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Friday, September 15, 2006

Spangdahlem F-16 crashes

9/14/2006 - SPANGDAHLEM AIR BASE, Germany (AFPN) -- A 22nd Fighter Squadron F-16 Fighting Falcon crashed at 1 p.m. local time Sept. 14 near the town of Oberkail, about 10 miles north of this busy fighter base.

The pilot ejected safely and is in good condition, said Staff Sgt. Tammie Moore, a spokesperson for the 52nd Fighter Wing.

The aircraft was on a training mission. Initial reports show that the aircraft only damaged trees and the field on impact, Sergeant Moore said. The region of Germany where the base is located, known as the Eifel, is an area of rolling hills and wooded areas. The area also has many farms.

Emergency crews from the base and local German authorities, including firefighters, medical personnel and security forces, are on the scene. Air Force officials are working closely with their German counterparts at the scene. The first responders established a 5,000-foot cordon around the accident site.

Base officials said a board of Air Force officials will investigate the cause of the accident.

The fighter wing maintains, deploys and employs F-16 and A-10 Thunderbolt II ground attack aircraft. It supports U.S. Air Forces in Europe, U.S. European Command and NATO. The area of responsibility in which the unit operates reaches from the Arctic Circle to South Africa and from the eastern shore of the Atlantic Ocean to the Middle East.

Video: F-16 Crash

Related Fact Sheet: F-16 Fighting Falcon

Manas Air Base hosts Kyrgyz president
Col. Joel Reese, 376th Air Expeditionary Wing commander; Kurmanbek Bakiev, the president of Kyrgyzstan; and Marie Yovanovitch, U.S. Ambassador to the Kyrgyz Republic; pay tribute to the people who were killed during the terrorist attacks of 9/11. (U.S. Air Force photo/Jim Westfall)

Key Terror Leader Captured in Iraq; Security Focus in Baghdad Expands

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Sept. 14, 2006 – Iraqi and coalition forces captured a key al Qaeda operative and some 70 more terror suspects in Iraq during a series of 25 raids in and around Baghdad Sept. 12, a senior Multinational Force Iraq spokesman told reporters in Baghdad today.

The raids netted a personal associate of Abu Ayyoub al-Masri, Army Maj. Gen. William Caldwell said. Masri took control of al Qaeda in Iraq after a U.S.-led air strike killed Abu Musab al-Zarqawi in early June.

While not revealing the detainee’s name, Caldwell called him “the leader of assassination, kidnapping and IED (improvised explosive device) cells in Baghdad.” He “is known to have directly participated in numerous terrorist acts” and to have contributed to sectarian violence throughout the city, Caldwell said.

In addition, the detainee played a key operational role in terrorist activities leading up to and during operations in Fallujah in November 2004, he said.

The Sept. 12 raids, which also netted dozens of other terror suspects and multiple weapons caches, is part of an ongoing effort to help secure Baghdad during Operation Together Forward, Caldwell told reporters.

Iraqi and coalition forces have been focusing on five specific neighborhoods that were experiencing the most sectarian violence. During the past two weeks, more than 150 focused operations resulted in 66 terrorists killed and 830 terror suspects detained, Caldwell said.

The focus expanded today into the Shaab and Ur neighborhoods, he said.

This approach appears to be working in the focus areas, where violence is down, Caldwell said.

However, he acknowledged that violence in other parts of Baghdad experienced a “spike” yesterday and noted that terrorist death squads “are clearly targeting civilians outside the focus areas.”

“Overall, Baghdad’s level of sectarian violence has been reduced,” he said, “but remains above the levels of violence we saw before the Golden Mosque bombing in Samarra in late February.”

Iraqi and coalition forces are working together to help bring these levels down, particularly with Ramadan just 10 days away. “As we approach Ramadan, we know there is generally an increase in violence, and the government of Iraq has ongoing plans to address this,” Caldwell said.

Related Sites:
Multinational Force Iraq

San Diego (Sept. 13, 2006) - The amphibious assault ship USS Boxer (LHD 4) departs Naval Base San Diego on a scheduled Western Pacific deployment as part of Expeditionary Strike Group Five (ESG-5). ESG-5 is deploying in support of the global war on terrorism. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communications Specialist Seaman Kathleen Gorby

Bermel Troops Keep Extremists at Bay

Pfc. Benjamin Burton, Staff Sgt. Christopher Lumpiesz and Capt. Christopher Dye, soldiers from Forward Operating Bermel, inspect an enemy fighting position in the hills of the border region near Pakistan. U.S. Army photo by Maj. Ramon Becerra

Soldiers of the 10th Mountain Division encounter the enemy nearly everyday in their quest to secure the eastern part of Paktika Province.

By Air Force Senior Master Sgt. Kenneth Fidler
Combined Forces Command – Afghanistan public affairs

FORWARD OPERATING BASE BERMEL, Afghanistan, Sept. 14, 2006 — Spc. Jose Pantoja shows off the danger of his mission along the border region of eastern Afghanistan: a scar on his cheek from an enemy bullet.

During one of the longest firefights his company has encountered – nearly four hours long – three others sustained gunshot wounds, and nearly everyone took minor wounds from rocket propelled grenade shrapnel.

“One of our guys actually got shot in his helmet,” Pantoja said. “It knocked him down, but he got up and kept fighting.”

Engaging in firefights is almost daily life for the Coalition troops at Forward Operating Base Bermel, most attached to Bravo Company, 2nd Battalion, 87th Infantry Regiment, 10th Mountain Division. They keep enemy extremists at bay in this district in the eastern part of the Paktika Province, allowing Bermel to progress with reconstruction projects and establish a firm government.

The day after the fifth anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the United States, two platoons – about 40 to 50 troops – were on patrol in the hills near the Pakistan border.

“We’ve been in quite a few firefights, particularly in the border region,” said 1st Lt. Shawn Parnell, infantry rifle platoon leader. “They tend to be pretty violent, but we’re out here proud to do the job we’re doing.”

This day, the patrol did not encounter the enemy fighters, but the Company knew they were out there.

“The enemy puts observers on the hill,” said Spc. Colten Wallace of the rugged terrain they were patrolling. “When we go behind the ridgeline, they warn their guys and they set up ambushes for us. They get a good 30-minute warning that we’re coming.”

That’s why Bravo Company takes no chances. If a mission must take them beyond the ridgeline, their point of no return, they fire off mortars to flush out enemy fighters and make sure air support is on hand.

On a hilltop surveying the ground below, Capt. Jason Dye, company commander, said he believes enemy fighters are starting to establish small camps in the border region.

“Before, they maybe had 30 or 40 guys in this whole area,” he said. “Now, we’re estimating they probably have closer to 250. That’s Taliban, as far as I can tell, supported by foreign fighters.”

Parnell said this region is a major infiltration route for enemy fighters. Bravo Company’s long-term presence here is a critical factor in trying to keep out enemy extremists.

“This is a hotbed for insurgent activity,” he said. “The people here are really starting to get used to us. In the villages along the border here, it’s important to show them that we do care about them.”

He and his troops play a leading role in bringing security and stability to what was once an ungovernable region just more than a year ago when this base opened. By separating the enemy from the people of this district, Bravo Company’s mission allows reconstruction and governance to gain strength in one of the most impoverished areas of Afghanistan.

“We’ve only been in Afghanistan for five years, and we’re going to be here for the long haul,” Parnell said. “If me being here right now means my kids later on down the road won’t be here, then it’s worthwhile

U.S. Army Sgt. Derrick Martin, left, and Capt. Christopher Dye scan the ridgeline for enemy movement along the border region near Pakistan. Martin is an infantryman with Bravo Company, 2nd Battalion, 87th Infantry Regiment, 10th Mountain Division, assigned to Forward Operating Base Bermel. Dye is the company commander. U.S. Army photo by Maj. Ramon Becerra

PERIMETER WATCH — U.S. Army Spc. Marlon J.H. Graham, assigned to Alpha Company, 1st Battalion, 66th Armored Regiment, stands a perimeter watch as his team searches an ancient caravansary in Hana Qadim, Iraq, Sept. 8, 2006. The search is being conducted in order to assure that insurgents do not use the structure as a hiding place for weapons caches. U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Eli J. Medellin

In Today's News - Friday, September 15, 2006

Quote of the Day
"Above all, we must realize that no arsenal, or no weapon in the arsenals of the world, is so formidable as the will and moral courage of free men and women. It is a weapon our adversaries in today's world do not have."
-- Ronald Reagan

News of Note
Operation Iraqi Freedom
Iraqi Authorities Find 29 Bodies in Baghdad
Iraq war's signature wound: brain injury

Homeland Security / War on Terror
Yemen Authorities Foil Plot to Attack Two Oil Facilities
Africa key to Pentagon counterterrorism strategy
Al-Qaida joins Algerians against France
Air cargo faces tighter screening

Welcome Home!!
Kidnapped USAF Officer Returns to U.S.

Troops on Trial
Reprimand Suggested for Chaplain

Mid-East Ceasefire
Israel: Bombing of U.N. Post Due to Bad Maps
Letter from captive Israeli soldier given to family

Immigration / Border Control
Border Agent Pleads Guilty to Accepting Bribes
House OKs Fence Along U.S.-Mexico Border

Worldwide Wackos
Hugo Chavez Pledges Support for Iran, Cuba
Chavez: U.S. Denying Visas
North Korea warns South against joining US sanctions
N. Korea's Refusal to Talk Bolstered Allies

Politics / Government
GOP Officials: Ney to Plead Guilty
Ohio Republicans pick replacement for Rep. Ney
Ohio state senator seeks Ney's seat
Senate Panel OK's Bush-Opposed Detainee Bill
Ex-N.J. Gov. McGreevey Book Details Gay Life

Media in the Media
LA Times editor opposes more staff cuts

Mother Nature
Wildfires Scorch U.S. West
Lightning-sparked fires rage in Montana
Photo Essay: Raging Wildfires
Gordon downgraded to Category 2 Atlantic hurricane

Milan fashionistas fear Spanish skinny model ban
Cult enters bunkers though doomsday uneventful

Other News of Note
FDA Sends Warning Over Fresh Spinach (Damn...I love fresh spinach)

Fox News
Lawyer: FCC Ordered Media Study Destroyed
Official: Ford to Offer Buyouts to UAW Workers
Stocks to Watch: Adobe
Coach Guilty of Plot to Injure Autistic Player
More Charges in Group Sex Assault of 11-Year-Old
Interior Dept. Close to Deal to Fix Oil Royalties
Protesters Force Mexico Holiday Changes
Web Posting Hints Columbine Link in Montreal Shooting
Anna Nicole Smith Supports Probe of Son's Death

Reuters: Top News
Cult guru to hang for Tokyo subway gas attack
Wolfowitz defends graft plan - Video
Ohio Republicans pick replacement for Rep. Ney
Dying glaciers draw curious to Swiss Alpine peaks
Activists slam birth control for elephants in India
Microsoft touts wireless connection as iPod killer
Nintendo to debut console in November
After a century of struggle, a new monastery rises
Poor U.S. states among the fattest, survey finds
Lopez, Anthony celebrate salsa legend in "Cantante"
"Survivor" maven's big racial experiment a bust
Weak oil and gold weigh on resource stocks
Nikkei slips after government report
U.S. stock futures little changed before CPI
Oil holds near $63 on ample winter fuel stocks
Gold steadies after 3-month lows
Look at Europe to see the future
Supplier consolidation inevitable
Nintendo is dark horse in video game console war
Singapore activist ban "authoritarian": Wolfowitz
IMF sees growth risks
Scotiabank eyes Malaysia but denies bid

AP World News
Pakistan's parliament condemns Pope
Duane 'Dog' Chapman arrested in Hawaii
Twins pull within one game of 1st place
Report: Agents gave Reggie Bush gifts
Colo. worker wins transgender bias case
Slaton gets 195; No. 5 Mountaineers win
Surging Twins win; close in on first
Wie in bit of trouble at PGA's Lumber 84
Pa. woman missing 10 years sues city
Ill. train derailment prompts evacuation
Obituaries in the news
Michigan convict caught after 30 years
VA 'Retro Pay' Begins Tops 1,500 Blogs
Naval Academy Adopts new Drinking Policy
DoD Pushes Biobased Fuels
U.S. Military Takes Two Paths

CENTCOM: News Releases

Department of Defense
For Top News Visit DefenseLink

25th Infantry Assumes Responsibility for Ops - Story
Iraqi Police Department Recruits 67 Men-in-Blue - Story

Iraqi Army Reaffirms Faith in Future of Iraq
Marines Make Midnight Run to Aid Iraqi Girl
A Moment for Historical Reflection in Mosul
Airmen Deploy to Monitor Airspace, Battlefield
Soldiers, Civilians Hold 9-11 Memorial Race
Troops in Iraq Honor Victims of Sept. 11 Attacks
Quality of Life Projects Continue to Find Success
Officials Award Health-Care Clinic Contracts
Marines Work to Enhance Communications

Legacy of Fallen Citadel Graduate Lives On
Coalition Forces Deliver Cement to Afghan Village
Reconstruction Team Donates Prayer Rugs

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 Casualty - 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


Today in History
- The Mayflower departs from Plymouth, England with 102 pilgrims aboard.
1776 - British forces capture Kip's Bay, Manhattan.
1789 - The Department of Foreign Affairs is renamed the Department of State.
1821 - Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua gain independence.
1830 - In England, William Huskisson becomes the first to be run-over by a railroad train.
1862 - Stonewall Jackson takes Harpers Ferry.
1887 - Philadelphi celebrates the 100th anniversary of the U.S. Constitution.
1894 - Japan defeats China in the Battle of Ping Yang.
1904 - Wilbur Wright makes his first airplane flight.
1914 - The Battle of Aisne begins (Germany vs. France).
1916 - At the Battle of Flors, in France, the first tank is used in war ("Little Willies").
1917 - Russia is proclaimed a republic.
1931 - At Invergordion, the British naval force mutinies over pay.
1935 - The Nuremberg Laws deprive German Jews of citizenship, and make the swastika the official symbol of Nazi Germany.
1938 - British PM Chamberlain visits Hitler at Berchtesgarden.
1940 - The Tide turns in the Battle of Britain (The RAF beats the Luftwaffe).
1941 - Nazis kill 800 Jewish women at Shkudvil, Lithuania.
1947 - The first 4-engine jet-propelled fighter plane is tested in Columbus, OH.
1948 - An F-86 Sabre sets a world aircraft speed record of 1080 kph.
1949 - "The Lone Ranger" premiers on ABC-TV
1950 - U.N. forces land at Inchon, in southern Korea.
1952 - The U.N. turns Eritrea over to Ethiopia.
1959 - Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev arrives in the U.S. to begin a 13-day visit.
1963 - Four African-American children are killed in the bombing of a Black Baptist church in Birmingham, AL.
1965 - "Lost in Space" premiers on TV.
1966 - Gemini XI returns to Earth.
1968 - Zond-5 is launched; it will make the first lunar flyaround with an Earth reentry (it was a probable test flight for a manned fly-around, but Apollo 8 got there first).
1973 - "Star Trek-Animated" premiers on TV
1976 - Soyuz-22 carries two cosmonauts into an 8-day Earth orbit.
1981 - The U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee unanimously approves Justice Sandra Day O'Connor.
1982 - The first issue of "USA Today" is published by Gannett Co., Inc.; Israeli forces begin pouring into west Beirut.

- Trajan, 13th Roman emperor (98-117), conqueror of Ctesiphon.
1830 - Porfirio D¡az, soldier, president of Mexico (1877-1911)
1857 - William Howard Taft , 27th U.S. President (1909-13), chief justice
1876 - Frank E. Gannett, newspaper publisher (Gannett)
1881 - Ettore Arco Isidoro Bugatti, race car builder (Amaz Bugattis)
1890 - Dame Agatha Christie, mystery writer (Murder on the Orient Express)
1904 - King Umberto II of Italy (1946)
1913 - John Mitchell, Nixon's attorney general (went to jail)
1914 - Creighton Abrams, U.S. Army General (Vietnam War)
1929 - Murray Gell-Mann, physicist who predicted the existence of quarks
1941 - Miroslaw Hermaszewski, first Polish space traveler (Soyuz-30)
1946 - Oliver Stone, director (Wall St, Good Morning Vietnam, Platoon); Tommy Lee Jones, actor (Executioner's Song, Bloody Monday)
1984 - Prince Henry Charles Albert David of Wales, third in the line of British sucession

- Tommy Leonetti, singer/actor (Gomer Pyle USMC)
1982 - Sadegh Ghotbzadeh, Iran's former foreign minister, executed by Iran
1983 - Willie Bobo, jazz drummer (Cos)

Reported Missing in Action
Tice, Paul Douglas, USMC (NY); KIA, body not recovered