Theodore's World: In Country With America's Heroes

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July 07, 2007

In Country With America's Heroes

U.S. Army Spc. Justin Emrich inspects the M-240B machine gun on a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter prior to take off at Bagram Airfield in the Parwan province of Afghanistan on June 29, 2007. Emrich is assigned to the General Aviation Support Battalion, 82nd Combat Aviation Brigade, 82nd Airborne Division. DoD photo by Staff Sgt. Michael Bracken, U.S. Army

1-30th Infantry brings in wanted suspect

BAGHDAD — An insurgent on the Multi-National Division-Center’s wanted list was captured June 2.
Soldiers from Company B, 1st Battalion, 30th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, captured the man during a raid in the Arab Jabour area. The man is a prominent member of a local terrorist cell that obtained and transported improvised explosive devices, IED-making materials, mortars, and sniper rifles in the Arab Jabour area.

Big guns play big part in eastern Afghanistan

JALALABAD AIRFIELD, Afghanistan – Few things are as frightening on the battlefield as incoming artillery. But these essential assets are more than loud bangs heard sporadically on the forward operating bases in eastern Afghanistan. The “king of battle,” as artillery is called, has become increasingly important.

Everything from the incredibly unforgiving terrain to the ability of insurgents to dissipate into the civilian population has made clear the significance of indirect fire support.

“In this fight, fire support is very important,” said 1st Lt. Duane Mantle, 2nd Battalion, 503rd Infantry (Airborne) assistant fires support officer, from Warren, N.J. “As soon as we make contact, the first thing the Soldiers look for is to bring in fires on the enemy.”

Although the manner in which wars are fought today are different from past wars in many respects, the adaptability of the 155mm Howitzers of Battery B, 4th Battalion, 319th Airborne Field Artillery Regiment, on Forward Operating Base Blessing and other indirect assets providing support to paratroopers based along the Pech River Valley, has been proven extensively in just a short time after arriving in theater about a month ago.

“It’s not like the previous wars when they lined up and we would mow them down,” said Mantle. “Fires have a lot of different effects. When we fire the 155s from here, the enemy doesn’t hear the round coming in. It immediately puts the enemy on the defensive and has a tremendous demoralizing effect.”

The rounds can also be used to fix enemy combatants.

“That’s a huge part of this conflict, separating them from the population, but we can do it when they are on a ridge firing on us,” said Mantle.

As artillery is called in, it disrupts the enemy’s movement or causes them to seek cover, providing U.S. or Afghan forces a variety of options.

The Soldiers, who man the guns at FOB Blessing, understand the impact they have placing timely and accurate fires on the enemy. It is a job they take seriously for good reason.

“Last deployment we had a fire mission to support some troops in contact,” said Sgt. Stephen Murphy of Bravo Battery’s 2nd Platoon, a native of Berwick, Penn. who had just finished a fire mission with his section. “One of the Soldiers who was there came to us afterwards and said we had saved his life. He even showed us pictures of his family. I was like ‘Roger. I’ll be faster next time.’”

Just hours later, the 155mm Howitzers at FOB Blessing pounded the mountains of the Pech River Valley in support of multiple fire fights. Within a few hours, the battery had fired 111 rounds simultaneously supporting three separate sites.

Posted by Wild Thing at July 7, 2007 02:47 AM


Darth, yes, imagine that Pentagon generals, media and politicians. And now they are talking about stopping the surge. Good grief I wish they would make up their minds. I really feel badly for our soldiers and how this all effects them.

Posted by: Wild Thing at July 7, 2007 09:34 AM

Ahhh, Artillery bringing dignity to what would otherwise be just a brawl.

Posted by: Mark at July 7, 2007 05:01 PM

Mark, yes good one, and I love it all our big guns, little guns anything that will take out the terrorists. LOL

Posted by: Wild Thing at July 7, 2007 10:59 PM

Guns are great, but let's not forget they're worthless without the men and women manning them.

Posted by: somebody at July 10, 2007 01:12 AM

YESSSS, Darth! I will join you, and the circle will be complete!!! HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: somebody at July 10, 2007 08:02 PM

Father, Darth, eventhough Obi-wan disapproves, I'll join the Dark side if that means I get to fight the Muslims also. Wait a minute! Obi-wan always wears those crappy robes, I think he's a Muslim too! Forget lightsabers... where's my Glock- 17?

Posted by: luke skywalker (somebody) at July 10, 2007 08:09 PM