U.S. Army Bolsters Iraqi Forces
The Army remains at work in Iraq, patrolling areas, protecting convoys and accompanying fledgling Iraqi forces on their missions.
There have been further troop casualties. On August 1, a 1st Infantry Division (Mechanized) soldier was killed and two others were injured when an improvised explosive device (IED) struck their patrol near Samarra. On July 29, a 1st Infantry Division soldier was killed by small-arms fire when his patrol came under attack near Hawija. On July 26, a pickup truck exploded near the Iraqi city of Mosul, killing three Iraqi civilians and wounding six coalition troops. On July 21, a 1st Infantry Division soldier was killed and six others were wounded when an IED struck their vehicle during a patrol near Duluiyah.
Despite the violence, there are signs of progress. On July 29, U.S. and Iraqi national guard troops conducted a raid near Ar Rawashi, which resulted in the capture of 39 members of an insurgent cell, including two known targets, Iman Aziz Ahmen Thahe and Nsaif Lateef Hadi. On July 28, an offensive raid by Iraqi forces resulted in the deaths of 35 insurgents and the capture of 45 more. The large offensive operation by 280 Iraqi national guard soldiers and police officers began north of As Suwayrah, in the Wassit Province. U.S. ground forces and aircraft provided support for the operation as Iraqi soldiers conducted a cordon and search of 30 buildings and received small-arms fire. On July 18, the Iraqi national guard and police worked together on a large-scale operation for the first time to search for insurgents involved in an attack that killed an Iraqi police officer and wounded two others. About 90 Iraqi national guard soldiers cordoned off a large area while almost 300 police officers searched for those responsible. During the search, several illegal weapons were seized.
As we go to press, intense fighting has been renewed in Najaf and the Sadr City neighborhood of Baghdad against the followers of Muqtada al Sadr. He has vowed continued violence against American forces.
Army Helps Win Afghan Battle. U.S. Army AH-I Cobra and UH-I helicopters, plus American infantry, were employed to provide air and ground support to Afghan forces battling militants near the Pakistani border in an all-day battle on August 2. A B-IB Lancer bomber and an A-IO Thunderbolt aircraft also participated in the battle.
The fighting began during the early morning in Khost province, and eventually involved nearly 100 enemy troops in two major engagements that spanned the day. Afghan casualties were light. As many as 70 guerrillas may have been killed. Pilots saw 40 to 50 bodies lying on the battlefield near the mountainous Pakistani border. Intercepted radio messages in Arabic and Chechen indicated foreigners were taking part in the fight.
In other news from Afghanistan, more than 12,000 former members of disbanded militia turned in weapons as part of an Afghan government program. On July 27 near Deh Chopan, Afghan security forces led U.S. soldiers of Task Force Bronco to a weapons cache. On July 27, Afghan civilians led coalition forces to improvised explosive devices in Task Force Thunder's area of operations.
Restationing Accord in Korea. On July 23, representatives of the Republic of Korea and the United States finalized agreements to relocate all U.S. forces from the Seoul metropolitan area to the Pyongtaek area, about 50 miles south of Seoul. There are approximately 8,000 U.S. servicemembers in the Seoul metropolitan area, including the 2nd Infantry Division. The relocation will be completed by December 2008.
The decision was reached during the Future of the Alliance talks held in Washington, D.C.
Operation Blue to Green. Reaching out to the other services, which are trimming their ranks, the Army, under Operation Blue to Green, is asking sailors and airmen to consider transferring to the Army. In fiscal year 2005, the Navy is planning a force reduction of 8,000 while the Air Force will trim more than 20,000 over the same period. …