FalseMotivation » Blog Archive » Return Of A Season

» Title: Return Of A Season» Posted: April 22nd, 2008» Author: ToySoldier» Filed Under Deployment, OIF V-VII.,» There are no responses.,» Read comments, respond or follow responses via RSS.,» Trackback this entry.,FalseMotivation.net is paid for out of pocket, and in these “harsh” economic times…who doesn’t need help? The Opinions Expressed Within Are Those Of ToySoldier and No One Else. Not The Dept. of the Army, Dept of Def, or the USA. Don’t Steal My Stuff!© Copyright 2008, [Note: So I had a previous post that went by this title, but this one touches on it in more depth, enjoy. Also in case any of my unit higher-ups are reading, this article has been OpSec Approved by Battalion], It is April, and Baqouba is reported as a major hot spot of terrorist activity and is named an Al-Qaeda in Iraq stronghold.

AQI holds the residents of Baqouba in a stranglehold of fear and oppression. Coalition forces enact Operation Arrowhead Ripper, a major offensive through the Diyala River Valley to reclaim it. That was 2007, and at that time Coalition Forces not show their faces without expecting a shot being fired, or an explosion of some sort going off. It indeed was an unclaimed portion of the Country. I arrived in Baqouba in August of 2007, after Arrowhead Ripper to finish securing Baqouba and relieve the unit (3rd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division) so that they could redeploy home.

It was an exciting task for my fellow soldiers and me as we had just arrived from Baghdad in the hot spot neighbourhood of Doura. The security situation in Baqouba has changed drastically since I arrived. My first time on the streets of Baqouba was met with fearful residents who refused to speak or be loosely associated with Americans, a Muqtar (a neighbourhood leader) had been murdered for working with Americans to better the lives of his neighbours, and House Born IEDs (HBIEDS) was a regular thing. Within our first month in the new sector we encountered 6 IEDs, two unexploded ordnance (UXO), 5 HBIEDs, eight ammunition, and weapons caches, six murders, two firefights, and we had arrested 4 AQI operatives. It was quite the busy month, as we flew by the seat of our pants to familiarize ourselves with the streets, the people, and the leaders.

Our first issue was to purge the area of the existing weapons caches, HBIEDs, UXO, and IEDs. Once that was out of the way we could focus better on those who planted them, and it was a daunting task. In the following three months we found over 11 IEDs, 6 HBIEDs, 2 Suicide Vests, and eight more weapons and ammunition caches. This doesn’t include the murders, and three brothers in arms we lost in that period. After five months of gruelling work, and several primary raiding operations we saw the fruits of our labours, finding fewer caches and explosives, seeing no murders, and we began to close in on the tighter circle of AQI operatives, who were now trying to lay low in the area.

We have seen four months straight with no murders, no suicide vests, and no coalition forces wounded or killed. We’ve seen in the past four months, 12 AQI Cell Members arrested and turned into the Iraqi Judicial System, and prosecuted, and less than 3 IEDs, HBIEDs, and Caches. It truly is a radically different place than it was when we had inherited it. Now if you walk the streets of my platoon’s area, people will wave and greet you in the street, children run and try and shake your hands, Muqtars welcome us in the streets to discuss business, and we now have double the Muqtars than we started with. Electricity runs to almost all of the houses, trash gets picked up, water runs, and the markets are bustling.

Even school is packed with eager young students, whom we surprised with 500 lbs of school supplies donated by Mead. I can’t affirm to you that the surge has been a complete success all over Iraq, but I can assure you that where I work, and from what I have seen, it has changed the lives of these Iraqi Citizens here in Baqouba. I have seen this city move from an Al-Qaeda stronghold of fear and oppression, into a blossoming community., Name(required), Email (will not be published)(required),

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