859 - Captain N.C. Brooks discovers the Midway Islands.
1861 - Fighting at Carthage, Missouri.
1865 - William Booth founds the Salvation Army.
1935 - President Franklin D. Roosevelt signs the National Labor Relations Act.
1940 - The British break off diplomatic relations with the Vichy government in France.
1944 - Harry Crosby takes the first rocket airplane, the MX-324, for its maiden flight.
1950 - The Law of Return is passed, guaranteeing all Jews the right to live in Israel.
1962 - Algeria gains its independence after 132 years of French rule.
1966 - The National Guard mobilizes in Omaha after a third night of riots; the Saturn I rocket launches at Cape Kennedy.
1970 - An Air Canada DC-8 crashes only seven miles from Toronto's airport, killing 109.
1978 - The Soyuz 30 spacecraft touches down in Soviet Kazakhstan.
1984 - The Supreme Court rules that evidence seized with defective warrants can now be used in criminal trials, weakening the 70-year-old "exclusionary rule

1794 - Sylvester Graham (inventor of the Graham Cracker)
1801 - David G. Farragut, naval hero
1810 - Phineas Taylor ("P.T.") Barnum, circus promoter (Barnum & Bailey)
1891 - John Northrop, American biochemist (crystallized enzymes), Nobel Prize winner
1902 - Henry Cabot Lodge, politician/ambassador/VP candidate
1904 - Don Goddard, news ancher (ABC Evening News)
1909 - Andrei Gromyko, Soviet President
1952 - Terence T. "Tom" Henricks, Lt. Colonel, USAF/astronaut (STS 44)

- U.S. Army Pvt. Kenneth Shadrick of WV, the first American KIA in the Korean War.

Reported Missing in Action - July 4th
Craig, Phillip C., USN (NY); A4C shot down, remains returned November, 1986

Fallon, Patrick M., USAF (PA); A1H shot down over Laos

Bookout, Charles F., US Army SF (OK); KIA during ambush

Reported Missing in Action - July 5th
Eisenbraun, William F., US Army SF (CA); fourth tour of duty (1 Korea, 3 Vietnam) - DIC August, 1965

Jackson, James E., Jr., US Army SF (NY); captured during an ambush, released in Cambodia November, 1967

Dodge, Ward Kent, USAF (KS); F105G shot down, remains returned March, 1974

Frederick, William V., USAF (OH); F105D shot down, remains returned January, 1990

Waddell, Dewey W., USAF (GA); F105D shot down, released by DRV March, 1973 - retired as a Colonel in 1987 - alive and well as of 1998

Burns, Michael T., USAF (IN); F4D shot down, released by DRV in March, 1973 - alive as of 1998

Crumpler, Carl B., USAF (FL); F4D shot down, released by DRV March, 1973 - retired as a Colonel as of 1996 - alive and well as of 1998

Dewberry, Jerry D., USMC (OK); KIA while on patrol, body not recovered

Lawrence, Bruce E., USAF (NJ); F4C shot down, believed KIA, body not recovered (see Silver, Edward D.)

Silver, Edward D., USAF (OR); F4C shot down, POW reported seeing VC propaganda film showing body in flight suit with name of "Silver," believed KIA, body not recovered

Elander, William J., Jr., USAF (NC); F4E shot down, released by DRV March, 1973 - retired as Lt. Colonel as of 1996 - alive as of 1998

Logan, Donald K., USAF (CA); F4E shot down, released by DRV March, 1973 - alive as of 1998

Spencer, William A., USAF (TX); F4E shot down, released by DRV March, 1973 - retired as a Lt. Colonel as of 1996 - alive and well as of 1998

Seek, Brian J., USAF (CA); F4E shot down, released by DRV March, 1973 - retired as a Colonel as in 1995 - alive and well as of 1998