Theodore's World: In Country With Our Troops and Olivia

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August 20, 2007

In Country With Our Troops and Olivia

Olivia, a military working dog, sleeps beside her trainer inside a Stryker vehicle after a mission in Mosul, Iraq. This photo appeared on


American Forces Press Service

Iraqi and Coalition forces are pursuing extremist leaders in Iraq’s remote areas in coordinated “quick strikes” launched this week, the commander of Multi-National Corps-Iraq told Pentagon reporters Saturday.

Operation Phantom Strike is a series of joint operations that extend from Operation Phantom Thunder, a corps-level offensive that began in June targeting al-Qaeda, Sunni insurgents and Shiia extremists in, near and around Baghdad, said U.S. Army Lt. Gen. Raymond T. Odierno.

“With the elimination of safe havens and support zones due to Phantom Thunder, al-Qaeda and Shiite extremists have been forced into ever-shrinking areas. It is my intent to pursue and disrupt their operations,” Odierno said.
Over the coming weeks, the general said, combined forces will conduct quick-strike raids against extremist sanctuaries and staging areas. Using precision-targeting operations, troops will target terrorist leaders and members of lethal improvised-explosive-device and car-bomb networks, he said.
“We will continue to hunt down the leadership, deny them safe haven, disrupt their supply lines and significantly reduce their capability to operate in Iraq,” Odierno added.

In the first 24 hours of one “quick-strike” raid, Multi-National Division-North Soldiers captured and killed several enemies and seized weapons caches in the Diyala River Valley. Called Operation Lightning Hammer, this operation targeted extremists as they tried to re-establish sanctuaries, the general said.

Odierno highlighted some successes of Operation Phantom Thunder, which launched June 15. In 142 battalion-level joint operations, Iraqi and Coalition forces detained 6,702 suspects, killed 1,196 enemies and wounded 419 others. Combined forces also killed or captured 382 high-value targets, he said.

Troops also cleared 1,113 weapons caches and scores of IEDs and car bombs. “The number of found and cleared IEDs, (car bombs) and caches are approximately 50 percent higher than the same period last year due, in large part, to effective tips provided by concerned Iraqi citizens,” the general added.

Odierno warned that high-profile attacks may rise as two important dates approach. In the early weeks of September, Ramadan, Islam’s holiest month, begins. U.S. Army Gen. David H. Petraeus, commander of Multi-National Force-Iraq, is slated to present an anticipated report to Congress around the same time.

“Our enemy is ruthless and will no doubt attempt to exploit the upcoming Ramadan season, as well as influence political opinions in the coming weeks by increasing attacks with particular emphasis on high-profile terror attacks,” he said.
But extremists’ efforts are increasingly hampered by civilians who cooperate with coalition forces as troops ramp-up raids around the country, Odierno said.
“Al-Qaeda and other extremist elements will have to contend with an Iraqi population that no longer welcomes them,” he said, “as well as quick-hitting offensive operations by Coalition and Iraqi forces.”

MAHMUDIYAH, Iraq - Iraqi and Coalition troops found a suspected torture and execution house near Mahmudiyah, Iraq, and detained six local men Aug. 12.

Soldiers of 2nd Battalion, 4th Brigade, 6th Iraqi Army Division and 2nd Battalion, 15th Field Artillery Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry) out of Fort Drum, N.Y., checked the house, which local sources said was used as a torture facility.

They found wire whips and a short-handled maul in the house, as well as two casings from AK-47 rounds.

Six local men were in the house across the street. When the troops went to speak with them, the house was found to contain Jaysh al-Mahdi, or Mahdi militia, DVDs, what appeared to be mounts for heavy machine guns and rocket adjustment equipment, as well as a 9mm pistol with two magazines and a collapsible police-style baton.

The Soldiers questioned the men, who denied any involvement with Jaysh al-Mahdi and said the house across the street was a local meeting place.

One of the men had a cell phone with text messages concerning the placement of heavy machine guns.

The men all tested positive for explosive residue on their hands. They were detained and taken to the Iraqi Army Compound in Mahmudiyah for further questioning.

Posted by Wild Thing at August 20, 2007 12:55 AM


Paul wrote in Ephesians 6:11-20..."Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil...Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit...Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should."
All dogs go to heaven as well! Amen!!

Posted by: darthcrUSAderworldtour07 at August 20, 2007 03:36 AM

Great picture of Olivia.

I hope these surge operations grind the terrorists down. I just wonder how long we need to "surge". If it stops too soon, they will re- organize. This war is one tough endeavor and America and a very few allies are in it alone.

Posted by: TomR at August 20, 2007 06:37 AM

Here is for a group of HEROS sometimes not recognized.

Posted by: SSgt Steve at August 20, 2007 07:50 AM

God bless Olivia and her handler. The unsung heroes are the war dogs, they save countless lives and are such faithful companions. I can't imagine the courage it takes to go into no man's land alone with only a dog. One memory sticks with me, it is that of a single soldier with an M14 and his dog returning from an overnight solo mission along the DMZ in '68, the look in that man's eyes said it all.

Posted by: Jack at August 20, 2007 12:37 PM

Darth, Amen my friend. Thanks for the verse for this it is perfect.

Posted by: Wild Thing at August 20, 2007 11:10 PM

Tom I am so amazed at this, how our troops dig in to keep their morale up somehow when they hear such horrible things from back home from our stupid politicians.
I agree Tom, the surge is working and this war is a very tuff endeavor. I wish we had tons of allies in this with us.

Posted by: Wild Thing at August 20, 2007 11:15 PM

SSgt Steve thank you so much for that wonderful link. Your right so many people forget about the war dogs and they truly are Heroes.

Posted by: Wild Thing at August 20, 2007 11:17 PM

Jack, wow, WOW, that gave me goosebumps.
Thank you Jack for sharing about that.

Posted by: Wild Thing at August 20, 2007 11:20 PM