Democrats Uneasy About Upcoming Patraeus Report

July 31, 2007

I am trying my best to keep from making this a political site. However, the Dems are working equally hard to undermine our Troops efforts. I am just pointing out… You are with us or you are against us!

From Doc Bulldog – “What’s that expression? Oh, yeah; don’t carry all your eggs in one basket. Maybe the Democrats can learn something from that…”

Check out the entire article at  Doctor Bulldog

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A “Four-Dimensional War”

July 31, 2007

Every day our troops are showing more signs of the progess in Iraq! The nay-sayers cannot continue to turn their heads and pretend that we are not making a positive difference in the Middle East.

1st Cavalry News 35th Street Market open for business

By Pfc. Nathaniel Smith
4th IBCT, 1st Inf. Div. Public Affairs

            BAGHDAD – Seven weeks ago, the citizens of East Doura couldn’t walk down 35th Street. Seven weeks ago, there would have been an explosive or gunfire waiting for them.
            Seven weeks ago, the Raiders weren’t in the area.
            That’s how long the Soldiers of Troop A, 1st Squadron, 4th Cavalry Regiment, 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division have been overseeing the security of the 35th Street market in southern Baghdad’s Rashid District.
            In those few weeks, approximately 20 shops have already opened up, and there hasn’t been a single explosive attack.
            Capt. Nicholas Cook, the commander of Troop A, 1-4 Cav. from Lansing, Mich., said while the northern section of the street has become a hub of economic activity, the unit is not ready to sit back on its haunches.
            “We want the whole street to come back,” he said. “Hopefully more businesses will open up on the southern end of 35th Street, and they’ll continue to open up.”
            Sgt. 1st Class Gannon Edgy, a platoon sergeant with Trp A, 1-4 Cav. from Brunswick, Ga., said his Soldiers are noticing the difference.
            “When we first took over, people didn’t want to stop and talk to us,” he said. “Now, locals seek us out to talk to us.”
            Capt. William Johnson, a business analyst with the 4th IBCT’s embedded Provincial Reconstruction Team from Minnetonka, Minn., said success at the 35th Street Market coincides with the overall strategy in Iraq.
            “Economics and governance are important within the (Counter-Insurgency) strategy that Gen. (David) Petraeus developed to allow the Iraqis to stand on their own,” Johnson said. “Ultimately, if we develop the governance capacity for the Iraqis, they can govern themselves in a responsible fashion.
            “Then we can go home, and equivalent to that, if we can build up the economy, we can put people to work, people won’t be doing things that are detrimental to themselves or U.S. troops.”
            In an area where Al Qaeda had a foothold, where the terrorists could move unabated, citizens of Iraq can now find real estate offices, restaurants, auto parts stores, and computer stores in the market. Cook said this would not be the case without the relationships his Soldiers have developed.
            “They work hard with the people, they talk with the people, they make people feel that we are not strangers, and that we are actually part of the community,” Cook said. “Just making them feel that we are there for their security. The troopers worked really hard to become part of this community.”
            For leaders like Edgy, the type of fight has shifted dramatically in a few short years, and therefore, so must the tactics.
            “(This deployment) is a more three-dimensional, four-dimensional war,” he said. “It went from knowing the enemy to having to hunt and fight the enemy. It’s become an intelligence battlefield.
            “It’s like your own hometown. You have to know what’s going on.”
             Johnson said 1-4 Cav’s hard work has paid off, but there’s still more to do.
            “We are making some success, but given more time we can potentially grow our success,” he said. “For example, (the success) we’ve had in Doura Market to other economic areas within the sector.”
            Edgy said to grow the success on 35th Street, the merchants must have a voice in the happenings in their neighborhood.
            “Letting shop owners know the plan and ask their opinion,” he said. “Making them feel involved is the key.”

Sgt. 1st Class Gannon Edgy, a platoon sergeant with Troop A, 1st Squadron, 4th Cavalry Regiment, 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division from Brunswick, Ga., checks out a local’s wares at the 35th Street Market in southern Baghdad July 12. More than 50 new shops have opened since 1-4 Cav has taken over the area of operations. (U.S. Army photo by Pfc. Nathaniel Smith, 4th IBCT, 1st Inf. Div. Public Affairs)

Sgt. 1st Class Gannon Edgy, a platoon sergeant with Troop A, 1st Squadron, 4th Cavalry Regiment, 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division from Brunswick, Ga., checks out a local’s wares at the 35th Street Market in southern Baghdad July 12. More than 50 new shops have opened since 1-4 Cav has taken over the area of operations. (U.S. Army photo by Pfc. Nathaniel Smith, 4th IBCT, 1st Inf. Div. Public Affairs)

Capt. Nicholas Cook, the commander of Troop A, 1st Squadron, 4th Cavalry Regiment, 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division from Lansing, Mich., talks with an Iraqi vendor at the 35th Street Market in southern Baghdad July 12. Economic development is one of the essential elements of Gen. David Petraeus’ Counter-Insurgency strategy in Iraq. (U.S. Army photo by Pfc. Nathaniel Smith, 4th IBCT, 1st Inf. Div. Public Affairs)

Capt. Nicholas Cook, the commander of Troop A, 1st Squadron, 4th Cavalry Regiment, 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division from Lansing, Mich., talks with an Iraqi vendor at the 35th Street Market in southern Baghdad July 12. Economic development is one of the essential elements of Gen. David Petraeus’ Counter-Insurgency strategy in Iraq. (U.S. Army photo by Pfc. Nathaniel Smith, 4th IBCT, 1st Inf. Div. Public Affairs)


Rainy Days and Mondays

July 30, 2007

I am not a big fan of Mondays. My body and mind are still in weekend mode and it is tough to drag myself out from under the covers at 04:30 to start a new week.

Yet, this Monday was so much easier to face. The alarm went off and I reached over to shut it off, and I smiled.

It is so nice to start the week with the words of my L’il Trooper still so fresh in my mind.

Thank you son for your strength, your wit and your humor! We love you very much. (However, not enough to pretend that the Lions have a chance in Hades of beating the Chargers on the 16th of December.) Sorry, it just is NOT GOING TO HAPPEN!!! 8-)We look forward to watching the playoffs together! We are keeping our fingers, toes, and eyes crossed that you will be home with us for at least a few games. In the meantime we will be sure to eat plenty of wings and chips and dip for you. (and we will cheer for the Lions until they come to San Diego) Be Safe…. We miss and love you WAY much!


1st Cav in Action

July 28, 2007

I seldom get the chance to post over the weekend. Today I wanted to share some random shots of the 1st Cav!

1st Cavalry News
Miami native Sgt. Danil Ramirez, a team leader with Battery A, 2nd Battalion, 32nd Field Artillery Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, talks with several children in the streets of western Baghdad July 26. Ramirez and his unit were part of a joint operation with Iraqi Security Forces to disrupt insurgent activities in the area. (U.S. Army photo by Spc. L.B. Edgar, 7th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment)

Miami native Sgt. Danil Ramirez, a team leader with Battery A, 2nd Battalion, 32nd Field Artillery Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, talks with several children in the streets of western Baghdad July 26. Ramirez and his unit were part of a joint operation with Iraqi Security Forces to disrupt insurgent activities in the area. (U.S. Army photo by Spc. L.B. Edgar, 7th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment)

Jackson, Ohio, native Pfc. Brandon Tripp, 26, an artilleryman with Battery A, 2nd Battalion, 32nd Field Artillery Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, poses with Iraqis youths from Hateen, a neighborhood in Baghdad’s Mansour District July 26. The joint operation between Coalition Forces and Iraqi Security Forces disrupted insurgent activities in the area with a search of residents’ homes. (U.S. Army photo by Spc. L.B. Edgar, 7th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment)

Jackson, Ohio, native Pfc. Brandon Tripp, 26, an artilleryman with Battery A, 2nd Battalion, 32nd Field Artillery Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, poses with Iraqis youths from Hateen, a neighborhood in Baghdad’s Mansour District July 26. The joint operation between Coalition Forces and Iraqi Security Forces disrupted insurgent activities in the area with a search of residents’ homes. (U.S. Army photo by Spc. L.B. Edgar, 7th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment

Pfc. Michael Gray (left) and Spc. Jeffery Sawyer, Soldiers with the 15th Brigade Support Battalion, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, look out onto the streets of downtown Baghdad from one of the guard towers at Forward Operating Base Prosperity in central Baghdad July 24. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Robert Yde, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division Public Affairs)

Pfc. Michael Gray (left) and Spc. Jeffery Sawyer, Soldiers with the 15th Brigade Support Battalion, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, look out onto the streets of downtown Baghdad from one of the guard towers at Forward Operating Base Prosperity in central Baghdad July 24. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Robert Yde, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division Public Affairs)
Fuelers from Forward Support Company E, 3rd “Spearhead” Battalion, 227th Aviation Regiment, 1st Air Cavalry Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division, commemorate their one millionth gallon of fuel pumped at Taji, Iraq. Unlike other fuel companies, Co. E refuels only Black Hawks, making one million gallons a phenomenal feat in the 10 months they’ve been deployed, said Eunice, La., native 1st Lt. Jacob Bollich, the distribution platoon leader. Standing from left to right are: Brooklyn, N.Y., native Spc. Franklin Obour, a fueler; Perryton, Texas, native 1st Lt. Luke Reynard, former distribution platoon leader; East St. Louis, Ill., native Staff Sgt. Carl Johnson, first section chief; Farmington, N.M., native Staff Sgt. Delilah Curley, second section chief; Magnolia, Miss., native Staff Sgt. James Thompson, third section chief; and kneeling is Bollich, the current fuel platoon leader. (U.S. Army Photo by Spc. Nathan Hoskins, 1st ACB, 1st Cav. Div. Public Affairs)

Fuelers from Forward Support Company E, 3rd “Spearhead” Battalion, 227th Aviation Regiment, 1st Air Cavalry Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division, commemorate their one millionth gallon of fuel pumped at Taji, Iraq. Unlike other fuel companies, Co. E refuels only Black Hawks, making one million gallons a phenomenal feat in the 10 months they’ve been deployed, said Eunice, La., native 1st Lt. Jacob Bollich, the distribution platoon leader. Standing from left to right are: Brooklyn, N.Y., native Spc. Franklin Obour, a fueler; Perryton, Texas, native 1st Lt. Luke Reynard, former distribution platoon leader; East St. Louis, Ill., native Staff Sgt. Carl Johnson, first section chief; Farmington, N.M., native Staff Sgt. Delilah Curley, second section chief; Magnolia, Miss., native Staff Sgt. James Thompson, third section chief; and kneeling is Bollich, the current fuel platoon leader. (U.S. Army Photo by Spc. Nathan Hoskins, 1st ACB, 1st Cav. Div. Public Affairs)

Colorado Springs, Colo., native Pfc. Jordan Etchells, an infantryman with Company C, 2nd Battalion, 325th Airborne Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, provides security as residents walk by in Ur, a neighborhood in Baghdad’s Adhamiyah District July 21. The paratroopers went door-to-door to gather information from residents who are being terrorized criminal militia. (U.S. Army photo by Spc. L.B. Edgar, 7th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment)

Colorado Springs, Colo., native Pfc. Jordan Etchells, an infantryman with Company C, 2nd Battalion, 325th Airborne Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, provides security as residents walk by in Ur, a neighborhood in Baghdad’s Adhamiyah District July 21. The paratroopers went door-to-door to gather information from residents who are being terrorized criminal militia. (U.S. Army photo by Spc. L.B. Edgar, 7th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment)


New Recruits

July 27, 2007


I wanted to end the week with a funny and stumbled on this one!

Hugs out to all our men and women in harms way. And a special thanks for showing us the humor!


Good News Friday

July 27, 2007

1st Cavalry News


‘Man’s Best Friend’ saves lives in Diyala

By Spc. Ryan Stroud
3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division Public Affairs


            MUQDADIYA, Iraq (July 24, 2007) —
A group of Soldiers need to clear a tall, dark building, possibly housing terrorists in the city of Muqdadiya, just north of Baqouba, Iraq.  The Soldiers have received reports of booby-traps in the area and are unsure if the building itself is a trap.  What are they to do?
            This is where the Soldier’s four-legged friend, Nero, comes in. 
            Nero is a military working dog serving with Staff Sgt. Zeb Miller, his handler, at Forward Operating Base Normandy, in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom 06-08.  Nero’s job – search the building, its doorway and the surrounding area, making sure no explosives are around to harm the Soldiers trying to clear the building.
            With Nero’s efforts, and the efforts of many other military working dogs serving in Iraq, Soldiers’ lives are being saved everyday. 
            “Our job out here in Iraq is mainly searching for explosives,” said Miller, a member of the 7th Security Forces, U.S. Air Force, attached to 6-9 Armored Reconnaissance Squadron, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division. 
            “Our job is to make a Soldier’s job go faster,” Miller, a native of Johnson City, Texas, said. 
            “A dog can search for explosives ten times faster than we can because he can smell it,” he said.  “Plus, if the dog smells the explosives, it could save a Soldier’s life.”
            Miller started working with Nero in March after he volunteered to serve in Iraq.  Once arriving, the two became close, inseparable friends.
            “I’ve had Nero since March when I volunteered to come to Iraq,” said Miller.  “This was a nice change being out here at FOB Normandy with the Army because the Air Force is more force protection.  Out here with the Army, I get to go out on missions and take part in the war.”
            But before the duo can take part in missions, Nero has to exercise and train to stay on top of his game.
            “On a normal day, we try to train the dogs to keep them [prepared for missions],” Miller said.  “I will take explosives out and train the dog in searching and finding.  We also have a dog obstacle course that we take the dogs out to keep them [healthy] and active.
            “At night, I’ll take Nero out and we’ll walk around fenced areas so he can sniff around; simple things to keep the dogs ready,” he continued.
            These training techniques keep Nero fresh and ready to go when he’s need for a mission into the heart of danger, something Miller and Nero are used too.
            “Our big thing is palm grove searches and weapons cache searches,” Miller said.  “That’s really big for us; those are the main things we look for on missions – buried weapons. 
            “Nero will also search doorways and buildings before Soldiers will breach it,” Miller continued.  “[Insurgents] try to booby-trap doors and Nero can search the door to find any explosives waiting.”
            But Nero can also be used for other tasks to help out the units in 6-9 ARS.
            “Nero is also trained to find people,” said Miller.  “One mission, we went searching for IEDs and also searching through houses.  Nero just took off running behind one of the houses and into the palm groves. 
            “What we guess happened is he smelled someone who had just left the house but [was gone],” Miller continued.  “We found fresh tracks in the ground, so someone might have been there waiting until they heard Nero coming.”
            With Nero on a mission, Soldiers can trust him to smell and sense things they couldn’t imagine.  Nero becomes a living weapon, just like the Soldiers, ready to quickly “get his prize.”
            “They say one dog is worth about ten Soldiers, not in their capabilities, but in their senses,” said Miller about the importance of military digs during a mission. 
            “These dogs, while searching for explosives and other weapons, can turn a [several] hour job into one hour worth of work,” he said.
            But what also makes Nero an interesting military dog, is unlike some, Nero is extremely friendly, something Miller is happy with.
            “The first thing [trainers] tell you is this is not a dog, it’s a piece of equipment,” Miller explained.  “But it comes down to each handler in how they treat their dog. 
            “The way I see it, if I love the dog, he will love me; and in return, he will work for me and possibly save me when I need it,” he said.
            “You’re not supposed to let others pet the dog either because it’s a bond challenger,” continued Miller.  “But, I’d rather let the Soldiers pet and play with him so they are comfortable around Nero when we go out on missions. 
            “I also think this helps Nero in case something was to happen to me out here; another Soldier could take him and he would be okay without me around to guide him,” he said.
            But Miller has no worries at all about Nero.  Miller says Nero knows who his owner is and will listen when called upon.
            “I know Nero will listen to me even with others around,” said Miller.  “Once you spend every day together, he knows who I am; he will listen to me if I tell him to do something.”
            Though Nero is a calm, mannered dog, Miller said he has commands for Nero which will instantly switch Nero from the polite dog he is into an attack-mode destroyer.
            “They’re two words I could use to have him immediately start barking at you and if you show any fear, you would get bit,” he said.  “These dogs are amazing; they are incredibly smart.”
            When the deployment is over and it’s time to go home, there is a chance Nero will have to retire, though Nero himself will probably have a few years of service left before it’s his time. In these cases of retirement, the hard-working military dogs will go through a series of tests to make sure they are ready for life outside the combat zone.
            “The dogs have to go through a physiological evaluation,” said Miller.  “They test the dog with situations like neighbors fighting.  They test the dog to see what he will do and to make sure he will be safe around others.
            “It’s hard to let go of your dogs,” Miller somberly explained.  “The first dog is always the hardest.  But after the dog retires, there’s a possibly that you can keep your dog.”
            Until its Nero’s time to retire, he will continue to provide his services to those serving overseas with him; saving lives on each mission he partakes in.
 

Staff Sgt. Zeb Miller, 7th Security Forces, U.S. Air Force, attached to 6-9 Armored Reconnaissance Squadron, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, pets his military working dog, Nero. Nero trains for missions by completing a dog obstacle course and by training to find explosives. (U.S. Army photo by Spc. Ryan Stroud, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division Public Affairs)

Staff Sgt. Zeb Miller, 7th Security Forces, U.S. Air Force, attached to 6-9 Armored Reconnaissance Squadron, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, pets his military working dog, Nero. 

Nero trains for missions by completing a dog obstacle course and by training to find explosives.  Nero specializes in locating explosives and helping Soldiers before they enter a building by “sniffing it out” before the Soldiers breach the door on missions.  (U.S. Army photo by Spc. Ryan Stroud, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division Public Affairs)

Nero is a beautiful Animal/Soldier and I am glad we have him to help protect our men and women!


Passing on a Message

July 27, 2007

 I received an e-mail from the fantastic crew of the 4-9 Cav FRG. They are offering 4ft X 6ft blankets such as the one pictured for sell. 

Blankets are $40 each (shipping is included).  All profits will be used to fund the squadron welcome home celebration.   Orders for blankets will be taken Stateside, until September 23, 2007. Orders will be taken from Iraq until September 5, 2007.  This will allow enough time for blankets to arrive in time for the Holiday gift giving season.

If for any reason you did not receive the details and would like to order one (or more) please post a note here and I will send you all the details. I am trying to figure out a good reason to buy more than one. Hmmmmm… Might need to send one to each of the grandparents. My L’il Trooper’s brothers might need one as well. Gosh, might pick one up for the lady across the street and my brother. OK, honey I can hear you groaning already. I will order ONE! (for now… hehehe)