Today’s Good News is all courtesy of the 1st Cav News.A note to my L’il Trooper: I will be watching as the Lions go 3-0 with a win over the Eagles Sunday!
Volunteers Help Find Large Cache in Ameriya
By Sgt. Jack Androski
1-5 Cavalry Regiment
BAGHDAD — Volunteers uncovered a large munitions cache based off of a tip called in by a local citizen in the Ameriya neighborhood Sept. 18.
Late in the afternoon Sept. 18, an Iraqi citizen from Ameriya walked into the volunteer force headquarters and provided a tip on a nearby weapons cache.
The civilian volunteer force, commonly referred to as the Farsan Al Rafidayn (Arabic for “knights between the rivers”) or FAR, dispatched a patrol and uncovered the cache.
Once the FAR volunteers arrived on the scene, a quick search of the residence uncovered a large amount of weapons, ammunition and improvised explosive device-making material.
In all, more than 60 mortar rounds, 50lbs of homemade explosives, 10 blocks of TNT, three smoke grenades, 20 blasting caps, 100 rounds of ammunition and 22 portable radios were found.
The volunteers turned over all items to 1st Battalion, 5th Cavalry Regiment Soldiers. Eventually, these items were transferred to an explosive ordnance disposal team for destruction.
Nine new Americans:
Soldiers take citizenship oath
2nd IBCT, 2nd Inf. Div. Public Affairs
FORWARD OPERATING BASE LOYALTY, Iraq – Nine Soldiers who have been serving the United States are now officially part of it.
The Soldiers, assigned or attached to the 2nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, took their citizenship oaths Sept. 9 in Balad, Iraq. Some waited more than a year; others were able to raise their right hands after just five months of paperwork. All of the new citizens seemed equally happy with the end result.
Since the new citizens are Soldiers, the Immigration and Naturalization Service waived the citizenship application fees. Officials traveled from Rome to administer the oaths.
The Soldiers and their home countries are: Pfc. Liang Cao, China; Pfc. Guillermo Velandia, Colombia; Spc. Maria Andrin, Philippines; Pfc. Rene Adamos, Philippines; Spc. Esquipula Andrade, Nicaragua; Spc. Richard Chacon, Colombia; Pfc. Pierre Exilhomme, Haiti; Spc. Valentin Ramirez, Mexico; and Sgt. Kou Yang, Thailand.
Nine Soldiers serving with the 2nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division took their U.S. citizenship oaths in Balad, Iraq Sept. 9. (Front row, from left) Pfc. Liang Cao, Pfc. Guillermo Velandia, and Sgt. Kou Yang. (Back row) Spc. Richard Chacon, Pfc. Rene Adamos, Spc. Maria Andrin, Spc. Esquipula Andrade, Spc. Valentin Ramirez and Pfc. Pierre Exilhomme. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Lilia Ramos, 2nd IBCT, 2nd Inf. Div.)
Cleaning up Baghdad streets, one IED at a time
By Maj. Sean Ryan
2nd IBCT, 2nd Inf. Div. PAO
FORWARD OPERATING BASE LOYALTY, Iraq — When Soldiers from Company A, Special Troops Battalion, 2nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division based out of Colorado Springs, Colo., needed a third Husky driver, one of the most critical jobs for clearing the streets of Baghdad, they used the old fail-safe method to determine the next operator: rock, paper and scissors.
Despite the stiff competition, Sgt. Nicholas Denning overcame the odds and won the job. While it may sound like a joke, Company A has so many qualified Soldiers to do the job, since so many are on equal footing.
But make no mistake, the company nicknamed the “Assassins” takes its trade very seriously and definitely walks the walk, as they lead all companies in Baghdad with 48 improvised explosive devices found, more than doubling up their closest competition.
Denning, from Keokuk, Iowa, peruses the streets of Baghdad looking for the evil that has been responsible for nearly 70 percent of the casualties within his brigade’s area of responsibility – improvised explosive devices. To date, Denning has found an amazing 22 IEDs, saving countless lives — U.S. troops, Iraqi Security Forces and innocent Iraqi civilians.
The seven-year veteran is no stranger to the streets of Baghdad, as he first started working as a Buffalo operator, another type of mine-clearing vehicle. Denning has well over 300 missions under his belt and is on his third deployment, two on active duty and one with the Iowa National Guard.
“The success comes from paying close attention to detail and never underestimating the enemy,” Denning said. “It is also comes from knowing your equipment, the threat and great leadership.”
Despite his personal success, Denning is far from boastful and quickly points out it is a team effort and due to the constant training his platoon and company receives from his leadership, which ensures every Soldier knows and understands the battlefield.
“It’s also about not being afraid to stop the entire convoy if you think you see something,” he said. “Sometimes it’s worth the wait, but you can’t expect to find something every time.”
Capt. Robert Gordon, the Company A commander, called Denning “an outstanding Soldier and his vast background from previous deployments is different from everyone else’s.” Gordon agreed that the company’s success comes from a team effort.
“The Soldiers can tell you everything about the vehicles’ capabilities and what to look for on the streets,” said Gordon, a resident of Colorado Springs, Colo., “On some levels, Sgt. Denning is no different than any Soldier we have. Everyone has to pay attention to detail. But, he is the lead guy and has a lot of pressure on him to navigate, push traffic (and) keep everyone else aware. I’m very happy we have such seasoned NCOs. His record of finding IEDs speaks for itself.”
Indeed, the job of looking for bombs on a daily basis is no easy task. Despite the risks of his work Denning said having the support of his family back home helps, and so does having great equipment.
“My family is real supportive and happy for all of our successes,” he said. “Without a doubt, the Army has supplied us with great equipment and the opportunity to save lives by conducting route clearance.”
Keokuk, Iowa native Sgt. Nicholas Denning, Company A. Special Troops Battalion, 2nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, checks the mechanical arm on his Husky vehicle before going on a mission in eastern Baghdad Sept. 10. Denning has found 22 improvised explosive devices during his deployment and his company has been credited with finding 48, leading all companies in the Iraqi capital. (U.S. Army photo by Maj. Sean Ryan 2nd IBCT, 2nd Inf. Div. PAO)