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Aviator Soars in Soldiers Celebrate 4th Inf. Div.

Cases Colors
Memories, Awarded Thanksgiving Across Iraq as Troops Deploy to Iraq
Second Highest Medal

Page 8 Page 24-25 Page 27

Volume II, Issue 1 Telling the MND-Baghdad Story Monday, Dec. 10, 2007

(Photo by Sgt. Robert Yde, 2nd BCT, 1st Cav. Div. Public Affairs)

A band plays Iraqi music as part of the Baghdad Day, celebra-

tion at Zawra Park to honor the history of the capital, Nov. 17.

Baghdad Day Celebrated

By Sgt. Robert Yde
(Photo by Sgt. 1st Class Kap Kim, 2nd BCT, 1st Cav. Div. Public Affairs) 2nd BCT, 1st Cav. Div. Public Affairs

Touring Western Baghdad BAGHDAD – For the first time in nearly four years, residents from
across Baghdad gathered together to honor their city’s heritage and cele-
Command Sgts. Maj. James Daniels (left), the senior noncommissioned officer with the
brate the once-annual holiday known simply as Baghdad Day, Nov. 17.
4th Squadron, 9th Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division and
Neil Ciotola, the Multi-National Corps – Iraq command sergeant major, hand out toys to The celebration, which was held at Zawra Park featured music and
children in a western Baghdad neighborhood Nov. 13. art native to the city, as well as displays depicting historical Iraqi dress,
traditions and occupations.
“From what I understand, it was done before the war and the last time
was before 2003, so this is a big day for them,” explained Capt. Amy
Senior Leaders Reflect on Operational Cronin, the special projects officer for the 15th Brigade Support
Battalion, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division.
Cronin, a Carlisle, Pa., native, and her unit have been providing sup-
Successes, Hope for Baghdad’s Future port to the Zawra Park complex, which includes the Baghdad Zoo, since
March, and were invited to take part in the festivities by the park’s direc-
By Master Sgt. Dave Larsen tor.
1st Cav. Div. Public Affairs “We asked them if they needed any help with security, and as far as
funding to get anything ready, but they did it all on their own,” she said.
CAMP LIBERTY, Iraq – One year, one month and The highlight of the morning was an address by the country’s Prime
four days. It will be 399 days that the 1st Cavalry Minister Nouri Al-Maliki.
Division conducted operations in the Iraqi capital as In his speech, Maliki emphasized that the citizens of Baghdad need
the Multi-National Division – Baghdad, when they to continue to work hard every day toward the goal of restoring Baghdad
turn the mission back over to the Fort Hood, Texas- to a peaceful city.
based 4th Infantry Division Dec. 19. He also promised the crowd more improvements to the city in the
With more than a year to review, senior leaders coming year, as Baghdad is slated to receive $800 million for reconstruc-
from the First Team were all hard-pressed to pick one tion projects in 2008.
(Photo by Spc. Charles D. Maib, 1st Cav. Div. Public Affairs)
single event as the crowning moment of the deploy- “I feel like this is history-making right now, especially with Maliki
An Iraqi vendor smiles as he waves away flies
ment, but they agree that the implementation of here,” Cronin said. “I think he had a great message to the folks out here.
from his stall at the Doura Market in southern
Operation Fardh Al-Qanoon (“enforcing the law”), He really urged the Iraqis to step up and work hard to take Baghdad back,
Baghdad’s Rashid District, Nov. 29.
which began in mid-February, and the surge of securi- and really his message was that it’s just in the hands of the Iraqis, so the
ty forces into Baghdad neighborhoods was a catalyst ence. It’s allowed us to get out into all parts of the city, harder they work the quicker they’re going to get Baghdad back.”
to the improved security situation in the Iraqi capital. to touch places where we really were unable to get to Even the youngest members of the crowd appreciated Maliki’s mes-
“We had the advantage of the surge, having two- before, and to influence not only the security situation sage. Ibrahim, an eight-year old boy, said he and his family came to
and-a-half brigades added to our force structure here,” there but also the Iraqi Security Forces who were Zawra Park to visit the zoo, but hearing Maliki’s speech was the most
said Maj. Gen. Joseph F. Fil Jr., the commanding gen- exciting part of the day.
eral of MND-B and the 1st Cav. Div., and a native of “I like the celebration here,” he said. “I hope for good things for
Portola Valley, Calif. “That has really made a differ- See Safer Page 4 Iraq.”
Page 2 Commentary Dec. 10, 2007

Honor, Valor, Fidelity Daily Make a World

of Difference:
Displayed by MND-B Troops
Next week, the colors of the 1st Cavalry talking things out with a friend. After surviv-
Sign up today with
Division will be cased at Camp Liberty, offi-
cially ending a 15-month-long deployment by
Pegasus 6
ing 15 months of conflict, we all owe it to our-
selves to take care of each other on the home
the Combined
First Team troops. On that same day, Maj.
Gen. Jeffrey Hammond will unfurl the colors
front, too.
Our families are our strength, and our
Federal Campain -
of the mighty 4th Infantry Division Maj. Gen. Family Readiness Groups have been instru- Overseas for a
(Mechanized), as our brothers and sisters Joseph F. Fil, mental in keeping the First Team Family
from Fort Hood, Texas take on the mantle Jr. informed and involved. The volunteer spirit chance to win:
again as the Multi-National Division – is alive and well in Central Texas, and we
Baghdad headquarters. member of MND-B gave of themselves to a should all be proud of the work done by the
Looking back, we can all be proud of the
accomplishments of MND-B during our time
of service supporting Operation Iraqi
noble cause greater than themselves. We are
all proud of the honor, value and fidelity that
our troops brought to the battlefield every
rear detachments and our own family mem-
bers to take care of each other.
We are the finest fighting force in the
1st Place:
Freedom. The Baghdad Security Plan,
Operation Fardh Al-Qanoon, brought in many
day. America is proud of you, and you should
all be very proud of yourselves as we head
world. We are proven warriors who have
faced the fires of enemy hatred and beaten it
2008 Harley-
fresh faces to the command and enabled us to home to our loved ones. back with a purposeful professionalism to Davidson Sportster
reach into Iraqi neighborhoods throughout the Your leaders watched over you and you bring peace to much of the Iraqi capital. We
capital city to weed out terrorists, extremists have watched over each other, as we faced a are winning, and we’re doing it because of the
and criminal militia while simultaneously determined, sometimes fanatical enemy here great Americans from every unit within
working with the law abiding area residents to
create a more peaceful and prosperous future.
in Baghdad. Your leaders will continue to
watch over you all with care and concern as
MND-B who made up the First Team these
past 15 months.
2nd Place:
Across the board, we’ve seen improve-
ments here in Baghdad. We can depart with
we head home and begin to reintegrate with
loved ones and the daily duties of garrison life
Whether your military career lasts for
three years or 30, you should look back on
Two Airline Tickets
the knowledge that we’re leaving Baghdad in again. Likewise, I ask that you continue to your accomplishments during your time here
better shape than we found it. Your nation watch over each other, as well. Even though in the Iraqi capital with great pride. You’ve
owes you, and your families, a debt of grati-
tude for the sacrifices and selfless service dur-
ing this period.
you’ve left the combat zone, the lives of your
battle buddies are every bit as precious in
worked side-by-side with our Iraqi and
Coalition partners to bring the hope of peace
and prosperity to the Iraqi people and dealt a
3rd Place:
Central Texas as they are in Central Iraq.
The successes we’ve seen here in Look out for one another, and seek help if blow to our enemies in the Global War on $1,000 Savings
Baghdad have not come without cost. Some Terrorism.
have made the ultimate sacrifice while others
needed. Help is available – whether it’s
through your first-line supervisor, the Army We are a great team; it’s our team; it’s the Bond
have a long road of recovery ahead. Every Onesource center, the chaplain’s office or just First Team! God bless and Godspeed.

Commanding General:
Maj. Gen. Joseph F. Fil, Jr.
Public Affairs Officer:
Lt. Col. Scott Bleichwehl
Command Information Supervisor:
Master Sgt. Dave Larsen
Editor: Sgt. Nicole Kojetin
Contributing Writers:.
Sgt 1st Class Kap Kim, Sgt. 1st
Class Robert Timmons, Sgt. 1st
Class Nicholas Conner, Sgt. 1st
Class Rick Emert, Staff Sgt. Jon
Cupp, Sgt. Mike Pryor, Sgt.
Robert Yde, Sgt. Serena
Hayden, Sgt. Nathan Hoskins,
Cpl. Ben Washburn, Spc. Alexis
Harrison, Spc. Ryan Stroud,
Spc. Jeffrey Ledesma, Spc.
Courtney Marulli, Spc. Elvyn
Nieves, Spc. Angel D. Martinez,
Spc. Shejal Pulivarti, Spc. Ben
Fox, Spc. Nathaniel Smith, Pfc.
April Campbell

Contact the Crossed Sabers at

VOIP 242-4093, DSN 318-847-
2855 or e-mail

The Crossed Sabers is an authorized

publication for members of the U.S.
Army. Contents of the Crossed Sabers
(Photo by Lt. Col. Scott Bleichwehl, MND-B PAO
are not necessarily official views of, or
endorsed by, the U.S. Government,
Department of Defense, Department of
Iraqis Discuss Essential Services
the Army or the 1st Cavalry Division. All
Media members crowd in for a press conference hosted by Ahmad Chalabi, special government appointee overseeing
editorial content of the Crossed Sabers is
prepared, edited, provided and approved
Baghdad essential services, local leaders and Iraqi Lt. Gen. Abud Qanbar, commanding general of the Baghdad
by 1st Cavalry Division Public Affairs
Operations Command, at the joint security station in Sab al Bor, Iraq, Nov. 17. Chalabi and area leaders from the town
Office. north of the Iraqi capital discussed the Iraqi government’s commitment to improve essential services at the meeting.
Dec. 10, 2007 News Page 3

101st Airborne’s Strike Brigade

Sends Dagger Brigade Homeward
By Sgt. James P. Hunter
2nd BCT, 101st Abn. Div. Public Affairs

CAMP LIBERTY, Iraq – The 2nd “Dagger”

Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, out of
Schweinfurt, Germany, handed over responsibility of
northwest Baghdad to the 2nd Brigade Combat Team,
101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), from Fort
Campbell, Ky., during a transfer of authority ceremo-
ny Nov. 17, at the Camp Liberty Field House.
“… It is with great humility, but with great confi-
dence in the abilities of the Strike Brigade Combat
Team, that I relinquish responsibility for Coalition
Force efforts in northwest Baghdad,” said Col. J.B. (Right to left) Foley, Ala., native Sgt. Stoney
Burton, commander, 2nd BCT, 1st Inf. Div. “We have Hall, Newport, Tenn., native Sgt. Cleveland
achieved the tasks that you put before us, but we leave Carr, Macon, Mo., native Sgt. Jesse Moore,
knowing that there is still much to do.” Phoenix native Sgt. Adam Hansen, and Fort
(Photo by Spc. Elvyn Nieves, 113th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment)
The Dagger Brigade helped transition a hostile Worth, Texas native Spc. Douglas Hale, per-
Soldiers of the 1st Cavalry Division and 138th Fires northwest Baghdad from a heavy, kinetic and costly form color guard duties during a transfer of
Brigade are inducted into the Order of St. Barbara in the fight to a secured population, rid of extremists, crimi- authority ceremony at the Camp Liberty Field
Al-Faw Palace at Camp Victory in western Baghdad, Nov. nals and terrorists, he said. Throughout their 15-month House in western Baghdad, Nov. 17. The 2nd
23. Due to St. Barbara’s association with lightning, she Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division
deployment, they played a vital role moving Iraqis into
has been invoked for protection against the dangers of handed over responsibility of northwestern
the political process and the formal reconstruction of
lightning and fire, and by association, she became the Baghdad to the Fort Campbell, Ky.-based 2nd
patron saint of artillerymen. More than 130 Soldiers and Baghdad and Iraq.
Burton said all Iraqis, regardless of sect or reli- Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne
guests attended the ceremony, where 21 new members Division during the ceremony. Members of the
were inducted into the Order of St. Barbara. gion, received equal municipal services, education,
opportunity and a total improved quality of life. Dagger Brigade return to their loved ones at
The Dagger Brigade capitalized “on the opportu- their home station in Schweinfurt, Germany

Soldiers Inducted into nities provided by the noble efforts and sacrifices of
Coalition Forces, Iraqi Security Forces and brave Iraqi
citizens who have delivered an opening for enduring
after a 15-month deployment.
in Germany, Col. William B. Hickman, commander of
the 2nd “Strike” BCT, 101st Abn. Div. (AASLT) said,

Order of St. Barbara victory and a future where Iraqis are not measured by
religious sect or special group affiliation,” Burton said.
“Our combined efforts have set the conditions neces-
“It is truly a great day to be a Strike Soldier and now a
part of the First Team serving in Multi-National
Division - Baghdad.”
By Spc. Elvyn Nieves sary for re-integration, reconciliation and reconstruc- The brigade redeployed from south Baghdad in
113th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment tion here.” September 2006 and spent the last 12 months prepar-
Though the day was a great one for the Dagger ing themselves for this deployment where they look to,
CAMP VICTORY, Iraq – The 1st Cavalry Division and the Soldiers, who will be returning home to their families through combined efforts, set the conditions for a
138th Fires Brigade, Kentucky Army National Guard, conducted a strong, prosperous Iraqi future.
traditional Saint Barbara’s induction ceremony at the Al-Faw Palace “We know this mission comes at a pivotal time
here, Nov. 23. and that our actions will make a lasting impact,”
More than 130 Soldiers and guests attended the ceremony, a Hickman continued. “I know our Soldiers and units
traditional among artillerymen, where 21 new members were are ready for the upcoming challenges and opportuni-
inducted into the Order of St. Barbara. The effects coordinator for ties to serve with the Iraqi Security Forces.”
Multi-National Corps –Iraq, Brig. Gen. Mark McDonald, was the As the Strike Brigade assumes responsibility of
guest speaker. operations in northwest Baghdad, they will have four
“We’re fighting a Global War on Terror,” said McDonald. combat-tested battalions, who have spent the last sev-
“Terrorists want to change the way we live. They don’t want your eral months conducting operations throughout north-
family to live free. Your efforts here are helping to keep our coun- west Baghdad, fighting by their side.
try free and families safe.” Joining the 2nd BCT, 101st Abn. Div., will be the
Two fallen Soldiers, Pvt. Sammie Phillips and Staff Sgt. 2nd Battalion, 12th Cavalry Regiment; 1st Battalion,
Delmar White, were posthumously inducted into the order and rec- 64th Armor Regiment; 1st Squadron, 5th Cavalry
ognized for their performance and commitment. Regiment; and the 2nd Battalion, 32nd Field Artillery
Due to Saint Barbara’s tie with lightning, she has been invoked Regiment.
for protection against the dangers of lightning and fire, and by asso- “Your efforts in this area, partnered with local
ciation, she became the patron saint of artillerymen. Iraqi leaders and citizens, has made a tremendous
impact and is receiving a great deal of attention
throughout the world,” Hickman said.
These battalions, alongside 1st Battalion, 502nd
(Photos by Sgt. James P. Hunter, 2nd BCT, 101st Abn. Div.) Infantry Regiment; 1st Squadron, 75th Cavalry
Honoring Our Fallen Heroes Col. William B. Hickman, commander of the
2nd “Strike” Brigade Combat Team, 101st
Regiment; 526th Brigade Support Battalion; and 2-
101 Brigade Special Troops Battalion are ready for the
Spc. Derek R. Banks, Sgt. Alfred G. Paredez, Airborne Division (Air Assault), speaks to mission, Hickman said.
Soldiers and distinguished guests at the “Finally, to the Soldiers of the Strike Brigade
107th EN, 35th Eng. Jr., 1-8 CAV, 2nd BCT,
transfer of authority ceremony in the Camp Combat Team – the next chapter in our distinguished
Brigade 2nd Inf. Div. history will be written in the next 15 months,”
Liberty Field House in western Baghdad, Nov.
17. Hickman’s Fort Campbell, Ky.-based Hickman said. “That history will start with the com-
2nd Lt. Peter H. Burks, Sgt. Joseph M. Vanek, brigade assumed responsibility for the secu- mitment to serve honorably with the Iraqi Security
4th Squadron, 2nd 2-325 IN, 2nd BCT, 82nd rity of northwestern Baghdad from the 2nd Forces for the Iraqi people. Maintain high standards
Stryker Cav. Regt. Abn. Div. “Dagger” Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry and discipline, and never stop learning. These things
Division, who returns to their loved ones at will make us successful. In time, we will look back
their home station in Schweinfurt, Germany. and see the results of our partnered efforts.”
Page 4 News Dec. 10, 2007

(Photo by Lt. Col. Scott Bleichwehl, MND-B PAO)

The streets fill with area residents at the Doura Market in southern Baghdad’s Rashid District, Nov. 29. In January, only a handful of shops were operating here.
Now, hundreds of vendors sell their wares in one of Baghdad’s busiest business districts.

Leaders Reflect on Successes, Hope for Baghdad’s Future

tremendous change in the security situation there,” said
Safer Hampton, Va., native Col. Bryan Roberts, commander of the
From Page 1 Black Jack Brigade. “It’s a great feeling. We came here to
standing up at the same time.” make a difference in the lives of the people of Baghdad.
Iraqis surge, too Everything is thriving. Statistically, there’s a drastic decline
It wasn’t just American troops flooding into Baghdad in enemy activity and the enemy strongholds in the area.
neighborhoods. The Iraqis sent in many more security forces There are physical, visual signs of progress. Everywhere you
to augment the surge into the capital city. go things are open and people are working.”
“Nine Iraqi Army battalions have surged into Baghdad,” Baghdad ‘Icons’
said Brig. Gen. John F. Campbell, the deputy commanding “If you haven’t addressed the things that are iconic,
general for maneuver of MND-B and the 1st Cav. Div. things that are recognizable to the population, then even
“That’s helped quite a bit.” when you have achieved security, there’s not a perception of
Additional troops, both Coalition and Iraqi, meant more security and the environment simply doesn’t change,”
interaction within Baghdad neighborhoods and with area res- Brooks said. He pointed to Al Haifa Street in central
idents. That daily presence has built trust, and alleviated the Baghdad, where extremists were pushed out and programs
(Photo by Spc. Charles D. Maib, 1st Cav. Div. Public Affairs) are in place to improve the area, bring in businesses and have
grip of fear terrorists and extremists held on the populace.
“They were intimidated by the people who were living Iraqi boys push a cart full of goods through the residents return to what was once a daily battle zone in early
among them,” Campbell said. “To win this counterinsur- busy Doura Market in southern Baghdad’s 2007.
gency fight, you’ve got to have the population on your side Rashid District, Nov. 29. “As we’ve changed the environment for the Iraqis, the
and the only way to do that is to live out there with them.” best I’ve seen it in 17 months,” Campbell concluded. Iraqis are the bigger part of the solution now, and I don’t just
That face-to-face daily dealing with the people has Environmental change = enhanced security? mean the security forces,” he continued. “The population,
proven successful. What comes first: security or infrastructure and eco- having been protected and having recognized that their great
“It’s worked because we’re down there with the people,” nomic improvements? While an improved security situation problem in the past and for the future would be the continued
said Campbell, a native of Fairfield, Calif. “Now that we’ve leads to the conditions for improving living conditions and presence of extremists of any ilk – extreme criminals,
been living inside the muhallas, the people see them there allowing businesses to flourish, Brig. Gen. Vincent K. extreme Shi’ite militiamen, extreme terrorists from Al Qaeda
every day. They get more comfortable with Iraqi Security Brooks, the deputy commanding general for support with and its affiliated movements. That’s the greatest threat and
Forces, more comfortable with the Coalition Forces. They MND-B and the First Team, said in some cases, security is they know that. They’ve tasted what happens when those
know we are going to be there when they need us.” enhanced by improving living conditions in Baghdad com- elements are pushed aside and that life can go on. They long
Concerned citizens, volunteer spirit munities and gaining the support of area residents. for the glory days of Baghdad, they really do.”
“The other thing that’s really helped out is the volun- “We’ve found that to be true, however, what is more One icon of Baghdad is the Abu Nuwas Market area on
teers, the concerned local citizen program that started out in important is to be able to use things like the delivery of serv- the eastern bank of the Tigris River. In years gone by, even
the west and moved into Baghdad,” Campbell said. Over ices to change to environment for the people,” said Brooks, before the Saddam Hussein regime, the area was a thriving
time, the volunteer spirit has moved across the Iraqi capital who hails from Alexandria, Va. “And as they begin to real- cultural, business and even tourist area.
and into every security district, he added. ize that someone is doing work on their behalf, especially On Nov. 24 Abu Nuwas Street held a grand reopening,
“The volunteers are coming out in droves,” Campbell once they recognize who is doing that work on their behalf, and Iraqis filled the streets to celebrate the rebirth of this
said. “They’re tired of the violence and they want to take it changes the environment and makes it less hospitable for Baghdad cultural landmark.
control of their own destiny.” terrorists, insurgents or other extremists to be able to hide in Sense of hope
Recruiting drives have been held throughout the city, plain sight among them.” Every senior leader stressed that there is still work to be
where volunteer candidates undergo mental and physical One of the major economic success stories of the First done in Baghdad. Yet, Brooks said that the gains made over
screening, determining if they can eventually join the Iraqi Team’s 15-month deployment is the revitalization of the the past year can be sustainable if the Iraqi people maintain
Police. Those recruiting drives have been extremely success- Doura Market in the southern Rashid District. Early on in the their resolve. That optimism was echoed by Fil.
ful. deployment, the area was patrolled by members of the 1st “Probably the most significant difference is the city is
“We have more volunteers now than we have police Cav. Div.’s 2nd “Black Jack” Brigade Combat Team. seeing much reduced violence, significantly improved condi-
(training) slots,” Campbell noted. The end-state for securing In January, only a handful of shops were open for busi- tions, not only for security but for the enabling of governance
Baghdad, Campbell said, is for the Iraqi Police to maintain the ness. Now, hundreds of vendors ply their wares in one of and setting the conditions for the economy to get started, as
peace in each neighborhood, like any other major metropolis. Baghdad’s busiest business districts. well,” Fil said. “There’s a sense of hope here now among the
“We’re not there, yet, but the security situation is the “What I have seen from November until now is a people that is paying off.”
Dec. 10, 2007 Ironhorse Page 5

(Photo by Spc. Shejal Pulivarti, 1st BCT, 1st Cav. Div. Public Affairs)

Henning, Tenn., native Navy Capt. John Dillender (right),

economics and industrial advisor for Baghdad 5 Embedded
(U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. William Greer) Provincial Reconstruction Team, which operates north of
Sheik Hassan Al Sudany (left), a representative for Grand Ayatollah Sistani; Iraqi Army Lt. the Iraqi capital with the 1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st
Gen. Abud Qanbar (center), commander, Baghdad Operations Command, and Dr. Ahmed Cavalry Division, and a furniture factory employee discuss
Challabi, Operation Fahrd Al Qanoon services committee chairman address questions about the 200 pieces ordered from the State Company for
essential services from citizens in a town hall-type meeting in Sab Al Bor, Iraq Nov. 17. Furniture Industry-Baghdad near Taji, Iraq Nov. 11. The fur-
nishings will be delivered to local schools.

Officials Meet in Sab Al Bor Furniture Factory Fills

By Staff Sgt. Jon Cupp
1st BCT, 1st Cav. Div. Public Affairs
water pumping station and another local school.
Over the course of the event, some of the main
topics for discussion included the improvement of
First Order in Two Years
CAMP TAJI, Iraq – Senior leader of the Iraqi essential services and public works in order to entice By Spc. Shejal Pulivarti
Army along with Government of Iraq officials from displaced citizens to move back into their residences 1st BCT, 1st Cav. Div. Public Affairs
eight ministries; Sunni and Shia tribal sheiks and and the city. In addition, the government officials
other leaders met with the people of Sab Al Bor, Iraq looked at the way ahead for bringing jobs into the CAMP TAJI, Iraq –The State Company for Furniture Industry-
Nov. 17 to discuss and highlight resettlement initia- area; fixing roads; the hiring of doctors and nurses to Baghdad, located near Taji, Iraq, filled its first furniture order in almost
tives and progress as a result of sustained security staff medical clinics; hiring certified teachers for two years.
throughout the city. local schools; creating new systems to collect and The Baghdad 5 Embedded Provincial Team attached to the 1st
Iraqi Army Lt. Gen. Abud Qanbar, commander, control trash and sewage and efforts to provide drink- “Ironhorse” Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division purchased
Baghdad Operations Command; Dr. Ahmed Challabi, ing water—which is in short supply—to the city’s and picked up 200 pieces of furniture from the factory with the facili-
Operation Fahrd Al Qanoon services committee residents. tation assistance of Comanche Troop, 1st Squadron, 7th Cavalry
chairman; Saabar Nabact Al Asaway, deputy gover- Lt. Gen. Qanbar said that since his last visit to Regiment, Nov. 11.
nor of Baghdad; Ahmed Abdul Ameer Abd, the the area, security in the region has increased which The workers excitedly showcased their finished pieces of decora-
deputy Minister of Oil; Maeen Al Kathamy, Head of has allowed for a more stable environment. tive furnishings. The plant manager stated that they have come along
the Provincial Council; and Maj. Gen. Wajih “The people of Sab Al Bor will return to their way, but there is much work to be completed before the plant is again
Hameed, Kharkh area commander were a few of the homes as long as this continues,” Qanbar added. “In fully operational.
guests and speakers. Other guests at the meeting order for the people to stay and the city to prosper, The primary economic activity in Iraq is agrarian based. Coalition
included sheik Hassan Al Sudany, a representative essential services and public works must be Forces assessed 27 former state-owned enterprises and the 1st BCT
from the Grand Ayatollah Sistani—the most promi- improved..” partnered with EPRT is working to restart seven of them based on their
nent religious Shia leader in Iraq, and deputy minis- Dr. Challabi of the OFAQ services committee regional economic impact; one of which is the furniture factory. To get
ters and representatives from the Ministries of who served as the keynote speaker during the event the factory started, the brigade recently bought 50 pieces of four dif-
Health, Housing, Education, Commerce, Interior for said he was very receptive to the concerns of the cit- ferent styles of furniture.
Police Affairs, Municipalities, and Agriculture. izens and looked forward to finding ways to help “This furniture factory when fully functioning employs 250 peo-
Local city council leaders and sheiks hosted the them with the problems they face due to the lack of ple, but only a minimal staff remained over the years,” said Henning,
event while Multi-National Division-Baghdad senior essential services in the city. Tenn., native Navy Capt. John Dillender, the economics and industrial
leaders from the 1st “Ironhorse” Brigade Combat After receiving a list of issues which are in need advisor for Baghdad 5 EPRT. “The emphasis on security enabled
Team, 1st Cavalry Division and members of the of attention in the area, Challabi agreed to sign a approximately 30 workers in total to be employed now.
brigade’s Embedded Provincial Reconstruction series of promissory notes to ensure that the city is “We had a contract with them and it provided increased opportu-
Team, Baghdad EPRT 5, were on hand to assist in allocated the resources it needs from the Iraqi gov- nities in employments as well as an immediate cash infusion to the sur-
facilitating the meeting. ernment to improve essential services and bring jobs rounding area which in return allows the factory to operate,” Dillender
The event began at a joint security station (JSS) to the area. said. “Over time, with the improvements in the area, we expect more
where U.S. and Iraqi press engaged in a question and Challabi also directed Sab Al Bor’s city manag- locals to return home and reestablish more businesses transitioning
answer session with the government panel and a town er to hire a work brigade of 500 to 1,000 local citi- back to normalcy. We like to see people working, having jobs and
hall-type meeting allowed local concerned citizens of zens within each district to pave the roads and to help helping the economy.”
the city to express their concerns on essential servic- resource jobs for the city. The furniture currently being stored at a nearby combat outpost is
es and other issues. Brig. Gen. John F. Campbell, Multi-National planned to be distributed between schools, government buildings and
Once the town hall meeting closed, the govern- Division-Baghdad’s deputy commanding general for micro-finance loan offices located in the Taji region, Dillender said.
ment leaders, Iraqi Army officials and tribal sheiks maneuver, concluded the event, addressing the coun- Recent reconciliation efforts have provided a safer and more
walked the streets of the city to tour a local medical cil members and government officials about the ‘irre- secure area enabling the Ironhorse Brigade to shift from their primary
clinic and discuss shortfalls and challenges facing the versible momentum’ in the initiative of resettlement focus of security to providing vital services, rebuilding and assisting
public health system. From there, the leaders traveled and progress in essential services in Sab Al Bor and the Iraqi-led communities to become self-sustaining.
to the Al Balquis school where they met with local Iraq as a whole, while also stressing the importance “There is great support and enthusiasm from the populace as they
educators. of collaboration and partnership between the local want safety, prosperity and a chance for a better life,” said
After returning to the JSS, the leaders dined council members and Iraq’s ministerial representa- Jacksonville, Fla., native Tom Burke, team leader of Baghdad 5 EPRT.
together and talked about plans of action to restore tives. “More are looking for small business opportunities, public works proj-
essential services. “This has to be a joint effort but, ultimately, an ects or going back to farming and agricultural production.”
The government officials then visited a local Iraqi solution,” said Campbell in his closing remarks.
Page 6 Ironhorse Dec. 10, 2007

Reconstruction Team Works

to Improve Iraqi Agriculture
By Spc. Shejal Pulivarti
1st BCT, 1st Cav. Div. Public Affairs

CAMP TAJI, Iraq –The Baghdad 5

Embedded Provincial Reconstruction Team,
attached to the 1st “Ironhorse” Brigade
Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, is closely
coordinating with the Inma (growth in Arabic)
Agribusiness Program, to work with Iraqi
farmers in the region here.
The U.S. Agency for International
Development recently awarded the contract for (Photo by Tech. Sgt. William Greer, Combat Camera)

the Inma Agribusiness Program in Iraq to A sheik meets with Edgar Ariza-Nino
Louis Berger Group, Inc. to work with the gov- (center) and Robert Dose (right), Inma
ernment of Iraq to support the development of Agribusiness Program coordinators
agribusinesses and agricultural markets. during a market tour in Taji, Iraq, Nov. 27.
The group, consisting of livestock, pro- the product starting at the producer, follow it
(Photo by Staff Sgt. Jon Cupp, 1st BCT, 1st Cav. Div. Public Affairs) duce and irrigation experts toured the entire through the process it takes to make it usable
Ironhorse Brigade’s area of operations Nov. and all the way to the market,” said Curtis,

Field Artillery History on Display 27, scouting promising farming areas and
developing ways for farmers here to maximize
their overall productivity by improving the
who hails from Pocatello, Idaho. “We identify
and isolate the weak chain in the process and
make improvements.”
Hopedale, Mass. native Pvt. Shaun Connor, a field artilleryman with
Battery A, 1st Battalion, 82nd Field Artillery Regiment, 1st Brigade agriculture business. The program was established to help the
Combat Team, paints an M2A2 105mm Howitzer on Camp Taji, Iraq Nov. “It’s to help build important relationships economy grow and become self-sustaining.
13. The Korean War-era field artillery piece is one of many vintage between farmers, agribusiness, financial serv- “The project is going to stimulate and
pieces which units have on display outside their unit buildings on the ices, and domestic and international markets,” support private agriculture and businesses. We
base camp. With just a couple of months left to go until the unit's return said Ronald Curtis, the USAID agriculture buy from Iraqi farmers and sell to Iraqi mar-
to Fort Hood, Texas, Battery A has been working to get their unit area advisor and program manager for the Inma kets, providing more profit and employment
ready for their replacements who arrive sometime early next year. project, explaining one of the project’s goals. for the region,” Curtis said. “The Iraqi busi-
“It’s assessed by value chains, we track ness people want to expand and grow.”

Cavalry Troops Reflect on Kennedy Assassination 44 Years Later

By Staff Sgt. Jon Cupp the event was quite unusual for the times.
1st BCT, 1st Cav. Div. Public Affairs “It was all you had on TV no matter where you went,” he said.
Although throughout American history, the nation has
CAMP TAJI, Iraq – Although most Americans’ thoughts faced many challenges and still managed to soar to greater
turned to giving thanks and eating turkey this Nov. 22, the heights, there are few events that can equal the Kennedy
date also marked the 44th anniversary of the assassination of assassination in relation to the way it changed the country,
President John F. Kennedy in Dallas-- an event that a few stated Dillender.
members attached to the 1st “Ironhorse” Brigade Combat “The next nation-wide event like that was 9-11 and noth-
Team, 1st Cavalry Division still remember well. ing else has been on par with that,” Dillender said, explain-
Most Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines serving ing that the death of such a young president who had success-
today, are too young to remember or weren’t even born yet that fully faced down the communist threat during the Cuban
fateful day that the “young president’s untimely death marked Missile crisis of 1962 and then been tragically killed came as
a psychological blow to the vitality of the nation,” according a huge shock to the American psyche.
to Navy Capt. John Dillender, an economics and industrial (Photo by Staff Sgt. Jon Cupp, 1st BCT, 1st Cav. Div. Public Affairs) Each of those who remembered Kennedy’s assassination
advisor with the Embedded Provincial Reconstruction Team Lt. Col. Harvey Fitzgerald (left), senior agri-business had their own take on the historical significance of the former
Baghdad 5, attached to the 1st BCT, 1st Cav. Div., who recalls advisor for the 1st “Ironhorse” Brigade Combat president.
exactly where he was and what transpired. Team, 1st Cavalry Division’s Embedded Provincial “What’s often lost was that he was a fierce cold warrior
It was a typical fall day in St. Louis said Dillender, who Reconstruction Team (EPRT Baghdad 5) and Navy and a fierce anti-communist,” said Marano. “People tend to
was a fourth grader at the time, staring out the large double Capt. John Dillender, economics and industrial forget that and it’s almost lost from his legacy.”
hung windows of his elementary school when the school’s advisor also with EPRT Baghdad 5, share in a dis- “As someone who has learned most of what I know of
cussion, about the assassination of President John Kennedy as an adult, I think he offered a chance for the coun-
public address system announced the president had been shot
F. Kennedy, at Camp Taji, Iraq Nov. 22. try to have the driving force to confront such things as racism
in Dallas. The few televisions available were rolled from
classroom to classroom by the teachers. borrowed his mother’s car later in the day to go to the drug- and equal rights,” said Fitzgerald. “He was thrown into it like
“The teachers were in a buzz, and believe it or not, I store where he was employed. But sometime after hearing the Lincoln was with the Civil War, but I don’t think anyone else
remember discussions of who had done it and who was news, he was so upset he forgot to bring the car back home. at the time would have been as well-equipped to address the
behind it,” said Dillender, who calls Henning, Tennessee Lt. Col. Harvey Fitzgerald, a senior agri-business advi- challenges of integration.”
home. “We were taking a civics class and were just learning sor for EPRT Baghdad 5, who hails from Hermosa, S.D., the Looking back at his childhood, Dillender said that
about government so our fourth grade gasps were from the memories consist of being a youngster who was upset that Kennedy gave many kids a dream deeply rooted in the pio-
way a child sees something. It was a kid’s reaction of look- all the scheduled television programs he wanted to watch had neering spirit of America and the promise of a bright future.
ing to an adult as if to say ‘how should I react.’” been interrupted. “Aviation and space were high on our ideas of the future
For Dr. Louis Marano, an anthropologist with the 1st “My next memory was of the funeral and seeing the and the mood of the kids in those days was akin to the movie
BCT’s human terrain team, now 64, the event was seen Kennedy children—John and Caroline—and seeing John October Sky,” said Dillender, citing the example of a film
through the eyes of a young adult. who was not much younger than I was, salute and thinking depicting the true story of students from West Virginia in the
As a 20-year old college student at the Canisius College, that his coat was too short,” added Fitzgerald. late 1950s who became interested in school science projects
a Jesuits school, in Buffalo, N.Y., Marano had taken his In the early 1960’s there were only three television net- in the form of rocketry. “So as kids, we were in tune with the
morning classes and was relaxing on his bed prior to going to works which were on the VHF television dial with a few president’s vision of going to the moon. It was in the comics
work when his mother ran upstairs to his room crying. local stations offered on UHF and there were no cable news we read and in our dreams and aspirations, we wanted to be
“She said the President’s been shot,” said Marano, who networks. According to Dillender, the television coverage of astronauts.”
Dec. 10, 2007 Ironhorse Page 7

Centurions Hold First Silver Spur Ride

By Spc. Shejal Pulivarti through the challenge,” said Freeman, a
1st BCT, 1st Cav. Div. Public Affairs Queens, N.Y. native.
During the process, the shave-tails strip
CAMP TAJI, Iraq – The tradition of hav- their uniform of rank indicating that every-
ing to “earn your spurs” reaches back to the one is on the same level through the chal-
beginning of the cavalry. lenge and enabling anyone, regardless of
The 1st “Centurion” Brigade Special rank, to be the leader.
Troops Battalion, 1st Brigade Combat Team, “It showed me leadership from different
1st Cavalry Division held their first silver Soldiers, ones you normally wouldn’t think
spur ride here, Nov. 24. would step up, stood up and took charge of
The spur ride is a two-day event where certain events,” said Freeman.
the candidates, referred to as shave-tails, are “The spur ride is a leader development
tested on warrior knowledge through a writ- program,” said Kammerer. “The whole
ten exam as well as practical exercises in the event builds unit cohesion and team build-
field to earn their silver spurs. ing.”
The shave-tails maneuvered through an After completing an event in the obsta-
obstacle course consisting of several differ- cle course, Pfc. Trentis Johnson an adminis-
ent events that enforced teamwork and strate- trative specialist for Headquarters and
gic thinking for the assessment phase. Headquarters Company, 1st BSTB, noticed a
“We all get to work together as a team common trend in the various stations.
and do the different obstacles and events,” “It’s all based on team work,” the
said Sgt. Alicia Freeman, combat ground sta- Tiffton, Ga., native said.
(Photo by Spc. Shejal Pulivarti, 1st BCT, 1st Cav. Div. Public Affairs) The shave-tails pushed their mind and
tion noncommissioned officer in charge,
Company A, 1st BSTB, 1st BCT, 1st Cav. 1st Sgt. Travis Scott, the senior noncommissioned officer with Company B, 1st body to the limit to be awarded the tradition-
Div. “Centurion” Brigade Special Troops Battalion, hands a cinder block to Spc. al silver spurs worn on combat boots by cav-
“The actual spur challenge is a 13-mile Jamie Kendrick, a human resources specialist for Headquarters and alry units.
ruck march that has various warrior skills Headquarters Troop, who hails from Hawthorne, Calif., during the obstacle “I wanted to surpass the standard and
tasks to accomplish,” said Justin, Texas course on the Centurions’ first silver spur ride at Camp Taji, Iraq, Nov. 24. achieve new goals,” said Hawthorne,
native Capt Brian Kammerer, commander, nications,” he added. didates, all varying in rank, experience and Calif., native Spc. Jamie Kendrick, a
Company B, 1st BSTB, 1st BCT, 1st Cav. The spur challenge had different stations job skills. human resources specialist for
Div. along the 13-mile march that the teams had “The spur ride showed me that we could Headquarters and Headquarters Troop, 1st
“It tests their tactical and technical to reach, approach tactically and successful- work together – all the different jobs – and BCT, 1st Cav. Div.
knowledge on weapons, (improvised explo- ly complete the task assigned there. we all have different knowledge and skills “I’ll get to wear the silver spur, that’s my
sive devices), first aid, logistics and commu- The teams consisted of six to eight can- and we all put all of that together and work motivation,” said Freeman.

Stryker Brigade Shows Appreciation for Dragon Fires to the enemy, the 4th SBCT was able to greatly decrease the
By Staff Sgt. Jon Cupp
1st BCT, 1st Cav. Div. Public Affairs number of attacks against Coalition Forces, Iraqi Security
Forces and the civilian populace.
CAMP TAJI, Iraq – As people in the U.S. prepare to give Lehr’s brigade, which now has only one battalion on
thanks during Thanksgiving Day celebrations later this Camp Taji, operates mainly in northern Baghdad.
month, senior leaders from the 4th Stryker “Raider” Brigade After Lehr spoke, the brigade’s command sergeant
Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division showed their apprecia- major, Troxtell, also commended the efforts of the Dragon
tion in a different way and a little earlier in November with a battalion.
visit to see their fellow Soldiers in the 1st “Dragon” “We are now doing graduate level counterinsurgency
Battalion, 82nd Field Artillery Regiment of the 1st operations, and we are rewriting doctrine,” said Troxtell.
“Ironhorse” Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division “You helped us to separate the insurgents from their base of
here. support, and we thank you for all you do.”
Dover, Pa., native Col. Jon Lehr, commander, 4th SBCT, Once they were done speaking, Lehr and Troxtell pre-
2nd Inf. Div., Command Sgt. Maj. John Troxtell, the 4th sented signed and framed 4th SBCT posters to the 1-82 lead-
Stryker Brigade’s senior noncommissioned officer, along ership and leadership from Batteries A and B.
with some of the brigade’s staff took the time Nov. 13 to rec- “We are very humbled by this,” said Lt. Col. Martin
(Photo by Staff Sgt. Jon Cupp, 1st BCT, 1st Cav. Div. Public Affairs)
ognize the 1-82 Dragons for their firing of field artillery in Clausen, commander, 1st Bn., 82nd FA Regt. during the cer-
Dover, Pa., native Col. Jon Lehr (center), command- emony.
support of the Raider Brigade’s Soldiers, many of whom
er, 4th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Although Clausen said few words during the ceremony,
were once based out of Camp Taji with the majority now at
Division presents a 4th SBCT poster to 1st
Camp Warhorse. he preferred to let his Soldiers express what the 4th SBCT
Battalion, 82nd Field Artillery senior leaders, San
Batteries A and B of the 1st Bn., 82nd FA Regt. have visit meant to them.
Diego native Lt. Col. Martin Clausen (left), 1-82
fired nearly 6, 300 rounds from their M109A6 Paladin commander, and Command Sgt. Maj. Mike Giles, “I feel very privileged and it’s an honor to shoot for
Howitzers over the course of Operation Iraqi Freedom the unit’s senior noncommissioned officer, who them,” said Spc. Brett Snauffer, who works in the 1-82 fire
Rotation 06-08 and 31 percent of their fires, more than 2,000 hails from Omaha, Neb., during a ceremony on support center and hails from Williamsburg, Pa. “That they
rounds, were fired in combat missions in support of the 4th Camp Taji, Iraq Nov. 13. recognized us really means a lot and so does knowing that
SBCT, 2nd Inf. Div. who operated in villages near Taji such we’re saving lives.”
as Tarmiyah. some fire support for the 4th SBCT, Lehr added that his “It’s awesome that we’ve had enough of an effect for
“It gives me a good feeling and means a lot to me to be brigade was “more able to get their area of operations under them to come down and recognize us and that makes me real-
able to recognize these warriors,” said Lehr, addressing the control” and that in the beginning of their tour the 4th SBCT ly proud,” said Aurora, Colo. native Spc. Chris Harris, who
Dragon troops. “How many lives have you saved through faced a “very strong fight” against insurgents. also works in the fire support center.
your terrain denial and counterfire? You may never really “We were having about 200 contacts per week to include After the ceremony, Troxtell presented the battalion with
know, but I guarantee that you saved a lot of Raider lives with both (improvised explosive devices) and direct fires,” said some coins that he brought so the Dragon battalion could
your actions. We are ever beholden of you and you have been Lehr, also noting that with assistance from 1-82, air asset place them on the 1st Cavalry Division’s Operation Iraqi
on time, on target.” support from the 1st Air Cavalry Brigade, recent reconcilia- Freedom Memorial at Fort Hood, Texas once they return
For nearly seven months, with the Dragons providing tion efforts and his Soldier’s determination to take the fight home from their current deployment.
Page 8 Black Jack Dec. 10, 2007

Models Show Off Latest to

Fashion-Starved Troops
By Sgt. 1st Class Kap Kim Duck and Capt. Ebony Thomas, introduced all 18 models
2nd BCT, 1st Cav. Div. Public Affairs through three different wardrobe changes. Each model was
tasked with choosing two outfits they had to buy and anoth-
FORWARD OPERATING BASE PROSPERITY, Iraq – er they had to make from local purchases. The project had a
After months of preparation and waiting for Internet-ordered behind-the-scenes crew of more than 30 Soldiers who helped
outfits and accessories to be delivered, the Black Jack build the catwalk, served as hair and make-up artists, disc
Runway cast and crew finally put on their highly anticipated jockey and set coordinators.
performance on in front of a standing-room-only audience at In between outfit changes, there were musical perform-
the Black Jack Bistro Dining Facility here, Nov. 22. ances from the Haifa Street Project Band, Black Jack Idol
“I want [people] to come to the show and feel like they winner, Pfc. Daniel Jens of 3rd Battalion, 82nd Field
have transported themselves into a location unknown – other Artillery Regiment, and 15th Brigade Support Battalion’s
than Iraq, and have a good time,” said Wichita Falls, Texas Spc. Marco Sanchez.
Capt. Courtney Gary, the assistant logistics officer for 2nd For one of the models, Staff Sgt. Pejetta Thomas, getting
Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division. “I think this is the chance to showcase her modeling talent was simply
important because one: it’s the holidays, and we don’t get to “fun,” but getting to feel like a lady was the best part.
spend it at home with our families … so spending it with our “It’s like getting ready for a wedding,” said the brigade’s
extended families in a good environment, I think that makes mailroom noncommissioned officer-in-charge. “I get to put
it a big deal.” on clothes and act like a lady. We wear boots every day.
The master and mistress of ceremony, Maj. Michael [With this] we get to shave our legs and act like a lady for a
According to one of the models, Maj. Latisha Wayne,
who is a 2nd BCT Plans officer, the night was supposed to
not only satisfy that, but also to showcase some of the fash-
ion trends the Soldiers may be unaware of after their 15-
month deployment.
“A lot of us have put a lot of time and money as far as
buying outfits – trying to make sure we have something to
show all the Soldiers here what we are going to wear when
we get back to the states,” said the Chicago native.
Capt. Tev Skinner, HHC, 15th BSB’s Supply and
Services officer from Washington D.C., said he decided to be
a model simply because he was asked to by the event’s coor- (Photos by Sgt. 1st Class Kap Kim, 2nd BCT, 1st Cav. Div. Public Affairs)
dinators. Capt. Courtney Gary, from Headquarters and
Sgt. 1st Class DaShawn Jefferson, Headquarters “I never thought I’d be doing this,” he said. “Hey, I just Headquarters Company, 2nd Brigade Combat
and Headquarters Company, 2nd Brigade Combat will go out and have a good time.” Team, 1st Cavalry Division, takes her turn on the
Team, applies her make-up before the Black Jack The show proved to be successful, with audience mem- catwalk during the Black Jack Runway at the Black
Runway performance Forward Operating Base bers such as Col. Bryan Roberts, the 2nd BCT commander, Jack Bistro Dining Facility at Forward Operating
Prosperity in central Baghdad, Nov. 22 calling the show was “fantastic.” Base Prosperity in central Baghdad, Nov. 22.

Cavalry “Gamblers” Awarded Their Gold Combat Spurs spurs because the combination of the inexpe-
By Sgt. Robert Yde
2nd BCT, 1st Cav. Div. Public Affairs rience on horseback and the use of the spurs
was seen as a recipe for trouble. Over time,
FORWARD OPERATING BASE though, as the trooper proved his proficiency
PROSPERITY, Iraq – Soldiers from the 15th with both his horse and saber, he was award-
Brigade Support Battalion, 2nd Brigade ed his spurs.
Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division have Today’s troopers can be awarded two
recently been taking part in one of the caval- types of spurs. Silver spurs are awarded for
ry’s oldest traditions: receiving spurs for general military proficiency, which is usual-
service in combat. ly demonstrated by the Soldier in a series of
Over the last week of November, each of events known as a ‘Spur Ride.’ Gold spurs
“Gamblers” four companies has held sepa- are earned after a cavalry Soldier proves his
rate ceremony during which their Soldiers or herself in combat, and are usually award-
received combat spurs. For a majority of the ed toward the end of a Cav unit’s deploy-
battalion’s Soldiers, this has been their first ment.
deployment with the First Team and the first “You feel like you’re officially part of
set of spurs they have earned. the Cav. now,” said Spc. Brittany Greene, an
(Photo by Sgt. Robert Yde, 2nd BCT, 1st Cav. Div. Public Affairs)
“As far as I know, it’s a rite of passage automations specialist with Headquarters
and an accomplishment,” said Spc. Jadon Maj. Dale Farrand (left), the executive officer for the 15th Brigade Support Company after receiving her spurs. “The
Cagle, a medic with the battalion comman- Battalion, and the battalion commander, Lt. Col. Jeffrey Vieira, strap on a pair 15th is the first unit I’ve been in, so every-
der’s personal security detail, who received of gold combat spurs to the boots of one of their Soldiers during an awards thing I know about the Army is about being
his gold combat spurs Nov. 27. “It means ceremony at Forward Operating Base Prosperity in central Baghdad, Nov. 27. in the 1st Cav., and it’s a good feeling to get
we’ve accomplished nearly 15 long months a tradition unique to cavalry units and dates a shaved tail and during mounted formations your spurs. You feel like you’re getting that
here, and it’s a long-standing tradition. I’m back to the beginnings of the cavalry. the shaved tail horses were given extra space welcome in. You feel like you can wear your
proud to have received mine, as well.” When new troopers first arrived to a to account for their rider’s inexperience. Stetson now with pride, because you can
The act of awarding spurs to Soldiers is cavalry unit they were assigned a horse with New troopers were not allowed to wear wear your spurs with them.’”
Dec. 10, 2007 Black Jack Page 9

Police Show Integrity, Sense of Duty

By Spc. Alexis Harrison they could have done."
2nd BCT,1st Cav. Div. Public Affairs Vetter is one of many military policemen to work inside
the facility performing one of the numerous tasks that come
FORWARD OPERATING BASE PROSPERITY, Iraq – with running and maintaining a facility capable of handling
For a little more than a year now, Soldiers from Headquarters so many detainees from so many units. He is currently in
and Headquarters Company, 2nd Brigade Special Troops charge of cataloguing personal possessions of detainees such
Battalion, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, as clothing, identification cards and money they might have
have been operating and maintaining the detainee holding on their persons when brought to the holding facility.
facility here in the center of Baghdad. According to managers of the facility, it's meant to sup-
Keeping the facility manned at all times has been just port one brigade-sized element, but it's actually been sup-
one of many small challenges the platoon has dealt with dur- porting three brigades with a unique blend of both military
ing their deployment. police and other Soldiers from the Spartan Battalion.
"This is a 24-hour operation," said Sgt. Raymond Payne, Despite the challenges, Parker said portions of the facil-
one of the shift managers on the main floor of the facility. ity have been called some of the best in the Multi-National
"There aren't any 'fun' days. It's been one of the hardest jobs Division – Baghdad area of operation.
I've ever done." "We have one of the best evidence rooms in theater,"
Along with working strict hours and making sure said the Catlin, Ill., native. "It's been 100 percent accurate
(Photo by Spc. Alexis Harrison, 2nd BCT, 1st Cav. Div. Public Affairs)
detainees are fed, bathed and treated well, the Soldiers have this entire rotation and that helps a lot down the road when
to maintain the highest standards of integrity and duty while Manteno, Ill., native, Sgt. Jason Kaack, works on there are cases built against criminals."
on the job. in-processing packets for detainees arriving to the Along with the platoon of policemen working at the
The commander of the small fortress and its guards, 1st holding facility on Forward Operating Base facility, Staff Sgt. Chris Sutton and several other foodservice
Lt. Erin Barrett, said being in the presence of criminals – Prosperity in central Baghdad Nov. 12. Kaack, and specialists volunteered to become security personnel when a
some responsible for killing American Soldiers – one can not members of the Military Police Platoon, chance arose in August 2006.
Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 2nd They volunteered to take a class on detainee operations
afford to bring personal feelings into her facility.
Brigade Special Troops Battalion, 2nd Brigade in order to become more versatile and get away from the long
Sgt. 1st Class Brian Parker, the noncommissioned offi-
Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, man the facili-
cer-in-charge of the facility, said taking a proactive approach hours of working and managing a dining facility downrange.
ty 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
to the job and having good leadership and constant training "The hours when working at a [dining facility] are so
keep standards of conduct and human rights in mind, even keeps his head in the game when coming face to face with odd," said Sutton, a Titusville, Tenn., native. "Here, the hours
when dealing with suspected criminals. some of the "worst" criminals in Baghdad. are regular, and it's been a great opportunity to learn about
"I understand we have a faceless enemy, but we have "It's tough to deal with some people face to face," said something outside your usual job."
responsibilities, and we have to uphold integrity when doing the Lockport, N.Y., native. "After you get to know some of Parker added the class is the same no matter if you're an
a job like this," he said. the guys in a unit who drop detainees off, you notice when MP or cook, and regardless of occupational specialty, he's
Spc. John Vetter said good leadership from noncommis- one of them doesn't come back from a mission. It's hard to been proud of his men and women for upholding the highest
sioned officers in his platoon along with military bearing, look at that detainee and not feel emotions, knowing what standards of discipline in the presence of a "faceless enemy."

Cav Soldier Preparing to go from Green to Gold

By Sgt. Robert Yde where you’re serving at the same time,” went back to Turner with the news.
2nd BCT, 1st Cav. Div. Public Affairs Danso explained. “You finish your school “It took several times to go through my
and then you get your commission and then company commander, which was good,” he
FORWARD OPERATING BASE you return to serve the same amount of time said. “I’m actually lucky that my command-
PROSPERITY, Iraq – When Spc. Emmanuel that you spent in the Green to Gold back in ing officer did ROTC because he knew a lit-
Danso first approached his company com- the regular service, as well as the three year tle bit more about it and was able to brief me
mander, Capt. Greg Turner about his interest ROTC commitment..” on what to expect and what not to expect.”
in becoming a commissioned officer, Turner Danso, who is originally from Ghana, In the end however, Turner said he was
replied with his usual response to such West Africa, said he first started looking at so impressed with Danso’s commitment that
inquiries. the program after gaining his U.S. citizen- he not only recommended him for the Green
“I’ve had probably a half-dozen people ship earlier this year during a mass natural- to Gold program, but for a scholarship that
come to me and say, ‘I want to be an officer, ization ceremony held in Baghdad on the would cover all his expenses as well.
sir,’ and I basically say, ‘Yeah, yeah, whatev- Fourth of July. “The Green to Gold program, if it fits
er. Show me,’” Turner said. The first step for Danso was selecting a into your life situation, and I believe it does
Turner, the commander of Company E, school and then gaining acceptance into a for Spc. Danso, it’s probably the best way to
1st Battalion, 5th Cavalry Regiment, which program there, a process that he said took become an officer in that you get to go to col-
is currently attached to the 4th Squadron, 9th several months. lege and be a student again,” Turner said.
Cavalry Regiment, 2nd “Black Jack” (Photo by Sgt. Robert Yde, 2nd BCT, 1st Cav. Div.)
“I spent a long time looking at different “He’s a uniquely motivated person, and I
Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, universities across the entire United States,” think he’ll be a good officer some day.”
explained that this type of response is not Spc. Emmanuel Danso, a supply clerk he said. “I just looked at a university where Danso said he is planning to major in
with Company E, 1st Battalion, 5th the requirements and my requirements paral- criminal justice and minor in psychology, but
necessarily meant to deter a Soldier, but
Cavalry Regiment, which is currently leled.” once he receives his commission he is hop-
instead to see how dedicated he is to getting
attached to the 4th Squadron, 9th
what he’s asking for. Eventually, he settled on Liberty ing to fulfill his seven year military obliga-
Cavalry Regiment, poses in front of
“People expect me to write a memo for University, located in Lynchburg, Va., and tion as an Apache helicopter pilot.
the palace at Forward Operating Base
them that says, ‘You are hereby nominated,’ Prosperity in Baghdad Nov. 10. began the application process. As far as becoming a career Army offi-
but it doesn’t work like that,” Turner said. “A “It’s tougher here because of how long cer, Danso said that decision will have to
lot of people say they want to be officers, but when he joined the Army two years ago, but the mail takes,” he said. “Stateside, I’d say if wait, but so far he has no regrets about his
not many people show the commitment to go he knew he wanted to finish college. When someone’s really dedicated to doing this it decision to enlist.
through with it and are willing to put the he realized he could do both with the Army’s would probably take max about two weeks. “When I first came into the Army I was-
work in themselves.’ Green to Gold program; however, he jumped But here it took me about two and a half n’t really looking toward a career – I just
‘That was the difference with Danso at the opportunity. months.” wanted to serve, but I’d consider it,” he said.
though, he came back - he followed it up.” “Green to Gold is a program where you Around the beginning of August, Danso “I can’t make that decision now though. Of
According to Danso, the thought of ask the military to go back to school and the learned that he had been accepted into course, in seven years I could easily change
becoming an officer never crossed his mind military also puts you in an ROTC program Liberty and its ROTC program, and then my mind.”
Page 10 Black Jack Dec. 10, 2007

(Photo by Sgt. Robert Yde, 2nd BCT, 1st Cav. Div. Public Affairs)

Sgt. Brian McCain, Headquarters and Headquarters Troop, 4th Squadron, 2nd Stryker Cavalry Regiment, watches as a Karkh resident who hopes to join the
Iraqi police force, performs pull-ups during a physical fitness test as part of a police recruitment drive that was held in the area Nov. 16.

Recruitment Drive to Increase Iraqi Police Force and between the ages of 18 and 35. After they were checked and four for pull-ups. Anything below 30 would disqualify
By Sgt. Robert Yde
2nd BCT, 1st Cav. Div. Public Affairs in and cleared as a potential applicant, they were moved them, but everyone who has passed the physical has passed
through a series of stations beginning with one that tested the physical fitness test.”
BAGHDAD – As part of the effort to increase the police them for basic literacy. Ritterpusch said that all of the standards were put in
force across the Iraqi capital, a police recruitment drive was “As part of the recruiting drive they’re doing testing, and place by the Iraqi Ministry of Interior and we’re being used
held in the Karkh security district Nov. 15 thru 18. they’re putting a balanced and fair approach into the IP across Baghdad.
The four-day event, which drew thousands of recruits, recruiting to remove anything that would otherwise influence Potential recruits who were able to meet all of these
was conducted in two locations in central Baghdad. The the recruiting,” Ritterpusch, who calls Harker Heights, Texas requirements then moved on to the final step of the day, an
recruiting station was set up in Sadimiyah for the first day, home, said. “Basic literacy is to be able to read to a paragraph interview with the police force’s district commander.
and then moved to the Olympic stadium complex in Salhiyah out loud. The paragraphs are taken from the newspaper, “When they walk up, he looks at their appearance, their
for the final three days. which is at about a sixth-grade level. So they have to be able confidence, if they look like an IP, and if they carry them-
“Part of the Baghdad (Iraqi Police) expansion program is to read at about a sixth-grade level, and they have to be able selves in such a manner that they’re able to have some type
to hire 12,000 IPs across all of Baghdad, and every district is to write a sentence that is given to them orally.” of authority,” Miller said. “From that point, he (evaluates) the
running its own recruiting drives,” Maj. Kurt Ritterpusch, the Illiteracy proved to be the number-one disqualifier for pile, and from there it goes to a committee where local lead-
provost marshal officer for the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, most of the applicants. ers in the Karkh security district will sit down with Coalition
1st Cavalry Division, explained. “In Karkh, the goal is 415, “Unfortunately a lot of these guys can’t read or write, so Forces and IP leaders and look at these different applications
but we’re actually allowed to recruit up to 30 percent more they weren’t able to be used for the IPs although they really and then forward them to the MOI.”
than that, so about 540.” wanted to be part of the police force,” Miller said. According to Ritterpusch, those chosen by the MOI will
According to Capt. Keith Miller the assistant operations Applicants who were able to demonstrate a sufficient then be scheduled to attend the police academy in Baghdad
officer for 4th Squadron, 2nd Striker Cavalry Regiment, reading level were then moved through a health assessment beginning in mid-January. He said that training at the acade-
which is attached to the 2nd BCT, 1st Cav. Div., whose unit station, where both U.S. and Iraqi medical personnel checked my lasts for five and a half weeks, and the new police offi-
was on hand to assist and provide security at the event, there them out for any disqualifying conditions, such as an irregu- cers will be put right to work as soon as they graduate from
was expected to be more than 1,000 applicants during the lar heartbeat, before they moved outside to take a physical the academy.
recruiting drive, and he credited the large turnout in part to fitness test. Miller added that those applicants who are not chosen
a major advertising campaign conducted over the past sev- They were tested on the number of pull-ups, sit-ups and for the January class may be chosen for a seat in a later class.
eral weeks that included meetings with local leaders and push-ups they could perform, as well as timed during a 200- “The people who don’t make it into the academy the first
Soldiers passing out handbills and applications while out on meter run. time around, they’re held on file so they can go to the next
patrol. “The physical fitness standards are not the same as the one and this will basically increase the force as time goes
“Every time we go out on patrol, we talk to individuals U.S. military standards, but they’re enough to demonstrate on,” he said. “We’ve really had a lot of interest with this
and tell them this is coming up, and a lot of them are very that they’re in good shape,” Ritterpusch explained. “60 recruitment drive and the Iraqis have come out and surprised
receptive,” the Sumner, Wash., native said. points is the maximum for the test, and there’s no extended me quite a bit. I believe we’re going to get some good Iraqi
Those hoping to become police officers had to be male skill. It’s two points per repetition for push-ups and sit-ups, police out there.”
Dec. 10, 2007 Falcon Page 11

Mahamad Maheadi, an Iraqi Security Volunteer in Baghdad’s Adhamiyah District, Shabatkar

neighborhood, checks the motor of a car for possible security threats. The ISV program allows
volunteers from local communities to join and provide security in their own neighborhoods.

Iraqis Taking Charge

Of Their Own Security
By Spc. Elvyn Nieves hoods they have been tasked to provide security to,
113th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment and that’s precisely the advantage when hiring local
BAGHDAD – Iraqi citizens are taking back their “People are staying out longer at night and the
streets from the control of extremists by taking securi- stores are remaining open longer,” he said. “Thanks to
ty into their own hands. this program, people are feeling a sense of security.”
The Iraqi Security Volunteer program allows vol- According to Suh, the program overall has proven
unteers from local communities to protect their own to be a success in Adhamiyah District.
neighborhoods. “This is a short-term fix,” said Suh. “The ultimate
The ISVs receive a three-day training program at goal is to transition these ISVs into Iraqi policemen. (Photos by Spc. Elvyn Nieves, 113th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment)
Coalition Outpost War Eagle where they learn some So a few months down the road we’re trying to place Hassan Bassil Abass, an Iraqi Security Volunteer in Baghdad’s
basic vehicle checks and how to conduct themselves them in the Iraqi Police Academy. In the end, this Adhamiyah District, Shabatkar neighborhood, checks the
out in the streets as well as weapons training with an short-time initiative will create sustainable security truck of a car for possible security threats. The Iraqi Security
AK-47. solution by transitioning them into IP.” Volunteer program allows volunteers from local communities
“When you have local citizens patrolling their For Asef Abd Hadi Mosa Al Jabori, an ISV in to join and provide security to their own neighborhoods.
own streets, they have a sincere interest in keeping it Shabatkar neighborhood, being in this program gives According to Harrington, N.J., native, 1st Lt. John Suh, 2nd
safe,” said 1st Lt. John Suh, 2nd Battalion, 319th him the opportunity to serve his community and he Battalion, 319th Airborne Field Artillery Regiment, the Iraqi
Airborne Field Artillery Regiment. enjoys it.. Security Volunteer program is a temporary solution which will
According to Suh, a native of Harrington Park, “Become a police officer in the future is some- create a sustainable security environment until these volun-
N.J., these volunteers are residents of the neighbor- thing I’ve always wanted to do,” he said. teers can be transitioned into the Iraqi Police Academy.

Market Improving Economy in Baghdad Neighborhood

By Spc. Elvyn Nieves you see a lot of people doing shopping.”
113th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment The paratroopers still conduct daily patrols with Iraqi
Soldiers and Police to build relationships with residents.
BAGHDAD – Only seven months ago the Sugasimche, Since 319th Soldiers have already built a strong bond with
or “Fish Market” area in the Raabi neighborhood of the citizens in Raabi, the more residents see Iraqi Security Forces
Adhamiyah District was filled with a violent, criminal ele- walking the neighborhoods with paratroopers, the more trust
ment that struck fear into residents who didn’t feel safe to they will have toward the Iraqi Army (IA) and Iraqi Police
walk the streets. (IP).
But a change for the better occurred thanks to the persist- Burpee said that what his team and their Iraqi counter-
ent efforts of paratroopers from Battery B, 2nd Battalion, parts are doing is setting an effective security plan in place so
319th Airborne Field Artillery Regiment, 2nd Brigade the local people can feel safe. He believes that security is the
Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, who have worked main reason more stores are open and more people in the
(Photo by Spc. Elvyn Nieves, 113th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment)
with local security forces to restore the market area, making neighborhoods are showing up to shop. They made the actu-
it once again a center of commerce for residents throughout 1st Lt. Larry Pitts from Battery B, 2nd Battalion, al market more inviting to improve commerce.
Adhamiyah. 319th Airborne Field Artillery Regiment, talks with a “If we don’t keep businesses opened up, the economy is
“When we first got to the neighborhood months ago it local vendor at the Fish Market in Raabi neighbor- going to collapse, there’s going to be no money circulating,”
was a dangerous place to go,” said Clemens, Ore., native, hood of Baghdad’s Adhamiyah District. said Burpee. “We just got to keep working with our counter-
Sgt. 1st Class Christopher Burpee. “We focused our efforts in refurbished schools there and provided security through the parts the Iraqi Army and police and get them to the level they
the neighborhood and took out the insurgents living in the Iraqi Security Volunteer program. Now safety is a reality in need to be, so we can transition this place to them and the
area. After that, we enticed people to come. We built and this neighborhood. If you come here during the day or night, local nationals still feel safe and willing to shop.”
Page 12 Warrior Dec. 10, 2007

(Courtesy photo by Kevin Yoakum)

During a ceremony Nov. 11, at the Hemet, Calif., Veteran’s Memorial, Brigadier (Photo by Sgt. Nathan Hoskins, 1st ACB, 1st Cav. Div. Public Affairs)
General Ricky Rife (right), director of program analysis and evaluation, office of the Alexandria, La., native Chap. (Capt.) Khallid Shabazz, the chaplain
Deputy Chief of Staff, presents the Distinguished Service Cross to Phoebe (second for 1st “Attack” Battalion, 227th Aviation Regiment, 1st Air Cavalry
from left) and G.A. (left) Yoakum, parents of Chief Warrant Officer 4 Keith Yoakum, Brigade, speaks during a ceremony honoring the founders of
an AH-64D Apache attack helicopter pilot for Company A, 1st “Attack” Battalion, Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Incorporated, Nov. 17 at Camp Taji, Iraq.
227th Aviation Regiment, 1st Air Cavalry Brigade, who died in combat Feb. 2.

Aviator Soars in Memories Troops Celebrate Fraternity

‘Founders Day’ in Iraq Thomasville, Ga., native Capt. Lee Robinson,
By Sgt. Nathan Hoskins
1st ACB, 1st Cav. Div. Public Affairs former commander for Co. A, 1-227th ARB,
who had recently returned from his tour in Iraq. By Sgt. Nathan Hoskins
CAMP TAJI, Iraq – Veteran’s Day is a time There to present the DSC was Brig. Gen. 1st ACB, 1st Cav. Div. Public Affairs
to remember and also recognize those who have Ricky Rife, director of program analysis and
served their country. evaluation, office of the Deputy Chief of Staff. CAMP TAJI, Iraq – Soldiers from the 1st Air Cavalry Brigade “Warriors,”
For some, this day brought back memories Las Vegas, native Lt. Col. Christopher 1st Cavalry Division, who are part of the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Incorporated,
of an antiquated picture of their grandfather in Walach, commander of the 1-227th – who is an all African-American fraternity, celebrated their founder’s day Nov. 17.
uniform. For others it summoned the harsh real- still deployed to Iraq – said he is proud that his Omega, for short, has a long and illustrious history which began in 1911,
ity of ultimate sacrifice in an ongoing war on Soldier received such an honor. said Charleston, S.C., native Capt. Joseph Hamilton, commander of Company A,
terrorism. “I am very happy that (one of) the nation’s 615th Aviation Support “Cold Steel” Battalion, 1st ACB, 1st Cav. Div.
For the family of Hemet, Calif., native highest (awards) for heroism and valor was pre- “This is recognition of the four founding fathers who started the fraternity –
Chief Warrant Officer 4 Keith Yoakum, the day sented to the family of CW4 Keith Yoakum,” the hard work they went through to get us where we’re at today,” he said.
was even more special. Their Soldier was Walach said. “Both Keith and Jason Defrenn Omega was founded on four basic principles that the members believe help
posthumously awarded the Distinguished gave their life for their country. Keith and Jason them and others throughout their lives, said Hampton, Va., native Maj. James
Service Cross; the military’s second highest are America’s heroes.” Smith, executive officer for 615th ASB.
award – second only to the Medal of Honor. Yoakum’s wife, Kelly, and his parents, “The significance of the fraternity is it’s founded on the cardinal principles
Yoakum, who was an AH-64D Apache Phoebe and G.A., received the DSC for her late of manhood, scholarship, perseverance and uplift,” said Smith. “We use those
Attack helicopter pilot for Company A, 1st husband while his twin brother, Kevin, stood by principles to guide us day in and day out … in our support to the community as
“Attack” Battalion, 227th Aviation Regiment, for support. well.”
1st Air Cavalry Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division, “I am very happy to see Keith recognized. It has been 96 years since Omega was founded at Howard University in
made the ultimate sacrifice. It feels good knowing that people are going to Washington, D.C., but the values decided upon in that first meeting have carried
On Feb. 2, he and his co-pilot, Chief hear how Keith and Jason fought to the end,” on through the generations to the present, said Maj. Darien Baisley, the air
Warrant Officer 2 Jason Defrenn, while out on said Kevin. defense coordinator for 1st ACB.
patrol, began taking fire from enemy on the Although the tears that the Yoakum’s have “We give contributions to different organizations, such as the United Negro
ground. Their wingmen, in another aircraft, shed are too many to count, they know that he College Fund, which is an annual contribution that the fraternity gives,” said
were getting hit as well. But instead of heading died doing what he loved to do, he said. Baisley, a Shreveport, La., native.
to safety, Yoakum and Defrenn stayed in the “I know on Feb. 2, 2007, when he took Baisley also notes that there are more than a few notable members of this
fight to help protect their wingmen. flight in that Apache there is nowhere in the life-long fraternity.
Yoakum and Defrenn gave their lives for world that he would have rather been,” said He named former NBA superstar Michael Jordan; comedian Bill Cosby;
their comrades and, ultimately, for their country Kevin. “I guess if you were to look at a list of activist Reverend Jesse Jackson; and even Gen. William “Kip” Ward, the first
on that fateful day. possible ways to die: fighting for your country, commander to U.S. Africa Command.
Now, 10 months later, the city of Hemet risking your life for your friends and flying The guest speaker for the ceremony was Alexandria, La., native Chap.
and the Army honored Yoakum, along with oth- would probably be (his) top three choices.” (Capt.) Khallid Shabazz, the chaplain for 1st “Attack” Battalion, 227th Aviation
ers who have laid down their lives in the war on Kevin hopes his brother’s life and ultimate Regiment, 1st ACB.
terror, in a Veteran’s Day ceremony. sacrifice resound loud enough to be heard for Shabazz, who had a rough start as a child, stressed taking responsibility for
“The city of Hemet does honor our fallen generations to come, he said. one’s life and being strong through the most difficult times.
Soldiers and their families. We are truly shaken “I hope Soldiers will look at Keith and be He said it doesn’t matter that there’s racism, sexism or other myriad types
as a community every time we have the news of inspired to never give up. I know he inspired a of discrimination, “you still have to take responsibility for your life because,
their loss,” said Lori VanArsdale, the vice- lot of guys with his work ethic,” said Kevin. guess what? It’s still your life.”
mayor of Hemet. “We stand ready to support “He would always take the time to teach and The ceremony ended with the members huddled together singing their fra-
them and honor their sacrifice.” train anyone that wanted to learn, maybe that ternity’s song.
The keynote speaker for the ceremony was caring will live on as well.” “It feels good; especially just to get together and celebrate at least this day
… especially in an environment like this,” said Smith.
Dec. 10, 2007 Warrior Page 13

A Double Dose of Duncans

Twin Brothers Sign Up for Identical Re-up Deal
By Sgt. Nathan Hoskins nal,” he said.
1st ACB, 1st Cav. Div. Public Affairs It’s actually rare for them to hear an
original twin joke, and they are happy to hear
CAMP TAJI, Iraq – They hear “Are you one of those, Nick said.
two related?” and “If I punch you, will your “(Creative jokes) pop out there every
brother feel it?” more times than they care to once in a while. You’re like ‘Wow!’ I kind of
mention, but these twin brothers from the 1st appreciate it … somebody has something
Air Cavalry Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division, creative to say, but it doesn’t happen very
have only heard the oath of enlistment twice often,” he said.
now. Yet, worse things have happened in their
Bothell, Wash., natives Spcs. Chris and military career than the lame joke, said Chris.
Nick Duncan, both AH-64D Apache attack One time, at their prior unit, Nick
helicopter mechanics for Company B, 615th messed up on something and Chris was
Aviation Support “Cold Steel” Battalion, 1st around to be confronted by his brother’s
ACB, 1st Cav. Div., took the oath of enlist- boss, he said.
ment together Nov. 19 during a reenlistment Being as there are no distinguishable
ceremony in their maintenance hangar here. features between the two besides a wedding
This reenlistment is not the first thing ring on Chris’s finger, the sergeant didn’t
these brothers have done together in their realize he was getting in the wrong Soldier’s
military career, said Chris, the older brother face, Chris said.
by three minutes. “The sergeant (got) in my face and start-
They attended both basic training and ed yelling at me while I’m standing at parade
advanced individual training together, along rest taking it all in,” said Chris with a smile.
with their first duty assignment. After that, it (Photo by Sgt. Nathan Hoskins, 1st ACB, 1st Cav. Div. Public Affairs) When he was done I had to say, ‘with all
was their first deployment together to due respect, that wasn’t me – that was my
Bothell, Wash., natives Spcs. Chris (center) and Nick Duncan (right), twin brother,’” he said.
Afghanistan, he said.
brothers and both AH-64D Apache attack helicopter mechanics for Company The brothers laugh about those situa-
Now they are in Iraq and reenlisting for
B, 615th Aviation Support “Cold Steel” Battalion, 1st Air Cavalry Brigade, 1st
four more years together. tions later, realizing they are an easy trade off
Cavalry Division, take the oath of enlistment with Maj. Shawn Czehowski,
The brothers both received an $8,000 for being deployed with one another, said
commander of Co. B, Nov. 19 at Camp Taji, Iraq.
reenlistment bonus and took advantage of the Nick. The Duncan duo has at least four more
six-month college plan – a plan that gives said Nick. calm me down.” years with the Army and maybe more, so
them six months of full-time college, said “Everyone here is usually by them- Still, moving to a new unit as twins does they’re ready for more identity mishaps.
Chris. selves. They usually have to keep (their prob- have its downsides, said Nick. But they said they don’t mind. As long
Being deployed with each other comes lems) bottled up inside or call and stress out “Every time you go to a new unit all the as they are together, they’ll deal with what-
with some benefits, like having someone to their (spouses),” he said. “I can just unleash jokes start over again and everyone expects a ever comes their way. Even if it is taking
confide in when things are looking down, all my stress on my brother and he can just laugh from the joke that they think is origi- their brother’s scolding.

MEDEVAC Unit Finishes Packing … Their Helicopters, Bags

By Sgt. Nathan Hoskins native Spc. John Brode, a crew chief for Co. C.
1st ACB, 1st Cav. Div. Public Affairs Although their deployment was rewarding, Co. C is
looking forward to heading home, said Brode.
CAMP TAJI, Iraq – The medical evacuation unit for the “I just can’t wait to go home; 15 months is a long time,”
1st Cavalry Division is headed back home to Fort Carson, he said.
Colo., Nov. 18, after a short delay in Balad, Iraq. Family and food are almost always at the forefront of
Soldiers from Company C “Witch Doctors,” 2nd Soldiers’ minds come redeployment day. For Falk, this is no
Battalion, 227th Aviation Regiment, 1st Air Cavalry Brigade, exception.
1st Cav. Div., packed up their UH-60 Black Hawk helicop- “It’s time to go home. It’s time to see the wife; it’s time
ters and stored them in massive transport airplanes headed to see the kids,” he said.
for the states. What type of food is he looking forward to the most?
The whole process went well for the Witch Doctors, said “Any kind of food that doesn’t come on a plastic tray
Tampa, Fla., native Spc. Chris Milana, a crew chief. that I have to eat with a plastic fork on a plastic plate … any
(Photo by Sgt. Nathan Hoskins, 1st ACB, 1st Cav. Div. Public Affairs) food that is not mass produced is what I’m looking forward
“The day we got up here we folded (the helicopters) up.
It was actually a really smooth process. It was all well Boulder, Colo., native 1st Sgt. David Falk, the sen- to eating,” he said. “Not to mention I would like to have a
planned out ahead of time so it went real smooth.” ior enlisted Soldier for Company C “Witch nice glass of beer, yeah, a beer.”
Even though Co. C kept their end of the bargain by hav- Doctors,” 2nd Battalion, 227th Aviation Regiment, Falk, though happy to be heading home, is still down
ing the helos ready for transport by a certain date, the Air 1st Air Cavalry Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division, rolls when it comes to one subject – Sgt. William Brown.
Force ran into some issues so the Soldiers had to wait. up his clothes as he puts them back in his bag after Brown was a crew chief for the Witch Doctors who lost
a customs inspection in Balad, Iraq, Nov. 18. his life June 23 from wounds received in an indirect fire
But now the day has finally come where the last task for
the Witch Doctors is customs. 1st Sgt. David Falk, the senior enlisted Soldier of Co. C. attack. Brown’s wife will be at the homecoming and Falk
The hustle and bustle of bags getting thrown around and But even if that phone rang, Falk knew his Soldiers were will be giving her donations taken from their unit and
emptied onto stainless steel tables is almost enough to cause ready for the task, he said. throughout the brigade, he said. Also, there will be a ceremo-
sensory overload, but for the Witch Doctors, this is a breeze. “They’ve done it for several tours. For some it’s their third ny later on where Brown’s name will be placed on a large
The Soldiers know that it’s nothing in comparison to the tour here,” he said. “It’s another year down, it’s another year marble memorial dedicated to Soldiers of the 571st MEDE-
daily life in Iraq where they were constantly barraged with of successful missions of making sure somebody’s mother or VAC Company – now Company C, 2-227th, said Falk.
casualties of war. somebody’s father is home. And that’s the best part.” With their homecoming within reach, the Soldiers of Co.
“‘Joe’ doesn’t get up in the morning and say ‘I’m going to That success is a shared sentiment throughout the Witch C settle down in the waiting room. Waiting on their flight;
go kick in doors and get hurt,’ but we get up in the morning Doctor ranks. waiting to see their families; waiting to see the mountains of
and hope that we don’t get a single phone call. Because when “(The mission) was great; I got to save people’s lives all Colorado.
the phone rings somebody’s hurt,” said Boulder, Colo., native year for the most part. It was very rewarding,” said Phoenix Waiting – it’s something their accustomed to.
Page 14 Eagle Strike Dec. 10, 2007

Training Makes Troops Able to Battle Base Camp Blazes

By Staff Sgt. Jeri Pihlaja
526th Brigade Support Battalion

CAMP LIBERTY, Iraq – When Company B “Mad

Bulls,” 526th Brigade Support Battalion, 2nd Brigade
Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) arrived
in theater, the recovery section and gun truck platoon gained
a new piece of equipment, a combat fire truck, and a fire-
fighting mission to go with it. Bravo Company has been
tasked to provide quick response, area support combat fire
fighting and recovery to all battle damaged vehicles within
the 2nd BCT area of operation to minimize time on ground
for coalition security forces and bolster force protection.
The Soldiers of Bravo Company had to adapt quickly to
get trained and properly certified to conduct fire fighting
operations. Although not previously trained on fire fighting,
the Soldiers conducted fire training on their Load Handling
System fire truck with the help of Company B, 299th
Forward Support Battalion’s recovery section, led by Sgt. 1st
Class Dale Ford and Staff Sgt. Robert Hamilton, both of
299th FSB, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division.
Although a typical LHS is used to haul flat racks and
supplies, the flat rack on the fire fighting LHS has been mod-
ified with a rail system for safe maneuver of Soldiers. A
1,600 gallon tank was built as the main tank and another 400
gallon tank is used for mixing the water and the Foam Liquid
Fire Extinguisher solution.
There are two pumps, one is used for filling the mixing (Photo by Spc. Benjamin Donahue, 526th Brigade Support Battalion)
tank from the 1,600 gallon main tank, and the other pump is
used to send water pressure through the hose. Combat fire Dallas native Pfc. Eric Beavers and New Castle, Va., native Sgt. Steven Thompson, both with Company B,
fighting is comprised of two, two person teams. Two Soldiers 526th Brigade Support Battalion train on maneuvering with a fire hose and foam liquid fire extinguisher
solution during their Firefighting Certification Course.
hold the hose on the ground, control the flow of the water and
the amount of foam being dispensed on the fire. They are the exploding. recovery operations skills are essential due to the fact it is not
primary firefighters. They utilize approved tactics, tech- “Although combat firefighting is new to the maintenance outlined in any technical manual on how to recover a
niques and procedures that were developed through training, world, it is necessary to efficiently recover damaged vehicles destroyed vehicle.
experience and after action reviews. No two fires ever react in the quickest amount of time, reducing the number of The Bravo Company Soldiers were eager to take on the
the same way. Soldiers on ground pulling security.” said Chief Warrant challenge. “It was great cross training outside our MOS,”
The other two Soldiers stay on the LHS fire truck and Officer 2 Byrin Wheatley, the officer in charge of the said Pvt. Tyler Piper, Co. B. 526th BSB.
control the pumps, the mixing of the solution and provide Recovery Section, Co. B, 526th BSB. The Combat Fire Fighter/Recovery Specialist is a very
over watch security for personnel on the ground. It is also Training was conducted by Hamilton, his fire team from difficult and demanding job. Soldiers must learn and perfect
their responsibility to watch the fire from a distance and alert 299th FSB and the East LSA Fire Department. Fire fighting multiple tasks and procedures in a short amount of time and
the on ground personnel of any unseen danger. Each Soldier training was comprised of several different tasks. Each must be willing to adapt to any situation. In order to perform
is an Eagle First Responder, which is important for the safe Soldier needed to know how to react when extinguishing their duties, Soldiers must be willing to create a cohesive
return of the team. operations began and that fire creates its own weather condi- team that operates as one. Convoy experience is important,
A typical humvee can burn for up to 6 hours and a tion and can change the situation in the blink of an eye. An the more road time a Soldier has creates situational aware-
Stryker vehicle can burn up to 16 hours. While a vehicle operator must have situational awareness. This skill is ness and a better understanding of how to handle a vehicle
burns, there is also the risk of ammunition left in the vehicle extremely important to the safety of the team. Advanced outside the wire.

to Roll
Mechanics with
the 526th Brigade
Support Battalion,
2nd Brigade
Combat Team,
101st Airborne
Division (Air
Assault), out of
Fort Campbell,
Ky., fix a leak on a
brake caliber of a
military vehicle in
their motor pool
on Camp Liberty
in western
Baghdad Nov. 14.

(Photo by Sgt. James Hunter, 2nd BCT, 101st Abn. Div. Public Affairs)
Dec. 10, 2007 Eagle Strike Page 15

Sgt. Josh Fixx, team
leader and native of
Inwood, W.Va., with
Company C., 1st
Battalion, 502nd
Infantry Regiment,
2nd Brigade Combat
Team, 101st Airborne
Division (Air Assault),
marks a piece of
wood for measure-
ments, Nov. 19, at
Forward Operating
Base Independence.
When not conducting
presence patrols
through northwest
Baghdad, some
Strike troops can be
found using their
time to better their
fellow Soldiers living
(Photo by Sgt. James P. Hunter, 2nd BCT, 101st Abn. Div. Public Affairs)

Story Unfolding in Big Iraqi Capital for 19-Year-Old

By Sgt. James P. Hunter even starts,” the 19-year old said.
2nd BCT, 101st Abn. Div. Public Affairs When he signed the “dotted line,” he said, “Wow, I’m in
the Army!” Bishop was officially a Soldier Aug. 18, 2006.
BAGHDAD— “Every Soldier’s got a story to tell,” Four days into basic, with no sleep to his name, Bishop
Master P once rapped. thought to himself, “What did I get myself into?”
These very lyrics describe every Soldier who dons the But as time went on throughout his basic combat train-
digitally camouflaged Army Combat Uniform. Whether they ing and infantryman courses, he realized the mind-boggling
are an infantryman patrolling the streets of Baghdad, or a per- experience he was going through brought out the best in him
sonnel clerk, they all have a story to tell. and his fellow Soldiers.
Everyone starts somewhere in life, the only difference is “The camaraderie was there,” he said. “I was doing
probably the path that led them into the arguably one of the things I never I thought I could before.”
toughest jobs in America. In January of 2007, he joined the 1-75th Cavalry, to
For Pvt. Johnny Bishop, M-249 machine gunner with 1st begin yet another chapter in his life.
Platoon, Troop C, 1st Squadron, 75th Cavalry Regiment, 2nd That’s when Staff Sgt. Danny Chappell, a team leader
Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division, his story and native of Timmonsville, S.C, with Troop C, 1-75 Cav.,
(Photo by Sgt. James P. Hunter, 2nd BCT, 101st Abn. Div. Public Affairs) met the young Soldier. He’s been his team leader ever since.
began in Charlotte, N.C., Aug. 14, 1988.
Though he was born in the Carolinas, Bishop spent the Pvt. Johnny Bishop, an M249 machine gunner, pro- “Initially he had issues; difficulty paying attention to
largest part of his life in Ferndale, Wash., a town of about vides security from outside his Humvee while oth- detail,” said Chappell. “But he began paying better attention
200,000 people. It has a small-town feel to it. The town was ers talk with Iraqi Security Forces at a concrete to detail and conducting himself better as a Soldier.”
quiet, not too much violence to report. The people within his plant in western Baghdad. Chappell best describes Bishop as a steadfast, always
community were fairly close, with the local high school foot- out the day and dodge policemen as they raced down the motivated individual, ready and willing to take on any task
ball team the talk of the town. The year he left high school, road. and perform it to the best of his ability. As Bishop continued
they won the Triple A state championship. He misses those friends of his, the ones he spent count- to grow as a Soldier, so did his training schedule, in prepara-
Bishop, or “Chicken Little,” as his team members call less hours with at the Bellingham Mall, in Bellingham, Wash. tion for their tour to Iraq.
him, spent a majority of his time in his grandfather’s body The ones he spent time with July 4th of every year at Beirch “We all knew we were deploying. I mean, we are at
shop, doing body sanding and metal work, he said. Bishop Bay, where they used store-bought fireworks to light up the war,” he said. “The 2nd Brigade has a lot of traditions. We
had dreams of being a mechanic one day; envisioning him- bay. have to uphold those traditions.”
self as a member of Dale Earndhart’s pit crew, fixing the Bishop also had a great relationship with his brother. When he first landed in Iraq, he thought, “OK, I’m in an
vehicle “The Intimidator.” The two of them did everything together, especially when actual combat zone. I wasn’t scared, but I would say I was
“It was a great experience; a lot of blisters on my hand,” they were young. nervous.”
he said jokingly. “It was fun.” Throw the ball around in the backyard, or race the go- For Bishop and his fellow comrades, patrolling their area
Within the body shop, he grew to bond fairly close to his kart outside, their time together was inseparable. of responsibility thus far has been quiet, he said, which is eas-
father. He and his father began refurbishing a 1979 Chevy C- But like all stories, they must continue, evolving into the ier to cope with while deployed, especially when separated
10. Together, they were able to drop a 350 horsepower engine next chapter, or in Bishop’s case, his beginning. from loved ones. He also knows that when times get tough,
into the truck. He never got to see the completion of the It was until he really thought about his next steps in life his platoon will manage and defeat any known threat.
truck, but had dreams of showing it off as a hot rod. The truck and realized the Army was the next best thing for him. Over the next 14 months, Bishop and the rest of his pla-
just needed a bit too much work for his pleasing. Bishop wanted to be a fighter jet pilot, but because of his toon from Troop C, 1-75 Cavalry will patrol daily in north-
Bishop remembered one moment from high school when poor eyesight, he couldn’t get into the program. west Baghdad, ensuring security is upheld, interacting with
he took his Chevy C-10 out for a joy ride with some of his “So I started looking at the Army,” he said, “and realized the local citizens and gathering information to detain known
closest friends. Though they were supposed to be in school this is what I wanted to do.” insurgents responsible for attacks plotted against Coalition
and Bishop only had a temporary license. But nothing could Bishop feels like joining the infantry really was the and Iraqi Security Forces.
stop him from enjoying every precious moment of the life— beginning to his new life. And over the months, even more chapters will be written
which saw him and his buddies trying to locate gas through- “It feels like I am doing something with my life before it into Bishop’s life story.
Page 16 Learning T

Pfc. Cezar Cocu (right), a
N.Y., and Timmonsville, S
leader, both with 1st Plato
Regiment, provide securi

1st Lt. Adrian Monzingo, a platoon leader from Sour Lake, Texas with 3rd Platoon, Company
C, 1st Squadron, 75th Cavalry Regiment, walks through a pool hall during a dismounted
patrol in northwest Baghdad, Nov. 20.
Their Turf Page 17

Riverside, Calif.,
native Pfc. Thomas
Grimm, an infantry-
man, points out a
rooftop to
Arlingtion, Texas
native Pfc. Daniel
Dension, a medic,
both with 1st
Platoon, Company
C, 1st Squadron,
75th Cavalry
Regiment, while
patrolling at an elec-
trical power plant in
Kateib in northwest
Baghdad, Nov. 20.

Infantrymen Meet & Greet

Residents, Looking for Tips
By Sgt. James P. Hunter is a really big step forward.”
2nd BCT, 101st Abn. Div. Public Affairs But here is the thing, being able to gather
the information and earn the peoples trust can
BAGHDAD — In many western Baghdad mar- be difficult, said Staff Sgt. Rodney Nelson,
kets, Iraqi homes sit behind the shops, with the shop platoon sergeant and native of St. Louis with
in a garage-like setting. The markets are very open 3rd Platoon, Co. C. He said area residents will
visually, with Iraqi citizens spilling onto the streets at follow whoever is going to keep them secure,
all hours of the night. Shops are open to the public, help their families and provide services.
selling cakes, candies and goodies of all sorts. Cell On Nov. 20, 1st Platoon engaged the local
tos by Sgt. James P. Hunter, 2nd BCT, 101st Abn. Div. Public Affairs) phones, jewelry and dress apparel can all be found in populace, talking with Iraqi workers at an elec-
an infantryman and native from White Plains, shops cluttered throughout these streets. But some- trical power plant and concrete facility in
S.C., native Staff Sgt. Danny Chappell, a team times hidden amongst these men and women, shop- Kateib. Their purpose was to continue to build
oon, Company C, 1st Squadron, 75th Cavalry ping or walking to or from school, is your everyday rapport with the local Iraqi Army battalion in
ity in northwest Baghdad, Nov. 20. bomb maker. the area and gain intelligence from the Iraqis to
Though things have calmed down immensely in continue to build their cases against known
the past few months, with reports of violence and insurgents operating in the area.
Coalition casualties at a low, the need to find these “I got a good vibe from the people,” said
criminals is still a priority for troops operating in and 1st Lt. Kristopher Zavala, a platoon leader from
around Baghdad. Moraga, Calif. “They like us. They want us
Troops from Company C, 1st Squadron, 75th here. The unit we replaced did a good job help-
Cavalry Regiment, run operations out of Joint ing these people out and maintaining that good
Security Station Maverick, in northwest Baghdad relation with IA and IP. We want to continue to
daily to ensure security is upheld, to interact with build on that relationship and work hand and
the local citizens and gather information, much like hand with them.”
detectives would, looking for known insurgents They work mainly on stability operations,
responsible for attacks plotted against Coalition with the help of Iraqi Army and Iraqi Police
and Iraqi Security Forces. forces to capture known insurgents, he said. The
According to Spc. Michael Mullins, a medic more help they have coming from all directions,
and native of Jacksonville, Fla., with Co. C’s 3rd the more likely they are going to be able to stop
Platoon, the troops patrol their entire sector, trying those responsible for these attacks.
to cut down on insurgency within, and conduct Later that night, 3rd Platoon conducted a foot
population engagements to continue to build the patrol on Market Street to talk with area residents.
populations trust in Coalition Forces. While dismounted, they received small arms fire
“Basically our intent is to get to know the and immediately started pushing toward the home
area, know the populace, and continue to track of where the firing came from. They were unable,
intelligence on (known insurgents),” said Mullins. however, to find out any information regarding the
“We’ve picked up nearly three sources within sec- shooting.
tor who have passed on a fair bit of intelligence.” “The objective today was to go down to
Mullins said the people within are fairly Market Street and find some information that
friendly, but constant communication and trust would lead to where some of these (high value tar-
opens them up even more. gets) are bedding down,” said 1st Lt. Adrian
“The more you isolate yourself from the Monzingo, a platoon leader and native of Sour
local people the more they are going to be Lake, Texas.
inclined to believe the lies,” said Pfc. Cezar On this particular night they were unable to
Cocu, an infantryman and native of White Plains, find any information, but they were able to reach
N.Y., with Co. C’s 1st Platoon. out to a local sheik who plays an important role in
Background) te Plains, N.Y., native
“I think the people who have been here long the community – a key local figure, said Monzingo.
Pfc. Cezar Cocu, an infantryman
enough to see what’s happened their entire lives, They wanted to introduce themselves.
with 1st Platoon, Company C, 1st
Squadron, 75th Cavalry they want change, but the younger folks pretty Maintaining positive relationships with the res-
Regiment, provides security much have their ways set,” Mullins said. idents is important.
while at a concrete facility “Education for the children is going to be the “We want to continue to develop these connec-
in northwest Baghdad, biggest step. It all starts with the kids, interacting tions,” Nelson said, “so we can pinpoint the location of
Nov. 20. with them, shaking their hands, showing we care the (high-value targets), so we can go pick them all up.”
Page 18 Strike Force Dec. 10, 2007

Fun in the Sun?

Karadah and U.S. Leaders Plan to Renovate Water Park
By Spc. Courtney E. Marulli
2nd IBCT, 2nd Inf. Div. Public Affairs

BAGHDAD — Where a thriving lake once was is now

a wasteland of shrubs, and the slides and swings are devoid
of laughing children. But this will change. With the help of
Coalition Forces the disserted park, which was used only by
Saddam Hussein and his chosen few, will be renovated and
opened for all Iraqis to enjoy.
Soldiers with 2nd Battalion, 69th Combined Arms
Battalion, 2nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry
Division, have joined Karadah District leaders and business
owners in planning the revitalization of the Jadriyah Water
Park in eastern Baghdad. There are plans for a groundbreak-
ing ceremony on Jan. 1, 2008.
“We had some engineers from the District Council come
look at the area with us,” said Sgt. 1st Class Daniel See a 2-
69 CAB fire support Soldier who hails from Columbus, Ga.
“We had cooperation from a lot of different sources. We have
some contractors who want to do various improvements.”
Those improvements include fixing the power supply,
restoring a fountain, cleaning up monuments, and bringing
restaurants and shops back to the surrounding area.
Capt. Joseph Peppers, a battalion fire support officer and
effects coordinator for the battalion, is helping spearhead the
project. He feels the revitalization is important because it
will provide Iraqis with a place of recreation where they can (Photo by Spc. Courtney E. Marulli, 2nd IBCT, 2nd Inf. Div. Public Affairs)
take a break from the demands of their daily lives and enjoy
being with family and friends. The Jadriyah Water Park playground’s equipment pieces are now rusted and broken. Members of 2nd
“It will allow them to feel that peace is achievable and Battalion, 69th Combined Arms Battalion, are heading up a renovation effort to restore the park in the
Karadah District of eastern Baghdad, shown here Nov. 10.
that the government of Iraq really does have something to
offer the people,” he said. “It’s a symbol of the Iraqi people’s pile at the edge of the lake. A speed boat stands in the shal- Currently, the park is being used by Iraqi families as a place
resiliency.” low water remaining, stuck part way on shore. to play soccer or to use the few pieces of playground equip-
There is plenty of work left to do. Faded from years in Peppers said the renovations are projected to take up to ment that does still work, such as swings.
the sun, the playground equipment is chipped, broken, and a year to complete. Once complete, the water park will be The park’s restoration is vital because it is tangible proof
rusted. The new equipment will be brightly-colored slides, under the control of the government of Iraq and will open to of Iraq’s growth, Peppers said.
swings and bridges. the public for the first time. “It’s also important to the Coalition Forces because it’s
Broken-down ovens and popcorn stands mark where “It’s a representation of a restored Iraq and an improving important to the people of Iraq,” he said. “In some ways the
restaurants once thrived. The lake had several restaurants Iraq,” he said. “It will act as a beacon of hope for the people restoration of this park and the ability of the local populace
spread along its perimeter and even offered Jet Ski rental. of Baghdad and the people of Iraq.” to see it and use it, symbolizes their liberty from a tyrant who
The Jet Skis are currently faded and covered in dirt in a large The renovations will be conducted by local contractors. would never let them see something that beautiful up close.”
Dec. 10, 2007 Strike Force Page 19

(Photo by Spc. Courtney E. Marulli, 2nd IBCT, 2nd Inf. Div. Public Affairs)

Abu Nuwas Grand Reopening Celebration

Iraqis came out to celebrate the grand reopening of Abu Nuwas Street on Baghdad’s east side, Nov. 24. Musicians strolled through the park like minstrels
while children and adults, alike, waved Iraqi flags and danced to the beat.

Brigade Nearing the 1,000th

Reenlistment of Deployment
By Staff Sgt. W. Wayne Marlow Many Soldiers choose the stabilization incentive,
2nd IBCT, 2nd Inf. Div. Public Affairs which keeps the Soldier at their home station.
“The majority of our reenlistments are to stay at
FORWARD OPERATING BASE LOYALTY, Fort Carson,” Staats said. “It’s one of the most sought
Iraq – The 2nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team posts in the Army and our Soldiers know that.”
Retention Office is closing in on the brigade’s 1,000th Money can also factor in. Brigade Soldiers who
reenlistment of its deployment in support of Operation reenlist have received an average bonus of $8,500,
Iraqi Freedom. according to Staats.
Master Sgt. Andrew Staats of Ravenswood, W. “Some bonuses pay up to $40,000, and we’ve had
Va., the 2nd IBCT career counselor, said the milestone some awful close to that,” he said. “The bonuses are
reenlistment should come within the next two weeks. real good, the best I’ve seen them in a long time.”
(Photo by Staff Sgt. W. Wayne Marlow 2nd IBCT, 2nd Inf. Div. Public Affairs) Staats also credits the brigade leadership for its
Staats said a love of country and family has spurred
Staff Sgt. Mike Untalan from Guam reenlists for four more most of those who reenlisted. role in the reenlistment process.
years during a ceremony Nov. 15 on Forward Operating Base “A lot of it is, they’ve got home in their vision as “I couldn’t ask for a better chain of command
Loyalty in Baghdad. Untalan, a senior computer operator with we get closer to redeployment,” he said. “They have a when it comes to retention,” he said.
Battery B, 2nd Battalion, 17th Field Artillery, 2nd Infantry family, obligation, children, bills to pay. But the All in all, its added up to a successful deployment
Brigade Combat Team, is one of almost 1,000 2nd IBCT majority of it goes back to patriotism, goes back to the for the reenlistment team.
Soldiers to reenlist during the brigade’s deployment in sup- guy on your right and left. They want to be a part of “There are always challenges in retention,” he
port of Operation Iraqi Freedom. the team.” said, “but nothing that we haven’t overcome.”
Page 20 Dragon Dec. 10, 2007

(Photos by Sgt. 1st Class Robert Timmons, 4IBCT, 1st Inf. Div. Public Affairs)

Sgt. Danil Ramirez, a cannon crew member, with Battery A, 2nd Battalion, 32nd Field Artillery Regiment, 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 1st Inf. Div., ser-
aches a prospective recruit before allowing him into the Iraqi Police Auxiliary recruitment drive in Hateen, Nov. 17. More than 175 volunteers were processed.

Iraqis Line Up To Join Auxiliary

By Sgt. 1st Class Robert Timmons their final processing.
4th IBCT, 1st Inf. Div. Public Affairs “This was planned for a couple weeks,” the 32-year-
old said. “We have been able to move people through effi-
CAMP LIBERTY, Iraq – It has been a long, hard ciently through good communications.”
deployment for the Soldiers serving in Iraq. Threats of He added that there was a good deal of interpreters at
improvised explosive devices, snipers and chaos seemed the event which helped speed it along.
to hide around every corner. One of the most important steps in the process was
Yet through it all, the rates of attacks against ensuring no recruits had a suspicious background.
Coalition Forces and their Iraqi counterparts are drop- “We do biometrics checks to see if they come up on
ping. The Associated Press reported U.S. commanders as any list,” said Staff Sgt. Steven Guiffre, a military police-
saying violence is down 55 percent since the surge of man with the 401st Military Police Company who over-
30,000 troops arrived in the city. saw the taking of fingerprints and retinal scans. “This
Is this decrease a matter of more Soldiers patrolling helps eliminate those you don’t want as a policeman.”
the troubled streets of the Iraqi capital or is it because The data gathered is put into a computer database
more Iraqis are standing up to the extremists to take their which checks to see if the person is who they claim to be
part and end the cycle of violence? and if they are suspected of criminal activity.
Amid the myriad reasons for the decrease, one thing The Waterbury, Conn. native whose unit helps train
is certain; Iraqis are lining up by the hundreds to join Iraqi Iraqi police officers said it is important for Iraq to have a
Police Auxiliary forces. good strong police force.
These forces, though paid less than Iraqi Policemen “You don’t have a totally free society with the Iraqi
and may one day becoming full-fledged police officers, Army pulling security,” he said. “Let the police take
are tasked with protecting their own neighborhoods or care of the towns and let the Army take care of the coun-
muhallahs. try.”
On Nov. 17 and 19 troops from 2nd Battalion, 32nd To ease any sectarian tensions, any male over the age
Field Artillery Regiment along with their Iraqi Security of 17 was allowed to volunteer regardless if they were
Forces brethren held recruitment drives to sign up these Sunni or Shia.
volunteers in the Hateen and Yarmouk neighborhoods. “Everybody is allowed to volunteer as long as they
At Nov. 17th drive, sponsored by Battery A, over 175 live in the area,” said Bloomington, Ind. native, Staff Sgt.
recruits volunteered, while at the Battery B drive in Patrick Whaley, the battalion’s Civil Military Operations
Yarmouk, 47 went through the recruitment. platoon sergeant. “This is a good step in the right direc-
“It is extremely important,” said Dana, Ky native tion for the Mansour area, especially Hateen. It gets the
Sgt. Michael Webb, a petroleum supply specialist from locals working with the (Iraqi Security Forces) as they
Battery A, 2nd Bn. 32nd Field Artillery, who manned the police their communities.”
An Iraqi Policeman holds his fist down to insure an Iraqi final out processing station at the event. “We are giving The 37-year-old father of a 19-year-old private said
Police Auxiliary recruit does proper push-ups during the back to the Iraqi people. It is very important for them to during the Hateen recruitment drive that a few months
physical fitness portion of IPA recruiting in Hateen, Nov. help take care of themselves.” ago the idea of this many people showing up would have
17. More than 175 volunteers arrived at the recruiting During the drives, the recruits had to pass through a been laughed at.
drive, sponsored by Battery A, 2nd Battalion, 32nd Field security checkpoint, a brief medical screening, a biomet- “We had over 175 people show up today,” he said.
Artillery Regiment and the Iraqi Security Forces, in order rics check, an interview with local ISF commanders and “Six to seven months ago you wouldn’t even have had
to join the IPA who will police their local neighborhoods. a physical fitness test before they could see Webb to get half that many.”
Dec. 10, 2007 Dragon Page 21

Schools in Session
Soldiers Visit Two Southern Baghdad Schools
By Cpl. Ben Washburn
4th IBCT, 1st Inf. Div. Public Affairs

BAGHDAD – Despite being on the ground a

month, the 4-64th Combined Arms Battalion, 3rd
Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, current-
ly operating in the southern region of the Iraqi capital
attached to the 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 1st
Inf. Div., has hit the ground running.
(Photo by Spc. Nathaniel Smith, 4th IBCT, 1st Inf. Div. Public Affairs)
The “Tuskers” continued their efforts to improve
the life of Iraqi citizens, visiting two schools in the Sgt. Ahmed Kamir, a member of the 7th Brigade, 2nd Iraqi
Saydiyah neighborhood, Nov. 26 National Police Division from Karbala, Iraq, trains his fel-
The improvements in the Sunni neighbor- low 'Shurta,' Arabic for police, on muzzle awareness at
hood are important to Harker Heights, Texas, native Joint Security Station Doura in South Baghdad, Oct. 23.
Col. Ricky D. Gibbs, commander of the 4th IBCT.
“I want to be sure the government is taking
care of all the people,” Gibbs said.
With students lined up outside holding welcome
Col. Ricky D. Gibbs, commander of the 4th
Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 1st. Infantry
Transition Team Helps
Division, hands backpacks to school girls at
signs, the Soldiers first stopped by the National
Reconciliation High School for a ribbon-cutting cere-
mony which marked the reopening of the school.
the National Reconciliation High School in
southern Baghdad, Nov. 26.
Instill Pride in the Force
By Spc. Nathaniel Smith
Inside the school for 220 students, which stands body and the school administrators. The Soldiers
4th IBCT, 1st Inf. Div. Public Affairs
away from the city, is new paint, glass windows, and greeted many of the students outside, shook their
electrical wiring. The renovation of the school was the hands, and communicated with universal hand ges-
BAGHDAD – In southern Baghdad’s Doura region, change is
result of efforts by the “Tuskers” and the “Vanguards” tures.
in the air. To the naked eye, it may not seem so, but anyone who
of the 1st Battalion, 18th Infantry Regiment, 2nd BCT, The children received new backpacks from the
spends a little time around the 7th Brigade, 2nd Iraqi National
1st Inf. Div., which redeployed home to Germany ear- Soldiers as a sign of friendship.
Police Division headquarters can see it.
lier this month. “We’ve made friends with the people in the area,
They’ll see Iraqis training Iraqis, noncommissioned officers
Smiling school girls gathered in groups outside which in doing so has drawn the fighters and terrorists
showing pride in their own NCO Corps, and a new generation of
and asked the Soldiers in broken English, “What’s from the area,” Haynsworth said.
leaders in the Iraqi Security Forces developing in their country’s
your name?” With Iraqi National Police present in this Sunni
time of need. All in a day’s work for the 7-2 National Police
One Soldier said he was able to see the results of neighborhood, Iraqi Security Volunteers assisting with
Transition Team.
his hard work. security and Coalition Forces working with local lead-
The 7-2 NPTT has started a Warrior Leader’s Course, training
“It makes you feel good because you see how ers, the area is a symbol of the transformation that is
future noncommissioned officers on everything from drill and cer-
they were before, and the better the area gets the bet- taking place all across Baghdad.
emony to weapons maintenance and discipline.
ter it makes you feel because it means you are doing “Before, the INP couldn’t come in here; now that
Master Sgt. Donald Sherman, the senior noncommissioned
your job,” said Staff Sgt. Jonathan Haynsworth, a we’re friends, there’s no problem with the Shia and the
officer of the transition team from Salem, Ala., relies on his expe-
native of Lake Wales, Fla., and member of Company INP coming down here in this area,” Haynsworth said.
rience at the U.S. Army Airborne School to train Iraqi NCO’s.
C, 1st Battalion, 28th Infantry Regiment. The opening of the school is a result of the
“It’s the same as training our guys,” said Sherman, who was a
Just a short walk from the National Reconciliation increased security in the area. The citizens, as well as
first sergeant at the Fort Benning, Ga., school for three years. “It’s
High School sits the Ishtar Elementary School, tucked Coalition Forces, are safer, he added.
the same thing only you’re using an interpreter. They grasp the con-
away in a block of buildings, providing stark contrast “When we came here I believe it was May, June,
cepts the same. They’re just as intelligent as our guys.”
to the stand-alone campus of the larger school yards timeframe,” he said. “Since then, we’ve not had one
The WLC is only one aspect of the 7-2 NPTT’s operations and
away. small arms fire incident from this area here, period.
purpose. Maj. Joseph Parker, the team’s chief of staff from Snyder,
Again, Soldiers were met outside by the student No improvised explosive strikes, no small arms fire.”
Texas, said the groups are a vital piece of the overall effort in Iraq.
“The teams are important because we’re the eyes and ears. We
interact daily with the Iraqi Security Forces,” the West Point grad-
uate said. “We can get the idea of what the Iraqis are looking for.
We try to mesh the U.S. plans together with the Iraqi plans.
“Current Army plans have the NPTT’s in the lead to decrease
the overall number of forces in country and for the eventual total
withdrawal. We’re only right at the beginning of the process, but
we’ll start moving that way so we can fully withdraw the forces.
We’re just the vanguards of that effort.”
That’s where the WLC comes into play. Sherman said a
stronger, more capable NCO Corps among the ISF could allow
them to better conduct day-to-day operations, resulting in fewer
U.S. forces being needed in the region.
“It’s good; the sooner we get it done, the sooner we’ll go through
the transition,” he said. “The sooner they can stand up on their own,
the sooner we can execute an about-face and get out of here.”
In the 7-2 NP’s, already Iraqis have started training each other.
Sgt. Ahmed Kamir, an NCO in the brigade from Karbala, Iraq,
trained his fellow ‘Shurta,’ Arabic for police, on the basics of the
AK-47, the NP’s primary weapon.
Kamir, a graduate from a prior class of the WLC, said he was
(Photo by Cpl. Ben Washburn, 4th IBCT, 1st Inf. Div. Public Affairs) thankful for the opportunity to learn and teach.
Students from the National Reconciliation High School line the walkway leading to the school's “I am very proud of this course, and I wish to thank the Coalition
entrance, Nov. 26. The "Tuskers" of the 4-64th Combined Arms Battalion were on hand for a rib- Forces for this course. They do their best to teach us,” he said.
bon-cutting ceremony to mark the opening of the southern Baghdad school after renovations.
Page 22 Grey Wolf Dec. 10, 2007

(Photo by Sgt. Serena Hayden, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division Public Affairs

Brigade Cases Colors in Iraq

Col. David W. Sutherland and Command Sgt. Maj. Donald R. Felt, commander and command sergeant major of the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry
Division, case the brigade colors during a ceremony at Forward Operating Base Warhorse in Baqouba, Iraq, Nov. 27. The "Grey Wolf" brigade is in the
process of redeploying back to Fort Hood, Texas after a 14-month tour in Diyala province.

Fallen Soldier Honored During Dedication Ceremony

By Spc. Ryan Stroud try and make Iraq a better place.
3rd BCT, 1st Cav. Div. Public Affairs “He never griped or complained about anything; he
always accomplished every mission that was placed before
BAQOUBA, Iraq – Soldiers from the 3rd Brigade him,” he continued.
Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, gathered in what was The Dixon Square is used by the Soldiers stationed at
known as the “Grey Wolf” Square at Forward Operating Base Warhorse as a hang-out spot – a place where they can call
Warhorse, outside of Baqouba, Iraq, for a dedication ceremo- their families, get online or grab some well-deserved coffee
ny and renaming of the square to honor a fallen friend and or pizza.
Soldier, Staff Sgt. Donnie Dixon. With new Soldiers coming and going from Warhorse
Dixon died of wounds received in combat Sept. 29. everyday, Whitaker said he hopes those coming in will take
Those who proudly served with him during the brigade’s notice of the efforts and achievements Dixon made for his
deployment in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom 06-08 (Photo by Spc. Ryan Stroud, 3rd BCT, 1st Cav. Div. Public Affairs) unit, his country and his family.
gathered to render one last salute and unveil the dedication Col. David W. Sutherland, brigade commander of “I hope that when the new Soldiers coming to Warhorse
sign which bears Dixon’s gleaming smile at the newly-named 3rd Brigade Combat Team, and Staff Sgt. Mario look at the sign of Staff Sgt. Dixon, they see that joyful smile
square, Nov. 22. Whitaker, non-commissioned officer in charge of on his face,” Whitaker said. “He was always happy, no mat-
“Today we dedicated the Grey Wolf Square and renamed Sutherland's personal security detachment, unveil ter what the situation or circumstances were. Even though
it to the Dixon Square after Staff Sgt. Donnie Dixon, for his the dedication sign of Dixon Square, the food court we are in Iraq, ducking bullets and dodging [improvised
contributions to the Army and to his service in Iraq,” said at Forward Operating Base Warhorse dedicated in explosive devices], he always had that smile on his face.
friend and fellow Soldier, Staff Sgt. Mario Whitaker, non- honor of Staff Sgt. Donnie Dixon, a member of the “When a new Soldier comes in here, they can see that
commissioned officer in charge of the commander’s Personal PSD who was killed in action Sept. 29. this staff sergeant was happy and proud to serve his country
Security Detachment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Sgt. Dixon was a great guy, father, leader and friend. He sac- and give everything he could to those around him,” he con-
Division. “This dedication was very important because Staff rificed everything he was known for to come over here and cluded
Dec. 10, 2007 News Page 23

Going Home? Tools Available to Alleviate Issues

By Sgt. Nicole Kojetin to ease back into “the water.”
1st Cavalry Division Public Affairs “What I see Soldiers doing is they don’t test the water,
they want to jump into the water and they want to splash
CAMP LIBERTY, Iraq – As 1st Cavalry Division around and get everything disturbed,” he said. “What they
Soldiers are finally able to make their way home after 15 long want to do is get into the water and float down stream a little
months in Baghdad some their leaders wants to remind them bit. Just relax. The river might be headed in a slightly differ-
of the stresses that still will exist once they depart the coun- ent direction than it was when they left. So, I encourage them
try. to take their time, acclimate themselves to the water, step in
While troops will no longer have to worry about mortar gently, relax and float with the current and it could take
attacks or improvised explosive devices on Texas roadways, months. There is no rush.”
some internal strife from being separated from their families The Army has tools to help out Soldiers struggling
and dealing with combat stress can make the transition home though the transition from combat to family life. Almost as
a difficult one. soon as they arrive in Texas, they will be required to attend
Utilizing available Army programs, paying attention to reunion and reintegration training.
some issues that may pop up and talking to their leaders can “Back in the day when, I went out to my first encounter
aid in the transition. at the Panama invasion we just got on an airplane flew down,
Command Sgt. Maj. Philip Johndrow, the top noncom- did our mission, flew back and were back at work about four
missioned officer of Multi-National Division – Baghdad and days later without any kind of thought to dealing with any of
(Photo by Sgt. Nicole Kojetin, 1st Cav. Div. Public Affairs) the emotional changes that took place,” Walsh said.
the 1st Cavalry Division praised every Soldier for the work
they have done and the tasks they have overcome in the past Chap. (Lt. Col.) Stephen Walsh, the Multi-National “Reintegration training is a very smart approach to bring our
15 months. Division – Baghdad chaplain from Copperas Cove, Soldiers back into the normalcy of their lives that they left as
Texas, talks about issues that may arise during the well as sensitize them to the changes that have gone on in
“When you have today’s Soldiers come in, it is such a
transition home after a 15 month deployment in their in their family, as well as just in life in general.”
commitment and a self sacrifice,” he said. “The battlefield
Baghdad at Camp Liberty Nov. 15.
that we are on right now is so complex and the Soldier now The chaplaincy also has an initiative called “Strong
is leap years ahead of when I came in. They are just so ered to do crazy things… like getting in their vehicle and Bonds” to assist in rebuilding their family life.
smart.” The responsibily that is given to them as a specialist going 150 mph down the interstate while they are drinking, “Strong Bonds empowers Soldiers and their loved ones
is the responsibility that I might have had as a staff sergeant. or getting on a motorcycle and pop a wheelie while they are with relationship building skills and connects them to com-
We just put a lot on them.” going 70 mph, or drinking to excess,” said Chap. (Lt. Col.) munity health, supply and support resources,” Walsh said. “It
Those responsibilities add to the stresses that Soldier Stephen Walsh, MND-B chaplain. “I have seen many is sort of a holistic, preventative program committed to the
have to endure. These stresses can add up, becoming an inter- Soldiers hurt themselves when we get back either through restoration and preservation of Army families.”
nal struggle. accidents or mismanagement of their emotions, which leads This chaplain’s corps initiative that has been in place
One of the issues that must be coped with is that they to fights, which leads to them getting their nose broken or in since 1997 and is not only for married couples.
made it back to the United States and some of their comrades some cases seriously hurt.” “Strong Bonds has become a part of our family team
did not. Paying your respects to those fallen can be difficult, There can also be problems within families, which usu- building and our single Soldier care,” Walsh said. “When we
but it is important, said Johndrow. ally are associated with unrealistic expectations, said Walsh, go home from here, the division will be offering retreats and
“Going to a memorial is the toughest thing you are going a Copperas Cove, Texas native. programs to all of our Soldiers through their brigades.”
to do,” the Townsend, Mont., native said. “It is also the most “I think one of the difficulties, that men have, in partic- Soldiers can also get assistance through online
honorable. It is our time to talk about not only how the ular, is that they try to reassert their authority, before they resources.
Soldier lived, but how he touched our lives and be able to reestablish their relationships,” Walsh said. “That is a very “Army One Source is probably one of the easiest and
express ourselves while letting him know that as we live we foolish thing to do because there can be resentments to devel- best ways for Soldiers and their families to receive care
will never forget the ultimate sacrifice that they gave to us so op based on changes in life that have occurred” online,” Walsh said. “They can get answers about relocation,
we can continue to live as a free nation.” Walsh then quoted the Greek philosopher, Heraclitus, money matters, college and career questions. They can also
Even Soldiers who survive the violence of combat can saying, “’You cannot step into the same river twice.’ discover resources for things like crisis and violence counsel-
struggle, too. Johndrow said that Soldiers who are injured “What he meant by that is that the waters are continual- ing, legal matters, addiction and recovery. It is a fabulous
and in the combat support hospital or getting medically evac- ly flowing in a river. Now, the bed of a river might not change source that any spouse or family member can just go online
uated also can have a hard time coping with a type of separa- but the water within it does,” he said. “I think that Soldiers and find care and treatment.”
tion anxiety. forget that the water has changed since they have been away. Johndrow reminds Soldiers to take care of their families,
“When I go in and talk to a Soldier he will tell me sev- So they come back home thinking that everything is as they and their family readiness groups, using the available tools or
eral things. First of all he will want to know how everyone left it the river is still there, and it is, but things have changed whether during or after a deployment.
else is,” Johndrow said, a Townsend, Mont., native. “He in that river. If they’re a married person, their wife or hus- “They are our pillar of stability,” he said. “They keep the
wants to know his Soldiers or his troopers are doing. Once band has grown during the time that they have been away. If home fires burning and most of all, they support that Soldier
you tell him that everyone is OK, then he wants to know how they have children, not only have they grown physically, but who is in the fight
quick he can get back out of the hospital and get back into the they have grown emotionally, they’ve grown spiritually and and forward.”
fight.” they have gone on without their mother or father.”
However, instead of returning to the fight, Soldiers Walsh said adapting to inevitable changes is an impor-
sometimes they have to be medically evacuated. tant part of the transition from Iraq to the home front.
“Because he made a commitment to himself and his “I think the biggest pitfall is that Soldiers fail to realize
Soldiers that they came over together and will go back that this has happens. So when they get back Soldiers
together,” Johndrow said. “They feel like they have broken want everything to be the same,” he said. “They
that bond and want to get back. I have even had Soldiers want the same water in the river they left 15
apologize to me (for getting wounded) and it just touches months earlier. Not only is it impossi-
your heart when they talk about that… They will tell you that ble but it is unhealthy to try and
they will be back and they tell you to tell their Soldiers that make things the way they
they will be back as soon as possible.” were.”
On the other side of the spectrum, Soldiers may feel like The trick, the
they are invincible when they return home after surviving 15 chaplain
months of combat. said, is
“Sometimes Soldiers who survive combat feel empow-
Page 24 Happy Dec. 10, 2007

Troops Make the Most of Turkey Day in Baghdad

By Spc. Nathaniel Smith about getting my citizenship,” the former
4th IBCT, 1st Inf. Div. Public Affairs Yemeni said. “This is my first time having
the full joy as a citizen. It’s a special day for
BAGHDAD – Across the United States, me.
most families celebrate Thanksgiving with “I will remember this for the rest of my
their families with turkey and football. life. I had my Thanksgiving for the first time
Soldiers at Forward Operating Base as a citizen, I was in Iraq, and I was serving
Falcon in southern Baghdad celebrated as my country.”
well with the only family they have while For all, whether it’s the first holiday or
deployed: each other. one of many, the day is about giving thanks.
Spc. Desiree Iversen, an intelligence Patton said he was most thankful for his
analyst with Headquarter and Headquarters loved ones.
Company, 610th Brigade Support Battalion, “I’m thankful for my family most of all.
4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 1st My family’s really supportive of me. They
Infantry Division from Cottonwood, Calif., understand I’m in a position where I do what
said spending Thanksgiving dinner with her I have to do,” Patton said. “That’s part of
section was a pleasant proxy to spending the being a Soldier. You have to go out there and
day with her family. take care of business.”
“It was nice. Even though we work Ahmed was thankful to get the chance to
(Photo by Spc. Nathaniel Smith, 4th IBCT, 1st Inf. Div. Public Affairs)
together, we don’t socialize and we work on serve his new nation, but he looks forward to
different shifts,” she said. “I got to spend Hammond, Ind., native Sgt. Jason Mendoza, with 1st Battalion, 28th Infantry the future.
some time talking with them. You kind of Regiment, 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, gets his “I’m thanking God that I’m still alive,
adopt a new family when you’re out here.” Thanksgiving turkey at the Forward Operating Base Falcon dining facility in we’re actually doing a good job. That’s what
Sgt. Charles Patton, a multi-channel southern Baghdad, Nov. 22. Many Soldiers, like Mendoza, celebrated the holi- makes today a special day,” he said, “but my
transmission systems operator with day by eating with their platoons or sections. next Thanksgiving is going to be even better
Company C, 4-1 Brigade Special Troops ond Thanksgiving holiday in Iraq, being ly,” she said, “but last year was a little easier because I’m going to be my wife in the
Battalion from Monroe, La., said he tries to away doesn’t get easier. and this year I don’t feel anything really. It’s States, celebrating as an American.”
keep his head up while away from his wife “Some people get used to it, but I don’t,” just another day.” Iversen, the mother of a little girl and
and son on the holidays. he said. “You just have to make the best of it To Spc. Ahmed Ahmed, a linguist with wife to a husband who is currently deployed
“I’d much rather be spending it at home and keep a positive attitude. That’s what I try Headquarters and Headquarters Company, with the 2nd Battalion, 16th Infantry
with my family, but we’re here and I’m try- to do.” 4th IBCT from Buffalo, N.Y., it was not “just Regiment, 4th IBCT, said she is grateful for
ing to make the most of it,” he said. “I think Iversen, who hasn’t been home for a another day” as he celebrated his first her child and her husband’s well-being.
that’s how a lot of guys feel about it, they’d ‘Turkey Day’ since being in the Army, felt Thanksgiving as a citizen of the United “I’m thankful for my daughter. I’m
rather be at home, but you’re here so you differently. States. thankful my husband’s okay. I just hope he
have to make the best of things.” “The first year, I was devastated, it was “It’s kind of special because it’s my first comes home safe and able to see our little
For Patton, who is celebrating his sec- really hard. Every year I was with my fami- one as a citizen and I don’t have to worry girl grow up.”

MND-B Dining Facilities Were Set to Serve it up in Baghdad

By Pfc. April Campbell what day it was. cornucopias, gingerbread houses and fruit carvings,” said
27th Public Affairs Detachment “The Thanksgiving Day dinner is the meal of meals for Malinowski. “They will bring them all out and set them up
the Army,” said Philadelphia native, Chief Warrant Officer the night before.”
CAMP LIBERTY, Iraq – It can be hard for Soldiers 4 Shawn M. Malinowski, the food service advisor with In order to give direction to the holiday festivities,
deployed in Iraq to remem- Multi-National Division - Baghdad. “There is no money, everybody focuses on one topic or theme related to
ber what day of the no effort, nothing wasted on this day.” Thanksgiving.
week it is, much less While dining facilities feeds a lot of mouths at every “Each dining facility has its own theme chosen by the
which holiday meal they serve, they expected to see a significant increase manager,” said Sgt. Maj. Terry L. Stewart, a
might be right in that number on Thanksgiving Day. Bridgehampton, N.Y., native and food service sergeant
around the corner. The Pegasus Dining Facility, near the MND-B head- major for MND-B. Adding a competitive edge to the deco-
This Thanksgiving quarters, served approximately 2,500 people Thanksgiving rating helps to reward the DFAC workers for the time and
Day, however, dinner last year, when only 1,500 people were served at an effort they spend preparing their crafts.
Soldiers who visit- average meal. “We give medals sent from Fort Hood to each of the
ed the dining facil- This year the dining facility is serving approximately commands that has a dining facility and they judge the dec-
ities here knew 2,500 people at an average meal, so it expected to serve orations in their dining facility,” said Malinowski.
anywhere between 3,000 and 5,000 people for the holiday “Workers within each DFAC compete against each other.”
meal, Malinowski said. Being halfway around the world for a holiday tradi-
Unlike the average Turkey Day dinner at home, tionally spent at home around the family dinner table can
where most families don’t even begin thinking bring Soldiers closer together.
about meal preparations until some time “It humbles me,” said Stewart. “Even though we are
in November, planning a holiday away from our families at home, those of us here are fam-
meal for thousands can take ily, and we come together in fellowship and give thanks for
months. being alive.”
Preparations for this meal Helping to make sure those serving their country have
began in July and August, a pleasant memory of the Thanksgiving they spend in Iraq
Malinowski said, and much of is important to Malinowski and Stewart, who plan to greet
the food, including the turkey everybody who comes through the Pegasus Dining Facility
had to be ordered ahead of time. this Thanksgiving.
“The DFAC employees are “It’s especially rewarding to see the Soldiers smile and
working on their time, after the joy in their faces when they come through,” said
shift, in the back (of the facili- Stewart. “They see the effort that the DFAC workers put
ty) making decorations such as into the meal.”
Dec. 10, 2007 Thanksgiving Page 25

Troops Embrace Army Family

During the Holiday Season now,” Lewis said. “We really pull together during the
By Staff Sgt. Randy Randolph
2nd BCT, 82nd Abn. Div. Public Affairs holidays and try to keep each other’s spirits up.
Everyone is going through the same thing, being
BAGHDAD – Staff Sgt. Ian Lewis, a cavalry away from their families, so we try to become tighter
scout section sergeant with the 2nd Battalion, 325th as a family here.”
Airborne Infantry Regiment, says during the This holiday season is especially dear to Lewis,
Thanksgiving holiday he is thankful for his family of he said. After coming under a heavy attack only two
forty. days ago, several Soldiers Lewis knew were injured,
The Fayetteville, N.C. native is not speaking but none seriously. He said that having such a close
about a large clan of relatives back in the states, but call so near to such a special time for reflection,
members of his platoon from Troop B at Coalition made him think about what he is thankful for.
Outpost Callahan in eastern Baghdad’s Adhamiyah “I’m real thankful that my guys are safe,” said
District. Lewis. “But being with my guys out on the streets,
After spending three deployments in Iraq, Lewis seeing what other people here don’t have makes me
has grown accustomed to bonding with his troops thankful for what my family has back home, as well.
during the holiday season. He said that instead of get- Just to have power, sewage and a decent home; that
ting depressed about being away from his wife and makes me think about how great I really have it.”
children, he uses the time wisely, getting closer to his Lewis’ first sergeant, 1st Sgt. Donald Knapp,
guys and sharing feelings he can’t necessarily share from Mylan, Ind., said he encourages his paratroop-
in combat. ers to seek each other out while deployed during the
“Me and my guys have been together a long time holidays.
Knapp, who has seen most of his family grow up
and move away to different parts of the states, con-
siders his paratroopers his only family now.
“I’m closer to my paratroopers than I am with
my family,” Knapp said. “I spend more time with
them than I do with anybody. We are together 24
hours a day, and have been through close combat
together. That especially brings you closer during the
(Photo by Sgt. Mark B. Matthews, 27th Public Affairs Detachment)

Carving a Holiday Staple As another Thanksgiving Day drew to a close,

Lewis said he’s happy to be amongst his family here
in Baghdad. Although he misses his wife and chil-
Maj. Gen. Joseph Fil, Jr. (left), 1st Cavalry Division and (Photo by Staff Sgt. Randy Randolph, 2nd BCT, 82nd Abn. Div.)
Staff Sgt. Ian Lewis (left), a section sergeant dren, he looks on his troops with pride. He said if he
Multi-National Division – Baghdad commanding general
and Command Sgt. Maj. Philip Johndrow, the senior non- with Troop B, 2nd Battalion, 325th Airborne has to be away for the holidays, his guys are the best
commissioned officer with the 1st Cav. Div. and MND-B, Infantry Regiment, talks with fellow companions.
carve a turkey at a dining facility at Camp Taji, Iraq Nov. 22. Command Sgt. Maj. Brian Meyers, the top “We do a pretty good job together,” Lewis said,
Fil and Johndrow both took the opportunity to wish noncommissioned officer with the Falcon pushing his chair back from the table after his
Soldiers a happy Thanksgiving and show their apprecia- Brigade, during a Thanksgiving meal at Thanksgiving meal. “Everything has turned out all
tion for all of their hard work. Coalition Outpost Callahan in Baghdad’s right, but right now, I have to go. The mission never
Adhamiyah District, Nov. 22. ends.”

Cav Soldiers Spend Second Consecutive Thanksgiving in Iraq

By Sgt. 1st Class Rick Emert with their son, Noe Isael Barrera
1st ACB, 1st Cav. Div. Public Affairs For other Soldiers, even the variety of foods served for
the holiday meal didn’t make up for spending the holiday
CAMP TAJI, Iraq – Soldiers from the 1st Air Cavalry away from family – and it wasn’t the same as home cooking.
Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division, were treated to turkey and all “My grandmother cooks better,” said Spc. Erica Avent,
the trimmings for their second consecutive Thanksgiving in Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st ACB, a native
Iraq. of Fuquay-Varina, N.C.
The Soldiers find ways to cope with spending so many Avent also was deployed to Iraq last Thanksgiving.
holidays away from family. “It’s hard to deal with being here a second time on
“You look at it as just another day, except on this partic- Thanksgiving, because this holiday is really about family. It’s
ular day, we get yams,” said Spc. Dawn Murgia, from HHC, (Photo by Sgt. Nathan Hoskins, 1st ACB, 1st Cav. Div. Public Affairs) not about food,” she said.
Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 3rd “Spearhead,” 1st Air Cavalry Brigade staff officers, from left to Still, some of her grandma’s sweet potato casserole
227th Assault Helicopter Battalion, drawing laughter from right, Maj. Fred West, Lt. Col. Tom Jessee and Capt. could have improved things a little, she said.
her battle buddies sitting nearby. Darin Howe serve the Thanksgiving meal to While the atmosphere at the dining facility was festive,
Despite eating their holiday meal in a dining facility in Soldiers, civilians and contractors at the dining it just wasn’t the same as being home for many Soldiers who
Iraq, the air of celebration was almost palpable amid the hun- facility Command Sgt. Maj. Cooke Dining Facility said they would rather have been watching the Thanksgiving
Nov. 22 at Camp Taji, Iraq. Day parade – or a Thanksgiving NFL game – with family and
dreds of decorations and intricate holiday displays created by
the dining facility’s staff. iday,” said Zapata, Texas, native Master Sgt. Noe Barrera, friends. But the 1st ACB troops will be in their living rooms
The Soldiers also had the treat of being served by those logistics noncommissioned officer in charge for 1st ACB. soon as redeployment is just around the corner.
they normally serve under. The brigade and battalion leaders “The people going through the line were pretty upbeat.” “I saw a lot of Soldiers in the serving line who were real-
took turns serving out heaping portions of food to the Barrera’s wife, Sgt. 1st Class Tracy Barrera of the 15th ly upbeat,” Barrera said. “There were a lot of unit patches in
Soldiers, civilians and contractors. Sustainment Brigade based at Fort Hood, Texas, was that (dining facility) that were not from 1st Cav. That’s a big
“It was a nice opportunity to talk to the troops on the hol- deployed with him in Iraq until October. She is now home sign that we are going home soon.”
Page 26 Feature Dec. 10, 2007

Christmas Traditions Survive in Baghdad

By Spc. Jeffrey Ledesma silent, as church crosses were taken down.
1st Cavalry Division Public Affairs However, in rare areas with a higher concen-
tration of Christians bells still ring on special
CAMP LIBERTY, Iraq - According to occasions like Christmas.
Christian belief, in the first century the Saint “Many people don’t go to church any
Thomas evangelized the region we today call more in Baghdad. They are fearful because
Iraq. An estimated 600,000 Christians live in of the security and the fanatics,” he said.
this country of 22 million people. “You still have the feeling of Christmas, but
Despite being in a primarily Islamic, there is some sadness to it at the same time.”
war-torn country, Christians across the Since the fall of the ex-regime, although
Baghdad manage to hold on to Christmas by most of the fighting occurs between Sunnis
remembering how it was and keeping the and Shia Muslims, Saigh said anti-Christian
holiday alive with plenty of traditions. anger has increased steadily and after com-
Although Christmas was much simpler ments by Pope Benedict XVI connected
when he was living in the Iraqi capital, Ned Iraq’s violence to the prophet Muhammad’s
Saigh, an Iraqi-American who grew up in teachings, a prominent priest in northern
Baghdad, said that celebrating it here was a Baghdad was kidnapped by extremists and
joyous occasion. He said that whole commu- later found beheaded sending a clear sign.
nities and neighborhoods were involved in Saigh said he had spoken to an old
the open festivities. friend, who told him that she and her kids
“You can feel it more. It’s more tradi- saw a car hijacked in front of her house and
(Photo by Cpl. Ben Washburn, 4th IBCT, 1st Inf. Div. Public Affairs Office)
tional. It’s more family oriented. You can the man taken captive. He said people are
feel it in the air. Muslims used to celebrate An Iraqi Christian woman worships during a church service at St. John’s afraid because of the dangers that are too
Christmas with the Christians,” Saigh said as Church in the Doura neighborhood of Baghdad Nov. 15. Despite the violence close for comfort.
he recalled ‘the good ol’ days.’ “They used to in Iraq, Christians still are able to celebrate Christians holidays Although faith and Christmas is still
show their affections to the Christians, wish- Noel,’ also known as Santa Claus. drinks, while the women stayed at home to thriving in Christian households across this
ing us a ‘Merry Christmas.’” The 64-year-old explained that tradi- entertain guests and make food. middle-eastern country, Saigh said today it’s
There were many similarities between tions like Santa Claus found its way to Iraq “You would see people all over Baghdad more guarded.
Christmas in the United States and Iraq. through missionaries and Iraqi Christians visiting people,” he said. “Gifts were laid “I sympathize with them. If we, as
Children were afforded about a week off who traveled to places such as Europe and underneath the tree for the children, while Americans, can do something for them we
from school and Christian Iraqis were also Lebanon bringing back with them western adults enjoyed conversation. For most should. I don’t want to see them all leave
given a couple of days off work to enjoy the beliefs. Christian families, after the food, it was off this country,” he said. “They say ‘We can’t
holiday. Common to any celebration, food was to church.” live here. We want to leave,’ and if they
“It was a nice time of the year, when you also a major part of Christmas for Iraqis. Catholic churches were scattered leave, Christianity will be over in this part of
don’t go to school,” he recalled. “The women were busy in the kitchen throughout the city. Saigh said that he and the world. It would be a shame for it to dis-
One thing Saigh’s family did in prepara- making all kinds of pastries, cakes, special other Iraqi Christians would attend midnight appear from this part of the world when it
tion for Christmas was create a three-dimen- foods,” he said. “There weren’t any machines mass on Christmas Eve to celebrate the birth was here where Christianity began.”
sional model of the nativity scene, a repre- and people use to do everything by hand, of the savior. Saigh said that despite the mountains
sentation of the birthplace of Jesus. which made for great homemade dishes.” Today, the spirit of Christmas is still that stand in the way of Christians in this
“When you walk in you can tell when Another thing that coincides with holi- very much alive in Iraq, but silently tucked region, their faith hasn’t been stronger.
you go into a house that there was celebra- day celebration is being around family, but away in the safety of private homes because “Especially in the youth,” he said.
tion,” Saigh said. there were slight social differences. Saigh of the security situation many Iraqis face on “They are inspirational people who practice
Saigh, who calls Detroit home now, said said that usually the men traveled from one a day-to-day basis. their faith more in the face of all these hard-
that just like Christians in the western world, place to another visiting friends and family The presence of Islamic extremists in ships. There is something extremely
Iraqi Christians celebrated the idea of ‘Papa to wish them a merry Christmas over some some areas of Iraq caused church bells to go admirable about that.”

Doura Celebrates Christian Church Re-opening

By Cpl. Ben Washburn the church were the Muslims here, that have lived in this
4th IBCT, 1st Inf. Div. Public Affairs muhalla (neighborhood),” said Michael, a native of Newark,
N.J., as he stood in the church courtyard in front of a statue
BAGHDAD – Nov. 15 marked an important day for the of the Virgin Mary.
residents of the Doura neighborhood as Iraqi Christians Many Muslim leaders attended the service as a sign of
returned to conduct worship services at St. John’s Church. friendship and support to their Christian neighbors. Their
Bishop Schlemon Warduni, Auxiliary Bishop of the attendance could be a sign that Muslims in the area have
Chaldean Church, came to St. John’s, in the heart of a south- rejected al-Qaeda and embraced their Christian friends.
ern Baghdad neighborhood where violence had been the St. John’s Church hasn’t been spared from the destruc-
worst and al-Qaeda most strongly entrenched, to give the tion of war. In 2004, the church was attacked by terrorists
first mass since May 5. and largely destroyed. It has since been rebuilt. Just a few
With Christians, Muslims, as well as Iraqi Security and weeks ago, Christians there raised a new cross on the steeple
Coalition Forces on hand, Bishop Warduni delivered a mass of the church.
praying for peace and unity for all of Iraq. The Christians in Doura’s diversity has always been a strength of the
the audience took communion to conclude the service, culmi- (Photo by Cpl. Ben Washburn, 4th IBCT, 1st Inf. Div. Public Affairs Office) neighborhood. Nestled up against the Tigris River, a large
nating a day more than six months in the making. Auxiliary Bishop Schlemon Warduni gives com- percentage of Baghdad’s Christian community called Doura
“This service is a reflection of the current security situa- munion to an Iraqi Christian during a worship serv- home. In the spring, al-Qaeda terrorists began a campaign to
tion in Doura,” said Harker Heights, Texas native Col. Ricky ice conducted Nov. 15 at St. John's Church in force those Christians out of their homes. However, thanks
D. Gibbs, commander of the 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Baghdad's Doura neighborhood to the efforts of Iraqi Security Forces and the Coalition, the
Team, 1st Infantry Division. “Only a few weeks ago AQI lies back into the community. Lt. Col. Stephen Michael, the security situation changed dramatically in Doura.
had the Iraqi populace in the grip of terror but they’ve been commander of the 2nd Battalion, 12th Infantry Regiment, “A lot’s changed in this muhalla. We’ve come through
pushed out and the people have returned to worship.” said the Muslim community played a significant role in the and cleared out pretty much all of the bad guys we can find.
Tired that their Christian friends had been forced out by events of the day. People feel safe now,” said Sgt. 1st Class James Lee, a native
al-Qaeda, Muslim leaders sought a way to bring these fami- “Some of the first people that called for the opening of of Glennville, Ga.
Dec. 10, 2007 Back Home Page 27

Division Cases Colors as Troops Deploy to Iraq

By Sgt. 1st Class Brent Hunt brigades were located over a large area in the
CAB PAO, 4th Inf. Div. “Sunni Triangle.” The 4th Inf. Div. conduct-
ed 11 major division-level operations, which
FORT HOOD, Texas – Marking the offi- led to the capture of the then-most-wanted
cial beginning of the 4th Infantry Division’s man in the world, Saddam Hussein.
deployment to Iraq in support of Operation The division answered the nation’s call
Iraqi Freedom, the Soldiers of the “Ivy” again in November 2005 when its Soldiers
Division cased their colors at a ceremony at deployed to Iraq. During OIF 05-07, the
the division’s Cameron Field Nov. 16. revamped modular division changed course
Although more than 100 Soldiers from from regime change operations to rebuilding
the division’s Special Troops Battalion have the countries infrastructure.
already deployed to the region to help pre- Their mission was to provide a safe and
pare for the arrival of the division overseas, secure environment for the Iraqi people as
more than 4,000 Soldiers from the divisions’ they worked to form a democratic govern-
headquarters, which is based at Fort Hood, ment. The division trained and equipped
and the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, which is Iraqi Security Forces by providing them the
based at Fort Carson, Colo., are scheduled to skills and equipment needed to help safe-
hit the ground by the end of the year. guard the Iraqi people.
“The hour is upon us for the 4th Infantry Security operations conducted by 4th
Division, and we are getting ready to go into Inf. Div. Soldiers and the Iraqi army provid-
battle,” said Maj. Gen. Jeffery Hammond, ed the time for the Iraqi government to help
commanding general of the 4th Inf. Div., establish itself, while civil programs, such as
(Photo by Spc. Walter Klein, 4th Inf. Div. Public Affairs)
whose military career has spanned 29 years. bringing fresh water and free medical aide to
“The 4th Infantry Division has always Maj. Gen. Jeffery Hammond, commanding general of the 4th Infantry Division, communities, helped improve the quality of
answered the nation’s call to go to battle. We and Command Sgt. Maj. John Gioia, case the division’s colors during the 4th life for the average Iraqi.
are ready for this. Our Soldiers and Families Inf. Div. Colors Casing Ceremony for the division’s headquarters, Special For the division’s third and upcoming
are ‘Steadfast and Loyal’ ready. Troops Battalion, and the 1st and 3rd Brigade Combat Teams on Cameron tour, 4th Inf. Div. Soldiers will partner with
“These Soldiers have something in com- Field at Fort Hood, Texas, Nov. 16. Iraqi Security Forces, which will continue to
mon,” he added. “They are volunteers who Hood. MND-B works hand-in-hand with Hood, anticipates a deployment to Iraq in assume greater responsibility for providing
do this because they love their country. Some Iraqi Security Forces with the help of more early 2008; the 2nd BCT, based at Fort for the security of its nation.
call these Soldiers the next great generation.” than 600 Coalition partners. Carson, anticipates deploying to Iraq by fall Soldiers from the division anticipate 15-
This OIF deployment marks the third “The Soldiers have trained well here, 2008; and the 4th BCT and the Combat months boots-on-the-ground this time
tour of duty to Iraq for the “Steadfast and Fort Irwin and Fort Carson,” said Hammond. Aviation Brigade, both based at Fort Hood, around. The three-month extension from the
Loyal” Soldiers. The division will assume “We will take the reins from the 1st Cavalry anticipate summer 2008 deployments. previous 12-month tour is designed to pro-
responsibility of the Multi-National Division Division, who have done a magnificent job During the division's first OIF deploy- vide a more predictable and dependable
– Baghdad area of operations from the 1st and try to take it up a notch.” ment in April 2003, the headquarters was deployment schedule for Soldiers and their
Cavalry Division, which is also based at Fort The division’s 1st BCT, based at Fort established in Tikrit and the division’s Families.

First Team Loved Ones Say Farewell to Fallen Soldiers

By Sgt. Cheryl Cox deeply. We have many wonderful memories of a man that
1st Cavalry Division Public Affairs loved life and lived it to the fullest.”
Kirchoff talked of conversations he had with Madero’s
FORT HOOD, Texas - Families, friends and service family in the time since his passing; told of how they had
members of the First Team gathered in the 1st Cavalry laughed and cried when they heard stories of Madero, both
Division Memorial Chapel Nov. 14 to say their final home and in Iraq.
farewells and honor the lives of four fallen troopers. “Vincent will always be missed and is now forever a
“We gather not only to mark their passing, but to remem- Steel Dragon. I can say with extreme confidence, this Soldier
ber what they have passed on to us all,” said Lt. Col. Archie truly ‘walked the walk’, and ‘talked the talk’,” said Kirchoff.
Davis, the 1st Cavalry Division Rear Detachment deputy “Without question, his loyalty, commitment and dedication
commander. “We gather to thank these heroes for their con- will be missed by us all.”
tributions as Soldiers and as citizens, and to remember them As Chap. (Maj.) Daniel Kinjorski, the 1st Cavalry
as the men and Soldiers they were.” Division Rear Detachment chaplain, ended the ceremony by
“Helen Keller once said, ‘We could learn to be brave addressing the families, friends and fellow Soldiers in atten-
and patient if there were only joy in this world,’” continued dance, he quoted scripture to help those grieving to under-
Davis, a native of Riviera Beach, Fla. “So today we listen to (Photo by Sgt. Cheryl Cox, 1st Cavalry Division Public Affairs)
stand the pain they are feeling.
these words of Helen Keller and realize that while today is “The Latin definition of comfort is to strengthen greatly.
Spc. David Rivera, a bugler with the 1st Cavalry The Greek word means to come along side and help. It is the
not a joyous day, we must learn something from the examples
Division Band, plays “Taps” while Sgt. Ver Venir
of courage embodied in these four American heroes who we same word used for the Spirit of God in the book of St. John,”
Astorga, the firing team noncommissioned officer
honor.” said Kinjorski, currently of Fort Hood. “The greatest comfort
in charge, renders honors as the First Team memo-
Close friends and leaders of the warriors spoke about the rial comes to a close at Fort Hood Nov. 15. you can have during this time of grief is knowing that you
Soldiers. never face it alone. You may be in the darkest valleys, feel-
“I have served in the same company as Cpl. Adam J. to join the brotherhood of Soldiers,” Anderson continued. ing abandoned, having nowhere else to turn, believing that all
Chitjian for over four years,” said Staff Sgt. Jason Anderson, “Without question, he was a truly great man.” hope is lost… but you will never be alone.”
of Co. E, 3rd Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment. “‘Pappy,’ as Another Soldier who was remembered was Spc. Vincent “Remember Psalm 23:4… Even though I walk through
the platoon knew him, was the Soldier that people would go Madero, of Headquarters Battery, 2nd Battalion, 82nd Field the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me;
to for advice or if they just needed a laugh. Although he only Artillery Regiment. your rod and your staff, they comfort me. In the darkness of
had four years of Army experience, he had more life experi- “Every Soldier who looses his life in support of our grief, God quietly says to us ‘Cast your cares upon me
ence than any of us. Pappy could sit for hours just telling peo- Operation Iraqi Freedom has friends, family and fellow because I love you and will never leave you nor forsake
ple stories of his past.” Soldiers that will always love and remember them. Spc. you.’”
Anderson shared moments in Iraq and how Chitjian Vincent Madero is certainly no different,” said Spc. Rolland “As we honor the memory of our loved ones today, our
loved the Army and his job. Kirchoff, also of Headquarters Battery. “For the people who challenge is to accept God’s comfort that allows hope and
“This unique man made tremendous sacrifices in order knew him best, they truly loved him and cared for him faith to sustain us,” Kinjorski concluded.
Page 28 Back Home Dec. 10, 2007

Cav Families Thankful for Soldiers’ Holiday Return

By Spc. Jeffrey Ledesma
1st Cavalry Division Public Affairs

FORT HOOD, Texas - It is the day

before Thanksgiving, a little after 1 a.m.
when five passenger buses packed with 1st
Cavalry Division Soldiers rolled in front of
the roaring crowd of more than 250 people
like Hollywood superstars.
In the warm hands of Central Texas,
troopers with the 1st Air Cavalry Brigade
and 2nd Brigade Combat Team returning
from a 15-month deployment to Iraq recon-
nected with their family and friends at the
(Photos by Spc. Jeffrey Ledesma, 1st Cavalry Division Public Affairs)
division’s parade field here Nov. 21.
For Lawrenceburg, Ky., native Jamie Soldiers with the 1st Cavalry Division, who served a 15-month deployment in
Neal, wife of Sgt. Russell Neal, the quick Iraq, march across Cooper Field at Fort Hood, Texas during a homecoming cer-
emony, Nov. 21. After the brief ceremony they were released to their families.
ceremony meant the conclusion of a difficult
time. the long road of separation has come to an Support Battalion.
“It’s been hard,” she said. “But I’m glad end for this family. “He calls me his little monkey and I call
he’s doing what he does.” Jamie said she was anxious to see how him my big gorilla,” Mercadez said. “The
During the beginning of the tour, Jamie the baby would react to her father. Grace fre- first thing I want to do when I see him is
had to go through the birth of her second quently heard her father’s voice on the jump on his back and say, ‘Welcome home Lawrenceburg, Ky, native Sgt. Russell
child, 10-month-old Grace, all on her own. phone, but this was the first time in eight my big Gorilla!’” Neal, an apache mechanic with 4th
Neal, an apache mechanic with 4th Battalion, months the father and daughter would come Despite keeping in constant contact via Battalion, 227th Aviation Regiment,
227th Aviation Regiment of the Warrior face to face. email and telephone, Mercadez hasn’t physi- 1st Air Cavalry Brigade, 1st Cavalry
Brigade, went home to see his wife, 3-year- “I am extremely happy to have him back cally seen her father since Christmas. But Division, shares a hug with his 3-year-
old son, Isaiah, and his baby daughter six home with his family,” Jamie said. The Neal Thanksgiving this year with her father and old son, Isaiah, at a homecoming cer-
weeks after she was born. family isn’t the only family thankful this much more food, she said, has everyone emony at Fort Hood, Texas, during the
Neal headed back to Iraq. Later, she Turkey Day. more excited and in the holiday spirit. early morning hours Nov. 21.
remembered receiving news of her husband’s Fourteen-year-old Mercadez Jenkins of “On this eve of Thanksgiving we truly of loved ones.
three-month extension in Iraq and the feeling Temple, Texas, along with her mom, sister, are thankful,” said Brig. Gen. Frederick He closed with a little reminder that, as
angry. nephew and brother also reunited with her Rudesheim, the Fort Hood installation com- Soldiers and family members come together
“That night I put the kid’s to bed and father, Staff Sgt. George Beasley, a truck mander, as he addressed the returning troops for the holidays, to keep those who haven’t
cried myself to sleep,” Jamie said. Luckily, driver with the Wagonmaster’s 15th Brigade before releasing them into the waiting arms made it home yet in their prayers.

(Photo by Sgt. Cheryl Cox, 1st Cavalry Division Public Affairs)

Celebrating History, Culture

(Above) Julie and Lasaro Arriola, of the group “Tejas Winds,” perform and tradition Native
American song about the struggles and challenges of leaving for combat, being in combat
and returning to your loved ones. Tejas Winds was one of two performing groups during
the National American Indian Heritage Month celebration held at the 1st Cavalry Division
headquarters at Fort Hood, Texas Nov. 20. (Left) Anabel Alonso, of the group “Cuicani in
Xochitl,” perform a traditional Native American dance which alludes to inspiration, creativ-
ity and beauty during the National American Indian Heritage Month celebration held at 1st
Cavalry Division headquarters at Fort Hood, Texas Nov. 20.
Dec. 10, 2007 Entertainment Page 29

Country Artist Proves He

‘Stands for Something’
By Pfc. April Campbell
27th Public Affairs Detachment

CAMP LIBERTY, Iraq – Seeing an entertainer

from home while serving in a war zone helps to boost
the morale of many Soldiers.
Country music singer Aaron Tippin gave troops
that opportunity with his performance on a stage set up
outside the Post Exchange at this western Baghdad
base camp, Nov. 24. This is Tippin’s second visit to
troops in Iraq since Operation Iraqi Freedom began in
Entertaining troops is nothing new to Tippin, who
first performed for service members in Saudi Arabia
with Bob Hope in 1990. Tippin said his patriotism is
inspired by both his father and the Vietnam veterans.
“Those guys came home to such a sad welcome, Country music singer Aaron Tippin puts his
to something they really didn’t deserve just for doing microphone up close while Lufkin, Texas
their duty,” said Tippin. “I will not let any Soldiers, native Spc. Ross Gray, a generator mechanic
anybody, come home to a sad welcome like those (vet- with the 2nd Stryker Cavalry Regiment, plays
erans) experienced. his new acoustic guitar at the Camp Liberty
Not only does he enjoy coming to perform for the Post Exchange in western Baghdad, Nov. 24.
troops, but he also takes his first-hand experience here Gray won the autographed guitar in a drawing
and talks about it at home during his shows, he said. during Tippin’s concert for the troops.
“I tell (the audience) what I saw,” Tippin said. “I Michael Cunningham, operations sergeant and
tell them just how much (the service members) are Morale, Welfare and Recreation representative with
doing over here and how much good (the service mem- the 58th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, Maryland
bers) are doing.” Army National Guard, also noted Tippin’s apprecia-
Soldiers seemed to recognize and respond to tion of the troops.
Tippin’s appreciation for their service. “(Tippin) seemed like he was really sincere and he
Elkton, Md., native Spc. William Fletcher, a mili- really cared,” Cunningham said.
tary police officer with the 153rd Military Police Before Tippin finished singing for the evening, he
Company of the Delaware Army National Guard, said presented one Soldier – Lufkin, Texas native Spc. Ross
Tippin is one of the musicians that made him like Gray, a generator mechanic with the 2nd Stryker
country music. Cavalry Regiment – with an autographed guitar.
(Photos by Pfc. April Campbell, 27th Public Affairs Detachment) “I think the song ‘You’ve Got to Stand for After the last song, Tippin took the time to talk
Country music singer Aaron Tippin belts out a song for Something’ was really good,” Fletcher said. “(Tippin) with service members and autograph pictures for them.
Soldiers during his concert at the Post Exchange on Camp got the crowd into it.” While it took nearly two hours, Tippin signed a picture
Liberty in western Baghdad, Nov. 24. Others, like Baltimore native Sgt. 1st Class for everyone who waited in line.

Santa Clause III: Jack Frost Nipping for Santa’s Job

CAMP LIBERTY, Iraq – Can you imagine the stress of like my snow. It makes everything looks so clean and makes
being Santa during the holiday season? He has to get all those Random the world seem so quiet and peaceful.
toys to all those expectant children. Now, add in a wife who But even though Jack Frost (played by Martin Short) can
is nine months pregnant, visiting in-laws, another fairy tale create icy paradises, he is actually a greedy blue-haired punk.
figure trying to steal the Christmas glory, broken machines He is tired of being the sidekick and thinks he has what it
and trying to pretend that the North Pole is Canada… and we Sgt. Nicole takes to be the man in the red suit. He is trying to ruin
thought we had it hard. Kojetin Christmas in the process, and, of course, Santa has to try to
At least there is no one shooting at him, but there is save the day.
someone shooting for his job in the Disney film “The Santa This is a wonderful family film (even with a little flatu-
Clause III: The Escape Clause.” twice. He doesn’t want to disappoint the children, but sadly lent joke from one of the freakishly robotic reindeer, which I
Before we get started on number three let me recap the he is getting all caught up in work and isn’t spending enough am normally completely against.) It
first two to get everyone up to speed. time with his wife. reminds us of what is really important
The first flick was all about how Scott Calvin (played by Carol (played by Elizibeth Mitchell) is hugely pregnant during the holiday season. It isn’t about
Tim Allen) came to be St. Nick. He spotted an intruder on his and hormonal in the emotional sense. She is lonely. It is hard shopping or getting presents, but family.
roof and when he yelled Santa fell. Scott put on the coat and to find good company when the whole North Pole is in a fren- Whether you are sitting around
over the next few weeks grew (literally) into the jolly old fig- zy trying to finish all the toys. She misses her “tall” family. the TV with your family or sitting
ure that we know and love today. In a loving gesture, Santa decides to bring up the in-laws around a laptop with your military
The next flick was few years later, when Santa discov- (who think he is just a toy maker) to make the wife happy. family, this is a great film that will
ered that there was a clause in the Santa contract that states This requires a town makeover to try and pass the Christmas remind you of Christmas tradi-
that he has to get married. While he goes off to find a wife, paradise as a Canadian retreat. Apparently, Canadians are all tions and home.
the shop is left in the hands of Curtis, the head elf (played by really short. His father-in-law is more than critical and Carol Merry Christmas!
Spencer Breslin) and a crazy replica Santa who believes is getting more and more upset by the minute. (Four out of five
everyone should be on the naughty list. Scott does manage to He is also having problems with fellow legendary fig- stars!)
finagle a Mrs. Claus, though. ure, Jack Frost. Christmas needs Jack Frost or there would-
This brings us to this third installment. Santa is stressed n’t be a need for fireplaces and white Christmases would
out. It’s tough to make millions of toys and check the lists be non-existent. What fun is that? I am a Montana girl. I
Page 30 Entertainment Dec. 10, 2007

Pvt. Mike Shell, native of Roanoke, Va., with Company A, 526th Brigade Support
Battalion, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), poses
for a picture with the Purrfect Angelz following their performance for troops at the
Camp Liberty Main Post Exchange in western Baghdad, Nov. 23.

‘Purrfect Angelz’ Visit

Camp Liberty Troops
By Sgt. James P. Hunter commissioned officer, Regimental
2nd BCT, 101st Abn. Div. Public Affairs Headquarters and Headquarters Troop, 2nd
Cavalry Stryker Regiment. “A lot of people
CAMP LIBERTY, Iraq – Soldiers, sailors, loved it here, especially the last song. It’s great
airmen and Marines howled through the night for the troops. It’s a great morale booster. It
as seven dancers from the “Purrfect Angelz” gives the troops here a break.”
put on a show to remember for troops deployed Shell agreed the stressors of deployments
here in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, can be overwhelming.
Nov. 23, at the Camp Liberty Main PX. “The days can be stressful being a Soldier.
The group ended their tour here after trav- For me it’s not too stressful. With it being my
eling for the last nine days and performing at second deployment, I have learned to deal with
21 different locations throughout theater, to it, but it relieves a lot of tension for Soldiers on
include Camp Taji, Camp Slayer and Forward their first deployment. It relaxes you,” he said.
Operating Base Prosperity. But relaxed really isn’t the word to
The girls, Dani, Tanea, Laurie, Lisa, describe the crowd.
Lindsay and Amber, danced the night away to “The crowd out here today was nuts!”
such songs as “Sweet Home Alabama,” Shell said ecstatically. “It was absolutely nuts.
“American Woman,” and “Proud to be an Everyone went absolutely crazy.”
American.” When the dancing ended, troops were
“It was awesome. It was extremely awe- given the opportunity to get an autograph and
some,” said Pvt. Mike Shell, 526th Brigade their picture taken with the troupe.
Support Battalion, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, When Shell finally got his opportunity, he
101st Airborne Division (Air Assault). “For the thanked the girls for their performance.
girls to come out here and gives us support, (it) “I told them I appreciate everything they
was great.” do for us,” he said. “It’s great to see them out
The Purrfect Angelz have been together here; it’s an opportunity to get away from the
for the last six years and have toured Iraq for stressors of the day-to-day operations.”
the past five. And they too appreciate everything the
With their smiles lighting up the stage, it troops deployed around the world do everyday.
was difficult for troops to not enjoy the night “To all the men and women in the armed
and let their stressors fade away. forces, we want to thank ya’ll for everything
(Photos by Sgt. James P. Hunter, 2nd BCT, 101st Abn. Div. Public Affairs)
“The show here was fantastic. The girls that you do,” said Lisa Ligon, a native of
Dani Armstrong, a native of Highland, Mich., performs for troops at the were fantastic; a lot of great dancing,” said Sgt. Richmond, Va. “The Purrfect Angelz love you
Camp Liberty Main Post Exchange in western Baghdad, Nov. 23. 1st Class Steve Pickerin, senior paralegal non- and wish you happy holidays.”
Dec. 10, 2007 Sports & Leisure Page 31

(Photo by Pfc. April Campbell, 27th Public Affairs Detachment)

Got a Bite?
Westminster, Md., native, Sgt. 1st Class Brian Lare, from the 58th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, Maryland National Guard, uses his backpack to prop up
his fishing poles while he waits for a fish to take the bait on Z-Lake at Camp Liberty in western Baghdad, Nov. 18. Lare took part in a fishing tournament
hosted by the Multi-National Division – Baghdad Morale, Welfare and Recreation.

Post Season Picture Becoming Crystal Clear

CAMP LIBERTY, Iraq – Three-quarters 33 touchdown passes (and counting), his back Tom Brady or a tidal wave wiping out
of the way through the National Football wide receivers and tight ends are first rate, New England, the Patriots are a lock to lope
League season, the playoff picture is coming Trigger Pull Marion Barber is a stud running back with a to Super Sunday. Indianapolis is holding
into focus, and since this is the last Crossed nose for the goal line and the Dallas defense down the AFC South and should end up with
Sabers field newspaper published for this is among the best in the league. the second best record in the AFC.
deployment, I’ll take a look at the con- Master Sgt. I hate to say it, but the ‘Boys are the best Pittsburgh is winning the AFC North and San
tenders, the pretenders and my picks for the Dave Larsen in the NFC, and it would take a major upset Diego should manage to win the AFC West,
post season. to unseat them and take away their ticket to though Denver will give them a run for the
Just remember, as I write this Week 12 the title game. (I’ll keep hoping, though). money.
has just been completed and the first game of NFC Also Rans My picks for wild card playoff rides are
Week 13 went in the books about two hours and a score. Romo went 19 out of 30 for 309 Green Bay is a lock to win the NFC the Cleveland Browns and the Jacksonville
ago as the Dallas Cowboys improved to 11-1 yards and those four touchdown tosses. North, and should get a first round bye and a Jaguars. I see the Jags dumping a division
with a home win over the Green Bay They picked on a Packer secondary who was second round home game as the number two winner in the first round, but in the end, it
Packers, 37-27. (I, of course, picked the missing Charles Woodson. team in the conference. I expect them to really won’t matter because New England
Pack.) So, if my picks are perfect, I deserve Even with Favre on the sidelines wear- advance back down to Dallas and attempt to will sail to the Super Bowl from this confer-
a slot in the sports columnist hall of fame, or ing a baseball cap, back-up Aaron Rodgers win for the first time in 10 trips, though I ence. They’ll win the Super Bowl, too.
a free root beer, or something. led the Packers back to within a field goal, at wouldn’t lay money on it. (Ever since losing Redskins in mourning
NFC Favorites 27-24, before Romo engineered two fourth a pay check on the ’82 World Series, I gave After all the games were played in Week
The win puts the Cowboys in the dri- quarter scoring drives to seal the victory. up on sports gambling, thank you very 12, tragedy struck. Sadly, the Washington
ver’s seat in the playoff picture, but don’t be If this game was a blow-out, it wouldn’t much.) Redskins’ star safety, Sean Taylor, was laid
surprised if this isn’t a preview of the NFC have mattered if some of Green Bay’s best Out west, Seattle sits on top of a weak to rest Dec. 3, one week after he was shot to
championship game. With that in mind, were watching from the bench. Since they division at 7-4 and should make the post sea- death in his Palmetto Bay, Fla., home.
here’s some observations from the game. weren’t on the field, this Cheesehead still has son and play host to a wild card team in the Many NFL players are wearing a black
The contest was billed as a battle hopes for his home team in the post season first round. Tampa Bay appears to be hold- number 21 on their helmets, in memory of
between the two top-rated quarterbacks in run to the Super Bowl. ing on to the NFC South. But who will those the all-pro. A moment of silence preceded
the NFC – Dallas’ Tony Romo (number one) The Packers are the youngest team in the two teams play the first weekend of the play- the Green Bay-Dallas game that just con-
and the Packers’ Brett Favre (number two). NFL. They still make costly mistakes and offs? (Drum roll, please!) I’m going out on cluded.
In the end, though, Romo threw for four are one of the most penalized clubs in the a limb here, but I think the Detroit Lions will At 24, Taylor was one of the hardest hit-
scores while Favre left the game in the sec- NFC. Still, they’ve found a way to go 10-2, find enough defense to go with an explosive ting safeties in the league. The emotional
ond quarter with an injury to his throwing thus far, and there is nobody better in their offense and the Washington Redskins dedi- impact on Joe Gibbs’ club could be devastat-
elbow, after throwing two interceptions and conference – except the Cowboys. cate the season to their fallen star and leap- ing.
seeing the Cowboys jump out to an early 27- Dallas has defeated every foe they’ve frog the Giants in the east for the two wild Even more devastating, Taylor leaves
10 lead. faced except the prohibitive favorite to win it card spots. behind an 18-month-old daughter.
Terrell Owens had a huge first half, and all this year, the New England Patriots. Tony A foregone conclusion His tragic death reminds us all that life is
ended up catching seven balls for 156 yards Romo has already set a franchise record with Barring a catastrophic injury to quarter- more than just a game.
Page 32 Sports Dec. 10, 2007

(Photos by Sgt. Robert Yde, 2nd BCT, 1st Cav. Div. Public Affairs)

Johny Phandanouvong of the Redskins tries to stop Michael Reese of the Seahawks during the first half of the Turkey Bowl at Forward Operating Base
Prosperity Nov. 22. The Redskin easily won the Thanksgiving Day game 44-20.

Redskins Hold Off Seahawks

in Prosperity’s Turkey Bowl
By Sgt. Robert Yde itive.
2nd BCT, 1st Cav. Div. Public Affairs The Redskins, led by their quarterback, Benjerman
Sparlin, scored touchdowns on their first two possessions to
FORWARD OPERATING BASE PROSPERITY, Iraq – take a 14-0 lead and they never looked back.
Soldiers from the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry By the end of the game, they had scored touchdowns on
Division were able to kick off their Thanksgiving Day like all six of their possessions, while stopping two Seahawks’
millions of other Americans – by watching football. drives with interceptions to easily win the game 44-20.
“If you were home, you’d probably be watching foot- “I’m really pleased with how the game turned out,”
ball,” brigade commander, Col. Bryan Roberts told his Redskins’ coach, Albert Boykin said after the game. “The
Soldiers, “so we brought the football to you.” guys played a great game.”
The game, which was dubbed the Turkey Bowl, pitted Boykin said that his team practiced everyday in the week
two teams made up of Soldiers from throughout the brigade leading up to the game, which allowed the players to become
against each other in a 44 minute contest, and was based off comfortable with each other in a short period of time.
of the successful Baghdad Bowl, which the brigade hosted in “I think that was the game-maker right there,” he said. “I’m
February. not sure the other team was as well coordinated as we were.”
“I wanted to try to give it the same feel that we had last Wayne said that even though the game wasn’t as compet-
year and for it to be a big event to start off Thanksgiving Day,” itive as it could have been, she was still pleased with the out-
Maj. Latisha Wayne, who organized the event, said. come, and it was a great way for Black Jack Soldiers to start
As in the Baghdad Bowl, the teams chose an NFL mascot their Thanksgiving Day. Seahawk defender Thomas Durga knocks the ball
for their team name, so Black Jack Soldiers got to see the “It turned out great,” she said. “The players played well away from Nakia Norwood in the end zone during
Redskins take on the Seahawks; however, unlike the closely and I think that everyone here enjoyed it, so I’m definitely the Turkey Bowl, which was played at Forward
contested Baghdad Bowl, this game was never really compet- pleased with it.” Operating Base Prosperity Nov. 22.