Paratroopers of 1st Squadron, 40th Cavalry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, Fort Richardson, Alaska, position themselves on the rooftop of a hasty observation post south of Hawr Rajab. The Paratroopers observed a firefight between insurgents and a concerned citizens' checkpoint. Photo by Sgt. Luis Delgadillo, 2nd BCT, 3rd Inf. Div. BAGHDAD
Paratroopers of 1st Squadron, 40th Cavalry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, Fort Richardson, Alaska, position themselves on the rooftop of a hasty observation post south of Hawr Rajab. The Paratroopers observed a firefight between insurgents and a concerned citizens' checkpoint. Photo by Sgt. Luis Delgadillo, 2nd BCT, 3rd Inf. Div.
BAGHDAD— Coalition forces saw a possible glimpse of the future in Hawr Rajab recently, when they observed Concerned Local Citizens (CLC) at a checkpoint come under attack from insurgents, defend themselves, and then receive reinforcements from Iraqi Army troops, Oct. 31.
Paratroopers of Troop A, 1st Squadron, 40th Cavalry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team (Airborne), 25th Infantry Division, Fort Richardson, Alaska, currently attached to 2nd BCT, 3rd Inf. Div., Fort Stewart, Ga., observed the event from a rooftop.
Everything kicked off with a bang.
Paratroopers were en route to the concerned citizens’ southern-most checkpoint just outside of Hawr Rajab, when their casual conversations were shattered by the thunderous sound of a mortar landing nearby. The Paratroopers moved into a building to avoid any potential threats. From inside, Paratroopers began to hear bursts of small arms fire coming from the south. “Get to the roof, go, go,” one Paratrooper shouted.
In a flurry of movement, they ascended the stairs to the second floor and in seconds they were on top of the action, weapons drawn and at the ready. The momentary confusion of the gunfight cleared up as soon as communication was established with the checkpoint.
Initial reports from concerned citizens indicated the insurgents were attacking from a position behind a canal, approximately 400 meters from the checkpoint.
As 1-40th Cav. Regt. troops saw the events unfold, 1st Lt. Daniel L. Doverspike, a platoon leader for Troop A, contacted the Iraqi Army (IA) troop commanders in the area. He asked IA commanders to move the tanks belonging to the newly arrived IA mechanized company into position and assist the concerned citizens at the checkpoint.
When the tanks arrived, they engaged the enemy forces, alongside their concerned citizen counterparts.
Soon an Apache attack helicopter air weapons team from 1st Battalion, 3rd Aviation Regiment, 3rd Combat Aviation Brigade, arrived on site and was scouring the nearby canals for enemy forces.
The insurgents retreated after a 45-minute ‘cat and mouse’ game with IA and concerned citizens, which resulted in no injuries.
The determination and team work of the IA and concerned citizens showed Paratroopers that both groups could work together effectively.
Spc. Charley Stetson, an infantryman with 1-40th Cav. Regt. said he felt his unit had done a good job of rooting out insurgents in the area around Entry Control Point 20, but the addition of concerned citizens and now the IA has helped the security situation.
Their actions during the insurgent attack gave insight into the growing relationship between the two groups.
Stetson, a native of Falmouth, Maine, said the IA’s resources add much to the concerned citizens’ capabilities and the concerned citizens add much to the IA’s knowledge of the area.
“It’s like the best of both worlds,” he said.
Capt. Frederick B. Giles, effects coordinator for the military transition team assigned to the 5th Battalion, 4th Brigade, 6th Iraqi Army Division said the concerned citizens were happy about the Iraqi troops moving into the area and assisting with security.
“I haven’t sensed any tension between the CLC leadership and the IA leadership,” said Giles, a native of Honolulu.
The good relationships developing between the concerned citizens, the IA and Coalition forces in the urban farming community of Hawr Rajab may signal the beginning of a community with a secure future.
(Story by Sgt. Luis Delgadillo, 2nd BCT, 3rd Inf. Div)
In Other Recent Developments around Iraq: