Two Army brigades and a Marine expeditionary unit have had their tours in Iraq extended to provide security for the upcoming elections there. The major units extended are the Army's 2nd Brigade, 25th Infantry Division (Light), the 2nd Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division (its second extension) and the Marine Corps' 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit. The 66th Transportation Company from Kleber Kasern, Germany, has also been extended. In addition, two battalions from the 82nd Airborne Division will deploy to Iraq for 120 days to cover the Iraqi election period. The decision was announced on December 1, after Gen. George casey, the commander of Multi-National Forces-Iraq, requested the extension from secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. The extensions affect roughly 10,400 soldiers and will bring the total number of servicemembers in Iraq to 150,000, the highest troop level since May 2003.
Extended soldiers will receive incentive and hardship pay amounting to $1,000 for any month or half month served beyond their one-year rotation date.
The city of Fallu] ah was declared secure on November 18, but it took a few more days of sweeps through the city to guarantee its safety. The battle for the city began on November 8 when the 1st Marine Division and units from the 1st Infantry Division (Mechanized) and 1st Cavalry Division began moving through the city along with their Iraqi allies. Fifty-one U.S. servicemen were killed in the fighting and 425 were wounded. Coalition estimates put the insurgent casualties at 1,200 killed in action with approximately 1,000 taken prisoner. When the combat ended, Americans and Iraqi troops handed out food and water to the city's citizens. Most of the city's inhabitants had left before the fighting started.
Forty-four U.S. Army soldiers were killed in the month of November. Most were killed by small arms fire, mortar attacks, rocket-propelled grenades and improvised explosive devices.
"Lightning Freedom" in Afghanistan. U.S. and Afghan forces launched Operation Lightning Freedom to preempt expected attacks in the spring by the Taliban, who intend to disrupt Afghan parliamentary elections in April. Timed to begin within days of the December 7 inauguration of Hamid Karzai, the operation targeted the enemy's winter sanctuaries along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border.
Elsewhere in Afghanistan, on November 24, three U.N. workers who had been taken hostage in Kabul were released during a rescue operation, as a result of the efforts by the new Afghani government. The hostages had been held for 27 days. One of the kidnappers was killed and four were wounded in the rescue.
Four U.S. Army soldiers were killed in the month of November in Afghanistan. On November 24, CpI. Dale E. Fracker Jr., 23, and CpI. Jacob R. Fleischer, 25, both of the 2nd Battalion, 5th Infantry Regiment, 25th Infantry Division (Light), were killed in Deh Rawod when an. improvised explosive device detonated near their unit. On November 21, Sgt. Michael O'Neill, 22, of the 3rd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, died from injuries sustained at Bagram Air Field during preparations for a combat mission. On November 1, Spc. James C. Kearney III, 22, of the Army National Guard's 1st Battalion, 168th Infantry, died from injuries sustained in Sharan, when his convoy was attacked by enemy forces using rocket propelled grenades.
U.S. Troops Leave Bosnia. In a November 24 ceremony, the last of the U.S. peacekeepers in Tuzla, Bosnia, cased their colors and departed the country, marking the historic transfer of the operation from NATO to the newly formed European Union Force (EUFOR). NATO will maintain a small headquarters in Sarajevo to manage defense reform and counterterrorism, but the 7,000 soldiers of EUFOR will handle the larger peacekeeping mission.
More than 100,000 U.S. personnel have served in Operation Joint Endeavor since the end of December 1995. More than 60,000 NATO troops poured into Bosnia following the signing of the Dayton Peace Accords that year. The troops that first went in as part of Operation Joint Endeavor were called the Implementation Force. In December 1996, that mandate ran out, and NATO created the Stabilization Force, which has been in place since.
Black Hawk Crash. On November 29, a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter, flying approximately 30 miles north of Fort Hood, Texas, hit the support wires on a television transmission tower and crashed, killing all seven on board. The helicopter was heading to the Red River Army Depot in heavy fog when it hit the wires. Warning lights that would have alerted the pilots to the tower had been knocked out in an earlier storm. The accident is under investigation.
Killed in the crash were Brig. Gen. Charles B. Alien, 49; Spc. Richard L. Brown, 29; Capt. Todd T. Christmas, 26; CW5 Douglas V. Clapp, 48; CW2 Mark W. Evans Jr., 27; CW2 David H. Gardner Jr., 32; and Col. James M. Moore, 47.
Fort Benning to Expand. Nearly 6,000 new soldiers are slated to move into Fort Benning, Ga., which is already a major training and stationing installation-home to the Airborne and Infantry Schools and the 3rd Brigade of the 3rd Infantry Division (Mechanized). At least 3,800 soldiers of the 5th Brigade, 25th Infantry Division (Light) will move into the fort along with 1,690 more soldiers who will join various other units and fill expanded support and training roles. Other troops, from forts closed in Europe, will also converge on Banning. The post is planning a seven-year, $1.5 billion construction effort to accommodate the expansion.
Missile Successfully Tested. In November, the compact kinetic energy missile (CKEM) successfully completed its second controlled flight test at Eglin Air Force Base, FIa., demonstrating its multiple missile component capabilities in an operational environment. All primary and secondary test objectives were achieved.
The missile was internally guided and traveled 10 kilometers. It flew a long-range, minimum off-axis trajectory with no planned target impact. The data collected from the flight will help reduce risks associated with the missile.
The CKEM is the next generation hypervelocity antitank missile. In 2003, Lockheed Martin received an $82 million contract to begin an advanced technology demonstration of the CKEM.
New Amputee Center at Walter Reed. The military held a groundbreaking ceremony on November 19 for a new multimillion-dollar amputee training center at Walter Reed Army Medical Center.
The center, which is expected to be completed in December 2005, will be able to support about 300 appointments a week and will include a combined-function running track, rope-and rock-climbing wall, gait lab, military vehicle simulators and other training areas.
The center will bring together all services for amputee patients, including social workers, Veterans Affairs counselors and physical medicine and rehabilitation service specialists.
Deputy secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz, secretary of the Army Dr. Francis J. Harvey and Gen. Frederick M. Franks Jr. participated in the groundbreaking ceremony. Franks lost part of his leg in combat in Cambodia in 1970 and went on to command VII Corps during Operation Desert Storm. He told the recovering troops at the ceremony, "It's not getting knocked down that's important; it is the getting back up again and going on."
Realignment in Germany. Three recreational facilities and portions of two housing areas used by the United States will be returned to German control-the Patton and Von Steuben Hotels in Garmisch Partenkirchen and the facility formerly operated at Lake Chiemsee, and the family housing areas in Baumholder and Bad Kissingen. The Edelweiss Lodge and Resort in Garmisch has replaced the recreational facilities and the family housing is no longer needed.
A previously identified partial closure of a depot in Germersheim will not go forward since the facility is needed to support ongoing operations. Dates for the closures have not been set.
Army Environmental Strategy. On October 19, the Army announced a comprehensive environmental strategy entitled "The Army Strategy for the Environment: Sustain the Mission, secure the Future." The plan changes the Army's compliance-based environmental program to a mission-oriented approach based on the principles of sustainability and intends to build stronger relationships with local communities in order to find common solutions to environmental issues while protecting training lands for soldiers.
The goals of the new strategy are as follows:
* Foster a sustainability ethic that goes beyond environmental compliance to sustainability.
* Strengthen Army operations by reducing the environmental footprint through more sustainable practices.
* Meet test, training and mission requirements by sustaining land, air and water resources.
* Minimize impacts and total ownership costs of Army systems, materiel, facilities and operations by integrating the principles and practices of sustainability.
* Enhance well-being of soldiers, civilians, families, neighbors and communities through leadership in sustainability.
* Drive innovation. Use innovative technology and the principles of sustainability to meet user needs and anticipate future Army challenges.
To read more about "The Army Strategy for the Environment," visit www.army.mil/publicaffairs.
The following U.S. Army personnel were killed in Operation Iraqi Freedom from November 1 to December 1. All names have been released through the Department of Defense and families have been notified.
Spc. Segun Frederick Akintade, 34
Spc. Travis A. Babbitt, 24
Spc. Brian K. Baker, 27
PFC Stephen C. Benish, 20
Sgt. Jack Bryant Jr., 23
SSgt. Marshall H. Caddy, 27
Sgt. Carlos M. Camacho-Rivera, 24
Spc. Jeremy E. Christensen, 27
Spc. Don A. Clary, 21
SSgt. Todd R. Cornell, 38
Sgt. Catalin D. Dima, 36
Spc. Thomas K. Doerflinger, 20
Spc. Blain M. Ebert, 22
CSM Steven W. Faulkenburg, 45
PFC Jose Ricardo Flores-Mejia, 21
Sgt. Maurice Keith Fortune, 25
Spc. Bryan L. Freeman, 31
Pvt. Brian K. Grant, 31
SSgt. Sean P. Huey, 28
PFC Isaiah R. Hunt, 20
1st Lt. Edward D. Iwan, 28
PFC Cole W. Larsen, 19
Sgt. Carl W. Lee, 23
Sgt. Trinidad R. Martinezluis, 22
Sgt. James C. Matteson, 23
Spc. Daniel James McConnell, 27
PFC Harrison J. Meyer, 20
PFC Dennis J. Miller Jr., 21
Maj. Horst G. Moore, 38
Sgt. Joseph M. Nolan, 27
SSgt. Michael C. Ottolini, 45
Spc. David L. Roustum, 22
SSgt. Michael B. Shackelford, 25
Sgt. Jonathan B. Shields, 25
Capt. Sean P. Sims, 32
Spc. Quoc Binh Tran, 26
Sgt. John B. Trotter, 25
Spc. Jose A. Velez, 23
Sgt. Charles J. Webb, 22
Spc. Cody L. Wentz, 21
Spc. Raymond L. White, 22
SSgt. Clinton L. Wisdom, 39
1st Lt. Luke C. Wullenwaber, 24
Pvt. Justin R. Yoemans, 20…