Secretary Rumsfeld Makes Surprise Visit to Iraq

Article excerpt

On May 13, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Richard B. Myers arrived in Baghdad for a surprise visit to U.S. troops and to meet with military and Coalition Provisional Authority officials. Rumsfeld met with Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, commander of the Combined Joint Task Force 7 (CJTF-7), and Ambassador L. Paul Bremer, the U.S. civil administrator in Iraq.

Two new commands were activated on May 15, changing the command structure of coalition forces in the country. CJTF-7 was replaced by Multinational Corps Iraq and Multinational Force Iraq. Announcing the change in a news conference in Baghdad, coalition military spokesman Army Brig. Gen. Mark Kimmitt stated that the change addressed a concern that a combined joint task force headquarters was not sufficient to handle the military workload in Iraq efficiently. Kimmitt explained that Multinational Corps Iraq will focus on day-to-day military operations. Multinational Force Iraq will focus on more strategic aspects of the military presence in Iraq, such as talking with sheiks and political leaders, and training, equipping and fielding Iraqi security forces.

Troops continue to rotate into Iraq. On May 17 the Pentagon announced that about 3,600 members of the 2nd Brigade of the 2nd Infantry Division will deploy to Iraq from the Republic of Korea. The troops will begin deploying to Iraq in mid-summer.

The fighting in Iraq has been sporadic, with tenuous truces that often fail to maintain peace. On May 31, two Task Force 1st Armored Division soldiers died in separate engagements south of Kufa. One soldier was killed when his patrol was ambushed with small-arms fire, and the other was killed when a rocket-propelled grenade struck his tank during a patrol. Another Task Force 1st Armored Division soldier died and two others were wounded May 30 when, their vehicle struck an improvised explosive device south of Baghdad.

On May 14, in Baghdad, one soldier was killed during a mortar attack on his unit and another died from wounds received from a sniper. The third soldier was killed when his vehicle overturned during a patrol shortly after midnight May 15. On May 6, one soldier was killed and two others were wounded by a suicide car bomber at a military checkpoint in Baghdad.

Friendly Fire Killed Tillman. Cpl. Pat Tillman, 27, of the 75th Ranger Regiment, probably was killed by friendly fire, according to Army reports on May 31. Tillman was killed on April 22 while his unit was in combat with enemy forces during a ground convoy assault near Khowst. Tillman had been a professional football player with the Arizona Cardinals before joining the Army.

Also in Afghanistan, on May 6, the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division (Light) officially replaced the 1st Brigade, 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry). The 10th Mountain had been in country for nine months.

On May 29 three Army soldiers were killed in Kandahar when their vehicle hit a land mine: Capt. Daniel W. Eggers, 28, SSgt. Robert J. Mogensen, 26, and PFC Joseph A. Jeffries, 21.

Guilty Plea in Abu Ghraib Court-martial. On May 19, Spc. Jeremy Sivits pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to maltreat detainees, one count of dereliction of duty and two counts of maltreatment of detainees at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq.

He was sentenced to up to a year in prison by a special court-martial in Baghdad. He was also reduced to E-1 and will receive a bad-conduct discharge from the Army. Sivits apologized to the Iraqi people for his part in the scandal. Seven soldiers have been charged thus far in connection with the scandal.

Stop Loss/Stop Movement Policy. The Army has implemented a stop loss/ stop movement policy for all units deploying for Operation Iraqi Freedom or Operation Enduring Freedom. A stop loss/stop movement policy has been in effect for most units deploying to Iraq or Afghanistan for some time on a unit-by-unit basis under authority for a specific rotation. …