Silent, dark ……..a bit chilly, then the most annoying sound you can imagine blaring in my ear. The alarm clock! Strategically, I smack it down but its china made plastic makes it durable as only for it to roll under my rack and continue to blare its annoying noise. I get moving stand up………..Crump! A single mortar round impacts close enough to rattle my hooch, with the glass rattling. Silence………maybe it was a single round as they like to shoot and scoot and Im counting seconds to my self to measure flight time, one thousand one one thousand two. Perhaps it was a single…….. Crump, Crump two more impacts hit. Freaking great we are being bracketed. Sound of friendly fast movers gets louder as counter artillery responds and wakes everyone up that may still be asleep. Crump, crump, crump, more impacts, GRAND! they are firing for affect but not hitting a damn thing because they hear the jets and aren’t firing accurately because they are trying to run away (typical). Small arms fire erupts off in the distance. Possibly eyes on the mortarmen. Distinct AK and RPK Russian machine gun is heard. Thumping American 50 caliber is answering back. Now two 50 Cals begin their supportive firing suppression. A distant explosion of an IED is heard as US troops are obviously in pursuit of the insurgents and they try to kill us with left behind IEDs. Jets still swarming up above. 50 cal is sporadic now, no more foreign machine gun fire is heard. Most likely eliminated. I go out side to evaluate the nearby gunfight and see a great sunrise, its amazing how this place can be so attractive yet so dangerous.
Not far from us, U.S. Soldiers from the 4th Squadron, 14th Cavalry Regiment call to let us know the discovered three car bombs and detained nine possible insurgents west of Rawah today after their patrol was attacked by a suicide bomber.
At approximately 1 p.m., two cars approached the mounted patrol. As the patrol neared, one vehicle sped off while the other stopped and waited for the Soldiers to get closer. The driver of the stationary vehicle detonated explosives hidden in his car resulting in his death. There were no casualties or damages reported as a result of the attack to any Soldiers. Soldiers then pursued the second car into a wadi where they found the car abandoned. In a search of the area, three other car bombs were discovered and nine suspected insurgents were detained.
Iraqi Army soldiers and U.S. Marines, Sailors and Soldiers began operations near Hit in the Hai Al Becker region.
The aim of the operation is to clear the region of al-Qaeda in Iraq-led insurgents and establish a secure environment for the upcoming National Elections, Dec. 15. Approximately 500 Iraqi Army soldiers from 2nd Brigade, 7th Iraqi Army Division and 1,500 Marines and Sailors from the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit along with 500 Soldiers from 2nd Battalion-114th Field Artillery Regiment are conducting Operation Matraqa Hadidia (Iron Hammer) east of Hit, approximately 170 km from Baghdad.
The Hai Al Becker region is suspected to be an al-Qaeda in Iraq safe area and base of operations for the manufacture of vehicle car bombs, roadside bombs. It is also believed to be a stopping point for insurgents, as they transit the ‘rat lines’ down the Euphrates River from Syria into the interior of Iraq.
In early July, Iraqi and U.S. Forces established long-term security presence in the city of Hit during Operation Saif (Sword). During Saif, few insurgents were located; however, a score of weapons caches have been discovered in the region.
Operation Iron Hammer will clear the area on the eastern side of the Euphrates River, an area not typically patrolled by Iraqi and U.S. Forces.
Routine updates concerning Operation Iron Hammer will be provided as additional information becomes available.
The picture attached is from a weapons cache recently found near us.
Kicking butt and taking names!