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April 11, 2007

We All Fight Under One Flag


A Glimmer of Hope

Richard S. Lowry

Here are some pictures and stories you won’t see on TV or in your hometown newspapers.



A little girl walks through a street in Old Baqubah as American and Iraqi Soldiers patrol the neighborhood April 3. The mission was part of an ongoing effort by Soldiers of Company A, 5th Battalion, 20th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, Iraqi Army soldiers and Iraqi policemen to clear the neighborhood of insurgents and secure the local marketplace. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Antonieta Rico)


Black Hawk Troops find persistence key to victory on
Haifa Street
By Spc. Alexis Harrison
2nd BCT, 1st Cav. Div. Public Affairs
Multi-National Division – Baghdad PAO

BAGHDAD — Troops from 4th Squadron, 9th Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division patrol the Haifa Street area daily, shadowed by scores of children who greet them at every stop they make to ask for chocolate or a soccer ball.

Most of the Soldiers don't mind handing out a couple sweets for the children to enjoy while they trek through the war-torn neighborhood the children call home.

The "Black Hawk" Troop, commanded by Capt. Chris Dawson, who hails from Lima, Ohio, provides an essential service to residents who've been through so many violent times: peace of mind.

1st Lt. Brian Long, a fire support officer and "Blue” Platoon’s leader from Jacksonville, Fla., said there's nothing more important than getting to know the people in the area and addressing their concerns.

He said that even months after the heaviest of fighting happened, people are still coming to his troops with information and questions on what's happened in recent months.

The troop took over the area after a heavy bout of insurgent activity forced many to flee their homes or hide for their own safety. Several days of fighting occurred before the Cavalry troops finally slaked the violence, allowing many people to come back and start to live their lives.

Attacks on Coalition Forces have since dropped by more than 50 percent in the area. Dozens of bodies were found along sectarian fault lines in the area, but since the new security plan has been established, the Black Hawk troops have not found a single body lying in the street or anywhere in their sector.

Bringing peace to neighborhoods like this one is one of the major improvements the Soldiers from the 2nd “Black Jack” Brigade have been able to accomplish since they arrived last year.

However, as one Soldier recounts, it wasn't as peaceful the last time he was here.

Staff Sgt. Jebediah Arthur was with 3rd Battalion, 82nd Field Artillery Regiment, 2nd BCT, 1st Cav. Div., a few years ago when the 1st Cavalry Division was in Baghdad during Operation Iraqi Freedom II. He said heavy fighting was a regular occurrence for him and his troops.

The Moran, Texas native said that Iraqis weren't always as friendly as they are now. They used to shy away from any contact with Soldiers and wouldn't provide more than a cold stare or an unfriendly gesture.

Now, everywhere the Soldiers go, they are greeted like visitors to an almost second home. The people, in the community Arthur and his comrades visit, speak freely to them and often provide an inside look into what's really happening in their community.

"It's finally gotten to where they can come and talk to us and work with everyone," Arthur said. "Acting professionally helps, but they actually see the results of the information they give us. I think that's been the key to our success over here this time."

The troops have been busy with other duties than just patrolling the busy streets. Recently, a medical operation headed by the troop and other Soldiers from the brigade took place to bring some much-needed care to the residents.

The leaders of the troop realize how important it is to continue their work and not to give up on the people of the area.

Long said that the coalition forces have gained a lot of momentum against violence in the area.

"Being out there every day is a good way to dispel the rumors that we're not doing anything but inhibiting the growth of these neighborhoods," Long said. "We are seeing improvements, and we are appreciated by the people we interact with."

"In 10 years,” Arthur said, “we'll probably be vacationing here.”


1st Lt. Brian Long, fire support officer and "Blue" Platoon leader from Jacksonville, Fla.,
watches some Iraqi children play soccer in the Karkh neighborhood of Baghdad April 5.
(U.S. Army photo by Spc. Alexis Harrison, 2nd BCT, 1st Cav. Div. Public Affairs)



Capt. Chris Dawson, a native of Lima, Ohio and commander of Troop B, 4th
Squadron, 9th Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry
Division, leads a playful chant with some Iraqi children in Baghdad’s Karkh
neighborhood April 5. (U.S. Army photo by Spc. Alexis Harrison, 2nd BCT, 1st
Cav. Div. Public Affairs)



Staff Sgt. Jebediah Arthur, a Moran, Texas, native and fire support team chief
with Troop B, 4th Squadron, 9th Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team,
1st Cavalry Division, patrols the streets of Baghdad’s Karkh neighborhood,
shadowed by Iraqi children requesting chocolate and soccer balls April 5. (U.S.
Army photo by Spc. Alexis Harrison, 2nd BCT, 1st Cav. Div. Public Affairs)
Iraqi Army soldiers have been clearing homes and businesses throughout the Yarmouk district of the nation’s capital city. The Iraqi Army soldiers also cleared the area of trash piles and abandoned vehicles which had allowed terrorists to place and hide IEDs.


(U.S. Army photo by 1st Lt. Quinn Robertson, 2nd Battalion, 32nd Field Artillery Regiment)

Minnesota Army National Guard Soldiers and Iraqi citizens of Al Batha recently restored 15 kilometers of Al Batha city streets in southern Iraq.






The old bridge to the village of Bahkan, Iraq before the 1-125 Field Artillery civil military
operations team began the project of constructing a new bridge through local
contractors. (Photo by Capt. Paul Rickert, 1-125 Unit Public Affairs Representative)


A Minnesota National Guard Soldier shakes hands with an official from Bakhan, Iraq on
the newly constructed bridge to the village surrounded by canals. (Photo by Capt. Paul
Rickert, 1-125 Unit Public Affairs Representative)

FOB Hammer, Iraq – Col. Fadhil Abbas, commander of the Iraqi Army’s Bey May Eagles, had dinner with members of the 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team’s 3-1 Cavlary Regiment Sunday at the Bes Maya Range Complex near FOB Hammer east of Baghdad.

“My brothers, I am so excited that you are all here,” said Abbas. “I look forward to working with you as one family. The Iraqi team and the American team is one team and I want to have a high level of cooperation. My Iraqi soldiers love their American Soldiers as brothers.”

Abbas also assured Kolasheski that the tribal division that had hindered Iraq’s army in the past was not a problem with the unit under his command. “All my soldiers fight under one flag,” said Abbas, as he pointed to the Iraqi flag on his wall. “No more clans or separate religions here. We all worship one God and fight under one flag.



Words to live by.

Posted by Cassandra at April 11, 2007 01:47 PM

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It's a hard war all right.

We should make ourselves accustomed to its curious deprivations, lest we be blind to its end, and lose all.

Posted by: spd rdr at April 11, 2007 10:05 PM

*stares at first picture*

Aaaaaaw! She looks SO MUCH like my cousin!

Posted by: Foxfier at April 11, 2007 10:30 PM

Great post Cass, Thanks.

Posted by: unkawill at April 11, 2007 11:34 PM

We All Fight Under One Flag

If only we would do that here...

Posted by: camojack at April 12, 2007 01:27 AM

Very good post. Now, if we could just get most of our journalists to get the facts before they reached their conclusions, as opposed to the other way around, maybe the public polls would change. Ah, but I dream of a day when the unicorns return.

Posted by: RIslander at April 12, 2007 07:54 AM


Posted by: RICHARD DAUGHERTY at April 12, 2007 11:16 AM

Funny how trolls such as anna, Charlie, Liberal Avenger, et al never have anything to say on these posts...

Excellent post, Cass. I will be passing this on to several of my own personal trolls......uh dissenters.

Posted by: Sly2017 at April 12, 2007 11:17 AM

Hey, I owe this one to Richard. All I had to do was resize the graphics to fit in my frames here at VC.

I love the first and last photos.

A lot of symbolism implied there.

Posted by: Sister Mary Bag O'Metaphors at April 12, 2007 11:28 AM

How come nobody GWB asked wants to be War Czar over Iraq and Afghanistan?

Posted by: The Burr under the Saddle at April 12, 2007 01:09 PM

I guarantee you every single one of those guys has done at least one tour from hell in the five-sided funny farm. Would you want to deal with Congress?

Posted by: Sister Mary Bag O'Metaphors at April 12, 2007 01:18 PM

Shouldn't they be willing to help out the cause and give GWB and the troops a hand? Some talking head opined that those guys don't want to be blamed (caught holding the bag) for ... something. Shouldn't they just "man up" (as someone here put it recently) and step up to the plate even though they'd have to deal with Congress?

Posted by: Fear and Loathing Until Happy Hour at April 12, 2007 01:41 PM

"Would you want to deal with Congress?"

Why not, as long as I could go public with the BS I'd encountered trying to work with Congress, ya know, lay blame and cast aspersions where they are due?

Posted by: Fear and Loathing Until Happy Hour at April 12, 2007 01:43 PM

Military officers can't do that, though. That's just the problem. They are prohibited by law from taking sides in political battles, so they have to hold their tongues.

This Congress just approved Gen. Petraeus unanimously... and then sent him off and stabbed him in the back as soon as he left, refusing to fund the plan he'd told them about. They knew damn well what he was planning to do. He wrote the COIN strategy. They are a bunch of spineless treacherous cowards. If they didn't want a fighter they should never have approved him.

Posted by: Sister Mary Bag O'Metaphors at April 12, 2007 01:56 PM

Excellent post! I can't wait to come back and read more.

Posted by: CavMom at June 1, 2007 04:20 PM

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