1st Battalion 22nd Infantry



Copperhead Increases Area of Responsibility


‘Copperhead’ Soldiers increase area of responsibility as ‘surge’ forces redeploy

MND-B Soldiers leave COP to ISF, move to JSS
Sgt. 1st Class Brent Williams
1st BCT PAO, 4th Inf. Div., MND-B


FORWARD OPERATING BASE FALCON, Iraq — As “surge” forces begin to redeploy, returning home
after a 15-month deployment in support of Multi-National Division – Baghdad and Operation Iraqi Freedom,
the units used to help bring security and stability to the Iraqi capital are not being replaced.


FORWARD OPERATING BASE FALCON, Iraq — Staff Sgt. Jerod Childs, an infantryman from Texas City, Texas,
hand delivers an Iraqi toddler to his mother Nov. 10, during a security patrol in the Risalah community of the Rashid district
in southern Baghdad. Childs, a squad leader responsible for two teams of infantry dismounts in an armor company,
took the baby, who had wandered into the streets, back to his mother. The Soldiers of "Copperhead" Company expanded
their operations into the Risalah community of southern Baghdad's Rashid district, Nov. 6, when they assumed responsibility
for the battle space as 'surge' forces begin to redeploy.

(U.S. Army photo by Sgt. 1st Class Brent Williams, 1st BCT PAO, 4th Inf. Div., MND-B)



Consequentially, the 1st Battalion, 22nd Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division,
realigned battle space in early November, moving its companies across the Rashid district in southern Baghdad
to assume more of the sector and assist Iraqi Security Forces enforcing the Rule of Law.
Picking up new muhallahs and areas of responsibility to patrol and secure is like starting all over again
because every area of operations, every neighborhood is different, said Staff Sgt. Ryan Parker,
a squad leader assigned to Company C, 1st Bn., 22nd Inf. Regt., 1st BCT, 4th Inf. Div.
“We are ready for whatever we have to do,” Parker assured. “Stay here and maintain this area,
keep it peaceful or move to a different area. Whatever the mission needs, we’re ready for it.”

The Soldiers will use the experience that they have gained during more than seven months of patrolling
and operating in western Rashid to control the area and maintain security, he explained.
“In the old muhallahs, we know the people, how they act, what they can expect from us and what we can expect
of them,” said Parker, who hails from San Antonio. “Now, it’s like we just got out here again.
We just have to learn the area, learn the people and see what they’re up to in those areas.”
Parker said that sooner or later, Coalition Forces will leave Iraq, and the Iraqis will take ownership of their country.
And while ISF are patrolling the streets and securing the neighborhoods every day, he added, they still need
to take additional steps for their forces to become self-sufficient.

The Iraqi Army is better trained and has learned a number of techniques and skills from Coalition Forces
through years of training and mentorship on how to soldier, said 1st Sgt. Walter Navarro,
Co. C., 1st Bn., 22nd Inf. Regt., 1st BCT, 4th Inf. Div.
Looking at the combined effort of the ISF in the Rashid district, Navarro said that the IA and IP
moved forward in developing their capabilities where conditions within the communities prevented progress
in previous years. “In order to secure their area, they are still going to need the resources,”
explained Navarro, who was born in Peru and moved to the United States at the age of 16.
“We can’t just say that it is just a matter of providing security or fighting an insurgency;
the government has to be able to provide for their citizens, and in order to do that, they have to provide resources.”
Navarro, who calls Washington home, said that his unit will undertake more combined patrols
and operations with the ISF in ongoing efforts to prepare the Iraqi leaders to transition into independent operations
and take over more responsibility through out the Rashid district.
Working in concerted efforts in the neighborhoods, businesses and communities, the company established
an early rapport with the Iraqi citizens and the ISF in its eight organic muhallahs, said Navarro.
“I am not saying we took a radical approach to how we conduct business …, but we used all platoons
to go out into sector and create a presence — not at the expense of force protection though.”
Months prior to the move, Copperhead Co. cross-leveled personnel, attaching a platoon to the outgoing unit
to gain knowledge about the area and help prepare the other platoons for the new area of operations, explained Navarro.


FORWARD OPERATING BASE FALCON, Iraq — Soldiers of Company C, 1st Battalion, 22nd Infantry Regiment,
walk door-to-door, house-to-house, during a dismounted security patrol in the Hayy Jihad community of the Rashid district
Nov. 11 to support security for ongoing Sons of Iraq payday activities. The Soldiers of "Copperhead" Company are responsible
for assisting Iraqi Security Forces providing security for the residents of the Jihad, Furat and Risalah neighborhoods
as Coalition Forces expand their operations to support ISF units taking over and covering down for units leaving Baghdad.

(U.S. Army photo by Sgt. 1st Class Brent Williams, 1st BCT PAO, 4th Inf. Div., MND-B)



“The big challenge right now is getting the platoons familiar with the new battle space and getting the other platoons
familiar with the old battle space,” said Capt. Christopher Watkins, commander of Co. C, 1st Bn., 22nd Inf. Regt.
The Soldiers will continue to work, mentor and patrol with the Iraqi Army and Iraqi Police to increase proficiency
and prepare the Iraqi Security Forces to take control of their neighborhoods and communities, said Watkins,
an armor officer from New Orleans. “We won’t go into tactical over watch for months to come,” he explained.

Leaving its former patrol base in the care and control of the Iraqi Police, the company signed over
its combat outpost in West Rashid to the control of the Iraqi Police as Soldiers moved into a nearby
joint security station, shared with the Iraqi Army soldiers of the 1st Battalion, 53rd Brigade, 14th IA Division,
said Capt. Nathan Wilson, executive officer, Co. C, 1st Bn., 22nd Inf. Regt.
The unit left the COP in better condition than it found it, improving the quality of life for the IPs
and providing generators, air conditioners and other supplies to the ISF.
“A lot of people did tasks that they wouldn’t normally be doing,” said Wilson, who was responsible
for planning and organizing the move “They understood that there was a task that needed to be done,
and they pulled together to make it happen.” Wilson thanked his Soldiers, as well as members
of Headquarters Platoon and Forward Support Company E, 1st Bn., 22nd Inf. Regt.,
for their tireless efforts in getting the job done. The move meant long hours for the Soldiers,
who maintained their patrols and operations in face of the move – even after they lost an organic platoon,
which was attached to another unit, he explained. The endeavor resulted in 12-hour patrols for the Soldiers,
who would return to base to refit and then help pack and prepare the unit for the move, said Wilson.

The Soldiers inspect checkpoints to ensure that the IA, IP and Sons of Iraq forces are conducting
proper inspections at traffic control points, properly searching vehicles and operating with the latest
military intelligence and tactics, techniques and procedures, said Sgt. 1st Class Pedro Sotomayor,
an armor crewmember from Bayamon, Puerto Rico, and platoon sergeant assigned to Co. C, 1st Bn., 22nd Inf. Regt.
Sotomayor said SoI and IA soldiers manning checkpoints and conducting patrols and operations together
is a good formula for success. “The two forces working together is a good thing. Every day,
we stop at checkpoints and talk with the ISF, and having more people on the checkpoints ensures
that everyone is searched,” he explained. “I would rather have more people than less.”

The checkpoint inspections also provide the Iraqis the opportunity to voice concerns and bring valid issues
to the attention of the Coalition Forces, said 1st Lt. Jonathan Muir, a platoon leader from Pittsburgh,
assigned to Co. C, 1st Bn., 22nd Inf. “The Iraqi Army soldiers talked about pay issues,”
Muir said. “The U.S. commander addresses the issues with their command.”
The armor company, part of a combined arms battalion, deployed to the Rashid district in southern Baghdad,
increased its presence in the muhallahs and surrounding areas to disrupt potential enemy activity
and plans to duplicate its efforts in the new battle space to ensure that the transition runs smoothly, said Muir.








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