Screaming Eagles Through Time
January 2004
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30 January 2004
  • The arrival of the first group of 326th Engineer Battalion soldiers came Thursday as troops brought home more accomplishments to add to their rich history. During Operation Iraqi Freedom, the 326th and the 887th Light Equipment Company with the 101st Airborne Division were involved with just about every major division construction project. If there was a newly built bridge, road or a minefield cleared, the 326th likely was involved. The 326th Engineer Battalion, also known as "Sapper Eagle," started as a National Army unit in 1918 and later attached to the 101st Airborne Division. After extensive training in the United States, the battalion deployed to Europe, where it participated in the airborne assault into Normandy. The battalion also participated in the assault into Holland and the Screaming Eagles' heroic stand at Bastogne. For its accomplishments at Normandy and Bastogne, the battalion was twice awarded the Presidential Unit Citation and the French Croix de Guerre, the Netherlands Orange Lanyard and the Belgian Fourragere. After the war, the 326th was deactivated but was back in action for the Vietnam War and deployed to the Indochina Peninsula in 1965. Following the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in 1990, the 326th deployed to Saudi Arabia with the 101st. During Operation Desert Shield the battalion was instrumental in the construction of the Division base camp -- Camp Eagle II. The 326th has been involved with every major campaign with the 101st. Chantal Escoto, The Leaf-Chronicle

29 January 2004
  • The 2-17th Cavalry Regiment, an aerial reconnaissance asset of the 101st Aviation Regiment and the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), is now at Camp Doha, Kuwait, preparing for redeployment, according to Combined Joint Task Force 7 officials. The unit has been in theater since February 2003. Fifteen of the 2-17th Cavalry’s 24 Kiowa helicopters were carried into theater for the deployment. They have flown more than 12,000 flight hours during Operation Iraqi Freedom, an average of more than 800 flight hours per aircraft just this past year. The marathon for the 2-17th Cavalry’s pilots and crews is nearly finished, but first the aircraft need to be washed to pass U.S. Customs inspections. “For the most part for these aircraft, this is the first time they’ve seen water,” said Chief Warrant Officer 3 Scott A. Moyers of Northfield, N.H. “They’re still going to need washing when we get back. You could never get all the desert out of these aircraft.” Sand, dirt and grease have accumulated in nearly all of the unit’s aircraft, especially in the hard to reach places. Wednesday, the pilots and crew took about five hours to wash the aircraft piece-by-piece before a 3 p.m. inspection. The unit is scheduled to fly back to Fort Campbell early next month.

26 January 2004
  • THREE SOLDIERS MISSING AFTER NON-HOSTILE INCIDENTS : MOSUL, Iraq - Three soldiers under the operational control of the 101st Airborne Division are missing following two incidents in Mosul, on Sunday. During a river patrol with local police, four soldiers fell into the Tigris River and one could not be found after the watercraft capsized. Two OH-58 Kiowa Warrior helicopters conducted a search for the missing soldier, and one of the search helicopters crashed into the river. The pilots of the aircraft are missing and aircraft recovery actions are underway. Search efforts are still underway for the three soldiers utilizing all available assets, including U.S. search and rescue assets. Iraqi Police and Fire Department search and rescue teams are assisting as well. Initial indications are that the incidents were not the result of enemy action; however both incidents are under investigation, and the names and units of the missing individuals are being withheld pending next of kin notification.
  •  The leaders of the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) Corps Support Group were among the invited guests at a ribbon cutting ceremony today in the city of Mosul for a teachers’ training facility that they helped refurbish. The teachers’ training facility is a place where teachers will be trained in their respective fields and taught the most up-to-date techniques in teaching children. “Training sessions will not be American curriculum, just modern teaching methods,” said Col. Gerald Dolinish, commander, 101st CSG. “This refurbishing is about the children of Iraq. Children have no political parties, they just have needs.” Non-Governmental Organizations will send people to the facility as instructors. A class of 941 teachers is scheduled to begin Feb. 2, and another 400 will attend the facility Feb. 12. Dolinish believes that teachers who are experts in their fields will in turn be able to better educate children. Maj. Gen. David H. Petraeus, division commander, put Dolinish in charge of working with the Ninevah Province Department of Education to repair and refurbish as many of the schools and learning institutions in the province as possible. So far, the 101st CSG has spent $3 million on projects connected to the department of education. They have rebuilt and repaired 159 schools in the province, said Lt. Col. Sherrie Bosley, operations officer, 101st CSG. “It has been my pleasure to try and help the schools and children of Ninevah,” Dolinish said. “We have taken the children into our hearts.” Approximately $50,000, funded by the 101st CSG, was used to repair and refurbish the training facility, Bosley said. The building was abandoned when the 101st soldiers began their project. The roof, walls, and floor all had to be redone. Most of the building had to be plastered, all the doors and windows had to be replaced and the water and plumbing reconnected. The walls had to be painted and electrical work had to be done, Bosley said. “We’re not just restoring (the facility), we’re making it better than it was,” she said. The project was completed in two months by hiring local contractors, who in turn hired local workers, thereby helping the economy. “We’re putting a lot of people back to work through the refurbishing program,” Bosley said. So far the 101st has helped repair and rebuild more then 550 schools across the province, Bosley said.

25 January 2004
  • The Department of Defense announced today the deaths of two soldiers supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom. Chief Warrant Officer (CW2) Michael T. Blaise, 29, from Tenn. and Chief Warrant Officer (CW2) Brian D. Hazelgrove, 29, of Fort Rucker, Ala., were killed Jan 23 when their OH-58 Kiowa Warrior helicopter crashed on its way back from a combat mission near Mosul in northern Iraq. Blaise was assigned to 2nd Battalion, 17th Cavalry Regiment, 101st Aviation Brigade based at Fort Campbell, Ky.  Hazelgrove was assigned to 3rd  Battalion, 17th Cavalry Regiment, 10th Aviation  Brigade, 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry) based at Fort Drum, N.Y.

24 January 2004
  • The floodgates have opened as the first flights of 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) soldiers left Wednesday and Thursday from the Kuwait City Airport for Fort Campbell, Ky. Soldiers from the 101st Airborne Division began arriving at Fort Campbell directly from Mosul earlier this month. Those soldiers were not necessary for the three-day convoys to move their unit’s equipment back to Kuwait for shipping home. The lead elements of the 159th Aviation Regiment, a 101st Airborne unit, are the first to finish processing through Kuwait. The chartered flights were due to arrive home late in the afternoon the day after their flights left Kuwait. “It’s a good break that we’ve all been waiting for,” said Sgt. Ruy Diaz of San Juan, Puerto Rico, 159th Aviation Regiment. “It’s awesome.” Diaz, like so many soldiers arriving home after their lengthy combat tours, will be coming home to his spouse and kids. His wife Frances and daughters Coraliz, 7, Anbrea, 5, and Alejandra, 3, have waited for his return since March 1. This week they finally got their wish. “They bring joy to my life,” Diaz said of his family. The pre-departure was tedious but necessary. Soldiers received briefing after briefing before finally swiping their ID cards and boarding the planes around 1:30 a.m. local time. Col. William T. Harrison, 159th Aviation Regiment commander, made the 45-minute drive from Camp Doha, Kuwait, to the local airport just to send the soldiers off. “It’s been a great honor to serve with you,” Harrison said. “Thanks again for everything you’ve done over here.” For a number of soldiers with the aviation unit, the redeployment culminates their service in Operation Iraqi Freedom and Afghanistan. Chief Warrant Officer 3 Rob Devlin of Clarksville, Tenn., for example, returned home last year after an eight month tour in Afghanistan - only to be whisked away to Kuwait two weeks later to begin what would be a year long combat tour. His wife Gaylynn and son Brandon, 10, and daughter Vanessa, 6, have endured nearly two years of Devlin deployments. “Being deployed has made the family stronger and made the time that we spend together that much more important. You kind of take that for granted when you’re home all the time.”

23 January 2004
  • Two 101st Airborne pilots died when their OH-58 Kiowa Warrior helicopter crashed northwest of the city of Qayyarah in northern Iraq today. At approximately 8:30 p.m., the helicopter went down due to causes unknown. An initial report from the accompanying second helicopter did not make mention of hostile activity. An investigation into the incident is underway. The names of the pilots are being withheld pending notification of next-of-kin.

22 January 2004
  • The 1st Brigade, 327th Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) handed over control of the Tigris River Valley area of northern Iraq today to the 5th Battalion, 20th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade (Stryker) 2nd Infantry Division in a ceremony at the Qayarrah West Airfield. Army Lt. Col. Welton Chase Jr., commander of the 501st Signal Battalion, furls his unit's colors at the 101st Airborne Division's headquarters in Mosul, Iraq, Jan. 22 during a transfer-of-authority ceremony. The 501st ended its yearlong deployment by handing over the communications mission for northern Iraq to the 234th Reserve Signal Battalion, Cedar Rapids, Iowa, led by Lt. Col. Rusty Lingenfelter. Photo by Sgt. Robert Woodward, USA. The 1st Brigade Combat Team has worked in the area since May, and military officials detailed various contributions the team made. The unit's soldiers spent their time trying to improve the quality of life for Iraqis, officials said, and they captured people who threatened the lives of Iraqis and coalition forces. They destroyed hundreds of weapons and ammunition caches around the area. They built and rebuilt schools, factories and other parts of the infrastructure. They helped hold elections in the Tigris River Valley, and trained and worked with local soldier and militia groups. "The brigade has not only helped the infrastructure, they've helped improve it," said Maj. Gen. David H. Petraeus, 101st commander, during his remarks. "It's a sign of great success of the 1st Brigade that they'll be replaced by a battalion." Petraeus thanked the soldiers of the 1st Brigade Combat Team for all the work they've done, and offered words of encouragement to the incoming troops. "This marks the end of (the 1st Brigade) mission here in northern Iraq and I just want to say one more time -- very, very well done," he said. "This is a very doable mission for 5/20."  Col. Ben Hodges, brigade commander, shared the feelings he's had and the brigade has neared the end of its tour. "Today is bittersweet. There is no doubt that every soldier in the 1st BCT is anxious to get home, including me," Hodges said. "For the rest of your lives, no matter what you do or where you go, you'll be able to look back proudly." Hodges spoke of the work done jointly by his soldiers and the local government and his thoughts on the future. "I believe that our shared goal of a prosperous Iraq is very close," he said. To the Stryker soldiers, he shared his belief in their ability to continue the beneficial work done in the area. "You're going to be extremely effective in every facet of operations here in Ninevah province," Hodges said. "I believe that you're going to make history by enabling Iraq to run itself." Lt. Col. Karl D. Reed, Task Force 5/20 commander, expressed his appreciation of the work done by the 101st soldiers to make Iraq a better country. "Their accomplishments will forever go down in history as one our nation's greatest achievements," Reed said. "It's a great opportunity; we're building a nation -- a nation governed by Iraqi citizens for Iraqi citizens. My soldiers are very excited to do this because they're getting a chance to make a difference."

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Col. Ben Hodges, commander, 1st Brigade, 327th Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) and Command Sgt. Maj. Bart Womack, brigade command sergeant major, wrap the brigade flag up to symbolize that they are transfering authority in the Tigris River Valley to the 5th Battalion, 20th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade (Stryker) 2nd Infantry Division, during a ceremony Jan. 22. PFC Joshua Hutcheson

21 January 2004
  • One of the first tasks for soldiers crossing into Kuwait on their way home is to turn over all equipment that won't be joining them for a return trip. At camps throughout Kuwait used by the 101st Airborne Division, that potentially cumbersome process has been organized and expedited with a streamlined system called "Four Corners." "It prepares them for redeployment by getting rid of all the equipment they don't need," said Maj. Kevin Berry, whose unit, the 356th Quartermaster Battalion, took control of the Four Corners operations at the beginning of the year. This giant Coalition recycling bin is collecting ammunition, meals ready-to-eat (MREs), cots, body armor, chemical protective equipment, barrier materials and repair products. These will be reissued to units on their way into Iraq for the second wave of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Berry said it typically takes around 30 minutes to unload and calibrate all the equipment on one vehicle. The division's 1st Brigade is moving through Four Corners at Camp Arifjan; additional units will be unloading equipment at both camps in the coming weeks. The name "Four Corners" is somewhat misleading -- the unloading regimen is not a four-step process. In fact, the program is named after the equipment recycling facility at the National Training Center in Fort Irwin, Calif. Compiled by Leaf-Chronicle military affairs reporter Chantal Escoto. Sources: 101st Airborne Division Public Affairs Office and www.centcom.mil.

20 January 2004
  • Soldiers equipped with the Stryker -- a transformational, multi-wheeled armored vehicle -- are soon slated to take up duty in the Mosul, Iraq, area of operations, according to a Combined Joint Task Force 7 news release today. The 1st Corps headquarters element from Fort Lewis, Wash., arrived in Mosul Jan. 17. In early February, the release noted, 1st Corps is slated to relieve the 101st Airborne Division of control of military operations around Mosul in northern Iraq. The 1st Corps headquarters element will become the Multi-National Brigade North when authority is transferred from the 101st, according to the release. The transfer of authority is part of the rotation of U.S. forces to and from Iraq occurring over the next few months. The Stryker Brigade Combat Team, made up of soldiers from 1st Corps' 3rd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division, recently moved into bases in and around Mosul, the release reported. At around 38,000 pounds, the rapid-deployable Stryker can be airlifted to global hot spots and is faster and more maneuverable than the old M-113 infantry carrier. The Stryker's low-slung silhouette and speedy nature help it to survive on the battlefield. The vehicle can travel more than 60 mph on hard roads, according to Army sources, and maintain 45 mph cross-country. The Stryker is engineered to protect occupants against .50-caliber fire, and with supplemental armor it can face 14.5 mm rocket-propelled grenade rounds. As part of its transformation efforts, the Army plans to field six Stryker brigades. The Stryker is named in honor of Spc. Robert F. Stryker, a Vietnam War Medal of Honor recipient, and Pfc. Stuart S. Stryker, who received the Medal of Honor for his actions during World War II. Both men, who were not related, were killed in action.

17 January 2004
  • The 187th Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), handed over control of part of northwest Iraq today to the 1st Squadron, 14th Cavalry Regiment, Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, in a ceremony outside the town of Tallafar. Col. Michael Linnington, commander, 187th Inf. Rgt., relinquished control to Lt. Col. Buddy Carman, commander, 1st Squadron, 14th Cav. Rgt., during the relief in place ceremony in front of an audience of the leaders of the 101st, including Maj. Gen. David H. Petraeus, division commander, and Command Sgt. Maj. Marvin L. Hill, division command sergeant major. Since arriving in Iraq, the 3rd Brigade Rakkasans participated in many key battles during Operation Iraqi Freedom. Once major combat operations stopped, the Rakkasans made their way to northern Iraq and worked hard on stabilizing and rebuilding the region. They helped with local government elections, trained Iraqi military and police, and worked on several projects in the region, Gen. Petraeus said. “(This) showed what could be done to improve the life of the Iraqi people by working with Iraqis of all tribes, ethnicities and religions,” Petraeus said. The Rakkasans will soon be leaving for America, leaving the Stryker Brigade in charge of the area and completing projects. Linnington thanked his soldiers for their exceptional duty and Iraqis for their help in restoring the country. “Today is a great day for the Rakkasan soldiers who are heading home to family and friends,” he said. The incoming Carman spoke about his readiness to finish off where the 101st soldiers began. “Thank you for your excellent work,” he told the Rakkasans. “We have our work ahead of us now. We’re up to the task and poised to complete this mission so that one-day we too will return to our families." The departing soldiers are ready to get home to their families, and satisfied with the job they did to bring stability and peace to Iraq. “It feels great,” said Sgt. Rickey Flagg, Charlie Company, 326th Engineer Battalion, attached to 3rd Bn. 187th Inf. Rgt. “I’ve been away a whole year and my wife had my first son on Aug. 13th. “I think we’ve done a lot for these people. They’ve been oppressed for years and we came over here and helped them learn how to live independently,” he said.

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U.S. Army Colonel Michael Linnington (L) and Command Sergeant Major Jaoquin Diaz fold up the brigade colors, symbolizing that their unit of the 101st Airborne is leaving Tal Afar in northern Iraq and relinquishing control to a unit of the 2nd Infantry Division's new Stryker Brigade, during a ceremony in Mosul, January 16, 2004. REUTERS/HO/Spc. Joshua Hutcheson

16 January 2004
  • Rakkasans Come Home - The terrain and enemy were different between Afghanistan and Iraq, but coming home brought the same mix of relief and uncertainty for Cpl. Armando Acevedo Jr. He was one of the more than 200 soldiers with the 187th Infantry Regiment who touched down at Fort Campbell Thursday. More planeloads of Rakkasans are expected this week. "We had more against us in Iraq than on the first one (Afghanistan)," said Acevedo, who was greeted by 11 family members who came from Texas to see him. But while he was happy to see his loved ones at Campbell Army Airfield's Hangar 2, he will have to readjust to civilian life. "I'm actually nervous. It's almost the same feeling I had when I got off in Iraq," he said. "I don't know what to expect. Everything is kind of new to me." The 3rd Brigade Combat Team, also known as Task Force Rakkasans, was sent to Afghanistan for nearly eight months in 2002 to root out al-Qaida and the Taliban from Afghanistan. Less than six months after they returned, the entire 101st Airborne Division was deployed to the Middle East in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. The Rakkasans were the first infantry units with the 101st to go into Iraq when the war started March 20. Acevedo's father, Armando Acevedo Sr., a Gulf War veteran and retired Army sergeant, said he couldn't be more pleased with his son's accomplishments. "I'm very happy, and hopefully he retires from the Army," the senior Acevedo said. "We're very proud." While many soldiers say Iraq was more dangerous than Afghanistan, Spc. Richard Sprague said Operation Anaconda was far more intense. "All the fire we took in was a lot closer and more accurate, and as far as ground war, it was more like combat to me," said Sprague, of Company C, 2nd Battalion, 187th Infantry Regiment. But while the battles in Afghanistan were on mountain ranges with known enemies, the battles in Iraq were more like the urban warfare the 101st trains for. "Every moment I was out on patrol, it was scary," he said. "You never know what's going to happen." The 187th Infantry Regiment traces its lineage to the 11th Airborne Division of World War II. They would have been the first American soldiers to invade Japan, had the empire not surrendered. Just after World War II, the Japanese named the parachuting men of the 187th "Rakkasan," which means "falling down umbrella." The troops kept the name. Chantal Escoto covers military affairs and can be reached at 245-0216 or by e-mail at chantalescoto@theleafchronicle.com.

15 January 2004
  • The return of the "Rakkasans" is picking up speed. A plane loaded with soldiers from the 101st Airborne Division landed at Fort Campbell late Thursday morning. Another is due Thursday night. The first planeload of soldiers arrived January 7th, an advance team to prepare for the return of the rest of the unit from Iraq. With back-to-back deployments to Afghanistan, then Iraq, most of the 101st has been overseas for nearly two years. By the end of January, thousands of soldiers will be back at the post on the Tennessee-Kentucky border, although it could take until April to get all 20,000 members and their gear back. Associated Press
  • A raid on a small village outside Mosul ended up leading to the renovation of a local school. Earlier this month, Maj. Gen. David H. Petraeus, commander of the 101st Airborne Division, participated in a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the school in Kanash, about two months after the Screaming Eagles raided the village on suspicions of occurance of illegal activity. Even though the raid on the village showed no such activity, Petraeus, who had joined troops on the raid, met with the local sheik and learned the local school was in poor condition. Petraeus agreed to help renovate the school -- and so an operation that once began with M-4 rifles and M-249 machine guns became a mission of goodwill to offer Iraqi children a more comfortable school, conducive to learning. Soldiers of the 3rd Battalion, 502nd Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division began reconstruction efforts on the school Nov. 17. Capt. Scott Todd, commander of Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 3/502nd, hired the Al Hasaka Company to head reconstruction efforts. Together, soldiers and the Iraqi contractors spent more than four weeks working on the school. Rebuilding efforts were split into four categories -- construction, sanitation, electrical and furnishings. By late December, the facility's walls had been rebuilt and repainted. The windows were replaced, sewage systems were refurbished -- new toilets, sinks, heaters, fans, desks, light fixtures and chalkboards were bought and installed. The project cost was shy of $10,000, Todd said. On Jan. 7, these renovations were presented to Petraeus in a ribbon-cutting ceremony in front of the school. A swarm of bright-eyed children enclosed Petraeus as he cut the ribbon, signifying the genesis of the new Kanash School System. Compiled by Leaf-Chronicle staff military reporter Chantal Escoto. Sources: 101st Airborne Division Public Affairs Office and www.centcom.mil.

14 January 2004
  • The operational tempo of the 101st Airborne Division remains high today as its soldiers prepared for redeployment and completed major reconstruction projects in Northern Iraq. Soldiers of the 926th Engineer Battalion put a generator into operation at the Mosul beet sugar factory. This project will ensure the factory has power at all times, boosting employment in the city and also contribute to the city’s power grid during peak load times. The Division's Surgeon section sponsored a program that provided three new ambulances to hospitals in Mosul and Qayyarah. The ambulances are 2004 model from a prominent Japanese manufacturer and cost more than $120,000. In the small town of Filfell, north of Mosul, the division’s Fire Support Element led an effort to restore an oil storage depot to operation. The station, once used as an export station to Turkey, can hold 12,000 liters of oil and will return to its original purpose when Iraq’s oil industry infrastructure is running at full capacity.

13 January 2004
  • The first large group of Fort Lewis, Wash.-based Stryker brigade soldiers has arrived in Mosul to replace the 101st Airborne Division. A convoy of 112 vehicles and 347 passengers arrived in the northern Iraq city on Saturday after a 250-mile journey from Camp Pacesetter, according to The News Tribune of Tacoma, which has a reporter embedded with the brigade. The 25,000-member 101st, known as the Screaming Eagles, has been working in northern Iraq since April and is scheduled to return to Fort Campbell, Ky., over the next several weeks. The Stryker brigade’s 5,000 soldiers will take over working with several thousand Iraqi police, civil defense corpsmen and new Iraqi army troops. A headquarters detachment on its way from Fort Lewis will take over command of coalition operations in northern Iraq. There were no hostile acts toward any of the Stryker units during the trek to Mosul, though more than 12 attacks or attempted attacks have been carried out on other U.S. forces along the convoy’s route over the past 10 days. The Stryker brigade, trained at Fort Lewis as a faster and more agile armored fighting force, features 300 Strykers, eight-wheeled vehicles that can carry as many as 11 soldiers and travel faster than 60 mph.

12 January 2004
  • High-ranking members of the Ba'ath Party renounced party affiliation today at a meeting in Tallafer in Northwestern Iraq while fellow Iraqis and leaders from the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) witnessed. In addition to renouncing, the officials turned in weapons to Col. Michael Linnington, commander, 187th Infantry Regiment, and Lt. Col. Christopher Pease, commander, 1st Battalion, 187th Inf. Rgt. Who handed the weapons over to local police. More then 120 Ak-47s and three machine guns were handed in. That brings the total of weapons collected by 3rd Brigade Combat Team to 719 AK-47s, four Rocket-Propelled Grenades, 30 RPG rounds, 15 hand grenades, two mortars and over a thousand rounds of ammunition. All of the weapons collected will be given over to Iraqi police and military for use in maintaining security, said the Tallafer Chief of Police. "These weapons will be used for the future security force of this country," Linnington said. "The goal is Iraq for Iraqis."

11 January 2004
  • Soldiers of the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) and the Iraqi Civil Defense Corps (ICDC) captured several anti-coalition suspects Jan. 10 and 11 in northern Iraq. The 1st Brigade Combat Team (BCT) detained three individuals in a white Toyota, Jan. 10, near the southeastern corner of a U.S. compound west of Qayyarah. The vehicle matched the description of one used by men who asked the leader of a nearby village where they could set up rockets for an attack on U.S. forces. During pre-dawn raids in Northern Iraq Jan. 10, the division’s 2nd BCT conducted a joint cordon-and-knock operation with ICDC soldiers and detained an associate of a suspected weapons dealer. In a cordon-and-search later that morning, 2nd BCT captured eight suspected members of an anti-Coalition group involved in attacks on U.S. forces. That evening, an unknown number of people fired small arms at ICDC soldiers on guard at the Mosul airfield. The soldiers fired back and the enemy fled. The 2nd BCT responded providing a cordon around the area where the attack originated. The ICDC charged in, cleared buildings, and apprehended four individuals. The 2nd BCT also reported that its soldiers detained a man in the vicinity of Bashiqah, a small town near Mosul. The man was a suspected leader of a group promoting attacks on Coalition Forces. Also yesterday, the Coalition for Iraqi National Unity turned in five RPG launchers, 100 RPG rounds, five hand grenades, and one 60-millimeter mortar system.

10 January 2004
  • Soldiers of the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) captured six people suspected of anti-coalition activities during pre-dawn raids in northern Iraq Jan. 8, according to U.S. Central Command officials. Officials said an element of the division’s 1st Brigade Combat Team detained five individuals in Ash Shura for attacks on coalition forces and for their connections to making improvised explosive devices. The element confiscated an AK-47 rifle and electrical components that could be used for making the homemade bombs. In Mosul, officials said 3rd Battalion, 327th Infantry Regiment detained a man wanted for the sale of two Samoud missiles during a joint cordon-and-knock operation with Iraqi Civil Defense Corps soldiers. In Northwest Iraq, concerned citizens helped support 101st Airborne Division activities by turning in large caches of weapons Jan. 7. Officials said two high-level Baath Party officials, one from the town of Tal Afar and one from Zumar, turned in weapons to 3rd Brigade Combat Team soldiers. The collections included 69 AK-47s, 98 magazines, 98 82-millimeter mortar rounds and a sandbag full of mortar fuses. Members of the Coalition for Iraqi National Unity, a concerned group of locals, turned in one 57-millimeter high explosive round, 15 hand grenades, 200 7.62 rounds, two heavy machine guns, 50 rocket-propelled grenade (RPG) rounds and 24 60-millimeter mortar rounds to the team. A local citizen also turned in two surface-to-air missiles to the Division Main headquarters in Mosul. Officials said he continuing cooperation from the local former Ba’ath party members signifies a willingness to assist the Coalition in rebuilding and reconstruction efforts in northern Iraq.

9 January 2004
  • Soldiers of the 801st Main Support Battalion, 101st Airborne Division, recently gave students at the Al Busaif Primary School shoes and supplies. Lt. Col. Jaycquelyn Russell, 801st commander, said she was fulfilled to watch the children's reactions to receiving the goodies. "It's great," she said. "These children really need new supplies; they really need all the things we're giving them, so it's wonderful to see them finally get it. I love this job; it's very rewarding." The school supplies were sent to soldiers in Iraq from U.S. citizens. The shoes were paid for by Coalition forces, running a price tag of nearly $6,000 for the school's 1,300 children. During a division-wide project called Operation Adopt a Village, the 801st spent most of December helping to restore the school, along with a smaller nearby intermediate-level school, said Capt. Cory Armstead, 801st civil-military operations officer. The battalion has spent more than $20,000 on the two schools. Upgrading light fixtures, repaving nearby sidewalks, installing new refrigerators and laying new carpet have been among the renovation efforts. "It's great being able to help these kids out, watching them light up," Armstead said. Including Al Busaif, 35 villages in Mosul have been adopted as part of Operation Adopt a Village. The 801st, however, is one of only two units in the 101st to take part. The other 33 villages were adopted by citizens of various U.S. cities, including Clarksville. Compiled by Leaf-Chronicle staff military reporter Chantal Escoto. Sources: 101st Airborne Division Public Affairs Office and www.centcom.mil.

  • The first planeload of soldiers from the 101st Airborne Division arrived home from Iraq early today.Specialist Johnny Ray says it feels wonderful to see friends and family again. The "Screaming Eagles" from the 101st, based at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, say they're happy to be on American soil after almost a year in Iraq. Fifty-nine soldiers from Fort Campbell have been killed in the war -- most of them from the 101st. The 200 soldiers who landed today are from the division's advance team. Their task is to prepare for the upcoming return of the division's remaining 20-thousand soldiers.

4 January 2004
  • Soldiers of 1st Battalion, 327th Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) detained a top anti-Coalition suspect during a cordon and search in a small town south of Mosul Jan. 3. The suspect became the battalion’s top target after his alleged involvement in an ambush in late July that resulted in the death of three U.S. soldiers. The suspect is also thought to have been at the helm of several other attacks in the 101st’s area of operations. Elsewhere in northern Iraq, the 101st continued its steady success at uncovering and clearing weapons caches by netting more than 10,000 rounds of 57-millimeter ammunition in the division’s 1st Brigade area of operations. Also Saturday, the Coalition for Iraqi National Union, a group of Coalition-supportive Iraqi citizens, handed in 10 rocket-propelled grenade (RPG) rounds, one RPG launcher, one 60-millimeter mortar tube and six 60-millimeter mortar rounds to the 101st’s 3rd Brigade Combat Team Tactical Operations Center. A high-level Ba’ath Party member who has been cooperating with Coalition Forces recently, continued support to the 101st by turning in nine AK-47 rifles and 10 AK-47 magazines to the division Saturday.

2 January 2004

  • A US Army Blackhawk helicopter made an emergency landing yesterday, leaving one soldier slightly injured, a military spokesman has revealed. "Initial indications there was a mechanical malfunction in the tail rotor," said Sergeant Robert Woodward of the 101st Airborne Division today. "So the pilot made a precautionary landing, and it was a little bit of a hard landing, and one soldier was slightly injured." The 101st Airborne Division chopper, carrying seven passengers and three crew members, landed northwest of the refinery town of Baiji, 200 kilometres (125 miles) north of Baghdad.

  • It was a champagne-free holiday for the 130,000 American soldiers in Iraq, with the Army's 101st Airborne Division in the northern city of Mosul breaking out sparkling grape juice and alcohol-free beer for the few soldiers in the partying mood. New Year's was a bittersweet milestone for the division, based in a former Saddam Hussein palace. The 101st Airborne is expected to depart northern Iraq by the end of February for its base at Ft. Campbell, Kentucky. "I just had a newborn and I've only seen two months of her life," said Sgt. Torri Griffith, 24, of New Orleans. "I'm anxious to get back." A few soldiers planned to ring in 2004 at a dance, while others planned to play cards or video games, or go to bed early before Thursday morning duty.