1st Battalion 22nd Infantry




May - 2003



The following is from Bob Babcock, May 31, 2003

Yesterday was a slow news day on the internet.  I did, however, receive an email note from one of the best possible sources for us - COL Don Campbell, 1st Brigade Commander of the 4ID in Iraq.  Here is what he had to say about his "Raider" Brigade:

We are doing great, 3-66 got ambushed today on a patrol.  Their actions on contact were superb, 3 enemy KIA, 3 WIA, 5 EPWs, NO friendly casualties.  1-22 continues to do a great job in Tikrit, they've captured some leading Ba'ath Party members lately.    1-66 in Samarra continues to do a great job.  They've had a week filled with contact. 

What you read about in the wedding party article in yesterday's update is not entirely true.  While it was a wedding party, the last vehicle in the party fired at a 1-66 patrol, we returned fire, and, unlike the Iraqi's, we hit what we aim at. 

299th Engineers continues to destroy ammunition and guards large weapons caches.  Additionally, they have conducted Tigris river patrols to catch paramilitary types running weapons on the river.  4-42 Artillery is working hard in Ad Dawr and making a substantial contribution to securing the East of Tikrit across the Tigris.  Finally, 4th FSB as always is keeping us fed, fueled, and running our equipment in great shape.

I'm proud of our soldiers, under difficult circumstances they contiune to excel.  We had our first substantial rain in 60 days in theater today! 

Mail has picked up here, most soldiers are receiving mail quite frequently.  We are working to get phone banks down to each Battalion, I've just been given a good sum of money to improve upon soldier's quality of life.  We'll put that to good use.  Ed Timms did leave today, however, I was asked today if I wanted another embed reporter, I said yes.  She'll probably join us in two weeks.  I'll keep you posted.

(A great way to start today's update - real and current news from one of the commanders on the ground).



Task Force Ironhorse Focuses on Mission

Story by Master Sgt Debra Bingham, Task Force Ironhorse PAO ---- May 29, 2003

While media interest in Iraq seems to be waning, the soldiers of Task Force Ironhorse remain steadfast in their mission; to maintain peace and help the Iraqi people re-build their country.     

Task Force Ironhrose is responsible for three provinces in Central Iraq: Salah Ad Din, At Tamim and Diyala . The three provinces cover an area of about 22,000 miles, that’s a region slightly smaller than the state of West Virginia. The task force has the largest areas of operation and one of the most diverse missions.    

A Brigade Combat Team, or BCT oversees each province. Sala Ad Din is under the governance of 1st BCT. Its major population centers are Tikrit, Bayji and Samara. The 173rd Airborne Brigade operates within At Tamim province, along with 3rd BCT located in the south. At Tamim province includes the cities of Kirkuk and Dibs. Diyala province is split between 2nd BCT in the west, 4th BCT in the east, and 3rd BCT in the northeast. The cities of Baqubah, Jalula and Kifri are located in Diyala province.     

While the major fighting of the war appears to be over, combat operations continue according to Col. James Barclay, Chief of Staff, Task Force Ironhorse. The mission also includes civil affairs operations.     

Barclay says raids are still being made to capture former regime members. On May 15, members of the 1st BCT conducted an early morning raid and captured several former Iraqi leaders. Among them was Gen. Mahdi Al-Duri Al-Tikrit Adil Abdallah, also known as Number 52 on the “Most Wanted List.”     

The BCTs also continue to find, secure and consolidate or destroy weapons caches they are locating on a daily basis across the countryside, according to Barclay.    

“We still have a huge paramilitary presence that we’re working to make sure we have under control. Every night we’re having small engagements with anywhere from 5 to 10 to 15 man groups who are setting up ambushes and making sniper attacks on convoys,” Barclay said.     

Barclay says every BCT has a Civilian Affairs (CA) support team, which they direct on day-to-day operations. The teams go out into the communities to see what is working and what needs to be repaired.    

“As we move into stability operations and begin working the larger civil affairs projects, we’ve got to work within the population centers,” Barclay said. This means aligning the BCTs so they accomplish their civil affairs objectives.     

“We also have support teams aligned around functional areas; agriculture, medical, education, and commerce. We move them around to do assessments and give us direction of where we need to go,” he said.    

The teams focus on public safety, city government, water, sewage, and power sources. In many cases they have also provided guidance and resources to help re-open banks, schools and hospitals.     

Members of the 555th Combat Engineer Group restored water and electricity at the Tikrit Hospital and plan more repairs in the future. The engineers also repaired a water treatment plant and continue to work with locals to maintain it. The Task Force has also donated supplies to hospitals and fuel to run generators and they’ve rebuilt bridges and repaired roads damaged during the war.    

“In Tikrit, we have joint partrols with 1-22 Infantry and the MPs (Military Police) and local police force working together. We have several different levels of operations going on at the same time: patrolling in countryside, in towns,” Barclay said.     

The information the CA teams gather is relayed on to higher headquarters at V Corps and to the Office of Reconstruction and Humanitarian Assistance (ORHA,) where a needs assessment is done, then projects are prioritized and funded. Jobs are created for local citizens who are hired on to do the work, which in turn helps stimulate the economy.     

“There are still lots of tasks to be done and a long way to go, but once a permissive (safe) environment is established, outside agencies and teams will come in and work with the Iraqis to rebuild the country,” Barclay said.




From the Associated Press:

No. 52 on U.S. Most-Wanted List Arrested - AP -- Detail Story

Iraq - An upper-level Baath Party official from northern Iraq  was captured in a raid on a village in the heartland of Saddam Hussein's former power base, the U.S. military said Friday.

Adilabdillah Mahdi al-Duri al-Tikriti was taken into custody early Thursday in ad-Dawr, the military said in a statement. Previously, the military said a key fugitive was apprehended in the raid, but did not identify him.

Al-Duri was Baath Party regional command chairman for the Dhi Qar district near Tikrit, the statement said. He was No. 52 on the U.S. list of "most wanted" figures from the ousted regime.

In the pre-dawn raid Thursday, heavily armed forces from the U.S. Army's 4th Infantry Division stormed into ad-Dawr with heavy weapons, surrounded the town and took more than 260 prisoners. They freed all but 30 within hours.


U.S. Detains More than 200 in Iraq Raid
U.S. Stages Major Night Raid in Northern Iraq, Detains More Than 200 in Hunt for 'Most Wanted'

The Associated Press

The following article shows that 1st Battalion 22nd Infantry was the unit involved in this raid, and thus the unit involved in the previous article as well.

NEAR TIKRIT, Iraq May 15 — Heavily armed U.S. Army forces stormed into a village near Tikrit before dawn Thursday, seizing more than 200 prisoners, including one man on the United States' "most-wanted" list of former Iraqi officials.U.S. troops encountered no resistance during the 5-hour sweep, officers said.

The northern city of Tikrit is Saddam Hussein's hometown and the region around it is known as a hotbed of Baath Party supporters and former high-ranking Iraqi military officials.

U.S. officials said one of those arrested Thursday was identified as being on the "top 55" list but did not give the suspect's name. Two other Iraqi army generals and one general from Saddam's security forces who had disguised himself as a shepherd were also caught.

"We're going to continue to hunt them until they get so tired of running that they give themselves up or we catch them," said Maj. Mike Silverman, operations officer for the 1st Brigade of the 4th Infantry, the Army division that staged the raid.

Under military rules, the name of the village could not be released by reporters accompanying U.S. forces until the operation was over and permission was given.The operation had been planned for a week after U.S. officials received a tip that the men were in the area.

It involved more than 500 soldiers, who sealed off the town and went from house to house. None of the targets was identified. It was not immediately clear whether another top official also on the "most wanted" list had been among those rounded up.

(duplicate paragraphs from above story deleted)

Two explosions were heard after the raid from an area close to the village. The military said they believed they were mortar rounds but the blasts caused no damage.

"It went a lot smoother than we thought," said Lt. Col. Mark Woemper.



Wed, May. 14, 2003

U.S. Stages Major Night Raid in N. Iraq

Associated Press

NEAR TIKRIT, Iraq - Heavily armed U.S. Army forces stormed into a village near the northern city of Tikrit in the pre-dawn darkness Thursday, seizing more than 65 prisoners in a hunt for two "most-wanted" former Iraqi officials and 13 others.

No one shot at U.S. forces during the raid, U.S. military officials said.

It was not clear whether the two targets - one of them in the U.S. "top 55" list and the other in the top 20 - were among those rounded up as some of more than 500 soldiers involved sealed off the town and went house to house. The targets were not identified.

"We either surprised them or they're not here anymore. Hopefully, we surprised them. It still could be hours before we sort everybody out," said Maj. Mike Silverman, operations officer for the 1st Brigade of the 4th Infantry, the Army division that staged the raid.

The operation had been planned for a week after U.S. officials received a tip the men were in the area, known as a hotbed of Baath Party supporters and former high-ranking military officials. Tikrit is the hometown of deposed Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein, and the city and the area around it are considered strongholds of his support.

Seventeen bricks of plastic explosive were seized from one house, military officials said, and one man was apprehended in a sniper's perch toting an AK-47 assault rifle.

Among those taken into custody were teenage boys. Each was zip-cuffed and ordered to sit or kneel on the roads outside their homes.

Eighteen Bradley Fighting Vehicles, 12 Howitzers and 35 armored Humvees secured the area as forces moved in. Six boats patrolled the nearby Tigris river during the maneuver, and Apache helicopters hovered overhead.

Patrols have been discreetly combing the streets of the village to gather intelligence, while a drone surveillance aircraft has been flying overhead for two days providing up-to-date photographs and real-time video of the area.

At 2 a.m. Thursday local time, troops formed a cordon around the outer perimeter of a 9-block area. Three blocks of houses were searched in short order.

In one house, a large stack of brand-new Iraqi currency was found, the military said. At another, a soldier emerged carrying camouflage military uniform top.

Under military rules, the name of the village cannot be released by reporters accompanying U.S. forces until the operation is over and permission is given.



Soldier Mourned
Army 1st Lt. Osbaldo Orozco, the Valley's first Iraq war fatality, is laid to rest.

By Jason D. Plemons
The Fresno Bee

(Published Thursday, May 8, 2003, 4:59 AM)

(LT Orozco was a Platoon Leader with Company C, 1st Battalion 22nd Infantry)


EARLIMART,CA -- More than 350 people crowded inside St. Jude's Catholic Church while another crowd of about 500 waited outside Wednesday for the funeral of Army 1st Lt. Osbaldo Orozco, the Valley's first fatality in the war with Iraq.

Mourners stood in the parking lot. They stood across the street. They sat in chairs off to the side.  Mexican and American flags flew outside as yellow ribbons dotted the pews and aisles. Some people carried red and white flags of the United Farm Workers Union in homage to his family's farmworker past.

Orozco, 26, died April 25 when his Bradley fighting vehicle rolled over, crushing him under its weight. His unit was rushing to help others under attack near Tikrit, according to the Pentagon.

College football teammates stood next to farmworkers, reflecting two of Orozco's many roles: husband, son, brother, soldier, athlete, son of immigrants.

During the service, friends remembered him as the one who quickly patted them on the back. He thrust out his hand to offer help. He swiftly kicked them in the butt when they needed that, too.

"Animal gente," they said. The gentle animal.  At 6-foot-1, 250 pounds, Orozco wasn't afraid of much. But, friends said, he was also kind. He picked up hitchhikers, often bringing them home and giving them a meal.

His academic adviser at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, remembered him as the first student in 15 years to invite her over for dinner.

He was a star linebacker at Delano High School, named to The Bee's 1994 all-star football team. He attended Cal Poly on a football scholarship.

"Baldo was wild," said Cal Poly teammate David Kellogg. "He was always yelling and screaming at us, trying to motivate us. He always painted his face, either camouflage or tiger-striped. He'd yell at us in Spanish and English, even though most of us didn't know what he was saying.

"By the end of his college career, he had racked up 300 total tackles (No. 3 all-time at Cal Poly), five sacks and three interceptions. He earned the respect of his teammates, coaches and fans.

And he earned the admiration of the children of Earlimart and Delano, who would ride a bus for hours to Cal Poly just to see the local boy hit someone on Saturdays.

Andre Patterson, Orozco's former college coach, said he was ready to play from the day he arrived on campus.  "He was a tremendous kid," Patterson, who now coaches defensive line with the Cleveland Browns, said in an interview by telephone. "He had no fear, but he was so much a people person. Everyone looked up to him. I wasn't surprised to learn that he had joined the Army."

Serving his country was higher on his list than chasing professional football dreams, his friends said. He was proud to be a soldier. Proud to be fighting for freedom.

"We get a lot of students without physical training," said Maj. Paul Buechner, an Army ROTC instructor at Cal Poly. "And Osbaldo would help every one of them, yelling encouragement and pushing them hard. He led by example."

"It's difficult to lose a soldier," said Brig. Gen. Thomas Bostick, assistant division commander of the 1st Cavalry, which shares Fort Hood with Osbaldo's 4th Infantry Division. "But I never expected to see so many people show up here. I knew he was well-liked in his community, but I am overwhelmed with the amount of people here."

An American flag draped the silver and chrome casket holding Orozco's body as it sat at the front of the church, surrounded by flowers and pictures.

After the ceremony, seven ROTC cadets stood at attention as Orozco's brothers -- dressed in gray shirts and black pants and wearing white gloves -- carried the coffin out of the church.

A line of cars more than a mile long formed as the procession made the 10-mile journey to Delano. The cars wound through a landscape of green grapevines and orchards where he had worked alongside his family while growing up.

At the Delano Cemetery, the seven cadets raised their rifles and fired three shots in unison -- a 21-gun salute. A lone trumpeter played taps. A Kern County firetruck hung a gigantic American flag from its ladder. A flag at the Veteran of Foreign Wars memorial, near where Orozco is buried, flew at half-staff.

Mayra Orozco wore her husband's dog tags next to a cross around her neck. She stood solemn, hiding her eyes behind a pair of dark sunglasses.

Cadets took the flag off the casket and slowly folded it, gently handing it to the widow.  She sat facing her husband's casket, clutching the flag.
Orozco's mother, Reyes, sat next to her.

Orozco's four brothers took off their white gloves and white carnations. They folded the gloves and placed their flowers on top. One by one, they placed them atop the casket.

Mayra and Reyes stood up and gently held two white doves. They tossed them into the air.

A Marine in full dress saluted. An Army general wept.

The reporter can be reached at jplemons@fresnobee.com or 622-2409.


1st Lt. Osbaldo Orozco

Services: Wed., May 7, 11:30 a.m.

Services will be held Wednesday, May 7, at St. Judes Catholic Church, 1270 E. Washington Street, in Earlimart, for Osbaldo Orozco, who gave his life for his country, April 25, in Tikrit, Iraq. With his death, Osbaldo leaves his family and legions of friends mourning his loss, but celebrating his strength, courage and zest for life.

Osbaldo was born March 19, 1977, to Jorge and Reyes Orozco, the second of five sons. Raised in Earlimart, he attended Earlimart Elementary and Middle Schools and was a 1995 graduate of Delano High School, where, on the football field, he proved himself a natural leader. Osbaldo played varsity football for three years, making all-valley, all-area and all-state teams. A formidable 6-foot-one, 225 pounder his senior year, he was recruited by a host of colleges, but chose Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, where he attended on full football scholarship. Affable off the field, but relentless on, Osbaldo was named to the NCAA Division 1-AA Independent first team his sophomore year and racked up 300 total tackles by the end of his college career.

Osbaldo joined the ROTC while at Cal Poly and fell in love with the rigors and discipline of military life. He earned his commission as an officer in the U.S. Army on June 16, 2001, the day he graduated from Cal Poly with a degree in social sciences.

Osbaldo married Mayra Mendez the week following graduation and the couple moved to Fort Benning, Georgia, where they lived 11 months, then moved to Fort Hood, Texas, where he joined the 1st Battalion, 22nd Infantry Regiment and trained to lead Bradley fighting vehicles into battle. As exemplary on the battlefield as he was on the football field, Osbaldos friends and family were saddened, but not surprised, to learn that their champion lost his life while rushing to aide fellow soldiers under fire.

Osbaldo will be missed always. In Osbaldo, Mayra found the love of her life, her protector and knight in steel armor. In Osbaldo his parents found a son who took the Fifth Commandment to heart and honored his parents in word and action to the final day of his life. In Osbaldo his brothers found a hero and best friend. For the rest of their lives they will say to their children and grandchildren Baldo was the best of us.

Osbaldo is survived by Mayra, his wife of two years; parents, Jorge and Reyes Orozco; brother and sister-in-law, George and Marilu Orozco, Jr.; brothers, Johnny, Andy and Ozzie Orozco; grandmother Ignacia Orozco; nephew and nieces, Hector, Jackelyn and Angel Orozco and many other beloved family members and friends.

Copyrightę 2003, The Bakersfield Californian


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