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Archive for the ‘CentCom’ Category

Have you ever given any thought to a ‘three-dimensional’ website? Look at it this way, we no longer live in a world where the net is a ‘flat earth’ development. To give you a peek inside this fact, Douglas Farah has written a very informative and chilling article.

At the Counterterrorism Blog, you will find just about any type of news that we are NOT hearing about on the news. Especially the type of news which we should all be looking for to keep our country safe. I suppose that could be because of the elections, but you would think our survival would be an election year topic. Oh well.

Jihadists Move to Encryption on Internet Sights.

…Today’s Washington Post carries an extensive look at the radicalization of two Islamists from the state of Georgia who were filming potential targets in Washington, D.C.

Much of the process took place on line, as did the radicalization of an Egyptian businessman who sponsored the trip of combatants to Iraq based on the Internet statements and broadcasts by Yousef al-Qaradawi, the spiritual leader of the Muslim Brotherhood. [Continue reading.]

So, they think catching illegal aliens is too hard of a task? Check out this story from Jayson Javitz over at Wizbang!

Dragnet.

…’They think they’re pretty much home free once they get up here,’ said Bill Botts, of the Border Patrol’s Gulport, Mississippi, station. But Operation Uniforce, as the two-week crackdown started Jan. 13 is called, ‘is pretty much a shocker for the [alien] smuggling organizations.’

More than 300 illegal immigrants and alien smugglers had been arrested as of Tuesday, just over a week into the operation. [Continue reading.]

Now I will share with you some articles and their links and who they are written by in groupings. That is because there are too many of them! lol

First I would like to start with Michael Yon. This first post of his is Moment of Truth in Iraq, a book that Michael has written, and it is very good. I’ve read the first chapter of Danger Close (it is online), and you might like to read it also. He is one of the citizen journalists who tells it as it is, not the way we would like to hear it. I like that. It shows me respect, because he trusts that I can make up my own mind.

CORRECTION: It has been brought to my attention that Michael’s book is Titled “Danger Close.” Jon is correct. The link to the first chapter is right here and you may purchase it only at Michael’s site here. Thank you Jon for catching that for me. *blush*

His next post is News Flash: Dragon Skin. This one is about body armor. Next is “Commanders Update #9, Commander’s Update #9 JAN 08, By LTC. James Crider. Then there is “General Lee Comes Home, Part 2, Stryker Dubbed ‘General Lee’ Rejuvenated, By Ann Roosevelt, for Defense Daily. After that one is this one where he was profiled by the NY Times, “News Flash: Frontline Blogger With a Soldier’s Eyes. They actually did a good job. Then finally, there is a collection of Michael’s writings: Archives: Table of Contents.

This one is not technically a blogger (Former Ambassador to the USA, John Bolton), but he has written a very chilling warning to President Bush, Condi, and the new president of the USA in the Wall Street Journal’s opinion and commentary section. The title of this article is “North Korea’s True Colors.” Read it! Another article which they printed is “The Legacy, Bush of Arabia. This U.S. president is the most consequential the Middle East has ever seen. by FOUAD AJAMI.” It is a refreshing look at both President Bush (whom I have lost much hope of having anything positive get done) and the Iraqi people. It is a good read.

For the following articles from CentCom, I will put them in list form. There are many good articles!

Here are six links to YouTube videos from Blackfive: This video is 1:16 minutes long. The title is “Sgt. Giles.” This one is “Arab Jabour: An Introduction,” and it is 2:45 minutes. This next one is titled “Arab Jabour: Terrain Denial.” The next three are “Surge Plus One: Doura,” “Robin Williams in Kuwait” and “Crazy I-Ranians threaten US warships with Jihad.” Now I have links you may be interested in reading.

ANA deliver infant saving mother, child, by Public Affairs COMBINED JOINT TASK FORCE- 82, Bagram Media Center.
ANA provides assistance to Kunar villagers, by Luis P. Valdespino Jr., Combined Security Transition Command.
Medical engagement a success in Abu Farris, by U.S. Army Christopher McKenna, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division.
Soldiers distribute wheelchairs, by U.S. Army Grant Okubo, MND-N PAO.
Tip leads MND-North Soldiers to bomb factory, MND-N PAO.
Kirkuk academy graduates 1,325 police, by U.S. Army Margaret Nelson, 115th MPAD.
Iraqi Soldiers graduate leaders’ course, by SPC Emily Wilsoncroft, MND-C PAO.
Paratroopers battle elements, keep valley safe, by Sgt. Brandon Aird, 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team Public Affairs.
Afghan, Coalition troops hold clinic in Farah, CJTF-82 PAO.
Army exchanges medical skill with Djiboutians, by MC1 Mary Popejoy, CJTF-HOA.
Afghan students prepare for future through education, by Spc. Gregory Argentieri, 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team Public Affairs.
Ghazni PRT brings care, clothes to Nawa District, by Spc Nathan Hutchinson, 22nd MPAD.

Next I have for you some articles from ACT! for America is a great site to go to find patriotic people keeping an eye on legislation and other news that we can appreciate. They now have chapters that are posted on their website. You can also receive e-mails from them, if you wish.

This next news article is an interview between National Review Online and M. Zuhdi Jasser. This is the third part of the article. The title of this portion of the interview is “We Need a Hero, Looking toward 2008 and beyond.” Mr. Jasser has also had a press release, “FBI Director’s Community Leadership Award given to Zuhdi Jasser.” One more article here. It is written by Electa Draper at the Denver Post. The name of the article is “Moderate Muslim view outshouted by Islamists.” Oh, those so understanding and tolerant libs. You may read about him and keep up with him at AIFD. This acronym stands for American Islamic Forum for Democracy.

American Congress for Truth is a very fine site. It is run by conversatives who just happen to be black. This is an amazing site, and you really should add it to your sidebar. For example, they are on top of this internet problem which I started this post off with.

Terrorism Probe Points to Reach Of Web Networks.

In April 2005, police swarmed the U.S. Capitol to confront an erratic Australian man, carrying two suitcases, who they feared was a suicide bomber. After blowing up one of the bags, officers realized he was harmless.

The police never noticed the two nervous young men on a nearby sidewalk filming the Capitol during the standoff. But they might have been the real threat, according to newly released documents.

The men, ultraconservative Muslims from Georgia, were making surveillance videos that could help extremists plan “some kind of terrorist attack,” as one man later acknowledged, according to court documents disclosed last week. One of their videos was sent to a notorious al-Qaeda publicist in London, authorities said. [Continue reading.]

Does that give anyone pause? It does me.

Okay, that should be enough information to hold you through the weekend. Don’t worry. If it doesn’t, I will still be posting at my site. I am having an Open Tracktrack Alliance and an Open Trackback at Linkfest. Share with others your work. Before you trackback, please add me to your post. After you this, I will add your name and title to the main page. This way, everyone will be able to see your work and may come over to view it. Have a good weekend everyone!

Update: I just have to add this one last(?) post. It is very funny and is also a member of Open Trackback Alliance. Since I do not like to post a trackback on someone’s post who has not listed that post for today’s OTA, I have written this little piece about it. Oh, what is it? Study: Few Keyboards Actually Destroyed By Coffee. Enjoy!

Members of the Samantha Burns’ OTA:

S. The Crazy Rantings of Samantha Burns: OTA Weekend, F. Stix Blog: 8 Things youneed to know about Obama and Rezko, F. Pirate’s Cove (M, F): TB Friday Featuring The Surrender Monkey: Kucinich Supporters Should Vote Ron Paul, F. The World According to Carl: Open Trackback Friday — January 25, 2008, F. Woman Honor Thyself: Sderot and the UN Party Balloons, S. Church and State, Su. The Amboy Times, Su. Stageleft, Su. walls of the city, Wknd. Blue Star Chronicles: Wear Red on Friday Reading List, Wknd. Leaning Straight Up: Friday Video Break: Smoke on the water… as you have never seen it before, Wknd. The Uncooperative Blogger, Wknd. Stuck On Stupid, Wknd. The Bullwinkle Blog, Wknd. 123beta (F, Wknd): Open Trackback Weekend, S. Point Five: Study: Few Keyboards Actually Destroyed By Coffee, S. 7 Deadly Sins, S. Steeljaw Scribe, S. Selective Amnesia, S. Case Notes from the Artsy Asylum, S. LyfLines, Su. InMuscatine, Su. Onemanbandwidth, Su. The Blazer Blog, Su. Miceland, Su. Where are my socks?, Su. Peakah’s Provocations, Su. Otimaster, Su. Grandinite, Su. Free Constitution, Su. Conservative Culture (Su, T), Su. – a metamorphoself, Su. The Dissentators (Su, M).

Posts I’ve trackbacked to at Linkfest and other sites:

Adam’s Blog: John McCain: Putting Mexico First?, Blue Star Chronicles: Why the Story of Dellon Tyler Ward Matters, Gulf Coast Hurricane Tracker: New director for National Hurricane Center, third world county: “Mugger” Pledges: Will Give Money Back, Nuke Gingrich: WFFOT Aaaaaaaaay, Dumb Ox Daily News: Ron Paul’s Good and Bad News Letter, Outside the Beltway: John Edwards’ South Carolina Surge, Big Dog’s Weblog: Will MSM Give Hillary the Same Treatment As Bush?, Gulf Coast Hurricane Tracker: Hurricane Proof House, Wolf Pangloss: Friday: I Feel Your Pain Open Posts, Leaning Straight Up: Making the Case For McCain; Just In Case, Shadowscope: Grand Jury Indicts Cesar Laurean, With many thanks to: Linkfest Haven Deluxe.

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12. Blue Star Chronicles: British Diva Katherine Jenkins Entertains British Troops The Past Two Christmases.
11. Woman Honor Thyself: Super BowL: Gooooooo Giants! (A woman after my own heart!)
10. Gulf Coast Hurricane Tracker: Global Warming causes FEWER hurricanes.
9. A Blog For All: Fences Make Good Neighbors: Hamas Doesn’t Want Them.
8. Blue Star Chronicles: Retired Green Beret Gets Court Martial After Shooting Intruder.
7. Blue Star Chronicles: Phelps Family Hate Cult to Picket Heath Ledger’s Funeral.
6. Blue Star Chronicles: Tom Cruise on Scientology and Ah …. ah …. Wow …. You Know…Man…Wheh!
5. The World According To Carl Hillary LOVES A Man In Uniform?
4. Mark My Words: Irrational atheists and their groupies.
3. Stix Blog: 8 Things youneed to know about Obama and Rezko.
2. Pirate’s Cove: Global Warming Today: Less Hurricanes To Hit U.S.?
1. Planck’s Constant: Bernie`s Bic Vacation.

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Source: CJTF-HOA and CentCom.

by MC1 Mary Popejoy
CJTF-HOA
.

DJIBOUTI, Horn of Africa (Jan. 09, 2008) — Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa personnel took time out of their busy schedules to donate school supplies and clothing to Horsed Private School of English, Jan. 7. The 35 boxes of supplies were sent by Living Waters Foursquare Church in Mooresville, N.C., to Army Staff Sgt. Rex Hipp, 1132nd Engineering Detachment well drilling team. Hipp is a member of the church’s congregation who is currently wrapping up a one-year deployment in Djibouti.

The boxes were filled with backpacks, books, pencils, paper, shoes and clothes. “The 75 church members raised $1,500 so they could buy school supplies and clothing that would benefit the children of Djibouti,” Hipp said. Having his church make such a thoughtful gesture allows the 1132nd well drillers to make one last impact before they return to Mooresville this month.

“For the past year, when we’ve drilled and repaired wells we’ve given out flip flops and school supplies to villages near some of our well sites as another way to help the Djibouti people,” Hipp said. “Now that we’re wrapping up our deployment, it was nice to coordinate with the CJTF-HOA Chaplain’s office and the school director to donate items that will improve the students’ quality of life in a big way,” Hipp said.

Marine Sgt. Derico Cooper, CJ-6 Tactical Networking, was on hand to deliver the supplies and see firsthand just how grateful the school staff was for the gifts. “Their standard of living and educational facilities are far different than what we have in the states, so anything we can do to help them out is greatly appreciated,” Cooper said.

Hassan Mahamed, a teacher at Horsed Private School of English, said he appreciates donations from American friends. “We appreciate everything the U.S. military does for us, because a lot of the families cannot afford to buy these items, which prevents students from having the proper items for school,” Mahamed said. “It’s nice to know that their friends stateside wanted to do something nice for our students here.”

Wayne George, chief religious programs specialist, CJTF-HOA Religious Ministries Department, said donations like these represent the true spirit of America and what it truly means to do something nice for people they’ll never meet. “I have observed thousands of charitable items donated by caring Americans who expect nothing in return,” George said. “They have done it in silence without expectations of recognition because it’s not about the cost, but the smiles it will bring to the faces of the children half a world away.”

Army Staff Sgt. Lisa Dumire, 1133rd Engineering Detachment well drilling team operations non-commissioned officer-in-charge, receives a box from Hassan Mahamed, Horsed Private School of English teacher, while unloading boxes of school supplies that were donated by Living Waters Foursquare Church in Mooresville, N.C. The congregation of Living Waters sent the boxes to Army Staff Sgt. Rex Hipp, 1132nd Engineering Detachment well drilling team, who is a member of their congregation.
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Source: CJTF-HOA (and CentCom).

by U.S. Navy David-Michael Ross
CJTF-HOA.

DJIBOUTI, Horn of Africa (Jan. 11, 2008) — The surgeon cell from Combined Joint Task Force – Horn of Africa met with the Djibouti Ministry of Habitat, Urbanism and Environment, Jan. 8 to tour the base and surrounding area to see first-hand environmental concerns and address sanitation issues. According to CTJF-HOA’s outgoing force protection officer, Lt. Cmdr. Karen Corson, there are concerns about the waste management measures in place outside of the perimeter of Camp Lemonier, however long-term goals and a commitment to an action plan will eradicate any potential future environmental issues.

“This is an educational exchange of information about the environment, where we get to show them what we in the military do here on base in order to protect the Djiboutian environment while we’re here,” Corson said. “We have an opportunity to take a look at their resources and together examine ways for them to fully utilize them when it comes to their landfills and waste management.”

Ministry representative, Dr. Ammar Abdo Ahmed said that as a result of CJTF-HOA personnel playing an integral role in local humanitarian efforts, he believes this collaborative meeting will also yield many positive results when it comes to working on solutions in the area of sanitation. “This is good that we are working as a team on a medical level, by looking at all of the factors and creating a long term action plan to take care of this problem,” Ahmed said.

CTJF-HOA incoming force protection officer, Navy Lt. Nick Martin, said traditional U.S. waste management solutions do not always translate to all regions in the world. “In the states we have many resources to set up a landfill, for example, you would have incinerators and heavy machinery to roll over the trash and you just don’t have those sorts of things available here,” Martin said. He stressed the importance of continued training and finding improved methods for handling waste.

Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa works to prevent conflict, promote regional stability and protect coalition interests in east Africa and Yemen through humanitarian assistance, disaster relief, consequence management, and civic action programs. This includes medical and veterinary care, school and medical clinic construction and water development projects.

Combined Joint Task Force – Horn of Africa, Force Protection officers Lt. Nick Martin, left, Lt. Cmdr. Karen Corson and Ministry of Habitat, Urbanism and Environment, Secretary General, Aboubaker Douale Waiss visit the La Douda Waste Facility Jan. 8..

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This is a very touching article, and it is sad at the same time. Thank God for our guys.

Coalition, Afghan Soldiers save baby girl.
by Media Center Bagram
Bagram Media Center.
January 9, 2008
.

Coalition medics stabilize a 1-year-old girl who was badly burned when she fell into a fire used to heat her family’s home in the Lashkar Gah District, Helmand Province. Coalition and Afghan National Security Forces worked together to save the girl’s life and arranged her transport to another military outpost with more substantial medical capabilities. She was escorted to the new military outpost by her uncle. Photo by Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force – Afghanistan.

BAGRAM AIRFIELD, Afghanistan – ANSF and CF saved the life of a 1-year-old girl after she was badly burned falling into a fire used to heat her family’s home in Lashkar Gah District in Helmand Province. Coalition medics immediately began lifesaving efforts after her family brought her to a combined military outpost. Doctors assessed the girl’s condition and determined she was burned over 20 percent of her body, including burns to her face, arms, scalp and hands. Medics arranged for a helicopter to take the child, escorted by her uncle, to another military outpost with more medical capabilities in the nearby Washir District of Helmand Province. Doctors prepared, cleaned and dressed the baby’s burns. “While there are clinics and medical facilities in Helmand District, sometimes it is difficult for villagers in outlying areas to access that care,” explained a Coalition forces medic. “ANSF and Coalition forces were able to work together to save this little girl’s life. Even though insurgents have made life difficult for villagers in this region, ANSF are committed to providing for the well being and security of the Afghan people.”

I pray this young child lives throught this ordeal. I know the medics who worked on her certainly do, too.

Coalition troops aid Afghan students in Bagram.
by Media Center Bagram
Jan. 8, 2008

Bagram Media Center.

A Coalition servicemember chats with a young student at the Jan Qadam School, near Bagram Village, Parwan Province, Afghanistan, Jan. 6, while Haji Enr Yatullah, the school’s principal and a village elder, look on. Servicemembers brought donated winter clothes, shoes, toys and school supplies to the school to show their support for villagers.

BAGRAM AIRFIELD, Afghanistan — It was a banner day Jan. 6 for children attending the Jan Qadam School near Bagram village. Coalition troops assigned to Bagram Airfield stopped by the school, which is near the airfield, to visit with children, teachers and village elders, as well as deliver several boxes of school supplies and toys. The eight-room schoolhouse caters to more than 1,000 students daily, in three shifts. The students range in age from 5 to 15 years old. Fifteen servicemembers entered the village carrying boxes of supplies for the children.

Once they arrived at the school, village elders distributed the items to the children, boys in one classroom and girls in another. The children laughed and smiled as they received their gifts, which included notebooks, pencils, crayons and toys. Some students received new shoes and personal hygiene items.

Haji Enr Yatullah, the school’s principal and a village elder, said being good neighbors is important for the well-being of the village. “You not only help me, but you help all the villages around here,” Yatullah said. … In addition to delivering school supplies and other goods, CF met with village elders to see what other types of assistance they could provide. [Continue reading.]

Many Americans send supplies for the children, such as pencils, pens, paper, crayons, backpacks, and even clothes. If you are interested in sending something to the children, there are many organizations which you can go through. Soldiers’ Angels is a good source to find what you are for.

Corps of Engineers completes al Mahaweel clinic.
by John Connor
Jan. 9, 2008
Gulf Region Division, US Army Corps of Engineers
.

The Al Mahaweel Primary Healthcare Clinic in Babil Province was recently completed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Gulf Region Division South district.

BABIL PROVINCE, Iraq — Work is complete on a primary healthcare center at al Mahaweel in Babil Province. The facility was constructed for about $1 million under two construction contracts and five non-construction contacts, according to Robin Parks, health sector program manager for the Gulf Region South District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. GRS does construction and reconstruction work in the nine southern provinces of Iraq. The money for the clinic was provided under the Iraq Relief and Reconstruction Fund. The non-construction contracts provided medical equipment, plus installation and training, as well as electrical generators, furniture and office equipment, Parks said. [Continue reading.]

Our guys and gals are doing so many good works that go unnoticed by the dinosaur media day in and day out, it makes me wonder if they truly want us to win. Just thinking, ya know?

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The US Central Command has changed their layout, so I can now give you the link. Before, you would have had to move your mouse from side to side along the bottom of the screen to read the articles. Now it looks fantastic! (That reminds me, I have to change my link!) Here we go:

Afghan Commandos graduate Armorer Training Program.
by Media Center Bagram
Jan. 7, 2008
Bagram Media Center
.

An Afghan National Army Commando weapons specialist, attending the inaugural Commando Armorer Training Program, demonstrates the proper procedures to clean, inspect and reassemble an M-240B machine gun. After graduating the eight-week course, armorers are responsible for the complete inventory and maintenance of all special equipment assigned to their Commando Kandak.

POL-E-CHARKI, Afghanistan — Eight ANA weapons specialists graduated from the first-ever Commando Armorer Training Program this month. They were taught how to use the unique specialties of a Commando sqaud. It was an eight-week course, and they learned how to use special weapons, become armorers, learn how to inspect, repair and reassemble all weapons systems used by the Commando Kandaks (battalions). [Continue reading.]

Very educational, indeed!

Iranian boats approach U.S. Navy ships.
by U.S. Fifth Fleet Public Affairs
January 8, 2008
US Naval Forces Central Command
.

A small Iranian boat approaches a U.S. Navy ship in the Persian Gulf. (From Defense Department Video).

BAHRAIN (NNS) — Following a routine transit through the Strait of Hormuz Jan. 6, three U.S. Navy ships operating in international waters in the Persian Gulf were approached by five Iranian small boats that demonstrated irresponsible confrontational behavior near the U.S. ships. [Continue reading.]

If you want to hear more bs on why we didn’t blow them to smitherines, go ahead and read it. Yes, I am still pissed. Those are our men and women on those ships. Can anyone say, “USS Cole”?

The Strait of Hormuz is international water, at least where we were. We should not have had to give them several warnings. That is counted as cowardice. They should get one warning and if that is not adhered to, they should have been blown up. PERIOD. Who would challenge us for protecting our people? DO YOU REALLY FREAKIN’ CARE THAT MUCH ABOUT OPINIONS? Well, I CARE ABOUT OUR LIVES. So stuff it.

Marines train Iraqi Soldiers for battlefield success.
by USMC Billy Hall
Jan. 08, 2008
MNF-I
.

In this file photo, Iraqi Soldiers with 2nd Brigade, 7th Iraqi Division practice clearing a building at Camp Al Asad, Aug. 18. Marines from 4th Reconnaissance Battalion, 4th Marine Division were working with the Iraqi Soldiers to teach them close quarters combat. The U.S. Marine Corps remains committed to training the Iraqi Soldiers to one day stand on their own. Photo by Cpl. Shane Keller, Joint Combat Camera Center.

QAIM, Iraq — Iraqi Soldiers are learning to fight and win on the battlefield with a little help from the U.S. Marines. Soldiers from 1st Battalion, 3rd Brigade, 7th Iraqi Army Division, are not only are engaged in a constant training cycle with Marines at Combat Outpost North; they are excelling at it. In the brisk winter breeze, Military Transition Team members partnered with Marines from Weapons Company, 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, integrated key Iraqi Soldiers into their execution of several reactionary drills.

The Iraqi Soldiers observed and then participated in immediate-action and break-contact drills with the Marines so they could, in turn, teach their junior Soldiers the same tactics and procedures. [Continue reading.]

Things appear to be coming along pretty smoothly when the Marines show up. 😉

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Source: CentCom.

by Norris Jones
Jan. 7 2008
.

BAGHDAD, Iraq – Extensive renovations will soon be complete at one of Sadr City’s major hospitals in east Baghdad. Al Baladi Maternity and Children’s Hospital initially opened in 1982 and during the following two decades little was spent on routine maintenance, said Iraqi Project Engineer Mohammad Attar, who oversees the hospital’s upgrade for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. “During Saddam’s time, patients there had to tolerate 100-degree-plus interior temperatures because the air conditioning system was broke,” he explained.

The $12 million, three-year renovation included the installation of four new chillers, four cooling towers and four new boilers. “Those improvements helped the elderly and infants, who have little tolerance for heat and cold. The hospital is now able to maintain a comfortable interior temperature in both summer and winter,” Attar noted. Other improvements include an oxygen plant, central vacuum system, nurse call system, intercom paging system, data communications network, new toilets and showers, new exhaust system to remove unhealthy air, new generator for emergency power, medical waste incinerator, and new water purification system.

The medical staff of eight doctors and thirty nurses is treating five times the number of sick people they saw prior to the renovation. They’re seeing 150 to 200 patients daily, 80 percent of which are children. Their obstetric department is delivering 30 to 40 newborns every day. “One of their main goals is reducing the infant mortality rate and the new equipment is making a difference,” Attar said. The two-story hospital has a bed capacity for 200 patients.

More than 100 Iraqis have been part of the construction crew. They installed a new roof, put in new plumbing and electrical, rebuilt the physicians’ family-size apartments, added a new cafeteria area and kitchen, new lighting, new plastering, redid all the floors and ceilings, new surgical theater suite and x-ray equipment.

“It’s truly rewarding to know we’ve helped some of the poorest people in Baghdad,” Attar said. “They were tolerating absolutely horrible conditions. The toilets were overflowing, the air was stagnant, the medical equipment was outdated and much of it didn’t work. Despite ongoing insurgency threats, the contractor kept making steady progress. Today, Sadr City families have a modern facility and access to equipment that was simply not available three years ago. We’re all proud to have been a part of the effort.”

An Iraqi woman cares for her child at a newly renovated hospital in Sadr City, Baghdad. (U.S. Army photo).

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Source: CentCom.

30 November 2007
Staff Sgt. Mary Flynn
Army News Service
.

WASHINGTON – Like many Soldiers deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan, Soldiers from the Oregon National Guard’s 2nd Battalion, 162nd Infantry brought their personal cameras to Iraq during their deployment in 2004. They snapped photos of each other firing weapons, shot video of explosives they detonated and logged plenty of footage of their own commentaries intermixed with Soldier humor.

But they never expected that their day-to-day antics would one day represent deployed National Guard Soldiers everywhere, preserved in a feature-length documentary film called “This is War: Memories of Iraq.”

The National Combat History Archive and Lucky Forward Films used the unscripted testimonies of nine Soldiers of varying ranks and experiences to narrate the events. Photos and video they shot with their own personal cameras illustrate their experiences.

“We wanted to make a very non-political film that took someone who’s never been to Iraq … to show what it means to go into combat,” said the film’s director, Gary Mortensen. “We told it in a non-specific way so that it could represent Soldiers everywhere – we wanted to tell a tale that anyone who has been over there can identify with.”

Mr. Mortensen added that the unique thing about the film is that these Soldiers had their own personal recording devices on hand, giving an intimate view of what they saw on a daily basis. The Soldiers had no idea any of it would be turned into a film, so the result is a very honest and raw portrait of their experiences.

“It’s very powerful,” said Sgt. 1st Class Phillip “Vince” Jacques, one of the Soldiers featured in the film. “It really represents the professionalism of these guys and shows exactly what troops are going through over there. They’re the ones fighting the war. You might as well hear their story.”

Present at various screenings of the film, Sgt. 1st Class Jacques noticed that the audience’s reaction was often one of awe. “Whether they support the war or not, they come away with a whole different view of what Soldiers are doing over there,” he said.

National audiences are also beginning to take notice. “This is War” won the Audience Choice Award and Best Documentary at the Idaho International Film Festival, and received the Jury Award: Best Documentary at the Florida International Media Market. It also took home awards for best documentary and best director at the Sweet Onion Film Festival in Walla Walla, Wash.

Unfortunately, the film isn’t available in local video stores yet; Mr. Mortensen explained that they are working on the film’s distribution and broadcast rights. It can be purchased by calling (503) 597-7030 or by checking out the Web site at http://www.luckyforwardfilms.com.

According to the site, all sales of the film help support the Fallen Soldiers Relief Fund, the National Combat History Archive, the Iraq/Afghanistan Oregon Memorial Fund and the Wounded Warriors Project, a non-profit organization that helps injured servicemembers by providing programs and services to meet their unique needs.

Photo – The National Combat History Archive and Lucky Forward Films used the unscripted testimonies of nine Oregon National Guard Soldiers of varying ranks and experiences to narrate the events of the film “This is War: Memories of Iraq.” Photos and video the Soldiers shot with their own personal cameras illustrate their experiences. (Contributed Photo).

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