GI SPECIAL 2#B96
BAD WAY TO LEAVE:
BRING THEM ALL HOME
soldier evacuated in a U.S. Army Blackhawk medivac flight from
Babylon Oct. 19. El Salvador has a small
contingent based in Babylon. (AP Photo/John Moore)
"These Boys Are
Fighting For Nothing," She Said. "Our Troops Should Be Out Now."
LAS VEGAN KILLED IN
October 19, 2004 By Keith Rogers And
Frank Curreri, Las Vegas Review-Journal
"It's getting tight
around here. There have been a few near misses with road bombs.
It's scary, but I'm tough. I'll be okay."
That was how Las
Vegas Marine Cpl. William I. Salazar began an e-mail message last
week from Qaim, Iraq, to his father, Gus.
Two days later, on
Friday, Cpl. Salazar, a 26-year-old videographer who was documenting
the war, was killed in a car-bomb attack as he rode in the passenger
seat of a Humvee.
As he always did, he carried a rifle
as well as a camera, but it wasn't enough to deter the suicide
bomber who pulled alongside of the Humvee close enough to detonate
the explosive-packed vehicle, causing fatal injuries to Salazar, an
Iraqi interpreter and two soldiers.
In it, William Salazar wrote: "I'm
still alive and well. Happy Birthday. I always forget your
birthday so if I'm late or early, at least I tried to remember."
Gus Salazar wrote
back, "You did fine. Thank you very much for remembering my
birthday. Love, Dad."
From now on, he
said, "My birthday will never be the same ... because I won't be
celebrating birthdays, I'll be celebrating memorials."
When his son arrived in Iraq in May,
Gus Salazar said his thoughts were that he "needed to support the
war and support William."
"Now after this has happened, the war
is over for me," he said.
In Bullhead City,
Ariz., William's mother, Gloria Salazar, questioned the logic behind
mother said she supports the troops, but not the rationale for
keeping them there.
"These boys are
fighting for nothing," she said. "Our troops should be out now."
Salazar reflects Monday on the life of her son.
She said the pain her son endured from
breaking up with a girlfriend and outrage over the Sept. 11, 2001
terrorist attacks ignited a flame under him. A few months after the
attacks, the pudgy graphic designer chose to become a chiseled,
"He wanted to better himself and he
hoped the Marines would help him accomplish that," Gloria Salazar
recalled Monday as she alternately cried and laughed while sifting
through photos of her son.
"He said the Marines were the toughest
(military branch) and he wanted that," she said.
Mother and son shared their last
dinner together in May when they dined on menudo and Coronas at a
Mexican restaurant in California.
While U.S. casualties mounted in Iraq
and Afghanistan, William Salazar remained positive during phone
conversations with his mother. He never spoke of bloodshed, or fear.
"Everything's fine," his mother
recalled him saying. "How's the family?"
But beginning last
month the tone of the dialogue changed. Once, while driving down
the road with other soldiers, their vehicle hit a land mine. Gloria
Salazar said her son again told her everything was fine.
But then he did
something unusual -- he told his mom he had a life insurance policy
and to take care of the family if anything should happen to him.
"His morale was
low. I felt that he was scared," she said. "I could hear it in his
voice. He sounded kind of worried but I could never get it out of
About 3:30 p.m. Saturday afternoon,
two Marines in uniform showed up at her front door.
"You already know
when they are walking up to your door," she said. "They tell you
they're there on behalf of the president and then you already know.
They tell you they're there to inform you of the death of your son.
And you're not listening. You're not listening to that."
Gus Salazar said his son was a
trombone player from South Gate High School in South Gate, Calif.,
who went on to earn a degree in computer graphics design from Santa
Monica College and later attended East Los Angeles Community
"He had a long-time
dream growing up to join the Marines. He wanted to follow in the
footsteps of his uncle," he said, referring to his brother, Lou, a
Marine from the Vietnam War who now lives in Las Vegas.
So in 2001, his son
moved to Las Vegas. He moved in with Lou and Cindy Salazar and
worked two jobs as a plumber's apprentice and pizza maker. He had a
desire to go to culinary school, his dad said.
"Pretty much 9-11 motivated him to
join the Marines," he said, noting that he tried a few times to
enlist "but he had a little bit of a weight problem."
Finally, on Dec. 10, 2001 he joined
the Marine Corps in Las Vegas and started training at Camp
Pendleton, north of San Diego.
After boot camp he was sent to Fort
Meade, Md., for advanced training in photography and videography.
Then he traveled for a year to such places as Okinawa, Singapore
and Japan to train allies until returning to Camp Pendleton for
deployment to Iraq.
Over there he was attached to the 1st
Battalion, 7th Marines at a forward operating base near Qaim, Iraq,
a hot spot along the Syrian border, said Staff Sgt. Paul Anstine,
the regimental combat camera chief, who served with William Salazar.
Their job was two-fold: to document
the war and use the video as well for combat analysis.
The insurgents, he said, are disguised
as civilians and "you don't (know who they are) until they're
shooting at you."
When they weren't out on raids or on
other missions, Salazar and fellow Marines tried to fine solace in
watching videos. Once, Anstine said, they enjoyed a bootleg copy of
In Las Vegas, Lou
Salazar said the way his nephew died at the hands of a suicide
bomber gave him flashbacks of his days in Vietnam, "a senseless war"
that the United States engaged in with its hands tied.
"You're the team
with all the rules. They're the team with no rules," he said, during
a break in his job as a plumber at the MGM Grand.
He said his nephew
was motivated to join the Marines because he wanted to continue his
education and use his veterans benefits to buy a home in Las Vegas.
At their home near
Bonanza Road and Hollywood Boulevard, Lou Salazar's wife, Cindy,
said she thinks the war is going to get worse before it gets better.
"Never in the world would I think
something like this would happen to William," she said. "I just felt
he was protected and he was so young."
Services have not been set but Gus
Salazar said his son will probably be buried this weekend at
Resurrection Cemetery, San Gabriel, Calif.
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we want to report on the resistance - whether it's in the streets
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to be a weapon to help you organize resistance within the armed
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with us in building a network of active duty organizers.
And join with Iraq War
vets in the call to end the occupation and bring our troops home
Two Psy-Ops Troops
Killed In Karabilah
October 18, 2004 U.S. Department of
Defense News Release No. 1042-04
The Department of Defense announced
today the death of two Soldiers.
They died October
15 in Karabilah, Iraq, when a vehicle-borne improvised explosive
device detonated near their vehicle. Both were assigned to the
Army's 9th Psychological Operations Battalion, 4th Psychological
Operations Group (Airborne) from Fort Bragg, N.C.
Sgt. Michael G. Owen, 31, of Phoenix,
Spc. Jonathan J. Santos, 22, of
Soldier Found Dead In Diyala
10.19.04 ABC News
Meanwhile, a 1st Infantry Division
Soldier died from a non-combat injury at a base in Diyala province,
the U.S. military said Tuesday.
The soldier was
found at late Sunday in his living quarters after he did not return
to his guard post. The incident is under investigation.
Direct Hit On U.S.
Military Base Kills Halliburton Employee & Wounds Soldier
The US-led military
suffered a direct hit on a compound in Baghdad that left one US
contractor dead and seven people injured, including a US soldier, a
"We had mortar and RPG (rocket
propelled grenade) fire that hit inside our compound this morning,"
a military spokesman told AFP.
The US soldier and
one of the six Iraqi civilians injured in the attack were in a
serious but stable condition, he said.
nationals had all been working in the compound.
Kellogg Brown and
Root (KBR), a subsidiary of the US oil services giant Halliburton,
confirmed its employee was killed, bringing to 54
the number of deaths suffered by Halliburton and its subcontractors
IED Wounds 3
10.10.04 MNF Release #041018m
An improvised explosive device detonated at approximately 4:30 p.m.
in western Baghdad Oct. 18, wounding three Task Force Baghdad
Soldiers. All three Soldiers were medically evacuated to
a military treatment facility.
Bomber Targets U.S.
Military Convoy In Habbaniyah
Oct. 19, 2004 —FALLUJA, Iraq (Reuters)
A car bomber
attacked a U.S. military convoy in the western Iraqi town of
Habbaniyah on Tuesday, police officials said.
There was no
immediate word on casualties. The U.S. military
said it had no immediate information on the incident in Habbaniyah,
west of the rebel-held town of Falluja.
Fighting In Ramadi,
10.19.04 ABC News
In Ramadi, U.S. troops clashed with
militants in the city's center with fierce fighting taking place
near City Hall, witnesses said Tuesday.
A Humvee was
damaged and was ablaze when it was hit by a homemade bomb and rocket
fire, according to witness Hatif Mahmoud. It was uncertain whether
there were any U.S. casualties.
U.S. Casualty Count
Doug Lorimer, Green Left Weekly,
October 20, 2004
casualties (wounded and killed) stand at a monthly average of 747'
since Allawi supposedly took over. ‘This contrasts with a monthly
average of 482 US military casualties during the invasion' last year
and ‘a monthly average of 415 during the occupation' up to June 28.”
23 U.S. Troops
Killed Last Week
October 20, 2004 By Norimitsu Onishi,
The New York Times
During the seven
days from Oct. 11 to 17, 23 members of the U.S. military died.
REALLY BAD PLACE TO
BRING THEM ALL HOME
A U.S. Army soldier, on top of a
Bradley armored vehicle in Baghdad, October 17. (Ali Jasim/Reuters)
Soldier Hurt In Iraq Attack
October 18, 2004 Rick Terry, NEWS 9
Edwards Injured By Same Land Mine
Which Killed Sgt. Rik Morgan
OH -- Specialist Robert Edwards is originally from
Youngstown, but two years ago met and fell in love with Tracy
Prager, a divorcee with three kids. They got engaged a year ago,
just before Edwards' unit, the 660th Transportation Company of
Cadiz, was deployed to Iraq.
Two weeks ago, Tracy got a phone call
she will never forget-- her fiancé was injured by the same land mine
attack that killed Sgt. Rik Morgan of Belmont County.
Edwards was riding
in a Humvee with Morgan in Iraq when the land mine hit, killing
Morgan. Edwards sustained a broken hip and broken leg, and had much
of his large intestine taken out in surgery, but as Tracy keeps
saying, at least he's alive.
"I'm just glad he's OK, because I
can't imagine life without him," says Tracy, "I spent 8 days [at
Walter Reed Army Hospital in Washington, where Edwards is now] with
him. He's doing well-- he's in stable condition, communicating with
Yes and No answers."
But Tracy fights a
daily battle with her inner demons, the instinct to reach out and
help--only she can't. "It's hard because usually, when he's sick I
can tend to him. And now he's so far away I can't be there all the
time," says Tracy, who is lucky to be coping with
a vast support network.
Robert's family and her friends are
with her constantly. In fact, her best friend, Erin Lane is in the
same boat. Erin's husband, Sgt. Tom Lane was with the company at the
time of the land mine attack, but thankfully uninjured.
Like Robert and Rik
Morgan, Tom was home for two weeks in August, the only two weeks
he's spent with his baby girl Madeline. Erin's
prayer list is full these days--Madeline, her husband and Tracy, and
especially Rik Morgan's family.
"Rik Morgan was a
very good friend of ours," says Erin, "He had been to our house for
Halloween parties, things like that. That was very, very hard."
Soldier Critically Injured
October 19, 2004 WTOL11News & By
ELIZABETH A. SHACK, The Toledo Blade Company
SYLVANIA--A Sylvania man
is fighting for his life at this hour in an army hospital in
Germany. 21-year-old Matthew Drake was seriously wounded when a
car-bomb exploded at a U.S. patrol in Iraq Friday.
"It's the call,
that you hope never comes, and somehow in your heart, you just don't
believe it's going to come," said his aunt, Linda
Domini. Domini was overcome with sadness when she heard her nephew,
21 year old Matthew Drake, was the only survivor of a car bomb
attack near the Syrian border. "When you look at the photos of the
explosion, it is unbelievable that he did survive."
Matthew was rushed
into surgery at a battalion hospital in Baghdad, then flown to a
military hospital in Germany, where he is now in a coma and on life
support. "The most severe wounds are to his upper right arm, to his
neck, to his jaw, with an open fracture to the jaw. he does have a
fractured skull and brain damage."
Matthew wanted to be a soldier ever
since he was a little boy. He joined the army two years ago and was
sent to Iraq this September. Matthew was excited and ready to serve
in Iraq, and when he left, he promised he would return. His family
has faith that he will.
The military tells
Matthew's family that three out of four people with this severe of
injuries do in time come out of the coma. That's no comfort to his
younger brother and sister--who are taking it especially hard.
He has had several surgeries for his
head injuries and will have more surgeries when he is in a more
Private Drake graduated from Sylvania
Northview High School in 2001 and attended Bowling Green State
University for a year. In October, 2002, he left to join the Army.
A member of the 9th PsyOp Battalion,
Bravo Company, Private Drake left for Iraq on Sept. 7, two days
after his 21st birthday, assigned to a three-man psychological
operations unit. He drove an
armored six-ton truck with a speaker.
Private Drake, who was a wrestler his
junior and senior years in high school and is a certified personal
trainer, was thinking of becoming a physical therapist, Mrs. Domini
Friends and family described Private
Drake, who belongs to Olivet Lutheran Church in Sylvania, as a kind,
funny, and generous man.
Matt Serror, who has known Private
Drake since they played soccer together in elementary school, said
he was quiet and shy in high school but always helped people out,
whether he was shoveling snow for an elderly neighbor or dropping a
dollar in a can by a cash register.
"It's the little things you might not
think about," Mr. Serror said. "He's one of those people that
doesn't come around every day."
When his aunt's 150-pound Rottweiler
was recovering from surgery, Private Drake carried him outside when
needed to go outdoors.
In an e-mail to his mother a week
before the attack, he wrote that he had befriended a feral dog that
ran around the encampment where he lived with two other men in a
room the size of a two-car garage.
"We pray that when
he does come out of his coma that he's still Matthew," Mrs. Domini
Sky Bank is starting a fund for
Matthew Drake. Go to any Sky Bank in the area and make a donation in
his honor. Money will be used to
pay for expenses not covered by the military.
Soldier Wounded By Sniper
10/19/04 Susan Redden, Globe Staff
CARTHAGE, Mo. - Sniper
fire has left a Carthage soldier in serious condition, and family
members are awaiting his return to the United States.
Staff Sgt. Danny Baker was injured
during the sniper shooting Thursday near Baghdad.
"Just hearing his voice helped, but I
won't really feel right until I can get my hands on him," she said.
"We've had a lot of people calling to check on him, and he's on a
lot of prayer lists."
Baker, who is with the Army's 1st
Cavalry Division from Fort Hood, Texas, has been in Iraq since
March. He was part of a security
detail for a meeting about 20 miles from the protected Green Zone.
There was a single shot from a sniper, and Baker was the only
soldier hurt, his mother said.
"He had on a flak
jacket, but there is an unprotected area under the arm," she said.
"The bullet went in on the left side and exited out his back."
Baker said she has talked to her son
twice since the injury, and has talked daily with his wife, Shelby
(Stiles) Baker, who lives in Killeen, Texas with the couple's three
She said her son, a 1990 graduate of
Carthage Senior High School, has been in the Army since 1992. He is
a staff sergeant and is to be promoted to sergeant first class on
Nov. 1, she said.
"All We Are Doing Around Here Is
Getting Blown Up."
Oct 19 By FISNIK ABRASHI, Associated
QAIM, Iraq - The sound of the Black
Hawk medical helicopter is an ominous sign for the Marines
patrolling this forgotten western corner of Iraq that borders
Syria. It means that one of them is seriously wounded or killed by
their elusive enemy.
The sound of roaring engine,
shattering evening calm, gets immediately followed up with a quick
whisper among the troops, trying to find out who it was — this time.
At this Marine base, at the far west
of the restless Anbar province only miles from the Syrian border,
the news spreads quickly.
"We are losing guys
left and right," says Cpl. Cody King, 20, of Phoenix, not hiding his
anger. "All we are doing around here is getting blown up."
Most of the incidents these days, in
this land of endless desert, dried-up river beds and winding dirt
roads, include 155 mm artillery shells, mines and other sorts of
crude homemade bombs. They make the Marines' enemy faceless and
only heighten the feeling of vulnerability.
The armor at their
disposal is in short supply.
King and his fellow Marines from the
weapons company of the 1st Battalion, 7th Marine
Regiment, spoke between patrols,
huddled together and sifting through their log book, venting their
anger and frustration. They never talked of fear.
Among other things
their green leather bound book lists are the number of times their
company has been hit by homemade bombs since they arrived in the
country two months ago. Also listed in book, in fine, careful
print, are the names of those who were killed or wounded during
On Sept. 3, a thunderous blast from a
homemade bomb ripped through a group of Marines providing security
for engineers repairing a bridge over the Euphrates River, near the
town of Ubayd.
Four were killed and three were
wounded. King escaped unscathed.
In recent months,
Marine fatalities have exceeded Army deaths — even though the Army
has at least three times as many troops in Iraq.
It is difficult
to pinpoint the reasons for the unusually high death toll for the
Marines because they limit details on the circumstances of battle
deaths to either "enemy action" or "non-combat related." The Army
specifies the type of weapon that caused the death as well as the
city where it happened.
"After you lose so many Marines, you
just keep fighting to stay alive," says King, the son of a Vietnam
But for some of the Marines, lack of
armor, few vehicles and too restrictive rules of engagement are
partly to blame.
"We need more armor, more vehicles and
more bodies," says King.
Gunnery Sgt. Jason Berold says the
rules, as they are now, are frustrating. Unless they see insurgents
shooting at them or have what they call positive identification,
there's little that the Marines can do.
"It is very frustrating," says Berold,
38, of Los Angeles.
"All we are doing
is getting Americans killed and we cannot do much about it," says
King. The other marines in the room nod in approval.
"None of us are scared of going out
... as long as you get one bad guy."
Because of the existing rules of the
engagement, though, the only thing left after the incidents is to
"pick up your dead and wounded and get out of there as soon as
possible," King says.
Sgt. Ryan Hall, 27,
says that a "50-50" chance of getting hurt or killed on patrol is a
good bet among his troops. As
he walks outside the compound, the Abilene, Texas, resident points
to the damage that company vehicles have suffered. There are cracks
in the armored windshield of their Humvees from flying shrapnel.
There are also holes on the back and damage to its side.
darkness fell in this distant base, another sound of the helicopter
signaled what they all knew.
"You do not know
whether he will survive," King says.
That night, only
one made it. A suicide car bomber had rammed into their patrol near
the town of Qaim. Two soldiers and one Marine died.
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Send requests to address up top.
Forces Bomb Falluja, Release Police Chief
US News, BAGHDAD
U.S. forces freed the
police chief of the rebel-held city of Falluja on Tuesday after
warplanes bombed what the military said were houses and arms dumps
used by America's top enemy in Iraq.
The police chief, Sabar
al-Janabi, and his colleagues were detained on Friday with the
city's chief negotiator, Khaled al-Jumaili, who was released early
The U.S. military
gave no reason for the arrests and never confirmed it was holding
the four men.
They were seized as
they were moving their families away from Falluja for safety.
Townspeople called off a demonstration set for Tuesday to demand the
policemen's release. Police in Falluja do not answer to the interim
government in Baghdad.
Troops Who Refused
Orders Had Reported Fuel Contamination;
Were Ignored By
Oct. 18, 2004 The Associated Press &
NEELA BANERJEE and JOHN KIFNER , New York Times & By Jeremy Hudson,
The (Jackson, Miss.) Clarion-Ledger
JACKSON, Miss., Oct. 18
- Members of the Army Reserve platoon in Iraq that disobeyed orders
to deliver fuel to another base last week had tried to persuade
their superiors for hours to cancel the mission, relatives of the
soldiers said Monday.
The 13th Corps
Support Command, which the 343rd belongs to, and its commander,
Brig. Gen. James E. Chambers, have been singled out for repeated
criticism by soldiers on the Web site and column of David H.
Hackworth, a retired Army colonel and decorated veteran of the Korea
and Vietnam wars.
The soldiers who refused their mission
had complained to relatives in months past about the poor quality of
their trucks and equipment, though they never indicated they would
do anything other than pursue changes through the chain of command,
the relatives said.
Some of the trucks, which were due for
repairs, broke down on the journey, said Stephanie Parks, the
fiancée of Johnny Coates, father of Specialist Major Coates of
Charlotte, N.C., a member of the platoon. The platoon returned late
on the evening of Oct. 12. At 4 a.m. the next day, they were roused
to take the fuel from their base in Tallil to Taji, much farther
north, family members said.
"That's when everything went haywire,"
said Ricky Shealey, father of Specialist Scott Shealey. "My son says
they argued for three hours trying to get some sense into them
people. They utilized their chain of command.”
On Monday, Ricky
Shealey of Quinton, Ala., father of one of the soldiers involved,
told The Associated Press that his son, Spc. Scott Shealey, said the
trucks earmarked for the mission had hauled jet fuel and were then
loaded with diesel fuel without purging the tanks.
They even had a civilian out there.
He said it was contaminated.
“The fuel was mixed
and he wasn’t going on a mission to deliver fuel that could harm
those with the helicopters,” Ricky Shealey told the AP.
Shealey said his
son spent three hours trying to convince his commander the mission
“was inappropriate and it should not be done.”
Soldiers have complained bitterly on
Colonel Hackworth's Web site about low morale at the 13th Corps
Support Command, and about General Chambers himself.
Shealey said his
son refused to go on the mission because the fuel they were to
haul was tainted and he feared it would be put in a helicopter
that would later crash.
“The command just
totally ignored them when they told them the fuel was contaminated
and they was still going to send them out on this mission with
contaminated fuel,” Shealey told CBS. “The command was completely
aware of the situation and I think it’s a command issue and not a
indicated efforts were under way to defuse the situation. For
example, the Army is considering returning all but five of the
unit's members to duty, one senior official said. But two who may
face discipline have past instances of wrongdoing in Iraq, in
particular of substance abuse, the official said. He did not give
names and the accusations could not be confirmed.
have incensed relatives of the soldiers. "They have to make them
look bad," said Stacy Shealey, Specialist Shealey's sister. "It's
just another reason to mess with them."
action has brought international attention to
procedures and the conditions of equipment being used in the more
than year-old war in Iraq.
soldiers’ relatives appeared on national television on Monday.
said her husband told her he’s getting some unusual stares from some
“He’s not letting
that bother him,” she said. “He’s just trying to do his job.”
including Sgt. Larry McCook and Sgt. Michael Butler, both of
Jackson, have been reassigned to different units.
“This does not mean
that these five individuals were reassigned as punishment,” Army
legal correspondent Lt. Col. John Miller said in the report The
Clarion-Ledger obtained from Thompson. “(This) does not mean the 13
individuals (not reassigned) will not receive administrative action,
does not mean that only 18 individuals were involved (could be more
or less). Investigation is ongoing.”
From X To GI
Special: THE COMMAND IS LEANING ON THE FAMILIES. BUT 5 OF THE
GI'S HAVE BEEN "SEPARATED" FROM THE OTHERS AS SO-CALLED
Driving The Deadly BMI
(Barely Makin’ It)
October 19, 2004 By Jim Krane,
"They wanted the
mission to go out at 7 a.m. to take that same fuel and those same
vehicles, without any maintenance checks or maintenance after
coming off a mission," Ricky Shealey said. "The vehicles were
deadlined, meaning something on a vehicle is going to be a
problem. They had 12 to 13 deadlines, and these vehicles were not
supposed to roll."
BAGHDAD, Iraq - Blowing
sand. Blistering heat. Shrapnel-spewing roadside bombs. The U.S.
Army says it does its best to keep its hard-pressed vehicles and
helicopters running despite these conditions, but soldiers say Iraq
sometimes trumps their best efforts.
Across the country,
the brutal conditions can be seen on the Humvees on patrol with
smashed or cracked front windshields or punctured doors and fenders
where chunks of shrapnel have blown through. Worse, dozens of
vehicles have been lost in attacks. Video clips of burning Humvees
have become a staple of Iraqi insurgent propaganda DVDs.
The Army’s fleet of Black Hawk
helicopters, which dates as far back as the late 1970s, requires
lots of maintenance to keep flying. The helicopters’ engines and
rotors suffer even more than land vehicles from blowing sand and the
the craft are in higher demand than ever to ferry passengers trying
to avoid Iraq’s ambush-prone roads.
"Most of the problems we’re having are
from dust. Most of the bearings are open bearings, it gets in there
and wears them out quicker," said Sgt. Amos Ritter of Allentown, Pa.
"It’s not making it to the point where we can’t finish a mission.
But it’s a problem we need to work around."
Ritter, a 31-year-old crew chief and
flight mechanic for the Army’s 30th Medical Brigade, said his fleet
of helicopters dates to 1982.
The Army has been able to deliver common spare parts more quickly,
but some parts are still tough to get.
"There are difficulties getting spare
parts, it’s a bit more of a wait than we’re accustomed to, like back
when we were in garrison," Ritter said on his base near the ancient
ruins of Babylon in central Iraq.
"When you’re in a
combat zone, you should have the priority on parts, but it seems
like you’re not really getting the priority down here."
In the western
town of Qaim, a U.S. Marine complained that his unit lacked
vehicles and protection - as well as troops - to replace those
killed and destroyed by roadside bombings, ambushes and anti-tank
"We need more vehicles, more armor,
more bodies," said Cpl. Cody King, 20, of Phoenix, Ariz., of the 1st
Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment.
breakdowns have turned tragic.
In May, two
soldiers in the Army’s 1st Cavalry Division were killed and five
wounded when a roadside bombing in Baghdad tore apart a Humvee that
had broken down and was being towed.
In Alabama, Ricky
Shealey, whose son, Spc. Scott Shealey, was one of the soldiers
who refused the convoy run to Taji, said "They wanted the mission
to go out at 7 a.m. to take that same fuel and those same
vehicles, without any maintenance checks or maintenance after
coming off a mission." "The vehicles were deadlined, meaning
something on a vehicle is going to be a problem. They had 12 to 13
deadlines, and these vehicles were not supposed to roll."
C. U.S. Army
To: GI Special
Sent: October 17, 2004 3:26 PM
AMERICAN VISITS TO US MILITARY INSTALLATIONS
Yep it's really
me! They haven't thrown me in jail yet. Just looked at my unit's
family bulletin board and saw the most funniest piece of propaganda.
VISITS TO US MILITARY INSTALLATIONS
Michael Mills - Oct 1, 2004
Categories: Family Readiness: The
National Guard Bureau received information this morning that there
is an opportunity for some of our family members who have loved ones
deployed to Iraq to be part of an audience that will receive
information on how life in Iraq has changed since the fall of Saddam
This is strictly volunteered based
function, funding is not available. More information is in the
attached word document.
The dates and locations are below. If
you believe that you have family members that would like to attend,
I would encourage you to go through your Public Affairs office for
coordination with the Installation Public Affairs.
I also ask that if any of your
families do attend, to please let us know.
The final schedule below is what we'd
like to execute to support the visits by the Iraqi American
This is based on inputs received thus
far from the Services and availability of delegation members.
More will follow.
5 October - Fort Hood
7 October - Fort Bliss, Fort Drum
14 October - West Point, Fort Lewis
Blair Plan To Send
British Troops To Baghdad Hated By Everybody
A poster is held up by one of
thousands of anti-war campaigners taking to the streets of London,
October 17, 2004, calling for an end to the illegal occupation of
Iraq. (David Bebber/Reuters)
19th October 2004 TIM RIPLEY, IAN
JOHNSTON AND JAMES KIRKUP, Mirror.co.uk
TONY Blair was left
isolated last night as his decision to send Black Watch soldiers
into Iraq’s infamous Sunni Triangle to cover American troops was
greeted with total opposition.
Even pro-war MPs refused to back the deal with the United States.
In the House of Commons yesterday,
Geoff Hoon, the Defence Secretary, insisted that no decision had
been taken, but then all but confirmed it had when he said Britain
would have "failed in our duty as an ally" if it turned down the
request from the US for help.
The answer provoked
angry shouts from the Labour benches.
The suspicion that
British troops could be deployed to help the US and, by extension,
the re-election campaign of President George Bush, left usually
loyal backbenchers angry at the government.
Labour MP Andrew
MacKinlay, an outspoken supporter of the war, said that the
proposed redeployment was a bridge too far even for him and begged
Mr Hoon to reconsider. "There
has not been a single member of the parliamentary Labour Party
supporting this deployment," he told the Commons.
told The Scotsman that it was originally intended to agree to the US
request and make this public only after the Black Watch had begun to
The story leaked
last week after soldiers from the Black Watch on end-of-tour leave
and training courses were recalled to Iraq for the new mission,
resulting in relatives complaining to the media.
"It was going to
be a fait accompli," said a ministry source. "The whole thing has
turned into a dog’s breakfast because of poor ‘opsec’ or
A senior army
officer added: "It’s a done deal. The activity of the next days is
all about creating a favourable media and political climate to sell
the deployment to parliament and the public."
the Perth MP and deputy leader of the SNP at Westminster, said Mr
Hoon had "failed to deal with the question as to why 600 UK troops
will be needed when the US has over 130,000 troops in their area".
Families Outraged Over Lies
Oct 19 2004 By Bob Roberts, Deputy
Political Editor, Mirror.co.uk (England)
furious James Buchanan – whose sons Gary, 27, and Craig, 25, are
corporals in the Watch – demanded his boys should come home.
Widower Mr Buchanan, 56, of Arbroath, stormed: “They know they
have to fight, but they hate being lied to.
“HIS COUNTRY NEEDS
families accused the Government of betrayal yesterday after Geoff
Hoon signalled that 650 British troops would cover for a US blitz in
claimed ministers were sending the men in to “pull the Yanks out of
the fire” – and the move was a ploy to bolster the chances of
President Bush’s re-election next month. One parent said: “It
stinks to high heaven.”
Defence Secretary Mr Hoon told a
shocked Commons the UK would be “failing in our duty as an ally” if
it refused the US request. Nor did he deny that the troops would be
mostly Black Watch, currently the reserve force in Basra, southern
Some of the
regiment, earmarked to be merged, believed they would be coming home
before their six-month tour ends later this year.
James Buchanan – whose sons Gary, 27, and Craig, 25, are corporals
in the Watch – demanded his boys should come home.
Buchanan, 56, of Arbroath, stormed: “They know they have to fight,
but they hate being lied to.
“It’s a bloody disgrace how the
Government has treated them. It’s us going to pull the Yanks out of
the fire once again – they need our boys to sort out their mess.
“This is a political game to help
George Bush win the election – and it stinks.
“They promised my
sons troops could come home this month. That was a lie. Mr Hoon
says they won’t go to Fallujah. That’s another lie. They’ll be in
the firing line.”
Rob Scott, 61, from Fife, has a
grandson Charles, 18, with the Black Watch.
Mr Scott, a former
warrant officer in the regiment, said: “It’s disgusting the lies
this Government is telling our boys. Morale is just going through
the floor. We’re going to clear up the muck the
US have left behind because they’re so pathetic.”
Anne McMillan, of campaign group Save
the Scottish Regiments, said she was besieged by calls from worried
mothers and wives of Black Watch squaddies. She said: “One woman
was devastated about the possibility of the men being called in.
They could be sent to a really bad war zone.”
Experts say US forces are now so
overstretched any extra assignments would require a return to
vote-losing draft conscription.
In Britain, anxious General Walker has
forcefully expressed his concern at the sudden change in policy.
Labour MP and war supporter Andrew MacKinlay said: “Many find it
incredible the US can’t find the infantry to fill this gap. Some of
us have provided political cover for this Government. Do not try to
stretch the envelope too much.”
Won’t Redeploy Troops Closer To Baghdad
October 19, 2004 Associated Press
The Italian defense minister on
Tuesday ruled out that Italian troops in Iraq, currently based in
the southern part of the country, will redeploy near Baghdad, as
some British troops have been asked to, an Italian news agency said.
The comments by Antonio Martino were
made hours after the British government said it is strongly
considering a U.S. request to redeploy some British troops closer to
Baghdad so the insurgency in central Iraq can be dealt with ahead of
“This is not
something that has to do with us,” Martino, asked about a possible
redeployment of Italian troops, told the ANSA news agency. He did
Lying For A Living
It was 1974. A
bunch of broke Pfc's were getting high & playing cards in the
barracks. The game was interrupted by a son of a lifer coming in to
announce that he had re-upped for a guaranteed job as a recruiter in
CONUS. His statement kind of ruined our high. The silence was
finally broken when one of the players asked him "How are you going
to sleep at night man, knowing that you lie to HS kids for a
living?" David Honish, Veterans For Peace
do you think? Comments from service men and women, and veterans,
are especially welcome. Send to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Name, I.D., withheld on request. Replies confidential.
Reserve Unit Goes Begging For Body Armor
October 18th, 2004 By Associated Press
CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (AP) — Members of a
Missouri Army Reserve unit will have some extra protection while on
duty in Iraq thanks to Iowa law enforcement.
The Iowa State
Patrol and the Linn County Sheriff's Department have donated
outdated body armor to the 189th Ordnance Co.
based in St. Joseph, Mo.
protection is going to be nice,'' said Spec. John Wickman, 26, of
Wickman is among
164 members of the 189th called to active duty in September. His
wife, Tina, began working the phones soon after the unit was
called up, seeking surplus bulletproof vests from local police.
They responded with more than 200
pieces of body armor.
Wickman and other member of the 189th
drove from Fort Sill, Okla., and collected the vests on Sunday at
the sheriff's offices in Cedar Rapids.
``They can either
wear them or line their vehicles with it,'' said Sheriff Don Zeller.
Body armor must be
replaced when its warranty expires after several years, but it's
usually sound, said Sheriff's Lt. Ron Cummins.
Outdated armor, which can cost up to $500 a set, is usually
Guards Killed & Wounded In Mashahidan Attack
10.19.04 ABC News & By TINI TRAN,
Associated Press Writer
A mortar attack on an Iraqi National
Guard headquarters north of Baghdad on Tuesday killed or wounded at
least 100 Iraqis, officials said.
Six mortar rounds fell on National
Guard offices in an early morning attack in Mashahidan, 25 miles
north of Baghdad, said Iraqi police and National Guard officers
under condition of anonymity.
The guardsmen were
lined up in formation when six mortars hit.
The U.S. military
cited the Iraqi Defense Minister as saying four guard members were
killed. The military said U.S. helicopters helped
ferry out the wounded.
10.19.04 ABC News & IOL.com.za
In northern Iraq,
partisans attacked and set on fire a key oil pipeline that connects
the Beiji oil refinery with Turkey, police said Tuesday.
The pipeline runs from the oilfields around Kirkuk to the
Turkish port of Ceyhan. Firefighters
were battling to control the flames.
A huge explosion in the early hours of
Tuesday destroyed the pipeline, said a Beiji police officer on
condition of anonymity. The attack happened about eight miles from
the refinery. Beiji is 155 miles north of Baghdad.
The attack halted exports of oil via
Allawi Sneaks In
And Out Of Sadr City
London Daily Telegraph,
October 18, 2004] & CNN & By Steve Fainaru, Washington Post, October
Iraqi interim Prime Minister Allawi
became the first leader of his country to visit the Shia slum area
of Sadr City. Allawi’s trip to
Sadr City, the stronghold of rebel cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, was
shrouded in secrecy and conducted with almost unprecedented
His visit to that
site was delayed, however, when a mortar round hit the stadium about
15 minutes before his scheduled arrival.
Allawi was en route
to the Sinaa soccer stadium when a mortar round struck it around 1
p.m., killing two Iraqi soldiers and an Iraqi civilian and wounding
at least two others. It was unclear whether the
attack was aimed at Allawi, who was scheduled to meet with members
of Sadr's office and clerics at the stadium minutes later.
opened fire after the attack, shooting their automatic weapons
randomly in response to reports of sniper fire. Two Iraqi police
officers sitting in a nearby vehicle were wounded. [Marvelous. The
resistance can stay home.]
Authorities immediately shut down the
weapons handover program for the rest of the afternoon.
Allawi's convoy was diverted to a Sadr
City government office building and his meetings with Sadr officials
were postponed until later in the afternoon.
Ahmed Saleh, 21,
showed up at the stadium to turn in an old 60mm mortar launcher.
Saleh, who said he was a member of the Mahdi Army, said the
launcher was "not very good. I have another one at home that is much
Asked if he planned
to hand it in, he said: "No, I'm going to keep it."
BRING ALL THE
TROOPS HOME NOW!
Najaf Pissed Off By
Slow Pace Of Rebuilding
[New York Times,
October 18, 2004]
Business owners and residents in Najaf
complain that the future of their city is in doubt because U.S. and
Iraqi officials aren’t doing enough to rebuild areas that were
heavily damaged after a three-week battle.
Soldiers Fear They
Are “Sleeping With The Enemy”
18/10/2004 The Telegraph U.K.
discovers deep mistrust between American troops and Iraqi soldiers
they are training
If the US marines
and Iraqi national guardsmen living at the Karmah military barracks
near Fallujah talk at all, they speak through the bars of a small
The Americans peer out from the
ammunition room, filled with weapons confiscated from suspected
insurgents, trading banter with the Iraqis who stand on tiptoes in a
huddle outside, their eyes squinting against the glare of the late
Though there is
laughter, things are not as they should be at Karmah barracks. "This
is camp poison," whispers a marine. "Watch your back."
The sinister atmosphere at Karmah
barracks is not difficult to understand.
The marines are convinced that
many, perhaps most, of the 140 members of the Iraqi National Guard
(ING) they share the camp with are double agents working on behalf
of the insurgents holding Fallujah.
In the past week alone the marines
have arrested five of the guardsmen, including their commanding
officer, Capt Ali Mohammed Jasim.
It is just one
example that a Vietnam-era experiment Washington resurrected to
form the backbone of an offensive planned by the end of the year
to retake Fallujah, the crucible of Iraq's insurgency, is going
Under the Combined Action Platoon
(CAP) scheme, US soldiers train Iraqi guardsmen, live with them in
the same barracks and venture out on joint patrols, all steps
towards a longer-term objective of the withdrawal of American
The plan was first
developed in Vietnam, where US marines cohabited
with local militias to defend villages from Vietcong raids. At the
same time the marines trained the militiamen with the intention of
turning them into an effective fighting force, but they were too
ill-equipped and underpaid for the plan to have much success.
Mark II of the CAP
programme seems to be running into even greater problems. Across
the country American troops work with their poorly equipped Iraqi
colleagues in an atmosphere soured by distrust - especially in
provinces where the insurgency is at its most intense.
With Fallujah under insurgent control,
US marines such as those at Karmah are trying to secure the
surrounding al-Anbar province.
Their efforts have been blighted by
remotely detonated mines, known as improvised explosive devices
(IEDs), targeting the patrols that nervously venture out on to the
lawless streets of towns that have become insurgent havens.
Since June, some
platoons have seen up to half their men wounded in action. Eighty
marines have been killed in the province.
The marines are convinced that the ING
knows where many of the IEDs are planted, and even say they have
caught guardsmen in the act of laying mines.
patrols come under attack, they say, the ING simply refuses to
fight. As the relationship worsens, more and more ING are simply
refusing to turn up at work.
Of the 140
guardsmen based at Karmah an average of between 40 and 60 turn up
on any given day.
At other CAP
barracks, that number is sometimes as low as two.
Since the arrest of
the Karmah ING captain, the rapport has become even more sullen. The
marines sit under canvas shelters, convinced that the guardsmen
lurking in their dormitories are traitors and murderers.
"We know when this
place is about to come under mortar attack because the ING suddenly
disappear," one marine said, staring across the dusty compound at
two guardsmen smoking on a wooden bench. "We are supposed to be
fighting together, instead we are sleeping with the enemy."
In their bare
dormitory angry guardsmen queue up to tell their side of the story,
accusing the marines of arrogance, bullying and a cavalier disregard
for civilian life. Twelve guardsmen spoke to The Daily Telegraph,
but all refused to identify themselves, saying they feared reprisals
from the marines.
"The first mistake they make is that
when they are attacked they don't just fire at the terrorists, they
shoot everywhere," one said.
alleged that the marines publicly humiliated and even physically
assaulted them for minor misdemeanours. Another said he, like
many others, had been arrested on suspicion of involvement in
planting an IED. He said he was held for 14 days in a tiny
"cooler" and then tortured during interrogation.
"They would make
me drink water and drink water and then kick me in the stomach
till I vomited," he said.
Five Dead As
Explosion Hits Electoral Vehicle
Oct 18 KABUL (AFP)
Five people were killed when an
explosive device hit a vehicle being used by election staff in
southeastern Afghanistan, a United Nations spokesman said.
He said the explosion occurred in
Paktika province, which has many mines and other explosive devices.
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