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Thursday, August 17, 2006

Caldwell: Securing Baghdad no short-term operation

Soldiers of the 4th Brigade, 6th Iraqi Army Division, aka the Desert Lion Brigade, stand in a pass in review ceremony at Forward Operating Base Mahmudiyah South Monday. The unit is now in control of battlespace in south Baghdad. Department of Defense photo by SGT Trevor Snyder, 124th MPAD

Wednesday, 16 August 2006
Story courtesy of American Forces Press Service

BAGHDAD – The ongoing operation to secure this city of more than 6 million is an evolution and solutions must be long-term, the spokesman for Multi-National Force - Iraq told reporters here Monday.

“Abating the extremists in the capital will neither be easy nor rapid,” Army Maj. Gen. William Caldwell said of progress in Operation Together Forward, a joint Coalition-Iraqi operation to quell sectarian and insurgent violence in the capital.
“Challenges will ensue, but efforts will march forward block by block.” Some 3,000 buildings have been searched thus far, the general said. Twenty suspects have been detained and more than 50 weapons and eight cars have been seized. He said 330 otherwise legal weapons, those used for home and mosque protection, have been registered during the operation.

Soldiers of the 4th Brigade, 6th Iraqi Army Division, aka the Desert Lion Brigade, stand in a pass in review ceremony at Forward Operating Base Mahmudiyah South Monday. The unit is now in control of battlespace in south Baghdad. Department of Defense photo by SGT Trevor Snyder, 124th MPAD

While Caldwell noted the operation’s security accomplishments, he said the operation’s focus on quality-of-life improvements for the city’s residents is most important.

“What really matters is the number of businesses that reopened and will remain open,” he said.

“The drainage has improved. The rubbish is removed. And of course, like we’d all like to see, the number of children that you can see during their summer break out riding their bikes and playing in the streets.”

Caldwell said U.S. troops he met over the weekend in the Al-Doura neighborhood district of the city said they were impressed by the caliber of their Iraqi counterparts.

“I was immediately informed Iraqis are inherently better at search operations than Coalition forces,” he said.

“They know what to look for. They have a sense when something is askew, based not only on their training and experience, but based on their innate knowledge of the language and the people.”Caldwell said Iraqis recognize military power alone isn’t enough to restore security in the city.

“The military forces, the Iraqi security forces (and) the Coalition support can help set the stage for peace to occur, but they cannot achieve peace,” he said.
“It’s going to take all the other factors. It’s going to take the economics, it’s going to take the governance and, most importantly, it’s going to take the will of the Iraqi people to make this both work and sustain itself.”He said the operation would end only when security is achieved.

During a separate press conference Tuesday in Baghdad, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and Jordanian Prime Minister Marouf al-Bakhit discussed security issues affecting both countries.

“Our discussions focused on economic and political cooperation, though we realize that the security arena is very important for both countries and the region as whole,” said al-Maliki.

Al-Maliki said the two leaders spoke about security cooperation to counter terrorism, radicalism and cultural distortion among other subjects.

“We found great understanding and full readiness to cooperate in the security field, and that Jordan will hold meetings on Iraq in its territories for common concerns,” al-Maliki said.

The Jordanian prime minister said his visit was a confirmation of Jordan’s support for Iraq and its political process in the face of violence and extremism.
“We discussed a set of issues and it was a truly successful business visit,” said al-Bakhit.

“We talked about borders, security and providing facilities to the Iraqi community in Jordan. We also touched upon economic and trade ties and means of promoting them.”
“I’d like to confirm that we are together in one trench to denounce acts of violence and terrorism. We will work together to fight the extremist ideology through counter ideology and we will besiege the extremist ideology which kidnaps the real Islam,” the Jordanian prime minister said.

U.S. Central Command
Public Affairs
1Lt. Anthony Deiss
Spc. Patrick Ziegler
Spc. Chris Erickson

by Staff Sgt. Russell Lee Klika
August 16, 2006
Sgt. Daniel Dunlap, from the Military Integrated Transitional Team, 101st Airborne Division, familiarizes himself with the operation of a PK3 9mm sub-machine gun during an exercise near Tikrit, Iraq.

In Memory of an Israeli Hero

From Barbara:

Rabbi Herzfeld rightly says that this "is a story that the media doesn’t tell about Israeli soldiers."

We are forwarding this translation of a Hebrew e-mail at the request of friends of the late Major Roi Klein:

On Major Roi Klein (z”l – of blessed memory)

The little that we can do for somebody who sacrificed his life in such a heroic way is to tell his story. It is not clear why the media ignored this story. Maybe his altruistic behaviour is unpopular or maybe it does not fit with the image of the suffering, sensitive and fearful soldier that some Israeli media are trying to nurture.

Last week, Major Roi Klein (z”l), lieutenant commander of Regiment 51 in the Golani Brigade, from Eli was the highest-ranking officer among his troops at the time in the Lebanese town of Bint AlJubeil. In the midst of a battle he noticed that Hizballah terrorists have lobbed a grenade that landed close to his soldiers. Since the detonation of the grenade was imminent. He leaped and blocked most of the fragmentation from the grenade with his body, thereby saving his troops. His soldiers said that he cried “Shma Israel” when he jum ped to block the grenade.

Roi Klein was buried on the day of his 31st birthday.

He was a gifted Saxophone player and a brilliant academic that completed his engineering studies with high honours. He traveled with friends in Africa and had a rolling laughter. All of his friends describe him as a gentle and relaxed sole. His widow’s wish is that his children would resemble their father when they grow up.

May his memory be blessed.

Instead of lighting a memorial candle please forward his story onwards. He deserves much more. But that is the little that we can do.

Keep the Thunderbolts flying
Staff Sgt. Shannon Hughes (left) hands Senior Airman Damon Johnson a tool as they work on an A-10 Thunderbolt II during its phase inspection at Bagram Air Base, Afghanistan. The Airmen are deployed from Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. (U.S. Air Force photo/Maj. David Kurle)

In Case You Haven't Seen This...

It's a story that's been out there for a while, but when I got this in my email yesterday, I figured it was worth posting for any of you who haven't seen it. Click on the pictures for larger versions.

Memories By A Mother

(March 2,2006)

Karla Comfort received a lot of looks and even some salutes from people when she drove from Benton, Ark.,to Camp Pendleton, Calif., in her newly-painted, custom Hummer H3 March 2. The vehicle is adorned with the likeness of her son,20-year-old Lance Cpl. John M. Holmason, and nine other Marines with F Company, 2nd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division who where all killed by the same improvised explosive device blast in Fallujah, Iraq, in December.

For Karla Comfort, having the vehicle air brushed with the image of the 10 Marines was a way to pay homage to her hero and his fellow comrades who fell on Iraq's urban battlefield.

"I wanted to let people know (Marines) are doing their jobs honorably, and some of them die," said the 39-year-old from Portland, OR "I don't want people to forget the sacrifices that my son and the other Marines made."

Leading up to her son's death, Karla Comfort had received several letters from him prior to his return. He had been deployed for five months, and Comfort "worried everyday he was gone until she got the letters and found out the date he was coming home," she said.

Marines knocked on the front door of her home in Farmington, Mich., at 3 am with the dreadful news.

"I let my guard down when I found out he was coming home," she said. "There are times that I still cannot believe it happened. It's very hard to deal with."

Karla Comfort came up with the idea for the rolling memorial when she and her two other sons attended John's funeral in Portland, Ore.

"I saw a Vietnam (War) memorial on a car, and I said to my son Josh, 'we should do something like that for John,' she recalled. "He loved Hummers."

She purchased the vehicle in January and immediately took it to AirbrushGuy & Co. in Benton, Ark., where artist Robert Powell went to work on changing the plain, black vehicle into a decorative, mobile, art piece.

"I only had the vehicle for two days before we took it in," she joked.

Two hundred and fifty man-hours later, Powell had completed the vehicle. The custom job would have cost $25,000. Out of respect for Karla Comfort's loss and the sacrifices the Marines made, AirbrushGuy & Co. did it for free. Comfort only had to purchase the paint, which cost $3,000.

"I love it," she said. "I'm really impressed with it, and I think John would be happy with the vehicle. He would have a big smile on his face because he loved Hummers."

Karla Comfort gave Powell basic instructions on what to include in the paint job. But in addition to the image of her son in Dress Blues and the faces of the nine other Marines, there were several surprises. "He put a lot more on than I expected," she said. "I think my favorite part is the heaven scene."

On the left side of the vehicle, a detail of Marines are depicted carrying their fallen comrades through the clouds to their final resting place. The American flag drapes across the hood, the words, "Semper Fi" crown the front windshield and the spare tire cover carries the same Eagle Globe and Anchor design that her son had tattooed on his back.

"All the support I have been getting is wonderful," she said.

Karla Comfort decided to move back to her hometown of Portland, and making the cross-country trip from Arkansas was a way for her to share her son's story. It's also her way of coping with the loss.

"Along the way I got nothing but positive feedback from people," she said. "What got to me was when people would salute the guys (Marines). It's hard to look at his picture. I still cry and try to get used to the idea, but it's hard to grasp the idea that he's really gone."

Story Links:
CBS News
Aircraft Resource Center
NC Times
OC Register

KEVLAR HELMET – U.S. Army Sgt. Jose Lanzarin, from the 6th Infantry Regiment, attached to the 1st Armored Division, watches as a young Iraqi girl tries on his Kevlar helmet while he and his team speak to her family members in order to fill out a census form in Tameem, Iraq, Aug. 7, 2006. The census is being conducted to gather general information about Iraqi households and to see if soldiers can answer any concerns or questions. U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Jeremy T. Lock

In Today's News - Thursday, August 17, 2006

Quote of the Day
"There is no doubt that the new wave (of attacks) in Palestine
will wipe off this stigma (Israel) from the face of the Islamic world,
... The World without Zionism."

-- Mahmoud Ahmadinejad

News of Note
Operation Iraqi Freedom
Al Qaeda building political arm in Iraq: General - Video
W. House: Bush not frustrated with Iraqi government

Homeland Security / War on Terror
No Explosives Found in Port of Seattle Bomb Scare
NYC Releases Over 1,600 Sept. 11 Emergency Calls
Flight Diverted to Boston After Mid-Air 'Emergency'
Video: Mid-Air Emergency
Feds say no terrorism on diverted flight
UK police granted more time to quiz bomb suspects - Video
Mich. prosecutor drops terror case
U.S. beefing up air passenger checks

Troops on Trial
Marine Corps officer charged in Iraq assaults

Mid-East Ceasefire
Lebanon OKs Troops in South
Video: Fragile Cease-Fire
Video: Israeli Troops Pull Out
Lebanon's army set to deploy in Hizbollah bastion - Video
France ready to lead new Lebanon force: minister - Video
Criticism of Lebanon war rises in Israel
Israel begins giving positions to U.N.

Jury at impasse in prisoner abuse case

Worldwide Wackos
Cuba keeps expectations low with scant Castro news

Politics / Government
Bush Hops on Harley for Economic Tour
"CAFTA 15" Democrats may survive labor's wrath

Mother Nature
Wyoming wildfire threatens homes

Other News of Note
Arrest in JonBenet Ramsey Murder
Suspect nabbed in Bangkok on unrelated sex charges
Raw Data: Statement by John Ramsey
Video: Arrest in JonBenet Ramsey Murder
Can Forensics Crack the Case?
Photo Essay: Remembering JonBenet Ramsey
Virginia Teen Wins Court Battle to Stop Chemo

Fox News
Mexican Drug Kingpin Busted
Wife of Jailed Tyco CEO Kozlowski Files for Divorce

Reuters: Top News
The HIV "Elite"
Small victories feature at conference
Sex workers march for rights
Pluto wins reprieve but number of planets may rise
Possible key human evolution genes identified
AOL to hunt down spammer's gold
Food a basic need in HIV fight: UN agency
Depp, Burton team up for 'Sweeney Todd' film
S&P 500 hits three-month high - Video
HP shares jump as profit tops views
Network Appliance falls after results
Mcafee shares fall on restatement news
Big Lots swings to profit
Mr. Market nails a valuation
DeMartino: Entergy is on the radar
Dow theorist warns on recession
Hewlett-Packard net rises, plans $6 bln buyback
Fed's Fisher: Inflation greatest risk to US
Striking Chile Escondida union modifies demands
Teck concedes defeat in Inco bid as offering fails
Satellite TV giants retire from wireless sale
July core CPI up slightly; housing starts slow

AP World News
Feds catch drug kingpin while fishing
Staph skin infections on rise in U.S.
Spears says baby No. 2 was not planned
HP profit surges, beating expectations
Things haven't changed much at Medinah
Gwyneth Paltrow returning to acting
Dow ends up 97 on tame inflation data
O'Malley wins big league debut for Cubs
Plan would add planets to solar system
Elvis fans end pilgrimage at graveside
Consumer prices rise by 0.4 percent
Google's home town to get Web access free
NASA approves Aug. 27 launch
Allen meets with Indian PAC over remarks
Jets Intercept United Airlines Flight
DoD Finds Cruise Missile Defense 'Gaps'
New Expeditionary Warfare Device Approved

CENTCOM: News Releases













Commander stresses information access

Department of Defense
Positive Trend Seen in Baghdad - Story
For Top News Visit DefenseLink

Marines Give Insurgents No Time For Rest - Story
Chief Master Sgt. Praises Afghan Progress - Story
Iraqis Take Control of Baghdad Neighborhood - Story

Soldiers Complete Projects in Zafaraniya
Al Rasheed Renovation Nears Completion
Marine Artist Renders Fallen Iraqi Hero
Operation Combs Al-Doura Neighborhood

Security Forces ‘Fly Away’ to Support Mission
Training Academy Gets New Motorcycles

Medical Project Treats Villagers in Kenya

Uganda, U.S. Provide Humanitarian Assistance

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
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

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


Today in History
1787 - In Budapest, Jews are granted permission to pray in groups.
1846 - The U.S. acquires Los Angeles.
1863 - Federal batteries and ships bombard Fort Sumter, in South Carolina.
1870 - In Washington state, the first ascent of Mt. Rainier occurs.
1877 - Asaph Hall discovers the Martian moon Phobos.
1940 - F.D.R. and Canada's P.M. William M. King agree to a joint defense commission.
1942 - U.S. bombers stage their first independent raid on Europe, attacking Rouen, France.
1948 - Alger Hiss denies being a Communist agent.
1955 - Hurricane Diane, following hurricane Connie floods the Connecticut River, killing 190 and doing $1.8 billion worth of damage.
1958 - The world's first Lunar probe, the U.S.'s Thor-Able, explodes at T+77 seconds.
1959 - A 7.1 earthquake strikes Yellowstone National Park.
1960 - Francis Gary Powers' U-2 spy trial opens in Moscow; Gabon gains independence from France.
1961 - The Kennedy administration establishes the Alliance for Progress.
1962 - East German border guards shoot and kill Peter Fechter, 18, during his attempt to cross the Berlin Wall into the western sector.
1966 - Pioneer 7 is launched into a solar orbit.
1969 - Hurricane Camille claims more than 250 lives.
1970 - The U.S.S.R. launches Venera 7 for a soft landing on Venus.
1978 - The Eagle II makes the first manned balloon crossing of the Atlantic Ocean.

1786 - Davy Crockett, American frontiersman/adventurer/politician (killed at the Alamo)
1844 - King Menelik II of Ethiopia (1896-1913)
1870 - Frederick Russell, developer of the first successful typhoid fever vaccine
1876 - Eric Drummond, first Secretary-General of the League of Nations (1919-33)
1900 - Quincy Howe, newscaster (CBS Weekend News)
1905 - John Hay Whitney, publisher (NY Herald Tribune 1961-67)
1914 - Franklin D. Roosevelt, Jr., son of F.D.R. (Rep-NY, 1949-55)
1929 - Francis Gary Powers, USAF vet, American U-2 pilot (shot down / captured by U.S.S.R. in the 1959 U-2 incident)
1952 - Kathryn C. Thornton, Ph.D. / astronaut (STS 33, sk: 49)

1850 - Jos‚ Francisco de San Martin South American revolutionary hero, dies
1987 - Rudolph Hess Nazi, dies at 93, after 46 years in Spandau Prison
1988 - Franklin D Roosevelt Jr (Rep-D-NY, 1949-55), dies on 74th birthday
1988 - Mohammad Zia Ul-Haq pres of Pakistan (1978-88), dies at 63 in plane crash

Reported Missing in Action
Brand, Joseph William, USAF (IL); F105F shot down (pilot), remains returned by SRV September, 1977

Kemp, Freddie, US Army (NY); fell while crossing river, presumed Killed

Singer, Donald Maurice, USAF (PA); F105F shot down (electronic warfare officer), remains returned by SRV September, 1977

Dion, Laurent N., USN (RI); RA5C shot down, KIA, body not recovered

Hom, Charles David, USN (CA); RA5C shot down(w/Dion), KIA, body not recovered

Gartley, Markham L., USN (ME); F4B shot down (pilot), released September, 1972

Hoffson, Arthur T., USAF (TX); F4D shot down (navigator / bombadier, w/Powell), released by DRV March, 1973 - retired as a Colonel - alive and well as of 1998

Mayhew, William J., USN (WV); F4B shot down (w/Gartley) - records show remains were returned, but was released alive March, 1973

Powell, William E., USAF (TX); F4D shot down (pilot, w/Mayhew), remains returned December, 1985

Loepke, Malcolm "Buck," US Army; helicopter shot down by North Korea, held for 180 days (captured with three others; not noted in PMSEA) **Korean War Vet**

Wellons, Phillip Rogerson, USAF (NC); F4E shot down, KIA, body not recovered

Pitzen, John R., USN (IA); F4J shot down (pilot, w/Pender), remains recovered November, 1994 - ID'd March, 1996

Pender, Orland J., USN (RI); F4J shot down (radio intercept officer, w/Pitzen), remains recovered November, 1994 - ID'd March, 1996

Raebel, Dale V., USN (SD); A7A shot down, released by DRV March, 1973 - retired as a Captain - alive and well as of 1998