Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for November, 2007

Source: CentCom.

07 November 2007
By Sgt. 1st Class Rick Emert
1st ACB, 1st Cav. Div. Public Affairs
.

CAMP TAJI, Iraq – Set up in five trucks with heavy machine guns, enemy forces sat in wait for a helicopter to fly over their location west of Baghdad on the last day of May. It appeared their plan was to strike a blow to Multi-National Division-Baghdad by taking down a U.S. Army helicopter.

The enemy forces were trained and prepared with personnel to drive the trucks, man the guns and keep a lookout for any of the U.S. helicopters that patrol the skies of Baghdad in search of roadside bomb emplacers or insurgent mortar teams.

The 1st Air Cavalry Brigade’s Apache crews had become a thorn in the insurgency’s side by regularly disrupting terrorist attacks on Coalition Forces and Iraqi civilians.

As they waited, four Apache pilots from 1st “Attack” Battalion, 227th Aviation Regiment, 1st ACB, 1st Cavalry Division, were getting an intelligence briefing before heading out on their mission. The intelligence indicated that there were up to 30 gun trucks in a specific area, and the pilots’ mission was to check it out.

With both determination and caution, 1st Lt. Brian Haas, chief warrant officers 4 Steven Kilgore and Elliott Ham and Chief Warrant Officer 2 Cole Moughon took to the skies to check the validity of the report. All four said they thought from the onset that some sort of engagement was imminent. They expected to find at least several trucks with gun mounts that could easily be modified to attack air and ground assets.

The two Apache crews, each with a pilot in command and a copilot-gunner, came up on a truck and sedan that stopped suddenly; the occupants quickly exited the vehicles and low crawled toward a ditch. The crews didn’t know if this meant the people were being cautious, preparing for a possible engagement by taking cover, or if they knew that an engagement was imminent.

“That instantly heightened our awareness; something is going on out here,” said Kilgore, a Portage, Ind., native. “These people aren’t just scared of us. They may be a little bit, to an extent, but there’s something going on out here. We started keeping an eye open.” It didn’t take long for their suspicions to be confirmed.

“I remember … thinking this is weird; something’s up,” said Moughon, from Gray, Ga. “We (in the lead aircraft) heard (Kilgore) make the call over the radio: “Hey, I’m taking fire at my rear.” We heard (Haas) say there was a big gun. I looked over to my right, and I was about to say: “Oh, I got it.” I just got out “oh.” I could see the flash from the muzzle. I saw a stitch of dirt in the road coming up towards us.” It was even worse than the intelligence report had predicted; the trucks had more than just weapon mounts.

“We were looking for trucks with mounts – not trucks with heavy machine guns looking to kill us,” Moughon said. “At that point, it was pretty scary, because I knew – back in February, we lost an aircraft to heavy machine gun fire – we knew what the deal was right away. We knew that we were in something pretty dangerous.”

Kilgore spotted a gun truck about one-and-a-half kilometers away shooting at the helicopters, but there was a much more ominous threat. “We started taking fire from my right side about 1,500 meters away,” Kilgore said. “What I didn’t know is there was another gun about 300 meters away in the same line that started shooting at the same time. That rattled the aircraft. It didn’t hit … but rattled the aircraft.”

A seasoned Apache pilot with multiple deployments under his belt, Kilgore initially thought his aircraft had been hit. “We were so close to the gun that when the aircraft started to rattle, I thought I was taking hits,” Kilgore said. “I actually saw muzzle flashes from it. It was about 250 to 300 meters out my right door.” Within a couple of minutes, the Apache crews had gone from searching for the gun trucks to becoming the targets of a planned ambush by the enemy forces. “I was definitely at a position of a disadvantage, and I needed to gain an advantage,” Kilgore said. “That meant … moving out away from that (gun truck) to get out of his ability to track me. I was able to put a salvo of (rockets) on that gun truck and clear that gun truck. We came back later and destroyed the gun truck.”

Both aircrews broke contact safely, and then came back in to engage the trucks and insurgents.
The trail aircraft had disabled one of the trucks, and Moughon and Ham in the lead aircraft took out another one on the second pass. “They broke off that truck, and we followed them out and then came back in. (Ham) called and said he had trucks fleeing to the north,” said Haas, from Ashley, N.D. “They came around and engaged there. We came in behind them and just kind of suppressed again as they were breaking. They shot another missile. I think we made two more passes.”

With nearly half of the gun trucks already disabled, the aircrews were not about to let some of them get away to launch an ambush on another aircraft. “I saw three trucks with machine guns in the back in kind of like a straight trail formation hauling … down the road,” Moughon said. “As soon as I got the sight on them, I launched the missile. I saw the guy swing his gun around and just a bright flash of the gun firing. The (driver) braked. The missile hit right in front of the truck and didn’t do anything. We broke, I think (the trail aircraft) suppressed, then we came back around and fired another missile.

“(It was) the same thing; the guy knew what he was doing. He slammed on the brakes, but this time it killed the driver. That caused him to careen into his buddy and pushed him off the road. We further engaged with the (30mm) gun and got several guys that were running away. We just started (destroying the weapon systems) from there.” The seemingly determined enemy forces had blinked and tried, without success, to flee.

“Once they knew that we weren’t going to run away from them, that’s when we got the advantage and just got real aggressive,” Haas said. “I think that helped us, because we got noise and rockets flying off the helicopter, and they saw that and they knew they were in for it.”

A couple of days later, with plenty of time to reflect on the engagement, the pilots realized there were some things they could have done differently. “In this situation, you’re going to make mistakes,” Moughon said. “It’s not like (training) back at Fort Hood where we’ve got time. Everything was heat of the moment. You had to get rounds out. It was all a matter of who made fewer mistakes – whether or not you were going to be going home. Obviously, we made fewer mistakes than the enemy.”

While that may have been true about their actions during the 15 intense minutes that the engagement lasted, the Apache crews were simply more prepared, thanks to a whole team of Soldiers from the 1st ACB who provided support back at home base, Kilgore said. He explained that the information on the gun trucks from the brigade’s intelligence report, the operational briefing from the brigade operations staff and the aircraft maintenance and armament personnel all contributed to the mission’s success.

“All of that led to us being successful in this engagement,” Kilgore said. “Yes, we were the executors – the four of us – but, there is a big picture here that goes into everything we do. It’s really the Army aviation team that led to this win, this success. I think we can all take pride in that. We, 1ACB Army aviation, defeated the enemy. We did it pretty much by ourselves as aviation. We didn’t have ground forces with us. We didn’t use artillery. “We can see th[e] teamwork that went into it – across the board teamwork – we can see that tenacity that is being exhibited every day by these guys. I think it’s something we can all take pride in. This was a big win for the whole team.”

For their quick and heroic actions in the chaotic scene on May 31, the pilots were awarded Distinguished Flying Crosses – the top aviation-specific military award. The awards were presented Oct. 28 by Lt. Gen. Raymond Odierno, Multi-National Corps-Iraq commanding general.

“I’ve been an aviator my whole career, and I’ve always wanted to be an aviator, since I was a little kid,” Kilgore said. “The Distinguished Flying Cross … is a special award. For me to be included in that group that has received the Distinguished Flying Cross – it feels a little humbling. There have been a lot of great aviators who have received the Distinguished Flying Cross and great aviators who haven’t received the Distinguished Flying Cross. How do I match up to that? I don’t know; maybe it’s a one fight thing, and it was something special enough that someone took notice and thought that we deserved the Distinguished Flying Cross for it.”

For Moughon, it still hasn’t sunk in that he earned the prestigious medal. “When I got to the unit, my commander (for Company B, 1-227th Attack Reconnaissance Battalion) had gotten a DFC for acts in OIF II. I got to looking at it, because I wanted to know what it was,” Moughon said. “Then, I realized who all had got it before him. When somebody mentioned that we might get it, I thought: ‘I am not in their company.’ I’m just two years out of flight school. I was just trying to stay alive. Receiving the award was a very humbling experience and almost embarrassing. There are guys out here that do just as much every day – sacrifice every day to go out there and find the enemy and kill them. They don’t get recognized for it.”

While the pilots couldn’t pin down what made their actions heroic, perhaps how they approached the engagement itself is telling as to why they received Distinguished Flying Crosses. In the initial moments of the engagement, with bullets and tracers flying past their aircraft like something out of “Star Wars” – as Moughon said – and with the Apaches outnumbered nearly three to one by gun trucks on the ground, the pilots never even considered high-tailing it to safety.

“I can’t say that I thought: ‘We should get out of here.'” Haas said. “I don’t know why, but it never crossed my mind. Maybe that’s just the way we are. I didn’t come here to say: ‘Yep, there’s bad guys out there. I’m not going out there.’ I came over here to – I’m not going to be naïve and say to make a difference – but I came over here to do my job and do it to the best of my ability. There’s a lot of the guys that I’ve flown with before, and they’re the same way. The hard part is finding (the enemy). We fly around Baghdad where there are millions of people and they all look the same; unless somebody is shooting at you, you don’t know. When they shoot at you first, that makes it easy.”

“The initial contact was scary, and you thought about – yeah, this was a big deal,” Moughon added. “At that point, it was like they say in the westerns: ‘If you’re in for a penny, you’re in for a pound.’ We were in it, so we had no choice. If we had just flown away, they probably would have been there to take somebody else down. We’re a gunship; that’s what we do. We don’t get low and suppress and run. We stay and fight. Our job is to go out, find the enemy and kill them. That’s what we do.”

Photo – Lt. Gen. Raymond Odierno, commanding general of Multi-National Corps-Iraq, (left) presents the Distinguished Flying Cross to Onawa, Iowa, native Chief Warrant Officer Elliott Ham, (second from right), as Portage, Ind., native Chief Warrant Officer 4 Steven Kilgore, (right), waits in a ceremony Oct. 28 at Camp Taji, Iraq. Four Apache pilots from 1st “Attack” Battalion, 227th Aviation Regiment, 1st Air Cavalry Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division, earned Distinguished Flying Crosses for their actions against five gun trucks with heavy machine guns on May 31. The Distinguished Flying Cross is the U.S. military’s highest aviation-specific award. Photo by Sgt. 1st Class Rick Emert, 1st ACB, 1st Cav. Div. Public Affairs.

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

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

Source: CentCom.

11 November 2007
By Cpl. Ryan C. Heiser
2nd Marine Division

AL ASAD AIR BASE, Iraq — In a 30,000 square mile patch of desert, roughly the size of South Carolina, it isn’t easy to have eyes and ears everywhere. Regimental Combat Team 2, the unit in control of the northwestern piece of Iraq’s Al Anbar Province, has taken an elevated approach to the problem, and regularly fields an Aero Scout group to the far corners, cliffs and caves of the western Euphrates River valley.

Aero Scout is made up of Marines from different military occupational specialties ranging from infantry to administration. The team uses helicopters to quickly search areas of interest and scout out possible targets. “We fly around to areas that may be difficult for ground units to get to, and scout out any nefarious activity,” explained Cpl. Kyle D. Christian, the team’s radio operator. “We make the enemy feel like there is nowhere to hide, and we play a large role in reconnaissance also.” The group flies to large areas of open desert where they suspect illegal activity may be taking place, and take a closer look.

“We are a reconnaissance asset,” said Maj. Robert B. Brodie, the Aero Scout mission commander. “Recon slash interdiction and disruption, that’s what we do. It comes down to economy of force. We enable the regimental commander to have a force that can do recon and show a presence across his entire area of operation.”

According to the aeroscouts, in addition to their scouting mission, they also help out nomadic civilians on their frequent aerial exploits. “We do cache searches, vehicle searches and sweeps, but we also provide a humanitarian aspect to our mission,” said Sgt. Jason R. Carmody, the team’s platoon sergeant. “We hand out speedballs, backpacks filled with water, chow, toothpaste and other hygiene gear, and handbills with phone numbers they can call and photos of the most dangerous insurgents in their area.”

Brodie, a Beaufort, S.C., native, explained the nomadic Bedouins the aeroscouts frequently come into contact with do not have the luxuries or communication assets local villagers may have access to. “They don’t get television or radio, so we help them out by providing them with information about what is going on in their country and who the bad guys are. We better enable the overall mission by opening more lines of communication and information sharing,” Brodie said.

The Marines on the Aero Scout team said they enjoy what they do, and love the chance to get out and make a difference. “I get to go out and at the end of the day feel like I did something that mattered. It doesn’t make a difference if we rolled up a bad guy, found any weapons, or just collected some good intel, in the end it all fits together to help eliminate the threat to the Iraqi people,” said Christian, a Hallettsville, Texas, native. “There are no more stupid insurgents, they died a long time ago, so we are trying to fight very smart individuals who know what they are doing, and every piece helps fit the puzzle together so we can catch him.”

The group usually takes a fire team of Iraqi soldiers with them on the helicopters to not only help with communication, but also show the civilians how far the Iraqi Security Forces have come in their training and dedication. “This lets the civilians know we are working together to take the weight of safety and security off their shoulders, so they don’t have to worry about getting attacked, the good guys are watching,” Christian said.

“Simply put,” explained Brodie, “We are positively affecting the people of our AO by providing a secure environment in which we can cultivate nationalism.”

The Aero Scout team has been working together for about four months, and has completed nearly 20 successful missions in support of RCT-2. “This is a regular group of guys, not specially trained, but because of their eagerness and will to make a difference, they were able to come together and make a successful unit and successful missions,” Brodie said.

Photo – Petty Officer 2nd Class Jason S. Gamble, a corpsman with Regimental Combat Team 2’s Aero Scout team, provides security while the rest of the team searches a group of Bedouin tents. Aero Scout, technically a large squad of the provisional rifle platoon, is a mix of military occupational specialties ranging from infantry to administration. The team uses helicopters to quickly search areas of interest, and scout out possible targets. Photo by Cpl. Ryan C. Heiser.

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

Read Full Post »

More to come…

I managed to get my emails down to one page, and it’s just about 6:30 pm. I cannot believe this, but it looks like I’ve just about turned my hours around. I have to go to sleep pretty soon, because my body says so, but I will be back to finish with the news.

I would, however, like to share my condolences with the Hyde family and say good-bye to Congressman Henry Hyde. He was a good man. May he rest in peace.

(He was 83 years old, and he died a day or two ago. There are many articles out there, but my bed is calling. Actually, I’m afraid to fall asleep in my chair again. Good night.)

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

Read Full Post »

It isn’t bad enough that the dead news stations know we don’t trust them, but then they have to go out of their way to prove why. Tonight was the GOP Debate held by C(linton) N(ews) N(etwork) and YouTube. I am not saying that anyone shined, because I don’t think anyone did. Is Hillary so afraid of us that she had to plant a video and have the homosexual ex-general actually come to the debate to argue with the candidates? Hmm.

If you would like the real scoop on this, please go to Stop the ACLU and Webloggin. They both have documents and proof of the fact that this homo is on one of Hillary’s steering committees.

Funny thing happened to us on the way to the debate tonight dear…

H/t: Stop the ACLU and Webloggin.

Also see: Michelle Malkin, The Moderate Voice, HotAir, Big Dog, Sister Toldjah, Right Voices, and Liberty Pundit.

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

Read Full Post »

I received some disturbing news this evening. Have you heard anything about this? Apparently this Somalian refugee was plotting to blow up a mall in Ohio in the year 2002 because he didn’t like the way the war was being fought in AFGHANISTAN. Ya see, the reporting about USA Soldiers killing innocent Afghanistanis bothered him. Hmm. I wonder who was reporting that? The New York Times? The Washington Post)?

So you see, words DO mean something. So when you open your mouth, write an article, or communicate in any form, make sure it is accurate and stand by it. Say what you mean and mean what you say. That is why your poll numbers are so low, George.

Now that that’s off my chest, let’s get down to the nitty-gritty. Back in the day when you stole a man’s horse, they hanged you. Today? You can give material aid to our enemies and what happens? Nuradin Abdi only has to wait 10 years before he can carry out his plan! What the hell? I am living in the Twillight Zone. Scottie, beam me up…

Source(s): Fox News and American Congress for Truth.

This is my Thursday’s Open Trackback, even though I wrote it yesterday. I need some time to clean out my emails. lol. Please go to Linkfest to find other posts or join the Linkfest yourself. If you run into something you don’t quite understand, just email me. I will help you join. Thank you.

Posts I’ve trackbacked to at Linkfest: Perri Nelson’s Website, Outside the Beltway, third world county, Adam’s Blog, Blue Star Chronicles, Pirate’s Cove, The Amboy Times, Big Dog’s Weblog, Chuck Adkins, High Desert Wanderer, Right Voices, and The Yankee Sailor, thanks to Linkfest Haven Deluxe.

Linkfest Haven, the Blogger's Oasis Add this post to Technorati Technorati. Add this post to Del.icio.us Del.icio.us. Digg! Digg!

Trackbacks to this post (most recent tb listed first):

  • 11. The Florida Masochist: Give us your poor, your tired, your skinny.
  • 10. The Florida Masochist: Bribes Thai style.
  • 9. The Florida Masochist: Rudy Giuliani vs. Bill Clinton.
  • 8. The Florida Masochist: The Knuckleheads of the Day award.
  • 7. Right Truth: Live Under Sharia Law – Reality Show.
  • 6. Mark My Words: Unfinished business and global warming.
  • 5. Mark My Words: Stem cells, minus the destroyed human embryo.
  • 4. Mark My Words: I’m an undecided voter.
  • 3. 123beta: My Name Is Mohammed The Bear.
  • 2. Planck’s Constant: Yes – I have Muslim Friends.
  • 1. 123beta: Global Warming: It’s MacBros’ Fault.

    Read Full Post »

  • 5001

    Today I have reached 5001 hits! (I know it’s odd, but I missed the 5000th.) I am very grateful for this seeing as I’ve only opened this site on June 12, 2007, and I’ve been back and forth to a paid site and this one. I’ve decided to stay right here.

    The visitor came here from Blackfive’s site. The article he/she was reading is the one I wrote about Remembering Johnny ‘Mike’ Spann. He/she left this site via TALIBAN WEAPONS SMUGGLING OPERATIONS DISRUPTED. Whomever you are, thank you for stopping by. I hope you enjoyed your stop here, and I also hope you will return. Thank you.

    Today is Wednesday’s Open Trackback Day. If you would like to share your post, please feel free to do so. The only request I have is that is not porn. I would also like you to join Linkfest, a Conservative Open Trackback community. If you do not belong to this group yet, you may still add your trackback. I’m not a creep. lol. Just please, check it out.

    Posts I’ve trackbacked to at Linkfest: Outside the Beltway, Perri Nelson’s Website, Adam’s Blog, The World According to Carl, The Bullwinkle Blog, The Amboy Times, Leaning Straight Up, Conservative Cat, Right Voices, Big Dog’s Weblog, Right Truth, and The Yankee Sailor, thanks to Linkfest Haven Deluxe.

    Linkfest Haven, the Blogger's Oasis Add this post to Technorati Technorati. Add this post to Del.icio.us Del.icio.us. Digg! Digg!

    Trackbacks to this post (most recent tb listed first):

  • 8. The Florida Masochist: Sending in the Swat team.
  • 7. The Florida Masochist: Former Congressman Henry Hyde dead at 83.
  • 6. The Florida Masochist: The Knucklehead of the Day award.
  • 5. The Amboy Times: Crucifiction and Beheading in Thialand.
  • 4. Planck’s Constant: Something to Admire about Muslims.
  • 3. 123beta: This Should Be Odd.
  • 2. The Florida Masochist: Meltdown.
  • 1. The Virtuous Republic: U.N. Oil for Food Profiteer Only Gets One Year: Another Blow To The Republic.
  • Read Full Post »

    nighty-nite

    No excuses. I did some reading, answered some emails, made some comments, added the links to the front of my site, played some games, and I’m tired so I’m going to sleep and you can’t stop me! LOL. Have a good night, all.

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

    Read Full Post »

    Older Posts »