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October 2003
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  • Members of 2nd Battalion, 327th Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division were recently presented with a variety of awards by division commander Maj. Gen. David H. Petraeus for their achievements over the last eight months. Awards given to the soldiers included Purple Hearts, Bronze Stars, Operation Iraqi Freedom coins and the Combat Infantryman Badge, which they received for engaging the enemy during the war and afterwards. "It's an honor to present awards to soldiers that I've watched and the world watched in awe," Petraeus said. "You have done absolutely magnificently." Petraeus praised the soldiers for being key elements in liberating several towns in southern Iraq from the yoke of the former Saddam regime and for the peacekeeping work they have done in northern Iraq for the last five months. "(The soldiers) truly are winning the hearts and minds of the people, while taking bad guys off the streets," Petraeus said. "(They've) found the right combination of nation-building and combat operations." The battalion commander, Lt. Col. Jim Johnson, also honored the soldiers of 2nd Battalion, 327th Infantry Regiment with words of praise and gratitude. "Your deeds are an integral part of our global war on terrorism," Johnson said. "You're dedicated to making sure our way of life isn't destroyed."

  • A soldier from the 2nd Brigade of the 101st Airborne Division was slightly wounded early Thursday when a bomb exploded near a U.S. convoy in the northern city of Mosul, the military said.
  • Soldiers of the 327th Infantry Regiment, 1st Battalion, 101st Airborne Division, and soldiers of Company B, Iraqi Civil Defense Corps, recently held memorial services for Pfc. Borakat Hajee Ali of B Co., ICDC. Ali was killed Oct. 23 during a mounted patrol along the products pipeline near Qayyarah, Iraq, when an anti-tank mine exploded under his vehicle. The mine is suspected to have been set by other Iraqis. Seven other ICDC soldiers were injured during the incident. Six are still in a Mosul hospital receiving care. One has been released. The ICDC company augments soldiers of the 327th Infantry Regiment in securing the two pipelines in the area, as well as the Tiger South ammunition supply point.

28 October 2003
  • Soldiers from Charlie Company, 877th Engineer Battalion, a National Guard unit attached to the 101st Airborne Division, were honored at a ribbon-cutting ceremony recently by the clergy and children of the Al Kosh orphanage. The engineers repaired the two main roads leading into the town. Then they set their eyes on the monastery that stood in the foothills of a nearby mountain range. The monastery, which was built in 1857, also recently became a school and the only Christian orphanage in Iraq. The engineers made various structural repairs to the compound and added air conditioning units, swamp coolers and ceiling fans. They also donated school supplies. A total of $30,000 was spent in the projects.

27 October 2003
  • A man described as a key local Baath Party figure plotting against coalition and Iraqi authorities was killed and eight people were captured during a raid by U.S. forces, the U.S. military said Monday. Capt. Brian Cope, spokesman of the 2nd Brigade, 101st Airborne Division, identified the dead man only as Abu Fares. Cope said the man was killed before dawn Sunday when he opened fire on U.S. forces during a raid. An Iraqi woman was injured in the raid, Cope said. He said those arrested were "a combination of former regime loyalists and active cells" that were "currently plotting against the coalition as well as the local government and local police." Cope described Abu Fares as a Baath Party figure and suspected leader of "an organization that is plotting against both the coalition and the local government."

24 October 2003
  • One 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) soldier was killed in a small arms fire attack in western Mosul at approximately 3:45 a.m. Oct. 24. The soldier was evacuated to the 21st Combat Support Hospital and pronounced dead there. The soldier's name is being withheld pending next-of-kin notification. The incident is under investigation.

23 October 2003
  • In Mosul in the north, troops from the 101st Airborne Division opened fire at four Iraqis that attacked one of their compounds by rocket-propelled grenades, killing two and injuring a third, the military said Thursday. The fourth escaped. There were no casualties among U.S. forces.
  • The senior U.S. military commander in northern Iraq said Wednesday that he was beginning to reduce his soldiers' presence in this northern city and turn their security duties over to Iraqi police officers and troops as local government takes root and life slowly returns to normal. Maj. Gen. David H. Petraeus, commander of the 101st Airborne Division, also said he thought it would be possible for the Pentagon to reduce the number of U.S. forces in northern Iraq, without adversely affecting security when fresh forces replace his 20,800 troops in late February or early March.

22 October 2003
  • One soldier from the 101st Airborne Division was slightly injured when a bomb exploded in front of his convoy in Mosul, 225 miles north of Baghdad, the military said.

  • The General Land Transportation Co., a truck company headquartered in downtown Mosul, was the victim of massive amounts of looting following the fall of the former regime. Windows, doors, office furniture and gas pumps were some of the things stolen. The trucks were kept at the workers' houses for safety. To aid in the owner's effort to rebuild his truck depot, the public transportation team of the 431st Civil Affairs Battalion, attached to the 101st Airborne Division coordinated to have another Iraqi business, the Bateel Trading Co., donate chairs and other office furniture to the truck company. Along with the furniture, the owner hired laborers to increase the height of the depot's perimeter wall, build a new company cafeteria and make other additions to the compound.
  • In the purple light of early dawn, 20 helicopters suddenly converged on a remote desert wadi -- a dry riverbed -- in southwest Iraq, hoping to catch hostile factions unaware. Initial feedback from pilots indicated no obvious enemy presence, and soon the Pathfinders from the 101st Airborne Division confirmed the area clear. Cloaked in the thicker vegetation, however, they discovered a training camp that may have been intended to turn Iraqis into mujahadeen, or holy warriors, bent on destroying coalition efforts to stabilize Iraq. A weapons cache found at the camp included rocket-propelled grenades, launchers, automatic rifles and ammunition. Fresh eggs indicated recent activity, and the quantity of blankets and canned food found may have revealed plans, now foiled, to expand the camp. A divisional intelligence report assesses that as many as 30 fighters were preparing future fighting positions and noted revetments dug to help conceal vehicles and fighting positions all around the area.
  • Soldiers from the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) discovered four weapons caches Oct. 20. In the first incident, soldiers from the 3rd Brigade Combat Team discovered a cache of 26 60 mm mortar rounds southeast of Anzalla Pump Station. Later that afternoon, soldiers from the 2nd Battalion, 44th Air Defense Artillery Regiment discovered 60 81 mm mortar rounds and 20 detonator fuses at Forward Operating Base Q-West. Soldiers from 1st Brigade Combat Team discovered two caches about 10 kilometers south of Mosul. The first consisted of 86 60 mm rounds, and the second contained 50 60 mm rounds. Also on Oct. 20, people from the Coalition of Iraqi National Unity turned in five rocket-propelled grenade launchers and two SA-7 surfaceto-air missiles. All of the caches were secured and will be destroyed by explosive ordnance disposal soldiers. The discovery and destruction of weapons caches through out Iraq helps ensure the continued safety of coalition forces and the Iraqi people, 101st officials said.

17 October 2003
  • Defense officials today announced the death of three soldiers who were supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom on Oct. 16 in Karbala, Iraq. The soldiers were attempting to negotiate with armed men who were congregating on a road near a mosque after curfew. The Iraqis opened fire killing three soldiers and wounding seven others. Killed were: Lt. Col. Kim S. Orlando, 43, of Tennessee; Staff Sgt. Joseph P. Bellavia, 28, of Wakefield, Mass.: and Cpl. Sean R. Grilley, 24, of San Bernardino, Calif. The soldiers were assigned to the 716th Military Police Battalion, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), based in Fort Campbell, Ky. Orlando was the commanding officer of the 716th Military Police Battalion. The incident is under investigation.
  • Maj. Gen. David H. Petraeus, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) commanding general, joined an assembly of Mosul city leaders, including Deputy Mayor Khasro Ghoran and the fire and police chiefs, in a ceremony to remember the fallen police and firefighters in Mosul Oct. 10. Policemen and firefighters have patrolled the streets of Mosul alongside U.S. service members since the 101st AD arrived in the city last April.  In clearing the remaining enemy elements in the city and protecting the people of Mosul, the coalition has included Iraqi policemen and firefighters.  In the last six months, nine policemen and two firemen lost their lives in battle. We have lost many soldiers as well, Petraeus told the mother of a fallen Iraqi, and we feel like your son was one of our soldiers. The 101st AD commander met with the families of the fallen Iraqi policemen and firemen and greeted each of them with the same message, Our soldiers are very proud to serve alongside your husband.  Ghoran also met with the families and presented each with an Iraqi flag and flowers. Petraeus and Col. Joseph Anderson, the 101st Airborne Divisions 2nd Brigade commander, watched as medals were pinned on several policemen and firemen for valor under fire.  Mosul Chief of Police Muhammad Khadi Barhawi and Fire Chief Muhammad Mahory did the honors for their respective services. Today we celebrate the lives of the heroes who sacrificed their lives for the safety of our citizens, Mahory said.  We shall continue in our duty to provide safety for our citizens.

16 October 2003
  • American forces in Iraq have captured one of the most senior members of Ansar al-Islam, an extremist group suspected of having ties to Osama bin Laden's al-Qaida network, U.S. defense officials said Tuesday. The arrest of Aso Hawleri, also known as Asad Muhammad Hasan, late last week in the northern city of Mosul has not been announced. Larry Di Rita, chief spokesman for Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, told reporters, "I'm not in a position to confirm" Hawleri's capture. Hawleri was taken by soldiers of the 101st Airborne Division, said a defense official, who discussed the matter on condition of anonymity. The capture netted a number of other people besides Hawleri, the official said, adding that there apparently was not a gunfight. No other details were immediately available. The officials said Hawleri is thought to be the third-ranking official in Ansar al-Islam, most of whose fighters were believed to have fled their stronghold in northern Iraq before U.S. forces invaded in March. U.S. and Kurdish forces destroyed the group's main base in the early weeks of the war. Ansar had taken control of a slice of the Kurdish-controlled area near the Iranian border, enforcing a version of Islam only slightly less stringent than the Taliban in Afghanistan in mountain strongholds outside areas of Iraq controlled by government forces.
  • Furnishings and computers help improve Al Kifah intermediate schoolstudents of the Al Kifah Intermediate School started off the new school year to find new furnishings and new computers in the classrooms. Soldiers of Company B, 8th Battalion, 101st Aviation Regiment, 101st Airborne Division, worked all summer to see that the school in Al Sazare Square would be ready for the coming school year. The reconstruction project began with $10,000 of project funds, which helped clean and paint the facilities, repair windows and fix plumbing, along with other repairs, said Capt. Chris M. Stallings, Company B, 8th Battalion, 101st Aviation Regiment. An additional $7,000 went to purchase furniture and desks for the school. The soldiers of Company B didn't stop there. They also took an extra step of getting friends and family back in the U.S. to donate supplies for the school.
  • Whether or not another multinational division is ready for deployment in February, the 101st Airborne Division will come home on time, said U.S. Central Command officials. A plan unveiled in July called for a multinational division to replace the 101st in Mosul, Iraq, in February. Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said he still hopes an international division will be ready for duty in Iraq, but the U.S. military is making plans in case this does not happen. The U.S. military has made decisions on what would happen if the international troops weren't ready. Rumsfeld and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Air Force Gen. Richard B. Myers said that almost all reserve component units that might be needed have been notified. Some combat support and combat service support units mostly in the reserves have not yet been notified. The secretary said some support may come from other services. Beginning in February, the 1st Cavalry Division, augmented by the 39th Infantry Brigade of the Arkansas National Guard, will begin replacing the 1st Armored Division in Baghdad. Beginning in March, the 1st Infantry Division, augmented by the 30th Infantry Brigade of the North Carolina Guard, will begin replacing the 4th Infantry Division in Tikrit. The 81st Infantry Brigade of the Washington National Guard will replace the 53rd Enhanced Special Brigade from the Florida National Guard around Baghdad.

  • Soldiers from the 101st Airborne Division arrested three people who tried to evade a patrol along the Syrian-Iraqi border, the military reported Tuesday. It said troops confiscated two AK-47 assault rifles and a night-vision-equipped sniper scope for a rifle.

14 October 2003
  • The 101st Airborne Division handed control of the Syrian/Iraqi border to the coalition-trained Iraqi Border Guard in a ceremony Saturday at one of the 22 renovated border guard posts along the border. The border control change will require the IBG to "have complete integrity" or collapse under the same corruption which plagued police under the former regime, said Ninevah Province Gov. Ghanim Al Basso. The 101st's 187th Infantry Regiment will continue to oversee the progress of the IBG, whose 690 members were each trained by coalition forces in two-week classes since July. Maj. Gen. David H. Petraeus, 101st commander, spoke at the ceremony and said early signs look promising. "(The IBG) is already working hard to secure the border. Iraqi border guards have already captured a large number of smugglers across the border," he said. Compiled by Leaf-Chronicle military reporter Chantal Escoto. Sources: www.centcom.mil, and 101st Airborne Division Public Affairs Office.
  • Soldiers from the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) 2nd Brigade Combat Team killed an enemy attacker Oct. 13 when their convoy came under attack in eastern Mosul. The convoy was fired on by two rocket-propelled grenades and small arms fire at approximately 7:25 p.m. while on a routine patrol in the city. Soldiers in the convoy returned fire, killing an individual as he prepared to fire a rocket-propelled grenade. Two traffic control points were established by then unit, who confiscated one rocket-propelled grenade, one RPK assault rifle, and four hand-grenades. There were no U.S. injuries. In a second incident, Soldiers from the 3rd Brigade Combat Team pursued a vehicle as it attempted to evade a mounted patrol along the Syria/Iraq border at 11:09 p.m. The vehicle was stopped and searched. Soldiers apprehended three passengers, and confiscated two AK-47s with two magazines and a sniper/night vision scope. The three were detained in the 3rd Brigade holding facility.
  • Soldiers from the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) uncovered five weapons caches during operations Oct. 13. In the first incident, soldiers from the 1st Brigade Combat Team discovered a cache southeast of Al Hadr while conducting aerial training. The cache consisted of approximately 100 rocket-propelled grenades, neatly stacked and concealed by straw in a wadi. In the second incident, soldiers from the 1st Brigade Combat team discovered two caches northwest of Q-West. The first cache consisted of 23 60mm mortar rounds. The second cache consisted of 12 82mm rounds and a rocket-propelled grenade round. The fourth cache was discovered when an informant disclosed the location of five rocket-propelled grenades and seven 152mm rounds in a bombed out bunker southeast of Qyarrah. The fifth cache was spotted by 2-17th Cavalry aviators flying in Kiowa Warriors between Bartellah and Kalah. The cache contained 40 57mm anti-aircraft rounds. All of the caches were secured and will be destroyed by Explosive Ordnance Disposal soldiers. The discovery and destruction of weapons caches through out Iraq helps ensure the continued safety of coalition forces and the Iraqi people.
  • U.S. forces in Iraq have captured a senior member of Ansar al-Islam, an extremist group suspected of having ties to Osama bin Laden's al-Qaida network, a senior U.S. defense official said Tuesday. The capture of Aso Hawleri late last week in the northern city of Mosul has not been publicly announced. He was taken into custody by soldiers of the 101st Airborne Division, said the defense official, who discussed the matter on condition of anonymity. No other details were immediately available. The official said Hawleri is thought to be the third-ranking official in Ansar al-Islam, most of whose leaders were believed to have fled their stronghold in northern Iraq before U.S. forces invaded in March. U.S. and Kurdish forces destroyed the group's main base in the early weeks of the war. Ansar had taken control of a slice of the Kurdish-controlled area near the Iranian border, enforcing a version of Islam only slightly less stringent than the Taliban in Afghanistan. Their mountain strongholds were in an area not controlled by Iraqi government forces. The Kurdish-Arab extremist group carried out suicide bombings, car bombs, assassinations and raids on militiamen and politicians of the secular Kurdish government, killing scores of people over the last two years. U.S. officials say Ansar sent about a dozen people through al-Qaida camps in 1999 and 2000 and experimented with biotoxin ricin in 2002. In late August, Gen. John Abizaid, commander of all forces in Iraq, told reporters that elements of Ansar al-Islam had migrated south into the Baghdad area, presenting an increased terrorist threat. It remains unclear whether Ansar has played a role in any of the recent terror-style bombings in Iraq, including the Aug. 19 bombing of the U.N. headquarters in Baghdad that killed 22 people. Ansar's top leader, Mullah Krekar, was taken into custody in the Netherlands in September 2002 and later deported to Norway. He was released from a Norwegian jail last April after a court found insufficient grounds to hold him on terrorism charges. Police dropped the charges in July, but are investigating him for allegedly financing terrorist activities.

12 October 2003

  • Coalition forces built a playground in the neighborhood of Domiz as a reward for the residents' help in making the city of Mosul a safer place. The playground was funded by the 101st Airborne Division and took two weeks to construct, said Capt. Richard Compton, a chaplain with 3rd Battalion, 502nd Infantry Regiment. "We've been focusing on putting playgrounds in neighborhoods that have been helping the coalition," Compton said. The idea came into being about two months ago, Compton said. "Two kids got killed when they found some unexploded ordnance while playing in a trash heap," he said. "It feels good to have a place for the children to play instead of out in the streets, around vehicles or in a trash heap." The work was done by local contractor Emad Ahmad. It opened for the children on Sept. 22. The site was a dumping ground before construction began. Compiled by Leaf-Chronicle military reporter Chantal Escoto. Sources: www.centcom.mil, and 101st Airborne Division Public Affairs Office.
  • The 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) handed control of the Syrian/Iraqi border to the coalition-trained Iraqi Border Guard (IBG) in a ceremony Saturday at one of the 22 renovated IBG posts along the border. A significant stride in coalition efforts to return control of Iraq to its citizens while ensuring they have the freedom and discipline to control it well, the border control handover will require the IBG to "have complete integrity" or collapse under the same corruption which plagued police under the former regime, said Ninevah Province governor Ghanim Al Basso. "This achievement is a step on the road toward democracy and freedom in the Ninevah Province," Basso said. "It's also one of the pillars in building good security and safety here. I have great hope in the future of our border guards and the future of Iraq." The 101st's 187th Inf. Regt. will continue to oversee the progress of the IBG, whose 690 members were each trained by Coalition Forces in two-week classes since July. Maj. Gen. David H. Petraeus, 101st commander, spoke at the ceremony and said early signs look promising. "[The IBG] is already working hard to secure the border. Iraqi border guards have already captured a large number of smugglers across the border," he said. "Just last night, nine more smugglers along the border were caught." Col. Hamed Mohamed, IBG commander, said he accepts the challenge given by Coalition Forces and echoed Basso's words on the importance of integrity. Petraeus said he has little doubt about the integrity of the new border guards, drawing on the previous night's smuggler detainments as a positive omen. "I have great trust in you," Petraeus affirmed to a formation of border guards.

11 October 2003
  • While Fort Campbell soldiers are deployed to the Middle East, The Leaf-Chronicle will provide periodic updates of troops' activities as available from U.S. Central Command and other sources. What was once nothing more than a boxed collection of books became Iraq's first 101st Airborne Division library Thursday. Capt. Fran Stuart of Derry, N.H., a chaplain with 526th Forward Support Battalion, opened the Camp Performance Library with a ceremonial ribbon cutting followed by cake and coffee. "Our library started with about 200 paperback books in boxes in sand on the side of the chaplain's tent," Stuart said. "Now look at us." Stuart and her sister Robin, a writer in New York, have worked on the library for several months. The sisters contacted a number of publishers and the New York Public Library and lobbied successfully to donate books to the cause. The library's shelves are now loaded with fiction and non-fiction readings, from spiritual selections to a book covering the 75-year history of the New York Giants football team. Stuart has also received help from the R.F. Sink Library on Fort Campbell. "The librarians there have been tremendously helpful," she said. Stuart hopes to add more selections to the library's collection in the future. Additionally, the library includes a reading room with new magazines, CDs and a DVD selection. Steve Wariner, a country music performing artist, donated several hundred copies of his album "Steal Another Day" for soldiers to have free of charge. "It's going to have a huge (morale) impact when it's completely finished," said Maj. Steve Leonard of Lewiston, Idaho, 526th Forward Support Battalion executive officer. Compiled by Leaf-Chronicle military reporter Chantal Escoto.

10 October 2003
  • While Fort Campbell soldiers are deployed to the Middle East, The Leaf-Chronicle will provide periodic updates of troops' activities as available from U.S. Central Command and other sources. Coalition soldiers recently relinquished security responsibilities of Objective Jaguar, an ammunition supply point, to the soldiers of Delta Company, Iraq Civil Defense Corps. The supply point the Iraqis will guard is 12 square kilometers and has been guarded by 2nd Battalion, 320th Field Artillery Regiment, 101st Airborne Division for the last five months. Besides Objective Jaguar, the Defense Corps will secure the nearby Al Hatra hotel and 2,000 year-old ruins that are in the area. "The (Defense Corps) is the cornerstone to building the new Iraq,' said Staff Sgt. Joseph Gullett, cadre leader, Headquarters and Service Battalion, 2nd Battalion, 320th Field Artillery. The soldiers of the Defense Corps underwent two phases of training by American soldiers. First they spent two weeks in a basic training camp at Camp Claiborne in Mosul. Soldiers from 2nd Battalion, 44th Air Defense Artillery Regiment, trained the Iraqis in marksmanship, drill and ceremony and other military disciplines. After a period of leave for the Iraqis, soldiers from 2nd Battalion, 320th Field Artillery, took the soldiers to Objective Jaguar, outside the village of Al Hatra, for another week of training. The eight cadre members continued with marksmanship training, physical training and first aid. The Iraqis also were given classes on running observation posts, gate guarding, detaining people and searching vehicles. "Training has been mostly easy, but also difficult at times because of the language barrier," said Warrant Officer Denis Pelts, Defense Corps officer in charge, Headquarters and Service Battery, 2nd Battalion, 320th Field Artillery. The training of the Defense Corps gave the American and Iraqi soldiers a chance to get to know each other and learn the different cultures. The Iraqis showed a desire to learn what they could. "I'm very proud of the Iraqis. They're quick learners," said Staff Sgt. Ricardo Mendez, cadre member, Headquarters and Service Battery, 2nd Battalion, 320th Field Artillery. Compiled by Leaf-Chronicle military reporter Chantal Escoto.

8 October 2003
  • More than $2.25 million from the Coalition Provisional Authority is being invested in Mosul city sewage projects, with nearly every dollar spent on the project going towards replacing outdated and non-functional equipment. The project will lay the foundation in rebuilding a sewage system that currently serves only 40,000 of the 1.8 million citizens (less than two percent) of Iraq's second-largest city. The Bechtel Corporation and the United States Agency for International Development have teamed up with the 926th Engineering Group soldiers to jump start a project that will likely not be concluded for several years. Only four sewage treatment plants service the Mosul area and often raw sewage flows into the Tigris River untreated, said Capt. Scott MacDonald, 926th Engineers. "It's obviously a health problem," he said. "They don't have a sewage system like we have." MacDonald introduced the project during the 101st Airborne Division's weekly press conference Oct. 2, alongside Brig. Gen. Frank Helmick, 101st Airborne Division assistant division commander (operations), and Governor Ghanim al-Basso of the Ninevah province.

7 October 2003

  • The unified public safety academy has launched the Mosul Public Safety Academy and held a grand opening Sept. 27. The academy will house the training of all public safety occupations in Mosul, including law enforcement, fire fighting, emergency medical assistance, traffic violations, investigations and traffic investigations. Before this academy, public safety training sites were scattered around the city. The academy's first class will teach students basic law enforcement. Construction of the academy began more than a year ago but was halted during the war. In August, Coalition Forces continued construction efforts.
  • The US military has deployed five teams of 10 airborne snipers to defend Iraq's northern oil pipelines from acts of sabotage by forces loyal to ousted President Saddam Hussein. Sergeant Brian Stinson said final modifications were being made to Blackhawk UH-60 helicopters before snipers from the elite Tiger Force could begin patrols along the crucial oil supply lines. "There is so much area to cover that it requires precision fire, we're on call for 24-hours a day and can be airborne within 30 minutes," he said. Protection of Iraq's northern pipelines, which stretch 500 kilometres to Turkey and almost to Syria, are a major headache for the American troops who have devised a series of initiatives to combat sabotage. This includes the creation of local protection units made-up of the fledgling Iraqi police forces. Local tribes have also been hired to protect supplies with mixed success. Armed with 50 calibre M107s, 308 bolt actions and 308 semi-automatics the Tiger Force deployment also marks the return of airborne snipers in the regular US Army for the first time since the Indochinese wars of the 1960s and 70s. The 308 bolt is for "personal targets" that limit collateral damage among civilians with a medium range of almost one kilometre. Stinson said the 50 calibre is for longer range work, capable of killing a person from 2.5 kilometres, and the concussion alone from a round that passes within a close enough distance can kill. The Tiger Force first won fame in the Vietnam War where it was established by Colonel David Hackworth, the highest decorated US soldier in that conflict. "It's the same system we used in Vietnam and we've brought it out of retirement," Stinson said. Helicopter pilots from the 101st Airborne Division have trained specifically for ferrying snipers along the pipelines. Pilots fly at night without light and must keep the Blackhawk in the air and position the helicopter behind, between valleys and hills, which muffles the sound of the rotors while remaining mostly out of view. However, at the same time the sniper's sights remain on the target allowing for "precision fire. We can hit a target before it knows we're there," said Stinson, a sniper with the 101st Airborne.

5 October 2003

  • CAMP QAYYARAH, Iraq - An elite air assault school in the US militarys 101st Airborne Division has begun operations in Iraq, its first foreign mission since the Vietnam War. When the division heard it will be February next year before we can even think about going home, well that was the catalyst to bring it here, said the schools company commander Captain Brian Beckno. The deployment is the latest in a series of moves in Washington signalling the US-led occupation of Iraq will be longer than anticipated prior to the March 20 invasion of Iraq that ousted former president Saddam Hussein. Tours of duty within the 101st, as in many other divisions, have also been extended from six months to a year. Not since the Vietnam War has the 101st uprooted the school and sent it abroad to train soldiers, Beckno said of the conflict that embroiled America in South East Asia during the 1960s and early 1970s. He said the Sabalauski Air Assault School, usually based in Fort Campbell, Kentucky, would train 2,000 students at a rate of 150 a week in launching ground assaults out of airborne helicopters with versatility, lethality and flexibility.

3 October 2003
  • Overnight, the U.S. military reported soldiers of the 101st Airborne Division witnessed two Iraqis killed as they were trying to place a roadside bomb in Kirkuk, 145 miles northeast of Baghdad.

  • The United States has requested South Korea deploy a self-sustainable troop to northern Iraq early next year, the Defense Ministry indicated yesterday. "The U.S. wants us to replace its 101st Airborne Division based in Mosul, in the center of the northern Iraq, as the division plans to leave the region between February and March." Lt. Gen. Cha Young-koo, deputy defense minister yesterday said during a press session.
  • The United States has about 130,000 troops in Iraq, almost all from the U.S. Army, the service that has been most stressed by the demands of occupying Iraq while keeping sufficient forces ready for other contingencies. Major units such as the 1st Armored Division, the 4th Infantry Division, the 101st Airborne Division, an 82nd Airborne Division brigade combat team, the 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment, the 173rd Airborne Brigade, and the V Corps headquarters are tied up with Iraq. The divisions have been augmented by aviation units, military police, civil affairs, maintenance, transportation and other support units. Special operations forces account for thousands more troops engaged mainly in the hunt for fallen Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein and his Baathist followers. Their exact numbers are not known. Total numbers of U.S. troops in Iraq fluctuate between 130,000 and 134,000, said Lieutenant Commander Nick Balice, a spokesman for the U.S. Central Command at its headquarters in Tampa, Florida.