Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Good News from Iraq: 20 Nov 2007

From MNF-I, Half-Ton Weapons Cache Found, Destroyed Following Iraqi Citizens’ Tip.

FORWARD OPERATING BASE KALSU — U.S. troops uncovered and destroyed a weapons cache containing seven pressure plates Nov. 16 and 17 in the area of Mahdiryia. The plates are used to detonate a form of improvised explosive device (IED) that is specifically targeted against Coalition and Iraqi troops on foot patrol.

The cache find was the first indication of these “dismounted” IEDs being used in the area of Mahdiryia. They are already heavily used by al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) the communities of Hawr Rajab and Arab Jabour to the north.

Soldiers from Battery B, 1st Battalion, 9th Field Artillery (FA) Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, out of Fort Stewart, Ga., were led to the weapons cache by a member of the Concerned Local Citizens group in the vicinity of Patrol Base W-1.

The commander of Battery B, 1-9th FA Regt. said this is the first time he’s seen this type of IED, one specifically designed to target foot patrols.

“We haven’t had any sign of dismounted IEDs,” Capt. Dave Underwood, from Harrison, Ark., said. “But I knew I’d see them soon.”

The cache was hidden outside a small farm house. In addition to the pressure plates, there were a dozen 120 mm mortars, one 82 mm mortar, a 60 mm mortar system with firing tube and base plate, a bag of mortar fins, and a DSHKA high-caliber machine gun.

Getting the IED-making material out of an area known for insurgent activity made the mission a success, said the Soldiers of Battery B.

“IEDs are the biggest killers in Iraq,” said Staff Sgt. Ronald Satterwhite, a Glenville, Ga. native. Getting the pressure plates was the best part of the find, he said.

“You took over a thousand pounds of weapons out of the hands of al-Qaeda,” 1st Lt. Blake Faller, from Long Island, N.Y., told his platoon after the mission.

Two other caches were discovered by U.S. Soldiers Nov. 16, again through the assistance of a Concerned Local Citizens group.

The first consisted of one rocket propelled grenade round. It was found by Soldiers of Company D, 1st Battalion, 30th Infantry Regiment, 2nd BCT, 3rd Inf. Div.

The second included five 60 mm mortars and one 155 mm artillery round. It was located by Paratroopers of Troop A, 1st Squadron, 40th Cavalry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team (Airborne) 25th Infantry Division, out of Fort Richardson, Alaska.

The munitions found in all caches were destroyed in controlled detonations by explosive ordnance disposal teams.