Wednesday, November 12, 2008

On the Ground in Up Country Iraq

A U.S. Army Major who milblogs at Up Country Iraq writes about his tour of duty in northern Iraq "Winding Down".

Lets go on a mission with him that took place on Halloween:

"The day began as we relieved a Special Ops group after they conducted a successful early morning mission against some not-so-friendlies out in town. The MPs and the Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) team arrived on scene at the raid and the EOD folks went to work clearing explosives and other IED making material from the front yard of one of Tikrit’s finest insurgents. He and a couple of neighbors were obviously on the wanted list of the special operators, and now that list is a little shorter.

The MPs went to the houses surrounding the scene of the raid to touch bases with neighbors and to make sure everyone knew what was happening and to ensure that they were all OK. This raid got a little noisy so the locals new that something a little different was happening in the neighborhood. The MPs have earned a great reputation in the community from their willingness to keep the line of communication open with the citizens and to keep them informed. Usually the locals know very well who lives next to them, so they aren’t necessarily surprised when the authorities show up bright and early.

...Before heading back to Speicher, we stopped in an area where there had been a high threat of a RKG-3 attack. The RKG-3 is an anti-armor grenade, and the Sunni criminals in MND-N have used them too frequently. We patrolled on foot through the area and stopped and visited with several shop keepers during the patrol. The MP Commander bought chicken for his troops from a local shop and a couple other MPs grabbed a broom and swept the sidewalk in front of another shop. It is apparent that the locals in that area have a good relationship with the MPs, and the better that relationship, the more likely someone will rat out those who toss the RKG-3s. Believe it or not, there is a pool hall at the end of a row of shops along grenade alley, and the owner invited us in to play pool, smoke cigarettes, and drink Pepsi. The smart shop owners know that the Americans will come in and spend money in their shops, but there were several owners who clearly did not want us in their stores, especially the guy with the RKG-3 hanging out of his pocket (just kidding). After we wrapped up our visit, the squad headed over to the local hospital to ensure that the staff had stopped giving patients water that came straight from the Tigris River. The sickness was getting a little out of hand, and it took the MPs to point out the cause to the highly trained hospital staff."

You can read the entire post and see additional photos "here".

PROPS: Picture from the Up Country Iraq website.

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