Theodore's World: In Country ~ Baghdad

« Al-Quada Suspects Trail In Yemen | Main | A Girl Blogger Thang' »

March 05, 2006

In Country ~ Baghdad

Air assault spearheads push to hurt insurgency in area south of Baghdad

MAHMUDIYAH, Iraq — Hundreds of soldiers poured out of helicopters before dawn Thursday morning and a large convoy kicked off Friday morning, spreading out troops into a patch of canal-laced farmland south of Baghdad that remains one of the last insurgent strongholds outside the capital city.

The air assault launched one of the largest operations in months and aims to secure a rural area where insurgents have operated for months, officials said. A steady string of roadside bombs and mortar attacks have inflicted casualties on U.S. troops in the restive region known as the “Triangle of Death.”

“This could be the final crushing blow for the anti-Iraqi forces in the Baghdad area,” said Lt. Col. Thomas Kunk, commander of the 101st Airborne’s 1st Battalion, 502nd Infantry Regiment.

After a safe and secure landing, soldiers from the 1st Battalion came under repeated mortar fire Thursday in the blocking positions they set up around a large power plant on the Euphrates River, which insurgents have used as a base of operations.

Soldiers from the 2nd Battalion moved in early Friday and swept south toward the village of Sadr Yusufiyah, a cluster of ramshackle homes that U.S. troops also believe insurgents use to stage attacks on U.S troops and civilians in Baghdad, just 25 miles north.

Commanders opted for an air assault rather than sending vehicles through bomb-seeded roads avoided by U.S. forces in recent months.

One soldier from the 2nd Battalion was evacuated Friday after he was shot in the leg during a gunbattle. No other casualties were reported as of Friday afternoon.

Soldiers from 1st Battalion detained one man and also found a cache of a single mortar tube and several automatic rifles, U.S. troops said.

As U.S. soldiers came under fire, they responded with mortars and counter-battery artillery from nearby U.S. bases, said Maj. Fred Wintrich, the executive officer with 1st Battalion.

The operation in the rural areas marked a significant shift for the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, which spent much of the past week focusing on security operations in the urban centers to stem potential sectarian violence in the wake of last week’s bombing of a large Shiite shrine in Samarra.

The 101st Airborne’s 2nd Brigade Combat Team has faced one of the toughest fights in Iraq. The Fort Campbell, Ky.-based unit has seen 31 soldiers killed since arriving here in November.

The targeted area is thick with a mix of Iraqi insurgents and foreign fighters. A Saudi Arabian man and several Iraqis were arrested last week after an Iraqi army unit found them carrying an anti-aircraft gun in their pick-up truck, officials said.

In keeping with the clear-and- hold strategy employed by U.S. troops in recent months, soldiers from the 2nd Battalion plan to set up a permanent patrol base in the village of Sadr Yusufiyah, officials said.

The insurgents’ attacks have fallen particularly heavy on the 1st-502nd’s Company B, which has lost six men and sent several others home with serious injuries since its arrival. Capt. John Goodwin, Company B commander, hopes this week’s assault will ease the daily attacks on the patrol bases and traffic checkpoints.

“We’ve kicked the hornets nest a few times already, now we are going to take a baseball bat and give it a good whack,” Goodwin said.

Posted by Wild Thing at March 5, 2006 02:00 AM

Trackback Pings

TrackBack URL for this entry:


Thanks, Chrissie--this has been a stressful week! Thank God they came out alive when all was said and done!

Posted by: Cao at March 5, 2006 07:31 AM

Hi Cao, yes thank God. Thanks for stopping by Cao.

Posted by: Wild Thing at March 5, 2006 11:00 AM

The 502nd thats my old unit from Vietnam. I will be going to a reunion somtime in the late summer or early fall.God bless everyone of these guy's. We need to make sure that Kerry and the democrats dont do to these young soldiers what they did to us.

Posted by: Jack Hamilton at March 5, 2006 11:10 AM

Hi Jack, that is wonderful that you are going to a reunion. I love that!! Take lots of pictures.

You got that right about Kerry and the rest of them. They would love to mess with their minds not only now but when they get back too. grrrrr

Thank you for commenting.

Posted by: Wild Thing at March 5, 2006 11:20 AM


One of my sons is with the 506th RSTA (Rapid Response, AASLT) there right now, although I haven't heard from him about this operation. The 506th designation has been brought since the time you were with the 101st. I was with the 25th. Anyway, thanks to you always for what you guys did. No better division anywhere at any time. The Left is already trying to Kerryize these young men, sad to say.

Posted by: Rhod at March 5, 2006 02:12 PM

Thank you and thank that fine son of yours. I have many memories of trudging up misery hill with a ruck sack and loaded down with ammo to hope on a UH1 to make another fast ride. The fact about these democrats trying to do the same thing to these young soldiers is something I think the VFW and all Veterans groups should be concerned about.I am just stunned to think there are some veterans that still vote for democrats.I know its not a whole lot but still. You even got that idiot Murtha on TV today calling General Pace a liar. The sorry bastard.

Posted by: Jack Hamilton at March 6, 2006 06:15 AM


I know you've seen some hot LZ's in your time.

I watched Murtha's interview with Schieffer, and whenever I see this crank, I see a sad, bloated, aging nobody turned into a camera whore by Nancy Pelosi.

There's no other explanation. No man would lie this way without some serious disturbance upstairs. I also doubt his commendations, but that's another issue.

If I've had problems with Marines, I've always respected them, but Murtha is no longer a Marine in my book.

Posted by: Rhod at March 6, 2006 03:25 PM

My family doctor is a marine and he no longer considers Murtha a marine.It seems very odd to me that democrats like Kerry and Murtha seem to have problems with there war records. Kerry has still not released his records as he has repeatedly promised he would do.I do not see how he can run for president again without doing so.Murtha has got to have integrity problems or he would not have anything to do with Code Pink.Muchless accept awards from a group like that.

Posted by: Jack Hamilton at March 7, 2006 05:28 AM

thank you for caring about the deuce. my hubby is in Iraq with them now. Keep up the good work.

Posted by: tina daniels at March 8, 2006 11:23 PM

Hi Tina, I am so glad to meet you. Thank you for coming by.
Please thank your husband for serving our country and I thank you too. You serve in a very special way Tina.

My prayers are with you both.

Posted by: Wild Thing at March 9, 2006 04:51 PM

Post a comment

Remember Me?

(you may use HTML tags for style)