YES, IM STILL HERE
IED’s , mortar attacks and the ever so crappy SVBIEDs are continuous throughout the area. I say that not to say things aren’t getting better because they are but I say it because the American public needs to be aware that although our trusty news service doesn’t report it we still are fighting our asses off here and Marines are still dieing. Not to take away form Afghanistan or Africa where most recent two CH53s crashed in maneuvers killing 10. I happen to know one of the pilots who survived and was able to swim to safety. Hardly any scratches then the others past on. Proof that when its your time its your time.

I caught a news blip last night as a burned a nice stoag and a guy used the analogy that Iraq is like a classroom that has 3 gangs in it and they have been fighting for the past 30 years. This guy made the point of what would then happen if the teacher called in sick or a substitute showed up one day?? This isn’t too far off and could be expanded that now the student can read and do math and all the bully’s are now gone or moved to another part of the school that wont affect the class. However, much of the outcome depends on the student attitude and will. Many ask what will this place be like when we pull out?? Will there be a civil war? Who knows but the country has a lot to work out still. Is the Iraqi Army ready to fight without the Coalition? Not all of them but a lot of the Iraqi units are.

Yes, Im still here in this glorious country as we have stayed busy to the last day as if it were our first. The number of attacks have dropped in the area in the past few months around here and so has the IDF (indirect fire aka mortar, rocket fire). IEDs continue to the ring of about 10-12 a day in some areas and twice that that we find before they detonate. Still the preferred coward tactic used by the local insurgency groups. Suicide attacks are sporadic but evidence that they are getting desperate. There isn’t a lot of kinetic (dropping bombs, artillery missions etc) fighting because the major insurgency cells have been eliminated. Are there still fights? Yes, without a doubt just not like 6 months ago and your service members here in Afghanistan and around the world need your support! This is important because Ive notice especially since about the time frame of the Super Bowl, the Iraq, Afghanistan and Africa operations, have fallen off the radar as far as reporting. We have minimal embedded reporters in theater and thus little news gets out. Its almost as once the elections were done back in Dec, Iraq was no longer a problem in the MSM eyes. Well I got another NSNF (No Shit News Flash) for ya, there is a shit ton of work to be done still here and our main focus is to give the Iraqi Army the final shove to get on their feet and take care of things.

Marines are great at fighting and taking objectives. Its our bread and butter. We have that down. Now what the hard part that lies ahead is for the schools, electricity and additional civil additions to continue to grow. They will and we will continue to train and build the Iraqi military and government.

Just because all of the in your face fighting has been reduced don’t think all is peachy here. Its not but we have a tight two handed grip on it and its not going anywhere. Your service members still need your support!

A couple events I would like to bring to your attention:

Milblog Conference (April 22nd)
The 2006 Milblog Conference will take place in Washington, D.C. on Saturday, April 22, 2006. The conference is designed to bring milbloggers together for one full day of interesting discussion on topics associated with milblogging. We will explore the history of milblogs, as well as what the future may hold for this medium which the military community is using to tell their stories.

Dinner Cruise aboard theAmberjack V Saturday, April 29 7pm-11pm
Enjoy a wonderful buffet dinner with DJ and dancing to follow as we cruise around the Hudson River. Take in the beautiful views while passing the Manhattan Skyline and Statue of Liberty!

Get yer butt out here to these events so I can thank you in person and share a stoag with ya! It would be my honor!!

COMBAT UPDATE
(Press Release)
More than 3,000 pieces of various types of munitions were discovered yesterday by U.S. Army soldiers conducting a reconnaissance patrol near Al Quratiyah, approximately 350 km northwest of Baghdad. This cache is among the largest discovered to date in western Al Anbar province. The soldiers, from the Fort Wainwright, Alaska-based 4th Squadron, 14th U.S. Cavalry Regiment, assigned to Regimental Combat Team-7, were actively seeking out weapons caches. Local citizens provided information regarding the site, where the soldiers discovered two displaced piles of dirt and rocks near a vehicle trail. Upon further investigation, the displaced areas were identified as weapons caches and they were excavated. The vehicle path and shallow depth of the rock piles where the caches were discovered indicated that the munitions were easily accessible to terrorists.
“This find means a serious reduction in the IEDs (improvised explosive devices) available for anti-Iraqi forces to use in cowardly attacks,” said Army Maj. Doug W. Merritt, operations officer, 4th Squadron, 14th U.S. Cavalry Regiment. The cache of munitions ranged from 60 to 125 mm mortars and included various other projectile-type munitions. The munitions discovered in this cache site are typically used to make roadside bombs that injure and kill Iraqi civilians, coalition forces and Iraqi Army soldiers. This latest cache is the 118th found by soldiers from 4th Squadron, 14th U.S. Cavalry Regiment. In a similar find last October, soldiers here discovered about 1,000 122 mm artillery rounds, 40,000 armor piercing bullets, 1,000 .50 caliber rounds, detonation cord and various bomb-making materials.

It’s a shame that this as all my other “Combat Updates” are released world wide the same time I get them and how few appear in any news, simply tragic!
The most decisive actions of our life – I mean those that are most likely to decide the whole course of our future are, more often than not, unconsidered. (Andre Gide)

Keep kicking butt & taking names!!
Semper Fi
Capt B

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