Mar 31, 2008

Army - Insurgents fighting

Cavalry unit responds to extremist activity

By Staff Sgt. Sean Riley, 3rd HBCT, 3rd Inf. Div. PAO

FORWARD OPERATING BASE HAMMER, Iraq – Soldiers from 3rd Squadron, 1st Cavalry Regiment and Iraqi Security Forces combated an increase in violence in and around Jisr Diyala, a town east of Baghdad, March 26- 28.

On March 26, 3-1st Cav. Regt. Soldiers were engaged by small-arms fire from an estimated 20 extremists. During the days following, extremist activity increased, leading to AH-64 Apache attack helicopters from the 3rd Combat Aviation Brigade engaging five extremists in the early hours of March 28. During the three-day period, 11 extremists were killed, five wounded and another 23 detained by Iraqi National Police.

“We have seen a significant increase in enemy activity in the last two days in Jisr Diyala,” said Maj. David Guthrie, from Hampton, Va., operations officer for 3-1st Cav. Regt. “Two days ago, we had patrols involved in a sustained small-arms and rocket-propelled grenade engagements.”

Guthrie was involved in a firefight with extremists on the north side of Jisr Diyala March 27 while on a combat patrol. “We were stopping to talk with the men at Sons of Iraq and National Police checkpoints,” he said. “We had received reports that the extremists were driving around with weapons telling the men at the checkpoints to throw down their arms and desert their posts or face being attacked.”

Caught in a cross-fire, Guthrie and his patrol called for assistance. Soon, U.S. Army attack helicopters and fighter aircraft were assisting the patrol, while the NP cleared the extremists from an adjacent palm grove, Guthrie said.

In a separate incident during the early-morning hours of March 28, five men were observed acting suspiciously in the city. Attack aviation pilots conducted a further reconnaissance and determined hostile intent. The attack helicopters engaged the men, killing all five.

“During the three days of fighting in Jisr Diyala, the ISF and Sons of Iraq held their ground and took the fight to the enemy,” said Maj. Dave Fivecoat, from Delaware, Ohio, the 3rd HBCT operations officer. “I’ve been encouraged by our ISF and SoI partners’ determination to stop the violence.”

The 3-1st Cav. Regt., is assigned to the 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, from Fort Benning, Ga., and has been deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom since March 2007.

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