1st Battalion 22nd Infantry
June - 2003
Secretary of the Army meets with 4th Infantry Division
June 29, 2003
TIKRIT, Iraq Fourth Infantry Division soldiers were told by the Army's top civilian Thursday that he could not tell them how long they would be in Iraq because their jobs are "condition-driven."
Acting Army Secretary Les Brownlee made his comments during a fact-finding tour in which he met with the soldiers and division commander Maj. Gen. Ray Odierno, said Master Sgt. Debra Bingham in a news release from the division's public affairs office.
Brownlee was accompanied by L. Paul Bremer III, head of the Office of Coalition Provisional Authority.
Brownlee said his meetings with soldiers would allow him to see "how they are living, to see if we can be of any assistance in that regard," Bingham wrote.
Brownlee attended briefings in Baghdad before traveling to Tikrit, Saddam Hussein's home town, where he noted the cooperation between the civilian agency and the military in their reconstruction efforts.
"These divisional units, like the 4th Infantry Division ... are working very closely with the ambassador and his staff, and I think it's a good effort that is going well," Brownlee said.
Although progress is being made throughout Iraq, Bingham said Bremer acknowledged that Tikrit still had some areas of concern.
"I have no doubt that there are some of these guys left around here" Bremer said. "I also have no doubt that we are going to find them, and sooner or later, we will also find Saddam, either in this (area of operations) or somebody else's, but we'll get him."
After sharing meals-ready-to-eat with the soldiers of 1st Battalion, 22nd Infantry Regiment, Bingham said Brownlee and Bremer were shown about $1 million worth of jewelry and weapons found during a raid by the unit during Operation Desert Scorpion.
The jewelry reportedly belonged to Sajeda Kherlla Toulfak, the first wife of Hussein, Bingham said.
From the Killeen
Leaders give reassurances about 4th ID troop morale
June 26, 2003
BY DEBBIE STEVENSON
Herald Staff Writer
FORT HOOD Addressing concerns from mail to water and continued hostilities, commanders returning from duty in Iraq sought again Wednesday to reassure families that things are improving for Fort Hoods deployed division. During an interview at the divisions headquarters on post, 4th Infantry Division officers insisted there is no shortage of water for the soldiers in their sector.
Col. Jim Barclay, the divisions chief of staff, noted that morale and welfare programs are slowly being established, despite escalating attacks on U.S. troops. Since President Bushs declaration May 30 that major hostilities are over, soldiers continue to be fired upon regularly and the division is still moving positions, Barclay said.
Lt. Col. Mark Woempner, who commanded the 1st Battalion, 22nd Infantry Regiment until his return to Fort Hood June 15, agreed. You cant drive down the road without looking behind every building, your weapons on ready to get shot (in the main Tikrit palace area), Woempner said.
Major combat formations are over, Barclay added, but the danger is not. But as soon as the first mortar round hits at 2200 at night, you dont have to tell folks to put their stuff on, Barclay said. All of a sudden, those folks who are complaining, theyll find their flak jackets real quick.
Barclay said the division is now facing low-intensity, paramilitary attacks . Every day in our sector, we have either a convoy or vehicles or soldiers shot at either with RPGs, rocket-propelled grenades, or small-arms fire, Barclay said. Probably once or twice a week a week, well have a compound get mortar fire come in."
"Is it major hostilities? No., Barclay said. But then again, you have to qualify major. Its a major hostility if youre the young E-4 sitting in a humvee or a Bradley fighting vehicle and an RPG comes screaming down the street at you, Barclay said. To him, thats a major hostility. Now is it a major combat force hostility? No. (Ed Note: one of my favorite quotes from combat, which I can verify from experience, "Any battle is a big one - if you're in it....")
And as the division digs in, morale is becoming a focus, Barclay said. We know were in for a long haul; we dont know when were coming home, Barclay said.
For Maj. Gen. Ray Odierno, the division commander, and division Command Sgt. Maj. Charles Fuss, Barclay said that means soldiers getting 48-hour breaks, showers, hot meals, telephone access, e-mail service and improved mail delivery.
Despite claims from soldiers about water rationing reported by the Killeen Daily Herald, the officers continued to insist that the soldiers have sufficient drinking water throughout the sector, which encompasses Saddam Husseins hometown of Tikrit and runs north of Baghdad to Kirkuk and east to the Iranian border.
There is no one wanting for water in that theater, Barclay said.
Lt. Col. Doug McNeese, who commanded the 299th Combat Engineer Battalion before his June 15 return to Central Texas, said that depending on their duties, the soldiers are given two to four 1.5-liter bottles of water a day. McNeese said some soldiers, such as his engineers and infantry troops who patrol the vast sector and conduct raids, get more of the bottled water and carry enough for three days to guard against shortages if the supply line is interrupted. Soldiers who remain in the camps with hot showers are limited to two bottles, McNeese said.
But that is in addition to an unlimited amount of treated local water from the militarys portable units called water buffaloes, Barclay said, which is produced in excess of 200,000 gallons a day. The real question is convenience, Barclay said. The bottled water is easier to cool, easier to carry and better tasting than the readily available potable water. Its what the soldiers want, Barclay said.
The challenge, Barclay added, is that there are 25,000 soldiers in the sector, which means the division needs at least 100,000 bottles a day. Barclay said the division is securing the bottled water from companies in Jordan, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and even Germany until a permanent supplier can be found.
Noting its importance for morale, Barclay said the division also was working on improving communications to the families back home. Lt. Col. Ed Morris said the division has had to work on rebuilding communications towers destroyed by the U.S. Army during the initial invasion. Citing the soldiers e-mails to the Herald, Barclay noted that the contact had been made through channels set up by the division.
That tells me weve done something right, he said. Ninety days; were three months into it. I think Gen. Odierno was very up front when he told all the (Family Readiness Group) leaders when we got ready to depart, he said dont expect phone calls, mail, e-mails in the first two to three months to work the way youre expecting them to work, Barclay said. I mean, and we were ... we tried to be up front with the families when we told them that, he said.
Barclay said the Defense Department also has worked to improve what he conceded has been a backlog of mail leaving Iraq. But he insisted that official investigations have proved rumors of mail stacking up at JFK International Airport in New York were false.
raid nets $8 million buried on farm
By Master SGT. Debra Bingham
June 23, 2003
Iraq (Army News Service, June 23, 2003) - In the darkness outside
a six-foot metal gate blocking the entranceway to a Ba'ath party
farm complex, 4th Infantry Division soldiers were poised for a
raid early June 16. They watched four sleeping Iraqi guards and
when two of them began to stir, the soldiers climbed over the
gate and moved in.
Raids like this are being staged across Iraq, as part of Operation Desert Scorpion. These carefully planned raids are aimed at capturing Ba'ath party members, paramilitary and terrorist groups, and weapons, officials said. On this raid, soldiers found what they expected and a bit more.
The farm complex raided by 1-22 Infantry looked like many others in the area just east of Al Owaj: sand-colored, adobe-like buildings surrounded by privacy walls.
"It was a pretty nice farm complex, with an orchard on the east side and cattle in the backyard," said 1st Lt. Christopher Morris, recon platoon leader, 1-22 Infantry. "The buildings were well-kept, with an inner garden and a lagoon in the middle, and a guest house to the south," Morris said.
After capturing the four men, the soldiers found weapons where the men had been sleeping. They also found the keys to the buildings and began a search. As they moved through the main gate, soldiers saw two storage areas and a garage on the left side of the road. On the right was the main house with a guesthouse bordering the water.
The only occupied building was the guesthouse, according to Morris. Inside they found 10 women and 7 children.
"After we cleared (the building) for weapons, we let them be and they stayed in that house the whole time," Morris said.
Next the soldiers focused on the main house, where they found cell phones, AK-47 rifles, ammunition and electronics gear. They also found a cache of documents and a large amount of Iraqi dinar. What they stumbled on next was a bit of a surprise.
"We were walking through one of the gardens and it looked weird, like there should have been grass or something growing there and there wasn't. I sunk about a half foot down in the ground," Morris said.
Using metal detectors, the soldiers swept the area and dug up two steel boxes, each containing 4 million U.S. dollars. They also unearthed two plastic containers filled with jewelry and cash and another packed with documents.
Morris said while he and the soldiers were excited about their find, they prefer finding weapons.
"The money is good, but the guns will eventually get us out of this country," Morris said.
For the half dozen media members who got a chance to see the treasure trove, it was all about the cash. They eagerly jockeyed for position to get photos of a table stacked with the money and the plastic bags filled with sparkling gems and gold.
Sgt. 1st Class Milton Benson placed the items on the table and kept a watchful eye as cameras flashed in a palace once frequented by Saddam Hussein in Tikrit, Iraq.
There was $8,303,836 in U.S. cash and 205,850 Iraqi dinar, Benson explained to the journalists.
576 items of jewelry, a mix of watches, rings, earrings, and
necklaces which reportedly belonged to Saddam Hussein's
wife," Benson said.
An old black and white passport issued to Sajeda Kheralla Toulfak, Saddam's first wife, sat next to bags brimming with rubies, diamonds, emeralds, and other gems adorning an assortment of bracelets, necklaces and rings. Several gold medallions bore the smiling image of the former Iraqi dictator.
Onlookers expressed disbelief at the display of riches before them. Others had an idea about how it should be used.
"I think all this cash should go back to the people, to rebuild facilities for them and improve their way of life here. You can ride out in the countryside and see that a lot of folks are hurting," said Benson.
Sgt 1st Class Steven Yslas, 1-22 Infantry, agreed with Benson.
"I think that it should go back to the people. It belonged to the people. He (Saddam) was full of himself and he robbed from his own people," Yslas said.
"It's so tacky," said a female soldier holding a diamond-studded watch. Command Sgt. Maj. Salvadore Martinez, 1-22 Infantry's command sergeant major, summed it up succinctly. "It wasn't about good taste, it was about showing people how much money they had."
(Editor's note: Master Sgt. Debra Bingham is with the 4th Infantry Division and Task Force Ironhorse Public Affairs.)
From Bob Babcock, June 7, 2003:
on the information that Colonel Don Campbell, CO of 1st Brigade
sent me on Wednesday, here is the last unit that reported.
Unfortunately, we did not get a report from 3-66 Armor so I can
not include anything on them. This update is from my old
unit, 1-22 Infantry:
TF 1-22 REGULARS SUMMARY
The Task Force 1-22 Infantrys mission in support of OPERATION IRAQI FREEDOM in the Tikrit area is a varied and complex one, involving both traditional tactical operations, Military Operations in Urban Terrain, general law enforcement tasks, quality of life improvement for the Iraqi people, aiding in the establishment of a local government, and a variety of other tasks as specified by higher unit commands.
One of the battalions tasks is locating and destroying or capturing personnel on the most wanted list and the black list. These are individuals who were associated with Saddams regime and are generally considered a threat to a post-war, free Iraq. To accomplish these tasks, the battalion conducts periodic checkpoints along major roadways, conducts surveillance of suspected enemy hideouts, and performs missions to capture these men when they are located. Another task, which often overlaps with the previous one, is locating and destroying stockpiles of weapons and ammunition that could be used against coalition forces or against the new Iraqi government.
The REGULARS are also tasked to maintain general law and order and a safe and secure environment so the people of Tikrit can get back to a normal daily life without fear of looting or widespread criminal activity. To ensure a safe and secure environment the battalion conducts presence patrols through neighborhoods and business centers, and flash checkpoints to prevent criminals and paramilitary forces from having freedom of movement in the city.
The battalion also continues to provide guidance and assistance to emerging local leaders in establishing a viable and sustainable local government by holding daily meetings with Iraqi civil-military authorities, securing local banks to safeguard payrolls, and advising Iraqi officials on future courses of action. The battalion has also supervised the equal distribution of gasoline (called benzene in Iraq), restored electrical power to the greater Tikrit area, supervised the distribution of humanitarian aid, provided security at key infrastructures such as hospitals and universities, conducted medical assessments of local hospitals and villages and treated patients in the field.
The REGULARS have conducted a wide range of missions in Iraq, with outstanding results. Whether called upon to conduct combat operations, stability operations, or establishing the infrastructure for the future Iraq, the REGULARS have led the way.
REGULARS BY GOD!
soldier from Lehigh Acres wounded in Iraq
June 7, 2003
FORT MYERS A Lehigh Acres native sustained shrapnel injuries and partial deafness when four rocket-propelled grenades were launched at an Army tank convoy in the northern Iraq town of Baiji, family members said.
Pfc. Joel S. DeGuzman Jr., a member of the 4th Infantry Division based at Fort Hood, Texas, suffered injuries to his face, arms and legs, said his mother, Shelly DeGuzman. He also has deafness in his right ear, and doctors do not know whether it is permanent, she said.
"He sounded like he was in pain," Shelly DeGuzman said Thursday after speaking to her son by phone. She said doctors operated on her 19-year-old son's right arm in a military field hospital, adding that he will be transferred Saturday to a U.S. hospital at Ramstein Air Base in Germany for more surgery.
U.S. Central Command in Kuwait reported that the rocket-propelled grenades were launched from the ground and the tops of houses Wednesday. The rear of the lead vehicle was struck by one grenade, disabling the guns so it could not return fire. No one was killed, but five soldiers from the 4th Infantry Division were injured.
"He told me he was the one most hurt," DeGuzman said. "The RPG came right into the Bradley vehicle. He said, 'I was sitting right beside it when it went off.'"
Lehigh Acres is about 15 miles east of Fort Myers.
The following is from Bob Babcock:
(Ed Note: I heard from Mrs. DeGuzman by email immediately after she was notifiied of his injury, and we had several subsequent exchanges where she told me essentially the same thing as covered in this article. He is in my old unit, Company B, 1st Battalion, 22nd Infantry Regiment. No details have been reported on the other soldiers who were wounded).
June 9, 2003, also from Bob Babcock:
The soldier from B/1-22 who was most seriously
wounded of the five from earlier last week is now at a hospital
in Spain, according to his mother. He is walking around the
hospital but needs more surgery on his seriously injured arm.
June 11, 2003 -- more from Bob Babcock:
(This is from the soldier's mother, sent to Bob)
Hi Bob, My Daughter in law called me today..she spoke with my son this afternoon...He will be transfering to Walter Reed Army Medical Center, in DC sometime the end of the week....He has had 3 surgeries on his arm....major damage there, and the DR. told him his eardrum was blown, that the most he could hope for was partial hearing if that, in his right ear....Dr. also told Him he probally would end up being Medically Discharged from the Army, as his injuries are permanent....Like I said many times..I'm thankful he's alive and comming home...We can deal with the injuries.....I'll keep you posted when I hear more.
June 21, 2003 -- more from the soldier's mother:
This came in yesterday from the mother of our B/1-22 casualty who was wounded when his Bradley was hit in early June: "I just wanted you to know, that my Son his home. He arrived last night....he's on a 30 day convelescent leave from the Army....His arm looks nasty, but he's in good spirits....We don't know what the future holds for him, but..He's here..Thats all that matters....Thanks for the continued updates..even though my son is home....I pray for and support our soldiers still deployed.....My yellow ribbon won't come down until they are all home.
HHC 1st Brigade
Dear Family and Friends,
Greetings from the front lines here in Tikrit, Iraq. Its been a long and exciting journey for the officers and soldiers of the 1st Brigade Staff. Id like to take this opportunity to let you all know how were doing and give you an idea what day to day life is like for your loved one. For starters, a little background. The journey for us began when we arrived in Kuwait and married up with our equipment. We moved everything to Camp
Pennsylvania in Northern Kuwait to prepare for the trip north. Once ready, we conducted a 4 day, 500 mile movement north through Baghdad and then onward to Tikrit. It was a long and difficult journey but, as expected, our soldiers performed magnificently, arriving here with no loses or injuries and ready to conduct operations, a feat of which both I and the rest of the staff are exceedingly proud.
Upon arrival in Tikrit we moved directly into our new base camp, which weve come to call Camp Raider. It is a former Baath Party guesthouse that is laid out like a small hotel, but trust me when I say that we werent able to enjoy the accommodations. The buildings had no power or water and had been damaged in the fighting before we arrived, so for the first couple of weeks we lived in garages and various out buildings. Besides hat we had a job to do. We immediately set up the Brigade Tactical Operations Center and got down to the business of Commanding and Controlling the Brigade.
It was hectic to say the least, but just as with the move from Kuwait, our soldiers came through and did us proud. Weve established a functional command center that has allowed the Brigade Commander to lead this Brigade effectively and accomplish all of our assigned missions. No doubt youve all seen much about the Brigade on the news and heard many quotes from COL Campbell. Without a doubt we are the most effective unit in this theater. Youre love ones hard work has made that accomplishment possible.
As for our day to day lives, things are improving steadily. We now have electricity and most of our buildings have running water and air conditioning. Were out of the garages and into the main building and a few surrounding out buildings. Most soldiers live in the main Camp, except the S1 and S4 shops, who live at the Brigade Support Area, which is located at an airfield a mile and a half away from us.
We are eating 2 hot meals a day with an MRE for lunch. Theres bottled water for everyone to drink and a PX at the Support Area. Other improvements that we are working on are a Morale Phone Center and improved internet access. I will keep you all posted on those developments.
Finally, I would like to extend my thanks to all of our family and friends for the letters, packages and gifts you have sent to your loved one. Your support has made all the difference.
Thats all for this week. I will send this update back on a weekly basis from now on. Thanks again for youre love and support.
Matthew D. Kirchner
June 5, 2003
another update from COL Don Campbell, brigade commander of the 1st "Raider" Brigade of the 4ID.
1-22 is also in
Tikrit and continues to do a great job in providing a secure
environment. "Sheik" LTC Woempner has become a
hit with the locals; he eats out almost every night with a local
leader, to include the appointed Governor. The Regular
Battalion has really excelled, they've probably seen the most
combat in the BCT during the last few months. The have done
an outstanding job in upholding the great tradition handed down
by previous generations of Regulars! Soldiers are doing
great and are making a difference on a regular basis. HHC changed
command last week, CPT Scott Thomas turned over to CPT Chris
Fallon. B Company changed as well, CPT Bryant Love changed
over to CPT Scott Thomas. Scott's father-in-law, MG
Thurman CFLCC G3 attended the B Company change. MG Thurman will be our new
Division CG later this summer.
COL Don Campbell
June 1, 2003
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