1st Battalion 22nd Infantry


Operation Iraqi Freedom


The following is a report on the activities of 1-22 Infantry,
written on July 3, 2003, by the Battalion Commander,
LTC Steven D. Russell


LTC Steven D. Russell


Subject:  LTC Russell 3 July TF 1-22 IN Update, Tikrit Iraq

3 July 03 (Happy birthday Dad)

Dear Family and Friends,

Wanted to drop another note to let you all know how things are going with the ‘Regulars’ of TF 1-22 Infantry.

The pace of operations since my last update on 20 June has been brisk.  Our A Company along with a platoon from C Company flew by CH-47 in support of operations along the Syrian border.  You may remember hearing some about this in the news a couple of weeks ago.
Our task force was given about 45 minutes notice from alert to lift off.  The men operated out of rucksacks for about 5 days and performed superbly.  The heat there was oppressive like the rest of the country, but there was a little greener vegetation and the temperatures were actually quite cool to the men at night.

When our battalion reassembled, we operated in farmland vicinity of the Tigris River.
  A reporter, William Booth from the Washington Post, spent about 3 days with our task force and wrote a nice piece (26 June) on our operations.  He said he came to see how a unit that had given and taken casualties was reacting and was impressed that we were maintaining the initiative with good spirits and good results.  One operation he observed produced little but he was impressed by one of our Bradley Fighting Vehicles doing a forced entry into a farm courtyard.  The BFV smashed through the gate, removing wrought iron, concrete and mortar in a cloud of dust and was quickly followed by our Infantry shuffling down the ramp of the vehicle to secure the area.  I must admit it was a wonderful thing and something we never get to do in training.

The health of the men has remained good but the ‘Fedayeen Funk’ personally struck me one morning. Dizziness, vomiting and diarrhea combined to overwhelm me for about a 24 hour period.  Fortunately, the battalion has an ample roster of talent and they allowed me the rest I needed.  Our men see bouts of this type on occasion and the soldiers have coined several entertaining terms to describe the maladies: ‘Saddam’s revenge,’ ‘The two-cheek sneak,’ and as already mentioned, the ‘Fedayeen Funk.’  Fortunately, our medics and docs attack these with medications that ‘shock and awe’ the viruses into submission within a day.

We had the privilege to brief Ambassador Bremer and Secretary Brownlee recently and they were very complimentary of our soldiers and the success of our operations.  We maintain the initiative and refuse to hunker down.  Some BBC reporters interviewed me recently with a story already written and they needed the sound bites to support it.  But we could not agree with their estimation that operations had somehow turned for the worse for us in Tikrit.  I explained to them that the acts of violence we had seen represented the actions of a desperate and losing foe.  Our cooperation with the locals continues to improve and the Iraqi government and police officials have joined our forces in their own future.  I cannot speak for all of Iraq, but we have the upper hand in Tikrit and make it a heavy hand only for those that do not comply.

The command sergeant major and I went to Mosul to visit part of our A Company troops attached to the 101st Airborne there.  The town is on the site of the ancient city of Nineveh.  Its hills, taller trees and greenery were a pleasant contrast to our area of operations.  The men there are doing well and are making the best of the situation there.  They are not as heavily engaged there and generally are performing duties guarding the airfield.

Our C Company will change commanders soon as CPT Randy Taylor departs to be a comptroller and CPT Brad Boyd takes over the fighting soldiers of ‘Cold Steel.’  We also sent home our first group of soldiers released by the Army’s removal of ‘stop loss’ and ‘stop move’ policies.  Our strength remains robust and I was very happy to send these men home after their great service to our nation.  They can be very proud of their accomplishments.

We continue the fight as if we are here until the job is done and I am convinced we will get the big boys eventually.  We have already gotten #4 and continue to erode the support base of people harboring them.  The fact that they remain on the run and uncoordinated gives me great satisfaction.  We see the concern in the American press and the angst from the people at home but what we truly need is for the nation to continue to stand behind us.  Every reason that brought us here is still as valid as it was in March. If not us, then who?  Who will step up for these 26 million people?  Our resolve remains clear.

We are thankful for the mail, the care packages, the magazines and newspapers and most of all the prayers that continue to sustain us.  Our cause is certain because the contrast in what is right and just between our enemy and us is so obvious.  Just as Jehoshophat emboldened the people in their struggle with the Edomites, we can take heart in his advice, “The battle depends on God and not you…Just take up your positions and wait and you will see the Lord give you victory….Put your trust in the Lord your God and you will stand your ground.” (2 Chronicles 20).  United we stand.  God bless the USA and our great soldiers.  SDR

LTC Steve Russell
TF 1-22 Infantry
Tikrit, Iraq