The following are official releases from the Army:
2-3 RECEIVES COMBAT PATCH
Written by Sgt. Dennis Gravelle, 138th MPAD
MOSUL, Iraq (August 28, 2006) –During a combat patch ceremony held at Forward Operating Base Marez, Mosul, Iraq, Soldiers from 2nd Battalion, 3rd Infantry Regiment received the 3rd Infantry Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Inf. Division combat patch.
The value of the patch is recognized as a means of building morale, camaraderie, and solidarity. Soldiers received the patch for their participation in combat operations during Operation Iraqi Freedom.
“Since WWI, the Indian Head patch of the 2nd Inf. Div. has marked an American warrior,” said Col. Steven Townsend, commander, 3rd SBCT, 2nd Inf. Div. “Since WWII, the Indian head patch on the right sleeve marked a combat veteran.”
The evolution of the insignia began in March 1918, during WWI when vehicle markings were requested for division vehicles to identify themselves from French traffic in the Verdun sector of the front. An Indian head, painted red, and a war bonnet, painted blue, were stenciled on all 2nd division vehicles.
Maj. Gen John Lejeune, USMC, commander of the unit until 1918 proposed an Indian head embodied on a white star.
The Indian head would then be copied from that of the head of a five dollar coin. Lejeune justified the insignia by stating that the design had been used in the division for some time and had already been painted on all the transportation in the division. In November 1918, the division was given approval to wear the Indian head patch.
Most of the insignia used by the U.S. Army is based on historic facts or on some attribute of the organization concerned. All symbols, whether animals, birds or inanimate objects must face the honorable side or appear in full face. This is a carry over from the Middle Ages, when a Knight defended with his sword in his right hand.
After WWII, wearing of a unit patch on the right shoulder was approved to denote service in combat with that unit.
“Today, and forever more you are combat veterans of the 2nd Inf. Div,” said Townsend. “Be proud of that.”
COMBINED FORCES PROVIDE MEDICAL AID
by 2nd Brigade Combat Team Public Affairs
BAGHDAD, Aug. 30, 2006 — Soldiers from the 1st Brigade, 6th Iraqi Army Division, along with U.S. Army soldiers from the 1st Battalion, 23rd Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division, attached to 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division, Multi-National Division – Baghdad (MND-B), provided medical treatment to residents of Ghazaliya during Operation Ghazaliya Aid.
The medical operation in the Baghdad neighborhood attracted nearly 200 residents, who were treated for a variety of medical conditions.
“The medical operation was a great event that helped a lot of people in Ghazaliya,” said U.S. Army Capt. Robert Callaghan. “It showed what could be accomplished by the neighborhood
council, Iraqi police and the National police, when they work together in the best interest of the people.”
Iraqi army medical personnel, supported by MND-B soldiers, treated each person who waited in line and referred future medical concerns to the Ghazaliya Primary Care Clinic, which recently reopened in the neighborhood.
Along with medical aid, the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) and MND-B soldiers worked to build support and cooperation with the local population. Sgt. 1st Class Cesar Valdez, HHC, was among the MND-B soldiers who worked with the ISF as Ghazaliya residents waited to receive medical care.
“The Iraqi Security Forces were instrumental in managing the long line of residents who showed up to take advantage of this opportunity,” said Valdez.
This just arrived from the office of Congressman Adam Smith (D-WA). It references Capt. James Yee, a former chaplain at Fort Lewis and Olympia, Wa. resident.
Smith, Honda Urge Department of Defense to Complete Yee Investigation
Washington, D.C. – U.S. Reps. Adam Smith (WA-09) and Mike Honda (CA-15) today submitted a letter to Thomas F. Gimble, Acting Inspector General for the Department of Defense, requesting a quick completion of the investigation into the Army’s treatment of Captain James Yee. Yee was arrested in 2003 on espionage charges and held in solitary confinement for 76 days, only to be released and honorably discharged from service.
Smith and Honda, along with Reps. Ike Skelton (MO-04), and Vic Snyder (AR-02), requested in June 2004 that the Department of Defense investigate the Army’s treatment of Yee. The department began an investigation in December 2004. The Defense Department has still not completed its inquiry despite repeated requests by Members of Congress for an expeditious resolution.
“Our servicemembers deserve to be treated fairly by the Department of Defense. Captain Yee’s arrest, incarceration, and release raise serious questions as to whether the department follows its own rules when troops are accused of a crime,” Smith said. “The Department of Defense needs to conclude its inquiry into this matter as quickly as possible. This investigation has already taken too long.”
Below is a copy the letter that Smith and Honda sent to Acting Inspector General Gimble.
August 31, 2006
Thomas F. Gimble
Acting Inspector General
Department of Defense
400 Army Navy Drive
Arlington, VA 22202-4704
Dear Mr. Gimble:
We write to urge you to complete, as expeditiously as possible, your office’s evaluation of the Army’s handling of the criminal investigation of Army Chaplain, Captain James Yee.
As you know, in September 2003 Captain Yee was arrested on suspicion of espionage and other treasonous conduct, later charged with separate crimes, held in solitary confinement for 76 days, and ultimately released, with all criminal charges dropped. Captain Yee was later honorably discharged from the Army in January 2005.
Due to the unusual facts surrounding Captain Yee’s case, in June 2004 we requested that your office investigate the Army’s handling of the case to determine whether Captain Yee was treated appropriately and in accordance with applicable military regulations, policies and procedures. In December 2004, your office initiated such an evaluation.
We write to inquire as to the status of the evaluation and to urge your office to complete it in a timely manner. A recent written update from your office indicated that the evaluation is still ongoing, and gave no target completion date. In response to earlier telephone inquiries from our offices, your staff had indicated that the evaluation would be completed during the spring of 2006. Most recently, your staff indicated that there has been a delay in the evaluation and that the new tentative target completion date is mid-October 2006.
We hope that you will be able to complete this evaluation expeditiously and meet this October 2006 target completion date. The completion of a fair and thorough investigation is critical not only to bring closure to Captain Yee’s case, but to ensure the integrity of our military justice system.
Thank you for your continued work on this matter. We look forward to the results of your evaluation.
The PX on Ft Lewis is planning a variety of Labor Day events and sales, starting with Dollar Days on September 1, (things like two tee-shirts for $10.) Additionally, there will be bargains all around the store for the whole family, not just the back-to-school crowd. For the gamer excited about football, Madden NFL 7 is in stock, the prospective hunter will find a huge hunting sale, and the tired homemaker may be relieved to see the 10 percent off appliances going on at the same time the Serta mattresses are on sale. Additionally, Aafes has school supply lists available, and a wide variety of back-to-school items. Sunday, September 3 will be capped off with the Brother Bear II DVD release party featuring the Radio Disney AM 1250 performance group, who’ll get crowds moving as well as listening between 12 and 2 pm at the Main Store. – Jessica Corey-Butler
I was out today with SFC Benjamin Hanner, SSgt. Jon Hilliard, Sgt. Stephen Thompson, Sgt. Pili Masaniai and Sgt. Christopher Mathison on a small arms range. Their purpose was to train Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) members on marksmanship; mine was to take a closer look at the training the Iraqis receive.
As I watched, I learned a great deal about the AK-47, the weapon of choice for both the ISF and the insurgents. It appears to be quite durable; it uses a 7.62 round; and it has a rather hard, flat sound when fired. It also has weak points, and one of the more obvious ones to me is that the AK-47 is a very difficult weapon to make sight adjustments on.
At one point, Masaniai and Hanner used a hammer to make the sight adjustment.
That’s right, a hammer.
Anyway, the ISF continued to zero in their weapons and learn shooting techniques from Hanner and his team. Most of the Iraqis proved to be pretty good shots. “They are just like us,” said Hilliard. “Some shoot really well; others aren’t quite as good,” he added.
As the morning drew to a close (and as it started to really warm up), Hilliard turned to me and said, “You want to give it a try?”
He didn’t have to repeat the question.
I locked and loaded the weapon, took a standing position and aimed at a target 25 meters away. Fifteen rounds later, I was done.
Eight of the rounds found the black; the other seven were right next to it.
Must have been the sight adjustment made with a hammer that made me miss seven times.
When soldiers want to have a respite from their duties here at FOB Marez, they can do so at the Community Activity Center, or CAC, as it is called.
I found the CAC quite by accident; I wanted to get a few books to read when I wasn’t writing. I asked around, and I got directions from Capt. Anthony Gore, HHC, 5th Battalion, 20th Infantry Regiment. About 15 minutes later, I found myself in the middle of a surprise.
The CAC is a really nice place.
It’s large, well-lighted, clean and open 24/7. And soldiers are treated to the following:
A 475-seat theater, which shows movies every night. Thousands of books to read. Four pool tables Three ping pong tables Two Foos Ball tables An Internet café A stage for a band A TV room Dozen of board games Comfortable seats and couches A section where video games can be played Various types of tournaments (from cards to pool to dominoes) Arabic language classes Country/Western Music nights Gospel Music nights
“This is a place where soldiers can come and be in activities which make them feel a bit closer to home,” said Monica Smith, a MWR technician. “It’s just a good place to relax,” she added.
I mentioned a moment ago that the CAC has tournaments, and one type of tournament has to do with playing cards. And that reminded me of something I’ve been meaning to write about.
Happy Days Casino in Lakewood treated me royally when it learned that I would be in Iraq covering 3rd Brigade, 2nd ID. Steve Brizer, Geoffrey Flores and Jay Jupiter made it quite clear to me that they support the troops and what they do. To that end, they offered to cover any incidental expenses I might incur while traveling to and from Iraq.
Knowing that a hotel room in Kuwait could cost $350.00 and higher per night, I didn’t hesitate to take the casino up on its generous offer.
I might also add that when I served as a Lakewood City Council member, I found the casinos to be some of the best civic-minded businesses in the city.
Happy Days Casino puts its money where its beliefs are; the business supports your soldiers through my stories and images, and I think that is commendable.
“Hey Fort Lewis, send us some rain!” Spc. Phil Lang, Spc. Robert Logue, Sgt. Jason Diehl, SSgt Carlos Ruiz, Spc. Ebbie Jones, Pfc. Matt Andrews, Sgt. Ronald Madamba, and Spc. Kyle Laney
“Please continue to send ‘care packages;’ they do more for morale than you know.” Chaplain Gary Lane
Spc. Robert Johnson and Spc. David Johnson are not related; both serve in B Company, 5th Battalion, 20th Infantry Regiment. The double image of their caps amidst the plastic bottles was provocative.
– J.M. Simpson