Friday, June 22, 2007

Iraqi Update

I got this letter in my email today from some friends of military families with sons serving in Iraq. In it, Lieutenant Colonel Malcolm Frost describes some of the challenges faced by his troops only a month ago. He also recounts the military and economic successes they have achieved. The mainstream media refuse to report anything past "x number killed." In fact, many positive strides are being made by some of the best citizens our country has to offer.

15 June 07

Dear Night Raider Families and Loved Ones,

As I'm sure you know by now, the end of May was a tough month for the Night Raidersas we had 6 Soldiers seriously wounded and lost CPL Casey Zylman-all while serving their nation here in Iraq. Each of them and their families has made a tremendous sacrifice and I ask that you keep them in your thoughts and prayers.

After a series of catastrophic IEDs, your Night Raiders struck back hard against the enemy. Blackfoot Troop supported by Kiowa Warrior (KW) attack helicopters and Air Force F16s interdicted and destroyed a violent IED cell in their area of operations.
After the initial contact where elements of Blackfoot Troop engaged and destroyed an enemy vehicle and disabled a second with lethal machine gun fire, KWs were brought in to disable the third, and finally 2x 500lb laser guided bombs finished off any remnants of the enemy and their bomb making equipment. Within days, elements of Comanche Troop in support of the Iraqi Army took down a second deadly IED cell and captured those responsible for the death of our brother, CPL Zylman.

The net result is that we have the new enemy threat on its heels and on the run. The pressure is on them and this has also resulted in different factions of the enemy fighting against each other for the remnants of resources and territory. Additionally, elements of the Fire Support platoon (FIST) in Hellfighter Troop captured one of the leading financiers of terrorist activities in Western Nineveh. The Squadron staff has worked hard to develop plans against these threats and the Troops have endured a higher operational tempo to execute the long, continuous operations that have netted these successes against the enemy.

Additionally, Apache Troop has had tremendous success stemming the flow of insurgents, terrorists, and foreign fighters in Rabiah and at the Port of Entry (POE) between Syria and Iraq. The insurgents have been so frustrated that they cannot easily cross this once porous entry and exit point that they have tried to strike back. We anticipated our success would cause dire attempts by the enemy, and less than a week ago they tried to attack the POE and Combat Outpost Heider with dual Suicide Truck-Borne Improvised Explosive Devices (STBIED = Truck Bomb) each carrying 3,000 pounds of explosives. Apache Troop's force protection and coordination with local Iraqi Security Forces resulted in the Iraqi Police defeating one of the trucks at a check point and the other having to divert to another target where it was also defeated. Unfortunately, the 2 hero IPs that stopped the first truck were killed in the blast as were 3 other IP and 5 civilians. No Night Raiders were wounded in the attack.

While your Night Raiders have been involved with more engagements with the enemy, we have also made significant progress in the areas of economics, governance, and reconstruction. We recently began a micro-grant program for small businesses in Tal'Afar through the Economic Business Center and funded start up costs for 9 businesses. These businesses include a sports store, potato chip factory, coffee and ice cream shop, electronics store, cell phone store, and farming equipment.

This year's harvest of barley and wheat is set to surpass last year's mark by 25-30% due to Apache Troop's success with ensuring irrigation canal networks and pump stations were operational in the Rabiah region. The Sinjar Water Project, a $17 million dollar project to provide irrigation and drinking water to a vast part of our region is on schedule and very soon we will be conducting the opening of the first phase of this project in Sinjar proper.

Additionally, Baghdad and the central government of Iraq have finally released $29 million of the $37 million in Reconstruction Funds promised to Tal'Afar 18 months ago. The money is at the Provincial level and work has begun between the Tal'Afar City Council, City Directors, and the Deputy Governors of Nineveh (Mosul) to jump start the projects that began over a year ago and start bidding, contracting, and funding the remainder of the outstanding projects. Very soon we hope to see contracts, jobs, and long awaited reconstruction in the city of Tal'Afar.

We also continue to repair many bridges and culverts that the insurgency has blown up to try to isolate the population bases, instill fear in the populace, and undermine the credibility of the local governance and security forces. Along with these repairs, we continue to "bridge the gap" with last mile projects for the people to include electricity projects hooking up villages to the national grid, drinking water wells for outlying villages, paving roads, and building facilities for the government such as the Tal'Afar City Council building, Tal'Afar library, and Joint Coordination Centers for the hub cities. These are just a few of the many projects we manage every day on behalf of both the US taxpayer and the Iraqi people. We go to great lengths to QA/QC each project every step of the way and ensure they are done correctly. This month will see several landmark grand openings of some of these facilities and the funding for many others to include the Tal'Afar Today newspaper and a Media Center for Western Nineveh. To date, your Night Raiders have completed over 100 projects for the Iraqis totally over $10 million.

Every day I see progress in Western Nineveh in each of our lines of effort: Security, Transition, Governance, Economics, and Communication. While we will not reach our desired end state in each prior to our departure in a few months, we have made very real, visible progress that will set the conditions for the unit that follows us and provide the framework for the Iraqis to progress, eventually on their own, toward the prosperous future of their choosing.

Prepared and Loyal!!

Lieutenant Colonel, Infantry


Mark said...

This is a great example of the caliber of our armed forces personnel. Bravo Colonel Frost!

Why don't we hear about these successes on the dinosaur media (ABC/NBC/CBS/NPR, etc.)? The reason is that it might offer some encouragement to the people of the nation--and make no mistake about it--they cannot allow that! Their very existence, their systems, their ways of life are based upon failure in Iraq. In order for them to succeed, the US must lose. Harry Reid has already stated publicly that the war is lost! Now there's a shining example of a democrat statesman for you.

Philip said...

I wish that, at the very minimum, they would report ENEMY deaths alongside the reporting of US military deaths. They don't want us to know the score because, guess what... WE ARE WINNING! The New Media have at least delivered us from the Vietnam-era monopoly on unfavorable reporting...

Anonymous said...

colonel frost is an idiot. we weren't supposed to be out the night CPL Zylman got killed. it was a mission being done by engineers and he stuck his nose in it. i'm not saying one of the engineers should have died instead because they have the equipment necessary to locate IED's. They more than likely would have seen it coming and dealt with it how they felt was necessary. all i'm saying is that in this article he makes us look good, which i like, but he takes absolutley no responsibility for his actions (actions = sending out 2nd platoon a troop 3-4 cavalry). we did not serve a purpose in that mission, nor did that mission have anything to do with the security of iraq or the united states for that matter. frost was trying to make his evaluation look better by sticking one of his platoons in a mission. so thank you colonel frost for making our lives a living hell for the rest of our lives.