Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Fort Bragg soldier helps lightning strike victims

Friday, September 25, 2009

Over the Top Baghdad style

"Soldiers from the Iraqi army and 1st Battalion, 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment, part of the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, take time between missions for some real international relations and partnership at Forward Operating Base Rashid in eastern Baghdad July 21. The Red Devils, based out of Fort Bragg, N.C., went undefeated, but the Iraqis demanded a rematch. (U.S. Army photo by Maj. Sean Ryan, 2nd IBCT, 2nd Inf. Div. PAO)"
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Thursday, September 17, 2009

Security for Western Iraq Base Shifts to Army

Story by Gunnery Sgt. Katesha WashingtonDate: 09.17.2009Posted: 09.17.2009 11:46

"CAMP AL TAQADDUM, Iraq - Since the beginning of April 2009, a detachment of Marines from 1st Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, have kept U.S. forces and civilian contractors aboard Camp Al Taqaddum, Iraq, safe and secure."
Recently, the Marines handed that responsibility over to the paratroopers of 1st Bn., 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division, during a transfer of authority ceremony held aboard the base. The transfer is part of the U.S. military's plan to draw down its forces and reduce its footprint in Iraq, especially in the once-volatile region of Al Anbar province.

Soldiers who previously served in Al Anbar realize the major security gains achieved within the past three years and appreciate the current state of security at the base and its surrounding region. Particularly, the battalion's top soldier, Army Lt. Col. Xavier T. Brunson, commanding officer of 1st Bn., 504th PIR, who served in an area near Baghdad from January 2007 to March 2008,is amazed to see the positive changes made since 2007.

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Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Karmah Initiative bears first fruit with school, diwan

"KARMAH, Iraq (Sept. 14, 2009) -- The opening of the first of two dozen new and refurbished schools and a new meeting place were celebrated Sept. 9, in an area northwest of Baghdad thought by many to be lost to poverty and violence.

A group of influential sheikhs, government and Iraqi Security Force officials joined U.S. Marine and Army leadership for the opening ceremony.

The Karmah School for Girls was opened along with a diwan for the sheikh council and city council of Karmah, both part of a larger civil affairs initiative in the Karmah region, said a spokesperson for the projects."

Karmah Initiative bears first fruit with school, diwan:

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Paratroopers Begin Replacing Marines in Al Anbar

"Story by Spc. Michael MacLeod
Date: 09.10.2009
Posted: 09.10.2009 01:57

CAMP TAQADDUM, Iraq – On the road between Ramadi and Fallujah lies the sediment of six years of violent conflict. The concussive forces of war, insurgency and terrorist brutality have turned much of the mason block construction into what must surely be the dictionary description following the word rubble. If this to block and mortar, what then to the lives of the Anbaris who lived here?

It is Sunday morning, Sept. 6. A man runs hose water over his shiny green sedan. A shopkeeper props open the doors with jugs of juice. Barefoot children play in the dusty streets and hold their hands to block the sun as they wave for candy from Soldiers rolling past in armored vehicles. They are used to seeing Marines here.The MRAPs, or Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles, roll on and pass arid graveyards where impromptu headstones are barely distinguishable from the desert rocks. There are many such graveyards.

Back on the hardball, the vehicles pass a new construction site, and then another and another, then a construction yard full of new block and bags of mortar. Within one of the MRAPS, a paratrooper wearing an 82nd Airborne Division patch and an eagle for his rank says two words that seem prophetic to the moment: "New construction," he says.

Army Col. Mark Stammer, commander of 1st Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, and Marine Col. Matthew Lopez, commander of Regimental Combat Team 6, are traveling to Camp Al Taqaddum, where 1st BCT's storied 1st Battalion, 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment, will be ceded authority to operate in east Al Anbar province by 1st Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment.The battalion of paratroopers is part of the first unit to deploy to Iraq as a fully-developed advisory-and-assistance brigade assigned the mission of security-force assistance to help Iraqis maintain security and stability, and ultimately, economic prosperity.The ceremony will mark the beginning of the end of five-and-a-half years of Marine Corps presence in Al Anbar province, and a continuation of the drawdown of U.S. combat forces in a free Iraq."

The Red Devils are not just part of the "next" U.S. combat troops to occupy Al
Anbar province, but in all likelihood, the last, with the last big milestone
being the second Iraqi national elections in January 2010."We are here in a very
exciting period of history," says Brunson. "We've got an awesome responsibility
to support the institutions that are going to continue the democratic process.
Our greatest export is a little bit of hope, and a whole bunch of training."

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Monday, September 07, 2009

Remote Iraqi Residents Get Clean Water

"BAGHDAD -U.S. Paratroopers put their time and energy into learning how to set up and operate a solar-powered water filtration system at Forward Operating Base Hammer, Iraq.
In an effort to provide a better quality of life for the citizens of Iraq's Ma'dain region, Paratroopers assigned to 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, Multi-National Division- Baghdad implemented a self-powered, energy efficient water filtration system to provide the area's residents clean, adequate drinking water. However, for this system to be effective, regional leaders need to be shown how it works."

Remote Iraqi Residents Get Clean Water:

Paratroopers With 1st Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division

"Pvt. Anthony Perakis, Pvt. Jamie Haskett, Staff Sgt. Michael McDevitt, and Sgt. Deny Caballero of Company B, 2nd Battalion, 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, take turns carrying a large rock while ruck-marching for morning physical fitness training Sept. 3 at Camp Ramadi, Iraq.
The brigade, which will relieve 18,000 Marines over the next few months, is the
first to arrive in Iraq as a fully-developed advise-and-assist brigade assigned
the mission of security-force assistance."

DVIDS Images: Paratroopers With 1st Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, Newly Arrived at Camp Ramadi, Iraq, Train for Fitness:

Fort Bragg Paratroopers Train in Fictitious Iraqi Town

"FORT POLK, La. - Early morning in the combat outpost was like that hour before sun up on a Louisiana frog pond, with rumbling, bullfrog snores and socks stinking like pond muck from days of bathing in boot dust and sweat. Carried on the morning dew, the smell of 40 grimy infantrymen racked out in a room too small for morning vapors best described as weaponized funk."

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Sunday, September 06, 2009

The Devil Brigade sharpens their soldier skills at Al Asad

U.S. Department of Defense - Photo Essay:

"U.S. Army paratroopers interpret the results of zeroing fire on a rifle range at Al Asad, Iraq, Aug. 24, 2009.
U.S. Army photo by Spc. Michael J. MacLeod"

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Two units’ Afghanistan deployments extended

"ARLINGTON, Va. – Two units’ deployments in Afghanistan have been extended, the Defense Department announced Thursday night.
The 82nd Airborne Division Headquarters will spend about 50 extra days in Afghanistan, and the 3rd Combat Aviation Brigade will be extended for about two weeks, a Defense Department news release said.
“The process will be managed to avoid stop-loss for personnel,” the news release said."

Two units’ Afghanistan deployments extended Stars and Stripes: