1st Battalion 22nd Infantry
Commander's letter to the Regimental Society
As 1-22 Infantry ended their
second deployment to Iraq, the Battalion Commander,
LTC Craig Osborne, sent his final update on the Battalion's activities overseas
to the 22nd Infantry Regiment Society.
In the following letter LTC
Osborne concisely sums up a year in the history of 1st Battalion,
noting with pride how the Battalion continues to add to the tradition
and accomplishments of the Regulars.
As I write this at the end of November, the Regulars of 1st Battalion have begun our redeployment back to Fort Hood and our year in Iraq is almost complete. The past twelve months have been an incredibly important period in the history of Iraq and we have played a part in helping shape the future of this region. In retrospect, the battalion has grown collectively and each of us has matured individually. We are a much better fighting force than we were twelve months ago and our accomplishments are significant.
The Regulars have captured more insurgents than any of the 61 battalions in Multi-national Division Baghdad. We have also discovered more chaches than any other unit in Multi-national Division Baghdad. Those facts are based on objective data not my subjective pride in our great Soldiers. We have been repeatedly highlighted by the Brigade, Division, and Corps chains-of-command for a myriad of accomplishments our air assault operations, targeting methodology, and Soldier discipline to name a few and have relentlessly taken the fight to the enemy whether in southern or western Baghdad. We have been in a daily fight with al-Qaeda and Sunni rejectionist groups and have seen relatively little sectarian violence when compared to other parts of Baghdad. I attribute that success to the untiring efforts of our Soldiers.
No other battalion has served in five different brigades like we have done during this deployment and Major General Thurman personally thanked the battalion for our versatility in responding to changing circumstances and achieving remarkable effects wherever we have been sent. He stated that he knows he can send us anywhere at any time and we will take the fight to the enemy wherever we find ourselves. Our task organization has repeatedly changed and at one point we had nine company-sized units in the battalion and were a team composed of platoons and companies from three different Divisions the 1st Infantry Division, 2nd Infantry Division, and the 4th Infantry Division.
Vigilant patrolling, aggressive operations, and engagements with all segments of the population have led to clear tactical successes, an immediate rapport with the people, and a foothold into ensuring the local government structures become functional to take care of the basic needs of the Iraqi people. Iraqi citizens have begun to view us as friends with a desire to help them improve their lives. That trust is not borne from political decisions in Washington, DC or Baghdad, but rather through the interactions they have with each of our Soldiers.
Our civil affairs efforts throughout the year have helped the people of both southern and western Baghdad achieve a better life and hope for the future. We have renovated schools, paved roads, cleaned canals, repaired water mains, repaired electrical systems, installed fresh water networks, installed generators, pciked-up trash, repaired hospitals, and developed farmer's co-ops. Our efforts not only raised the quality of life for the Iraqi people, but also provided jobs for the citizens, infused money into their economy, and weakened the grip that the insurgency has on the population.
Although we have had great successes, our year has been filled with incredible sorrows as well. We suffered 18 killed in action and over 100 wounded. Three of our fallen are from our support company and although they have a different unit designation, they are as much a part of the Regulars as any other company. Two of our 18 American heroes were attached to us from other units within the Brigade Combat Team that we served with at the time. Regardless of what unit is listed next to their names in the history books, each of them will forever be Regulars. Our fallen are true American heroes and we will never forget them:
SPC Sergio Mercedes - D/2-502 Inf
PFC Sean Tharp - B/1-22 Inf
SPC Ronald Gebur - B/1-22 Inf
CPL Bobby West - B/1-22 Inf
SGT Luis Montez - HHC/1-22 Inf
SGT Jennifer Hartman - E/4th Support Battalion
SGT Aaron Smith - C/4th Battalion, 27th Field Artillery Regiment
CPL Marcus Cain - E/4th Support Battalion
SGT Chase Haag - A/1-22 Inf
SGT Brandon Asbury - E/4th Support Battalion
2LT Johnny Craver - B/1-22 Inf
2LT Christopher Loudon - C/1-22 Inf
CPL Russell Culbertson - C/1-22 Inf
CPL Joseph Dumas - C/1-22 Inf
CPL David Unger - C/1-22 Inf
CPL Nathaniel Aguirre - HHC/1-22 Inf
CPL Matthew Creed - HHC/1-22 Inf
PFC Kevin Ellenburg - B/1-22 Inf
The hardest thing we will ever do is lose one of our own. We grieve for the loss that we feel, we grieve for the potential that will never be realized, and we grieve for the families that will be broken because a loved one will not be returning to them. Our hearts go out to each family in the states they will never be far from our thoughts and they will always be part of the Regulars family. It is my sincere hope that the knowledge that they are in our thoughts and prayers will in some small measure provide them a degree of comfort.
It has been a long year and we are all excited to be returning to the states. We can honestly return knowing that we put forth the best effort possible and clearly made our part of Iraq significantly better than when we arrived. We are proud of our accomplishments and are certain that our replacements will continue to achieve success here. Through it all, your support and encouragement has been critical. When there were tough days on the battlefield, we continued on out of a sense of duty, brotherhood, and a desire to never disappoint the Regulars who have served in the past and support our efforts now. I cannot thank you enough for your encouragement and belief in us. You have our undying gratitude and respect.
Regulars by God !
1-22 IN Battalion Commander
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