Friday, August 31, 2007

Craig to announce resignation tomorrow, told aides (OTB)

Larry Craig is going to announce his resignation from the US Senate on Saturday, September 1, 2007, but he remains sturdy about his innocence. He will stay in the Senate until September 30, 2007. There will be a special election held in Idaho for his Republican seat. As it stands, the Republican governor will fill the seat with someone of his choosing. (I'm pretty sure.)

After I listened to the taped 'confession' given by the senator, I was almost convinced he was telling the truth. Almost, however, is not a word that works well in the Republican Party when you screw up this badly. See ya!

This is going to be an Open Trackback Weekend for all those lonely souls who have no place to go this Labor Day Weekend. I always thought, however, that LABOR day was a day when EVERYONE WORKED. Who knew? lol.

I shall be here. Ho hum. Don't worry, though. I like it wherever I am as long as I have my computer. ;)

Ah, as I was choosing the posts to backtrack to, I ran across MacBro's Place. Apparently they do not like the kind of OTB's where that's all it is. I AGREE! HooYah! They are the most boring things I've come upon. So why is my post short? I plead NOT GUILTY! I have been posting my little fingers to the bone, and if you don't believe me? Just check out my home page. ;)

PS. Thanks, Mac. I did feel like there was something missing. Some jazz!

Linkfest Haven, the Blogger's Oasis


Digg!

These are the posts that I have trackbacked to: Mac's Opinion, MacBro's Place, DeMediacratic Nation, Blog @ MoreWhat.com, DeMediacratic Nation, Adam's Blog, Right Truth, Inside the Northwest Territory, Nuke's News & Views, Webloggin, The Bullwinkle Blog, third world county, Woman Honor Thyself, Pirate's Cove, Blue Star Chronicles, CommonSenseAmerica, and Right Voices, thanks to Linkfest Haven Deluxe.

These are the kind people that have backtracked to me and their posts:
1. Mark My Words: Jon Lovitz beats a Dick - Senator Craig take note.
2. Potbelly Stove: Justice is served.
3. The Amboy Times: We No Longer Have News.
4. The Florida Masochist: The Knuckleheads of the Day award.
5. The Uncooperative Blogger: The Uncooperative Radio Show! 08-31-07 - 09-02-07.
6. Plack's Constant: The Grasshopper and the Ant.
7. Mark My Words: Open educational resources.

A list of news articles (OTB)

I've been quite busy today, so I would like to share with you some news I've found. Feel free to check them out.

These are from Stop the ACLU.
  • Valedictorian Sues School for Religious Liberty.

  • Ohio Democrats PROTECT racial segregation. They are still racist bastards.

  • Airforce Ready To Deploy The Reaper.

  • Federal court upholds ‘ One State Under God ‘ in Texas Pledge of Allegiance.

  • (Video) Huckabee Calls for National Smoking Ban in Public Places. Over my cold dead cigarrettes.
  • These are from CAGW (Citizens Against Government Waste):
  • Tell Your Members of Congress to Make Their Earmark Requests Public!

  • Sign the 2007 Prime Cuts Citizen's Demand!

  • August Porker of the Month: Rep. Jim Oberstar.
    And so much more
  • !This next article is from Michael Yon, and it is called, "Ghosts of Anbar, Part III of IV: A Model for Success." (If anyone happens to have part 2 of this series, I would appreciate it if you could email it to me. I don't remember seeing it.)

    Here we go again, and you'll never guess who is alerting us to this prejudiced action. M. Zudhi Jasser, MD, of American Islamic Forum for Democracy. The name of the article is School to provide Muslim students with foot baths, and it is written by Andrea Billups over at Washington Times.

    There are also many bloggers I've read today and yesterday. The Pirate's Cove, Woman Honor Thyself, Potbelly Stove, Right Truth, LGF, The Florida Masochist, DeMediacratic Nation, Diary of the Mad Pigeon and so many more. If you are new to blogging or new to reading blogs, you may want to leave messages. This is one way to find that you are not alone out there. None of us truly ever are. But that's another post. ;)

    I am opening this post up for trackbacks from Linkfest. If you have not yet become a member, okay. You may trackback also, but please check out this site above.

    These are the posts I have trackbacked to: Church and State, Diary of the Mad Pigeon, Pirate's Cove, Webloggin, Leaning Straight Up, DeMediacratic Nation, Right Truth, The World According to Carl and Perri Nelson's Website, thanks to Linkfest Haven Deluxe.

    These are the posts that have trackbacked to me (if you do not see your name here, it is not because I did not want to post you. It is because I did not see your name.):

    1. The Florida Masochist: The Knuckleheads of the Day award.
    2. The Florida Masochist: Widow penalty class action.
    3. CommonSenseAmerica: Administration Urges Court To Open Borders - OTA.
    4. DeMediacratic Nation at Townhall: When Hillary Met Norm.
    5. third world county: Mike Huckabee Jumps the Shark.
    6. Stuck on Stupid: LBJ’s Gay Sex Scandal. I don't know why, but for some reason my stupid IE won't allow me to view your site to give you a trackback. Maybe if you could email the tb, I could do the same favor for you? I don't have s-e-x as a blocked item. At least I don't think so. If anyone could help me with this, I'd sure appreciate it. Now that I can't read it, I really want to! LOL.
    7. Right Truth: Dirty Love.
    8. The Uncooperative Blogger: The Uncooperative Radio Show! 08-31-07 - 09-02-07.
    9. Planck's Constant: Three children killed in IDF strike on Kassam launchers.
    10. DeMediacratic Nation: Imam Mahdi – May God Hasten His Appearance; A Friday Sermon of Al Qaeda/Taliban/US Alliance. Digg! Digg!

    Thursday, August 30, 2007

    NFL Pre-season week #4

    Now that I seem to be getting back into the grove of reporting these games, I shall just give the names of the teams, my pick, and the final scores. (Hey, leave me alone. I'll get to last week's scores as soon as I finish here. lol)

    Thursday, August 30, 2007.
    New York Jets vs. Philadelphia Eagles. I want the Phillies to win, but the Jets are winning right now. Come on, Eagles! Final: NYJ 13; PHI 11. Darn.
    New York Giants vs. New England Patriots. I want the NYG to win. Final: NYG 20; NE 27.
    Green Bay Packers vs. Tennessee Titans. Gosh, Tenn. is really whomping my Packers, but I'll give them this one last one chance... GB 14; TEN 30. Okay. Time to face facts. Boohoo.
    Dallas Cowboys vs. Minnesota Vikings. Hmm. I don't know. I have something against both of them, but I'll go with...Dallas. No, wait! The Vikings. No, make that the Cowboys. See? Final: DAL 14; MIN 23.
    Houston Texans vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Final: HOU 24; TB 31.

    I can't keep up with the scores, so I can't honestly pick a team. I already know too much about them, and I'm still losing! Arghh!

    Pittsburgh Steelers* vs. Carolina Panthers. Final: PIT 19; CAR 3.
    Arizona Cardinals* vs. Denver Broncos. Final: ARI 3; DEN 21.
    San Francisco 49er's vs. San Diego Chargers*. SF 13; SD 16.
    Oakland Raiders* vs. Seattle Seahawks. OAK 14; SEA 19.

    Buffalo Bills vs. Detroit Lions. (It's already final. Otherwise I would have gone for Buffalo.) Final: BUF 16; DET 13.
    Washington Redskins vs. Jacksonville Jaguars. Final: WAS 14; JAC 31.
    Miami Dolphins vs. New Orleans Saints. Final: MIA 0; NO 7.
    Kansas City Chiefs vs St. Louis Rams. Final: KC 3; STL 10.
    Cleveland Browns vs. Chicago Bears. Final: CLE 19; CHI 9.

    There are two games tomorrow:
    Baltimore Ravens vs. Atlanta Falcons. Final: BAL 10; ATL 13.
    Indianapolis Colts vs. Cincinnati Bengals. Final: IND 6; CIN 14.

    Add this post to Fark Add this post to Technorati Add this post to Del.icio.us Digg!

    Wednesday, August 29, 2007

    Anonymous 2,000th hit (OTB)

    Today, August 29, 2007, someone who lives in Lambeth, London in the country of the UK looked at or used my site at 2:12 am UK time. I don't know who it was, because they covered their tracks. Anyway, thank you for stopping by. You were my 2,000 visitor! Wow. Well, can't think of much more to say, other than woohoo!

    Linkfest Haven, the Blogger's Oasis

    Today's open trackback shall be open to everyone, but I would prefer it if you would please register with Linkfest. It is much better for all of us.

    These are the posts I have trackback to: Blue Star Chronicles, The Virtuous Republic, Blog @ MoreWhat.com, Perri Nelson's Website, Webloggin, DeMediacratic Nation, Big Dog's Weblog, Right Voices, Diary of the Mad Pigeon, The Bullwinkle Blog, Faultline USA, walls of the city and Conservative Thoughts, thanks to Linkfest Haven Deluxe.

    These are the posts that have so kindly trackbacked to me:
    1. Right Truth: The Nice Award.
    2. The Florida Masochist: My results update.
    3. DeMediacratic Nation: Celebrating and Waiting for 12th Imam.
    4. The Florida Masochist: Bad health care, bad reporting.
    5. The Florida Masochist: The Knucklehead of the Day award.
    6. DeMediacratic Nation: The Right Doesn't Make Scandals Like the Old Hat Left.
    7. Right Truth: WMD Phosgene from Iraq Found at United Nations.
    8. Potbelly Stove: More incompetence from the U.N..
    9. Diary of the Mad Pigeon: Open Topic of the Week: Rove/Gonzales/Craig Triple Header. Digg!

    Outsiders Deliver Food, Water, After Devastating Blasts

    28 Aug 07
    by Staff Sgt. Paula Taylor
    4th Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division Public Affairs.

    TAL 'AFAR, Iraq - Soldiers of D Troop, 27th Brigade Support Battalion, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, have a unique mission that requires several trips outside the security of Forward Operating Base Sykes.

    The Soldiers, who belong to D Troop’s “Outsider” Platoon, have conducted more than 350 re-supply missions since their operations began in November, said Spc. Joseph Moore, motor transportation operator.

    Most recently, the Outsiders completed their 100th mission within the past two months, delivering food and water to local villages that were devastated by vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices that killed hundreds of local citizens.

    The explosions, which began the evening of Aug. 14, set in motion a chain of events that would test the fortitude of the Outsiders and keep them on the road and in harm’s way for several days. “We got word that the villages needed emergency supplies around 11 o’ clock Tuesday night,” said Pfc. Mathew Fisher, motor transport operator. “Within an hour, we were loaded up and ready to go.” The next day, the Outsiders drove 10 pallets of water and eight pallets of food and met with the reconnaissance element near the villages of Al Jezeera and Khahtaniya.

    “We linked up with B Troop who showed us where we needed to go and drop our supplies,” said Moore, an Albion, Penn., native. “Fisher and Sgt. [Jason] Bedore unloaded the food and water—they were walking around and delivering to people’s doorsteps because there were children and elderly people who couldn’t carry it. They were just helping everyone out as much as possible because the destruction was pretty massive. One of the [blast] holes was about the size of a bus.”

    After delivering the emergency supplies to the villages, the platoon returned to Forward Operating Base Sykes, where they had just enough time to eat dinner before loading their trucks for their next supply mission that required a trip to Combat Outpost Nimur the following morning, Aug. 16.

    “They went out there to deliver a forward repair system, a field feeding kit, Class I rations such as food and water, and Class III fuel supplies,” explained their Troop commander, Capt. Kenneth McGraw. “The forward repair system is a maintenance system for repairing vehicles. It has tools and a lift for hoisting engines; it’s a mobile garage. Within the 1st Squadron, 9th Cavalry Regiment’s area of operations, wherever there are Soldiers, it’s our job to provide them with necessary supplies, in addition to delivering emergency supplies to locals in times of crisis.”

    The platoon continued their emergency deliveries on Aug. 17 where they delivered an additional 16 pallets each of water and food to the Iraqi police stations in the villages, Fisher said. “The [vehicle borne improvised explosive device sites] were pretty sad to see,” explained Spc. Randy Johnson. “I’ve never seen anything like that before. The destruction—the houses were just leveled. There were women and a whole bunch of people crying. The terrorists were cowards for attacking innocent civilians like that; they had no means of defending themselves. They destroyed innocent lives for no reason.”

    Although Johnson admits these types of catastrophes are hard to witness, he appreciates the opportunity to help the people when they need it the most. “It’s good to see smiles and watch the little kids running around with the food and water. Hopefully they forgot, at least for a couple seconds, what happened,” the Lindenwold, N.J., native explained. “I enjoy my job—driving to different [combat outposts] where our troops are and supporting them. Even the humanitarian missions are rewarding, just knowing we’re helping people out.”

    McGraw shares the platoon’s enthusiasm for helping people and lauds his Soldiers’ tenacity. “I’m so proud of them." McGraw said. "They work really hard and never complain. It’s been nice to be able to watch them grow and learn every day.”

    Photo - Sgt. Marshall Wright, D Troop, 27th Brigade Support Battalion, helps members of his unit and the Iraqi Army distribute water in Al Jezeera, Iraq, Aug. 15, during a humanitarian mission. The mission, which was formulated after a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device detonated in the village on Aug. 14, was to deliver 10 pallets of water and eight pallets of food rations to the local people affected by the blast. Photo by Sgt. Paula Taylor.

    Source: Asymmetric Military. I could not find the link from CENTCOM that used to go here, but Nelson has a wonderful site. He has every link I've needed so far! Check out his site when you get the chance, please. Have a great day. Digg!

    MNF-West Transition Team sees success in faces of Habbaniyah

    29 Aug 07
    By Cpl. Ryan M. Blaich, II
    Marine Expeditionary Force (FWD).

    HABBANIYAH, Iraq - When a group of American military advisors deployed to Iraq and took over a small combat outpost on the outskirts of town recently, they knew the task ahead might get tough, but each day would be rewarding. The Marines and sailors that make up Military Transition Team 13, working alongside the 1st Battalion, 3rd Brigade, 1st Iraqi Army Division, are increasing the security of the area and the quality of life for local residents as well.

    They operate out of a dusty, war-faced outpost named the OK Corral. They usually work long hours, patrolling streets with Iraqi soldiers or standing post overlooking the Euphrates River. They cook each meal themselves, because there is no chow hall to feed the 14 Marines, two corpsmen and company of Iraqi soldiers. They have learned to adapt, dealt with sweltering heat and braved the roadways of a foreign land.

    Many of the men of MTT 13 have been to Iraq before, making them ideal candidates for an advisory team. The soldiers that make up 1st Battalion are veteran war fighters as well; hardened by battles past, experienced in combat operations. Perhaps that is why the people in this area trust the Iraqi soldiers.

    Habbaniyah acts as a corridor in a crucial area, known as Jazerria, located between the once terrorist safe heaven cities of Fallujah and Ramadi. Nowadays, people go about their lives freely while searching for jobs, attending schools, plowing fields and shopping in crowded markets without fear of being shot in the crossfire of combat.

    “The IAs have won the trust of the people,” said Cpl. Jason Syvrud an infantryman attached to MTT 13. “People see that they’re here, the area is safe, they are happy that their families aren’t at risk anymore. The IA is here to help the whole country and get this back on its feet. The people are loving to see the change. The country as a whole is trying to rebuild.”

    Syvrud is only 22, but is currently serving his third tour in Iraq. He has been in cities where it was difficult to trust the citizens. But now he has seen a significant change in the war and in the people. He feels pride in his advisory role, knowing each day is bringing comfort to strangers he once felt uncomfortable around.

    “I’ve seen in the three times I’ve been here this country has done a complete 180. It’s gone from everyone not knowing what to do and being scared to do anything, to them starting to come out and finding out what a democratic society would be like,” he said. “Now, they are really trying to get involved. They are building their schools up, they’re building up the mosques, their homes. They’re trying to find jobs. It looks more and more like a typical American rural area. The majority of the people seem happy. They’re doing what they have to do to survive and building a life out of this.”

    Safety is what brings out the smiles and trust of the townspeople Syvrud said. The locals are involved with the Iraqi Army now. They help locate possible terrorists. They have begun to rebuild their community by fixing up schools, roads and mosques. The province is still early in reconstruction efforts, but the transition seems to be working as planned.

    Getting the soldiers to understand the benefits of civil engagements, such as the civil medical engagements, is a priority for MTT 13 team chief, Lt. Col. Thomas Hobbs. Transition teams have assisted in several CMEs, which provide medical care to people who would normally have to travel to Ramadi to see a doctor. With more than 16 years of experience in the Marine Corps, Hobbs said focusing on civil affairs can not only counter the insurgent’s propaganda, but win the hearts and minds of law-abiding citizens.

    “This battalion tends to be very focused on conventional operations. What I mean by that is in a counter-insurgency environment they are enamored with cache sweeps, security patrolling,” Hobbs said. “They should be focusing on civil affairs information operations and focusing on the population as a whole. The security level right now allows for that, so I’m trying to teach them to think in that manner.”

    Hobbs praised the Iraqi company commanders for understanding the impact civil affairs has on the war efforts. “They have been very willing to get out and meet the population and doing civil affairs projects on their own, even without money. We’ve been really successful in getting the companies to move and they’re actually initiating a lot of things I want to change or make better,” he said.

    Hobbs said the predominately Shiite Army has been received with open arms by the Anbari locals, who are mainly Sunni. A huge reason for this may lie in the idea of getting his team of advisors to stress the importance of making the population comfortable to Iraqi leaders. It is his philosophy that if the people are happy and satisfied with their life, then the terrorists will no longer have the ability to move freely within the community. He said the company and platoon leaders have begun to buy into the civil affairs mindset. As a result, the city has not seen any escalation in force in more than two months.

    The soldiers of 1-3-1 can fight, that has been proven during the past year and a half of combat operations. Hobbs said the battalion is known throughout the Iraqi Army for its ability to engage and defeat the enemy, and that is what the terrorists should realize. The mission now is to concentrate on keeping this rural area safe and prospering. The smiles on children are evidence enough that the plan is working.

    “I feel proud when I look around and see the kids and people smiling,” Syvrud said. “They’re happy when the Army and Marines come walking around, they aren’t afraid of us anymore. They’re happy with themselves, they’re happy with the environment around them and they’re striving to get better. They’re not just satisfied with things, they want it better, just like any American does.”

    Photo - Lt. Col. Thomas Hoobs, team chief for Military Transition Team 13, talks to members of the Iraqi Security Forces during an inspection of a local bridge. Keeping roadways safe and drivable not only helps navigation of anti-terrorist traffic, but is part of a wider ranging civil affairs mission of the 1st Battalion, 3rd Iraqi Brigade, 1st Iraqi Army Division. Digg! Digg!

    Tuesday, August 28, 2007

    News You Can Use (ignored by the dinosaur media); OTB

    This is an amazing achievement by the Iraqis, but it is good news so don't expect it to be covered by the dinosaur media. There is an article written by Robert McFarlane over at the Free Republic. The title of this article is, "A Fatwa Against Violence--Top Sunni and Shia clerics look toward reconciliation."

    This is a remarkable article about the Iraqi's coming together against the terrorists. The Sheiks, the Clerics, and other religious figures who met in Cairo on the 24th of August will meet again in Dubai on Friday, August 31, 2007, if I remember correctly from Hugh Hewitt's radio program. What I heard was fascinating.

    Imagine WWII and there was a country wrought with war. Also imagine that the German people were finally sick and tired of this little pipsqueak, so they had decided to overthrow the government. Would we have helped them? Remember, we had a different media back then. We were all in this together, and there was no mistaking that.

    This is HUGE! These religious people have decided to go to their followers, one of them has 20 million followers alone, and they are going to give the fatwa that states, "... end terrorist violence, and to disband militia activity in order to build a civilized country and work within the framework of law." Do you realize what this means?

    When a Sheik or a Cleric makes a fatwa, it is considered law. The people must obey. This time, this fatwa, this means they and we are having much progress. For the first time in a long time, the Sunnis realize publically that there is room for them in this new government, and they want to participate. The Shia's also want the violence ended. It is better to have a united Iraq than a divided one.

    Wait a minute...I thought I heard the media...nope. It was just a bug...

    Don't forget to read these two articles as well: "We Have Very Strong Indicators That Al Qaeda Is Planning To Attack The West" and The President's Speech To The American Legion. Here is the Audio of the Speech.

    I listened to them and believe me, it is much more powerful when you actually hear him. He has that old cowboy back, and he isn't playing around. It's about time.

    Linkfest Haven, the Blogger's Oasis

    In case anyone is wondering, I will be starting the Open Trackback tomorrow. That is why you do not see any action yet.

    Okay, it is now Wednesday, so I can post this news as one of my Linkfest posts. Please follow these simple rules: No porn.

    These are the posts that I have trackbacked to: Diary of the Mad Pigeon, Leaning Straight Up, The Bullwinkle Blog, Faultline USA, Conservative Thoughts, Webloggin, The Virtuous Republic, and The Amboy Times, thanks to Linkfest Haven Deluxe.

    These are also links I found at Linkfest, but for some reason they did not appear on my pinger. Hangings, Executions and other good stuff, by Right Truth. Pigeontrack: Dark Passage, by Diary of a Mad Pigeon.

    These are the trackbacks from those people who were nice enough to stop by:
    DeMediacratic Nation: Non-Sense of the Senate Resolution.
    Faultline USA: America at a Crossroads –The Missing European Anti-America.
    CommonSenseAmerica: 27 Cases of Illegal Alien Sexual Assault Against Children in 30 days.
    Planck's Constant: Let New Orleans sink into the Ocean.
    Planck's Constant: Moron Leona Helmsley leaves dog 12 million bucks.
    Potbelly Stove: And, they criticize Iraq. Digg! Digg!

    Round-up of Michael Yon's articles; OTB

    For those of you who do not who Michael Yon is, he is a citizen journalist who has been in Iraq and Afghanistan for most of the war with the only support coming from you and me. He is giving us the news that most 'journalists' are afraid to go forth and find the facts about their articles. Michael, on the other hand, goes right out there with the Marines, Soldiers, and whomever will have him.

    Here are some of his latest writings:
    Into the Sea.

    While we Sleep.

    The Ghosts of Anbar: Part 1 of 4.
    These are all must reads, so I cannot say which one to prefer. If I had to, however, I think it might be the last one (but certainly not the least one!). Please find his donations tab, and help him with whatever you can. He truly appreciates any amount you can spare. Like I said, he's on his own (with us and for us). Thank you.

    Linkfest Haven, the Blogger's Oasis

    I have chosen this article as my Linkfest today because I really admire Michael Yon. I may not agree with him all the time, but hey? How boring that would be! lol.

    PS. If I've trackbacked to you and your name is not on here, that is because I went to your site and my name was not on your post. My apologies if I made a mistake. Please notify me, and I will correct it. Thank you.

    These are the posts that I have trackbacked to: Perri Nelson's Website, DeMediacratic Nation, Adam's Blog, Right Truth, Leaning Straight Up, Conservative Cat, third world county, Pirate's Cove, Planck's Constant, Republican National Convention Blog, Right Pundits, Blue Star Chronicles, Webloggin, The Virtuous Republic, Faultline USA, Big Dog's Weblog, Right Truth, CommonSenseAmerica and Right Voices, thanks to Linkfest Haven Deluxe.

    These are the great people with wisdom who have chosen to trackback to me, lol:
    CommonSenseAmerica: Attempted Kidnapping of a 5-Year-Old Texas Girl.
    Planck's Constant: The AFLAC Scam.
    Webloggin: Craig Plays the Victim. Digg!

    Violence in Sierra Leone on election day?

    There is fear in this African state where there has already been too much violence for any one people. The president, Ahmad Tejan Kabbah, is thinking about declaring a state of emeregence. So what is taking place?

    ******************************
    President Ahmad Tejan Kabbah of Sierra Leone, whose ruling Sierra Leone People's Party (SLPP) faces the prospect of losing power in the second round of a presidential election, is threatening to impose a state of emergency, news agencies report.

    The BBC reported today that Kabbah warned, in a television address made yesterday, that he might declare an emergency after two days of clashes between rival parties.

    His warning came as the SLPP issued a statement complaining that supporters of the main opposition party, the All People's Congress (APC), had "brutally assaulted" SLPP supporters.

    Kabbah was quoted as saying that "The government shall not hesitate for one moment to declare a state of public emergency if the current state of intimidation, molestation and violent acts is not stopped immediately." [Continue reading.]
    ******************************

    Source: allAfrica.

    Here is more information from CNN (I know, but maybe they may say something that is correct. lol)

    ******************************
    Police declared a curfew in the eastern border region with Liberia on Monday, a center of the illegal diamond mining trade which fueled a 1991-2002 civil war, after dispersing more than a thousand demonstrators from rival political groups.

    The unrest spread to the suburbs of the capital Freetown late on Monday, where supporters of the ruling Sierra Leone People's Party and the opposition All People's Congress took to the streets with machetes, local radio said.

    U.N. sources said one person was believed to have been killed in the violence.

    "The people of this country have suffered long enough," Kabbah said in an address broadcast late on Monday.

    "I'm deeply distressed by events at the weekend. ... From henceforth the government shall not hesitate to declare a state of emergency," he said.

    The polls in the West African country are the first since United Nations peacekeepers left two years ago following the civil war, a brutal conflict in which children were drugged and forced to fight and civilians were mutilated with machetes.
    ******************************

    All we can do is sit prayerfully and wait...

    Update: If you have any trouble with those links, ie. the site is no longer there, try this link for CNN, and this link is for allAfrica. Thank you. Digg!

    Diversity is strength for new Iraqi Army; OTB

    28 Aug 07
    By Sgt. Andy Hurt
    13th MEU.

    NEAR KARMAK, Iraq - The strength of any democracy is the equal representation of various cultural interests; thus, the power of a military force can be measured by diversity as well. American culture takes pride in boasting equal opportunity in public service roles. Iraqi culture mirrors this attitude, and the warriors of the Iraqi Army’s 1st Battalion, 2nd Brigade, 1st Division – currently conducting a force integration with Battalion Landing Team 3rd Battalion, 1st Marines – are a simple, flawless example of strength in diversity.

    Speaking from an office at Combat Outpost Golden in Al Anbar Province here, Iraqi Col. Ali Jassimi, 1/2/1 commanding officer, explained the cultural representation within his unit. “My staff is Sunni, Shiite, and Kurdish. We have officers from many different areas of Iraq; Mosul, Baghdad, Ramadi – and we’re all here working together,” he said. “There are many people around the world who would think this would be a problem. We are a perfect example that it is not.”

    Jassimi, a native of Southern Iraq, said there is a preconceived notion in some global media circles that various sectarian issues create problems within the new Iraqi Army. To combat this, he said, he avoids prejudice by ignoring religious preference altogether. “When I get a new officer, I do not ask him if he is Shiite or Sunni. I don’t care.” The recent history of the diverse organization’s success in Falluja (a primarily Sunni area), conducting security and stability operations is a testament to the camaraderie of junior enlisted troops (Juundis) who come from all walks of life, said Jassimi.

    “We’ve had great success in Falluja, and it’s because of the Juundis-- they’re all brothers.” The colonel went on to explain that junior enlisted troops in his battalion ignored sectarian issues during operations. “If anyone needed help, we helped them. We visited mosques, and no matter if it was Shiite or Sunni, we prayed with them.”

    Captain Mustafa Al Jaaf, a Kurdish staff member of 1/2/1, echoed his commander’s sentiments. “We are from all over Iraq, and it makes a stronger force. You can see now Falluja is a much safer place.”

    Originally from Ramadi, Capt. Basim Ashumari said his anger over foreign fighters – Al Qaeda subordinates historically from Egypt, Jordan and Syria – caused him to join the new Iraqi Army and fight for his countrymen, no matter what religion they were. “In Ramadi, I saw men from another country come and kill civilians, so I decided to join the new Iraqi Army. No matter what religion they are, these officers here are on a mission to keep the Iraqis safe. We are one team with one goal.”

    Marine Lieutenant Col. Woody Hesser, Military Transition Team commander, said within the MTT, the ethos of “one team, one fight” is clearly evident during joint operations. Hesser and his team have shadowed 1/2/1 since January, and he says with each patrol a shared interest in Iraqi security is obvious. “We’re here fighting a war, and when we go on patrol, it’s one fight. There have never been any sectarian issues,” said Hesser. “Really, it’s almost like another Marine unit taking over, but it’s not about ‘Marines’ and ‘Iraqis,’ it’s about good guys versus bad guys.”

    As Marines have always kept close the ethos of “brothers in arms,” the Iraqi Army shares the exact ideal. During a nightly dinner with 1/2/1 staff, uniforms and language are the only visible difference between 3/1 Marines and Iraqi Army forces here. The staff laughs, jokes and singles out members with good-natured scrutiny. At the end of the night, they shake hands and go on with business. Officers constantly duck in to the commander’s office to have forms signed and plans authorized. The parallels between US and Iraqi forces are striking.

    For the Iraqi Army, however, it is not a mimicking act – it is an old way of life. “I’m from the north and I’m a Sunni,” began Maj. Istabraq Ashawani. “That man over there,” he gestured, “is a Shiite. That man over there is Kurdish … everyone in this battalion is a family. We eat together, sleep together and pray together. Anything you hear on the news about us being ‘different’ is not true,” he exclaimed. “Ask any Juundi or officer … we’re all the same.”

    Photo - Colonel Ali Jassimi, commanding officer of 1st Battalion, 2nd Brigade, 1st Iraqi Army division, speaks proudly of the ethnic and cultural diversity within his unit. Despite claims by liberal media that the IA is one-sided, Jassimi said, his battalion is a perfect example of strength in diversity. Photo by: Sgt. Andy Hurt.

    Source: MNF-I.

    Linkfest Haven, the Blogger's Oasis

    This is one article I just could not pass up. It is absolutely NEWSWORTHY, and you will never read about it in the news. For this reason, I am going to have two posts to Linkfest today. Thank you for induging me, and please read it.

    These are the post I've backtracked to: Webloggin, The Crazy Rants of Samantha Burns, Planck's Constant, DeMediacratic Nation, Adam's Blog, Right Truth, Pursuing Holiness, Conservative Thoughts, Nuke's News & Views, Leaning Straight Up, Cao's Blog, Conservative Cat, Woman Honor Thyself and third world county, thanks to Linkfest Haven Deluxe.

    My friends have submitted their posts for your reading pleasure:
    1. The Amboy Times: CAIR: Media Cowers in Face of Islamist Threat.
    2. The Florida Masochist: Knucklehead of the day award.
    3. Faultline USA: America at a Crossroads –The Missing European Anti-Americans.

    Airmen Work to Keep Aircraft Cool

    27 Aug 07
    By Staff Sgt. Cassandra Locke
    380th Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs.

    SOUTHWEST ASIA - SOUTHWEST ASIA — Global Hawk and U-2 aircraft provide critical intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, and in order to be efficient and effective the technological sensors on these aircraft cannot be subjected to heat for extended periods of time.

    Due to the compact size of the Global Hawk and the freezing temperatures at its normal operating altitudes, the aircraft does not have a robust environmental control unit to keep the numerous electronic systems cool in very warm temperatures. "That is why the hangar the aircraft are kept in has air conditioning and we perform almost all of our launches and recoveries at night when it is 'slightly' cooler," said 2nd Lt. David Bates, 380th Expeditionary Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, referring to the Global Hawk.

    The tolerance for hot temperatures for the main operating computer on the Global Hawk is 105 degrees Fahrenheit. This was a major factor recently when one of the aircraft was returning to base with an in-flight discrepancy, according to Bates. "We were unable to launch the spare aircraft due to difficulties with the communications hub on the aircraft and subsequent faults," said the lieutenant.

    After the first shutdown on the Global Hawk, the team was in the process of devising a system that would allow them to be able to launch the aircraft in mid-day heat. Then an opportunity presented itself. After troubleshooting the aircraft for hours in the midday heat, 380th airmen were concerned about the aircraft compartment temperatures. The call was made to press with the launch and the aircraft was able to taxi onto the runway and begin to take off. "Only seconds later the aircraft autonomously stopped the takeoff roll due to an over temperature indication," Bates said. He said that if the aircraft's onboard fuel, used to cool the sensor systems, got too hot during operation, the system was designed to halt operations in an effort to save its expensive components. "It was just very unfortunate timing that it stopped right after it started to take off because as soon as it gained some altitude it would have cooled quickly," he said.

    Shortly after the event, the team members found themselves in a "nightmarish" repeat of what happened days earlier. Another one of their aircraft was returning to the base and they had to turn another aircraft to get the mission complete in the middle of the day. "This time we were already working on the aircraft to troubleshoot some issues; we only have three jets and were flying every day, so maintenance had to use whatever time they could and so it had been already outside for some time," said Bates. Due to the winds that day, they also had to tow the aircraft to the opposite end of the runway, about a 45-minute and two-mile tow on the ramp that, at the time, was about 145 degrees Fahrenheit. "The time required to tow plus the time it would take to prepare and launch the jet would almost certainly send the temperatures of our compartments through the roof," Bates said.

    Senior Master Sgt. Kevin Brogan, 380th Expeditionary Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, suggested getting a water truck from the fire department and hosing down the aircraft wings where the fuel that cools the components is stored. "The fire department's responsiveness was impressive and they were quite eager to assist," said Bates. Capt. Fernando Colon, 380th EAMXS, took another initiative and got a pressure washer so they could cool the aircraft wings while towing. Once on the spot, they were quick to pre-flight and get the aircraft in the air; from engine start to takeoff was about 18 minutes. "Operators indicated that the internal component temperatures were cooler than some of the launches we do at night. The aircraft launched and completed a successful mission," Bates said.

    For the U-2 aircraft, the purpose is to develop the most efficient aircraft and sensor cooling process possible and minimize the amount of time aircraft and sensors are exposed to heat as well. The maintainers' greatest challenge is keeping the aircraft and sensors cool until the aircraft gets airborne. "In order to do this, we have orchestrated a "NASCAR" pit crew style launch," said Capt. Randal Hoewt, 380th EAMXS. The team has 10 people involved with the launch process; each person has a choreographed job that must be done in conjunction with the other members to ensure the launch goes smoothly.

    "Another challenge we face is keeping the aerospace ground equipment from overheating," said the captain. "After experimenting with different configurations of equipment we found the optimal set-up that ensures max cooling air and prevents the equipment from overheating." One solution to this problem that squadron airmen suggested was to include work with the AGE flight maintainers to inspect the AGE equipment and replace all worn hoses, gaskets and seals. According to Hoewt, they also determined optimum AGE positioning for aircraft launch by marking all positions, creating an AGE template around the aircraft so there would be the same set-up for every launch.

    They eliminated the cooling cart, power cart and air cart repositioning by developing an AGE driver drop box. They eliminated unnecessary cooling hoses by positioning the equipment safely as close to aircraft as possible, resulting in maximum airflow volume with minimal cold air dissipation. While the maintainers are minimizing the amount of time the aircraft and sensors are exposed to the heat, they ensure sensor nose covers are installed at all times and cooling air is applied a minimum of three hours prior to flight and left on aircraft until the last possible second. "We minimize the time the aircraft and sensors are exposed to the heat on recovery as well," said Hoewt. "We will tow the aircraft back into the hangar as soon as we can."

    Squadron maintainers also have created a seven-minute launch sequence mentality across maintenance and operations, according to the captain. By working with the operators, they were able to reduce the pre-launch time from approximately 25 minutes down to seven. This has paid huge dividends in sensor reliability and also reduced aircrew discomfort. Cruising at extremely high altitudes, Global Hawks and U-2s survey large geographic areas with pinpoint accuracy to give military decision-makers the most current information about enemy location, resources and personnel.

    Photo - Master Sgt. Kevin Wirth hoses down the wing of a Global Hawk in an effort to cool it off. The Global Hawk and U-2 aircraft at this deployed location in Southwest Asia provide critical intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance and in order to be efficient and effective, the technological sensors on these aircraft cannot be subjected to heat for extended periods of time. Wirth is with the 380th Expeditionary Civil Engineer Squadron. U.S. Air Force photo.

    Source: SpaceWars.com. Digg! Digg!

    Monday, August 27, 2007

    Operation Lightning Hammer disrupts AQ in Diyala

    26 Aug 07
    by Multi-National Division-North
    Public Affairs Office.

    BAGHDAD - Operation Lightning Hammer concluded Wednesday after a 12-day, large-scale operation to disrupt al-Qaeda and other terrorist elements in the Diyala River Valley, a complex area of villages and palm groves in Iraq’s Diyala province.

    The operation, which involved approximately 16,000 Iraqi and Coalition forces clearing approximately 50 villages, was a key element in Multi-National Corps-Iraq’s overall operation, Phantom Strike; and resulted in 26 al-Qaeda members killed, 37 suspected terrorists detained and the discovery of 10 weapons caches. “The strength and determination of the fighting men and women from the Iraqi and Coalition forces showed great results during Lightning Hammer,” said U.S. Army Col. David W. Sutherland, commander of Coalition forces in Diyala province. “We have continued to diminish their supplies and disable al-Qaeda’s abilities to disrupt the population.”

    Soldiers from the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, partnered with members of the 5th Iraqi Army Division, initiated the operation with a late-night air assault into targeted locations on Aug. 13, and conducted an additional three air-assaults during the course of the operation. Residents of most villages welcomed the security forces, providing tips and intelligence about recent activities in their towns, and were interested in joining the Iraqi Security Forces. Following clearing operations, the Iraqi Army provided medical assistance and humanitarian aid to the local citizens, many of whom said their villages were recently influenced by al-Qaeda.

    More importantly, more than 80 tribal leaders and representatives, some of whom had not spoken in over a year, met Aug. 19 to discuss their grievances and swore on the Quran to unite in their fight against terrorists and become one tribe of Diyala. “As I conducted my battlefield circulation and talked with many of the citizens, they repeatedly thanked our Soldiers, but more importantly, their security forces, for liberating their towns from the terrorists – specifically al-Qaeda,” Sutherland said. “Because their villages have been cleared, the local and central governments will now be able to provide those essential services al-Qaeda destroyed, and the people feel a sense of security they have not known for some time.”

    Throughout the operation, the Task Force Lightning Soldiers also discovered 22 improvised explosive devices, 11 of which were discovered based on tips from a police chief in the river valley, and reduced three house-borne IEDs and six vehicle-borne IEDs, all of which could have been used to harm a large portion of the population or security forces. Additionally, an al-Qaeda command post was discovered in the village of Shadia, and an al-Qaeda medical clinic was located in Qaryat Sunayjiyah.

    The command post, which was surrounded by fighting positions, contained bed space for 20 individuals, supply requests, records of munitions, a list of families supporting the element, a list of al-Qaeda members detained by Coalition forces and other terrorist propaganda. “Although we didn’t find many of the terrorists, the operation proved to be a great success because we disrupted al-Qaeda, causing them to run,” Sutherland continued. “Their fear of facing our forces proves that the terrorists know there is no safe haven for them in Diyala.

    “And though this specific operation is over, our fight is not over,” he continued. “We will continue to aggressively target al-Qaeda, and ultimately, they will be brought to justice.” The results of Lightning Hammer cleared the Diyala River Valley of al-Qaeda and allowed Iraqi and Coalition forces to maintain a permanent presence in Mukeisha, a village in the heart of the river valley area.

    Photo - Spc. Samuel Melendez, Bravo Trop, 5th Battalion, 73rd Cavalry Regiment, patrols a mrash outside of Qubah, a small village in the Diyala province. The patrol was part of Operation Lightning Hammer, a maneuver to flush insurgents from the area. Photo by Sgt. Patrick Lair, 115th MPAD.

    Digg!

    Airmen, Soldiers Help Set Up New Hospital

    25 Aug 07
    By Staff Sgt. Julie Weckerlein
    U.S. Central Command Air Forces Public Affairs.

    HERO CAMP, Afghanistan - Airmen and soldiers are blending medical supply logistics with a dose of Afghan National Army partnership in a dusty warehouse at ANA's Hero Camp near Kandahar Airfield.

    It's a prescription for successful mentoring as the Afghans prepare for a new hospital opening here, said Capt. Jay Snodgrass, a medical logistics officer and ANA mentor deployed from Moody Air Force Base, Ga. The American servicemembers are helping install medical equipment into a new $6.5 million, 50-bed hospital at Hero Camp. "We're simply here to help them improve the processes they already have in place, to share with them the lessons we've learned about hospital administration and logistics," Snodgrass said.

    The airmen and soldiers helping transfer equipment are medical logistics, administrators and equipment technician members for their respective services assigned to the Combined Security Transition Command-Afghanistan, which is headquartered in Kabul, Afghanistan. While in Kandahar, the servicemembers work side-by-side with their Afghan counterparts, who are responsible for supplying and equipping the Hero Camp hospital, as well as other ANA clinics and brigade support throughout the region.

    Mentoring doesn't always come easy, said Tech. Sgt. Curtis Miller, a medical logistics technician from Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas. While Miller's focus is to teach Afghans how to maintain hospital equipment, he and other embedded transition team members use every available opportunity to give advice where needed. "There is a learning curve," Miller said. "A lot of the things we take for granted in the United States, such as changing gloves for each patient, are things Afghans typically don't consider in a hospital. We try to spend time educating them on the benefits of sanitation and ways to prevent infection."

    Miller said when he first began as a mentor, he was a little unsure how a young, American noncommissioned officer would come across to an Afghan military man who has served longer than the sergeant has been alive. It was unnerving to say the least. "There is an Afghan colonel we work with who was put in prison during the Russian occupation two decades ago," Miller said. "He was given execution orders and was two days away from being put to death when the Russians pulled out of Afghanistan -- two days away from being killed. Now, he has those orders on display in his office. You see this and you think, man, these guys have been through a lot."

    Nevertheless, the Afghan officials are eager to learn and work with their American mentors.

    "My mentor, Captain Snodgrass, and I are very close," said Afghan Maj. Abdul Ghafar, the 205th Hero Corps warehouse commander. "The Americans work fairly with each other and with us. We interact as equals."

    The relationship between the Americans and Afghans is a result of respect and tolerance from both sides, Snodgrass said. "Major Ghabar has 27 years military experience," he said. "He knows a lot about leading troops and warfare. What he doesn't have full knowledge of is how to manage a warehouse of this magnitude, to take care of the logistics of supplying a hospital and an entire region with 30,000 troops. So, that's why I'm here, to help him become familiar with the various processes." Snodgrass pointed out that the Americans are not there to impose their way of life on the Afghan people. Instead, they are learning from each other.

    "We've had a lot of conversations about our different cultures," he said. "They wanted to know about some of the Christian holidays I celebrate. It's not a big deal to them that I practice a different religion than they do."

    At the same time, Snodgrass and his team of Americans try to accommodate the Islamic traditions of the Afghans into their work. "We try to work around their prayer schedule," he said. "Sometimes, we have to keep working through the prayer times, but then we step away and give them their space to lay out their prayer rugs and do what they need to do. We try to be aware of their holidays, too. For example, I won't eat or drink in front of them during Ramadan, when they fast. When it comes down to it, it's just about respecting each other."

    Snodgrass said he is confident about Ghabar's leadership, and that the hospital and its warehouse will do well in the future as the Afghans gain experience in stocking and equipping such a vital mission. "What we are doing here is just part of an overall mission to help Afghans stand up a viable, safe, world-class healthcare system," he said. "The day they can take on these operations themselves without our assistance will be a very good day for all of us."

    Photo - U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Doug Suddueth (bottom left) and Army Sgt. 1st Class Antonio Rivas move a load of medical equipment to a truck Aug. 18 in Afghanistan. Suddueth is deployed from Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala. Rivas is deployed from Fort Sam Houston, Texas. U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Jim Varhegyi.

    Source: US Air Force. (I couldn't find an exact source, but this is a very good article.) Digg! Digg!

    Nuristan PRT celebrates Afghan Independence Day

    25 Aug 07
    By Spc. Henry Selzer
    173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team Public Affairs.

    FORWARD OPERATING BASE KALAGUSH, Afghanistan - Just like the people of the U.S., the people of Afghanistan are very proud of their independence, which means Aug. 19 is a date marked by celebration.

    When the people of Nuristan province were invited to celebrate the U.S. independence on the Fourth of July with Soldiers here, the idea of holding an Afghan Independence Day celebration for the citizens of Nuristan was brought up. "It seems that the bigger more eventful celebrations are in the larger cities," said Navy Cmdr. Samuel Paparo, 43, of Philadelphia, commander of the Nuristan Provincial Reconstruction Team. "Holding a celebration out here for the people who can’t make it to the big celebration is our way of celebrating with them and to help connect them to their government."

    Afghans living in Nuristan were invited to the celebration where they were given a chance to interact with the Soldiers of the FOB and enjoy a variety of the local food, which was prepared by Army cooks. Not only did holding the Afghan Independence Day celebration give Soldiers a chance to interact with the people of Nuristan, it showed Afghans that Soldiers care about them and are here to support them.

    "To[o] often when we see each other it is about business, but today is all about you and your independence," said Army Lt. Col. Steve Maranian, 40, of Natick, Mass., and commander of 4th Battalion, 319th Airborne Field Artillery Regiment, during the Afghan Independence Day celebration.

    The celebration highlighted a common history the people of Afghanistan share with the United States. "We use the 4th of July to celebrate our independence from the British, and we wanted to take today to get together and help you celebrate your independence from the British," said Paparo.

    Today the U.K. along with the U.S., Afghan National Security Forces and many other multinational partners all work together toward the common goal of making sure the Afghan people can freely celebrate many more Independence days. "We are very glad that you accepted our invitation to celebrate your independence and share a meal together and hopefully we can do it again soon," said Maranian.

    Photo - An interpreter with the Nuristan Provincial Reconstruction Team helps a town elder with his food during the Afghan Independence Day celebration on forward operating base Kalagush Aug. 19. Photo by Spc. Henry Selzer.

    Source: Asymmetric Military.

    Linkfest Haven, the Blogger's Oasis

    This is little bit of progress we never hear about, and it is one of my favorite holidays. That is why I chose it for today's Linkfest. If you are not already a member, just click on the blue icon above to join. You can also post your best (or funniest) work here. Just think about joining the Linkfest. It is really worth your time, and it is free. Thank you.

    These are posts I've trackbacked to: Pirate's Cove, Webloggin, The Pink Flamingo, Blog @ MoreWhat.com, The Bullwinkle Blog, Wake Up America, Conservative Cat, High Desert Wanderer, Leaning Straight Up, The Pink Flamingo, Committees of Correspondence, The Crazy Rants of Samantha Burns and Big Dog's Blog, thanks to Linkfest Haven Deluxe.

    These are people that trackbacked to this post:
    1. DeMediacratic Nation: "Be polite. Be professional. Be prepared to kill."
    2. Faultline USA: CNN: Are All God’s Warriors Equivalent?
    3. Right Truth: The Iraqi Government Has No Power?!
    4. The Virtuous Republic: Interesting Story about an Armenian Enclave in Azerbaijan.
    5. Diary of the Mad Pigeon: Bloggers Track a Pedophile.
    6. Planck's Constant: FOKO and the Burning Forests of Madagascar.
    7. Webloggin: Perhaps Beauty Pageants Should Become a Thing of the Past.
    8. Potbelly Stove: How do you spell relief....
    9. Webloggin: Confirmed: Gonzales Has Resigned as Attorney General.
    10. The Florida Masochist: The Knucklehead of the Day award.
    11. Republican National Convention Blog: Tracking the elusive shipping container. Digg! Digg!

    RCP Clears Roads Around Blessing

    23 Aug 07
    By Sgt. Brandon Aird
    173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team PAO.

    KUNAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan - The first U.S. casualty from an improvised explosive device in Afghanistan was Army Sgt. Jay Blessing, 2nd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, Nov. 14, 2003. Blessing was in a convoy that was attacked just seven miles from camp in Afghanistan’s Kunar province.

    United States and Afghan national security forces of the camp Blessing [who were?] failed to [be] reach that day started calling their camp, Camp Blessing to remember and honor the fallen Ranger. “He gave his life helping the Afghan people,” Collin Johnson, who served with Blessing, said at the time, “This will remind every Soldier that comes here of his sacrifice.”

    Four years later, Soldiers from 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team, based at the camp that bears his name now carry on Blessing’s hopes for a free Afghanistan. The once small outpost has expanded dramatically to become the base of operations for Task Force Bayonet.

    One constant, despite the changes, is that military personnel still drive the same road to Camp Blessing that was used four years ago. Keeping the road safe is even harder now than when Blessing’s convoy traveled it. Al-Qaida has influenced Taliban and other extremists in Afghanistan to use IED attacks against forces supporting the legitimate government of Afghanistan in more frequent numbers.

    Blessing was the only service member killed by an IED in 2003. In 2004, 12 members died from IED attacks. Eight months into 2007[,] IEDs have killed 45 military personnel, according to www.icasualties.org, a Web site that tracks these statistics closely.

    The numbers would be even higher if it wasn’t for a special group of people travelling the roads ahead of convoys to help reduce the threat and number of IEDs. The Route Clearance Package for Task Force Rock is from Alpha Company, Special Troops Battalion, 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team. The RCP patrols the roads seven days a week searching for IEDs.

    The RCP is Task Force Rock’s first line of defense against IED attacks. The RCP clears roads to all of Task Force Rock’s forward operating bases and fire bases. On Aug. 15, the RCP cleared the road into Chowkay Valley, which has been a site of fighting for several years. Task Force Rock recently lost Army 1st Lt. Benjamin Hall, a platoon leader in Destined Company, 2nd Battalion, 503rd Infantry Regiment (Airborne), during a fire fight in the valley July 31[, 2007].

    “There is one spot where three separate attacks were carried out,” said Army 1st Lt. William Cromie, a[n] RCP Platoon leader in Alpha Company, who is from New Jersey. The spot Cromie spoke of is a bend in the road a few miles into the valley. Destined Co., 2-503rd, Afghan Security Guard and an element from Cromie’s platoon have been attacked by Taliban extremists at the bend.

    A few weeks prior to the patrol, the RCP found an IED a few hundred feet in front of the ambush point. Cromie’s platoon has found two IED’s since arriving in [the] country three months ago. “I love what I do,” said Cromie. “It’s a very unforgiving job, but the job is extremely rewarding when we find something.”

    PHOTO: Army 1st Lt. William Cromie, Alpha Company, Special Troops Battalion, 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team, watches his Soldiers, Aug. 15, from an overwatch position as they clear an ambush point previously used by Taliban extremists in Chowkay Valley, Afghanistan. Photo by Sgt. Brandon Aird.

    Source: The Victory Caucus. Digg! Digg!

    Sunday, August 26, 2007

    Americans, Iraqis interact at historical monument; OTB

    23 Aug 07
    by Master Sgt. Dwayne Gordon
    407th Air Expeditionary Group Public Affairs.

    ALI BASE, Iraq (AFPN) - Approximately 80 Iraqis from the city of An Nasiriyah interacted for the first time with Airmen and Soldiers at the Ziggurat historical monument Aug. 21 at Ali Base.

    It has been more than 10 years since any Iraqi native has been allowed to visit the Ziggurat of Ur, which is the most dominant landmark on Ali Base, because during the reign of Suddam Hussein the installation was used by the Iraqi army.

    The Ziggurat was constructed more than 4,000 years ago by worshipers of the moon god Nanna living near the ancient city of Ur. Rising more than 70 feet above the ground, it is one of the best preserved structures of its type in the world. The life of the Ziggurat is closely tied with the city of Ur itself. Passages in the Bible's Book of Genesis describe Ur as the starting point of the migration westward to Palestine for the family of Abraham around 1,900 B.C. Ali Base is said to exist alongside the ancient city of Ur.

    After processing through base security, two bus loads of Iraqi families arrived at the Ziggurat greeted by more than 100 Airmen and Soldiers. The families were then led to the top of the Ziggurat where, Sheik Mohammad, the spiritual leader of the group, gathered the families together and while holding the Iraqi flag, they began to sing an Iraqi song. After the song, Sheik Mohammad spoke to the American servicemembers about how long it has been since any Iraqi was able to visit the site and how they respect anyone who respects them and their historical sites.

    "Events like this help the Iraqi people have a positive outlook on Americans," said Airman 1st Class Robin Lumm, a 407th Expeditionary Communications Squadron small-computer technician who helped coordinated the event. She is deployed here from Tinker Air Force Base, Okla., and a member of the 407th Air Expeditionary Group First Four organization who took on the task of planning and coordinating the visit by the Iraqi families.

    With orphaned children from Ur making up most of the visiting group, the First Four organization decided to donate items for the children. Items such as stuffed animals, toys, soccer balls, school supplies and candy were collected, and after down from the Ziggurat the children were led to a tent filled with the donations. Each child was able to come away with a few items.

    "Events like this improve relations between us and the Iraqi people," said Staff Sgt. Tracey Cowan, a 407th AEG information manager deployed here from Moody AFB, Ga.

    Afterward, an impromptu game of soccer was started with teams mixed with American servicemembers and Iraqi children.

    "The initial idea came from an Iraqi contractor who works on the installation," said Senior Master Sgt. Gary Hillman, the 407 Expeditionary Security Forces Squadron first sergeant. "He contacted security forces to see if a visit would be possible. He said he receives a lot of questions from the kids in the city about the American troops and thought it would be great if they could see and interact with them."

    To cool off from the heat, the visit ended with a water fight as Iraqi children doused their American hosts, and then it quickly turned into a battle -- a different kind of battle than the one being fought throughout the country, as this was a friendly battle between new friends.

    Photo - Airmen, Soldiers and local Iraqi citizens play soccer during an Aug. 21 visit by 80 Iraqi citizens to the historical Ziggurat located on Ali Air Base, Iraq. The Ali AB First Four Council sponsored the visit. This is the first time in more than 10 years that Iraqi civilians have been allowed to step on the grounds of the historical site, which was built in the ancient city of Ur and includes the house of the biblical prophet Abraham. U.S. Air Force photo/Master Sgt. Robert W. Valenca.

    Source: USAF.

    Linkfest Haven, the Blogger's Oasis
    I enjoyed this one so much that I would like to share it with my friends over at Linkfest. Others may participate in this open trackback, but you would have much more fun if you hooked up with Linkfest. :)

    These are the posts I have trackbacked to: Right Truth, The World According to Carl, Diary of the Mad Pigeon, Big Dog's Weblog, Outside the Beltway, The Pink Flamingo, MacBros Place, Walls of the City, Nuke's News & Views, Webloggin, The Amboy Times, Dumb Ox Daily News, and Nanotechnology Today, thanks to Linkfest Haven Deluxe.

    These are the people who trackbacked to this post:
    1. Planck's Constant: When Castro Dies comes the real revolution.
    2. The Florida Masochist: The Knuckleheads of the Day award.
    3. Webloggin: Confirmed: Gonzales Has Resigned as Attorney General.
    4. The Florida Masochist: Another job to fill.
    5. Right Truth: What's going on in this crazy world?
    6. The Virtuous Republic: Interesting Story about an Armenian Enclave in Azerbaijan. Digg! Digg!