(I Corps release) – The 4th Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division
(Stryker Brigade Combat Team) will conduct a mission rehearsal exercise
with Observer Controllers from the Joint Readiness Training Center, Fort
Polk, La., in preparation for deployment to Iraq starting Feb. 4.
The entire post - training areas, main post, the Logistics Center and
North Fort - will be used.
The 4/2 SBCT headquarters and its subordinate battalions will be
establishing forward operating bases (FOBs) across post and will be
conducting missions from them. These may include traffic control points
and search operations which may cause delays to traffic on post.
However, delays should only be temporary.
Motorists who use 7th Regiment Road, which is located between East
Gate Road and Transmission Line Road, to enter post will need to change
their route from Feb 2 -7 due to the road being closed for training.
To help traffic flow, 4th Division Drive will not be closed for morning
physical training and is open to normal traffic during the Feb. 2 - 7
Communities around Fort Lewis should also be prepared to experience
an increase in noise due to the training.
This training will be conducted in several phases over the first
two weeks of February. Pre-rotation classes dealing with Iraqi cultural
awareness, IED awareness and equipment classes will occur Feb. 2-3, with
squad tactical exercises (STXs) beginning Feb. 4 and lasting through the
The final phase will consist of force-on-force training from Feb.
9-14. Soldiers will put all their skills to the test against an
opposing force playing the roles of anti-coalition groups in Iraq such
as sectarian death squads, Al-Qaeda terrorists and former regime
David Hardt from Fort Lewis's 3rd Stryker Brigade sent us this report before he went home on R&R...
By David Hardt
Even though I have been on plenty patrols, it just seemed like this one really was making me a little on the edge. As I prepped my gear, I realized that I was just fiddling with my gear and getting nowhere. I lay on the bed and closed my eyes and decided to take a nap. Sgt. Smith came by to make sure we had all of our equipment for the night mission. Since it was a new squad Sgt. Smith wanted to make sure that we started out on the right foot by doing a group pre-combat inspection. In the past I have always been early to the truck because leaving the barracks early gave me some time alone to do some soul searching. There are days when I just stand off to the side away from everyone just taking in the moment. Everyone has their own way of going about a patrol. Some listen to music; some just sit on their beds, kick up their feet and stare at the walls. You see the daily rituals that some of the men don’t even know they do. It’s now just a process. I remember my first deployment here. I was rather religious, and I would do my prayer of protection. After I found myself practically sprawled out in the middle of the street in Tal Afar after an ambush I quickly adjusted my ritual. I started writing. Didn’t seem like I was getting anywhere with the man upstairs at that moment in life.
Once we all showed up at the truck, Staff Sgt. Rine gave us the first instructions. “Get this truck setup for combat configuration.” We all went to work getting everything ready. Granted all the trucks have the same layout, but each squad sets up their truck so they know where everything is. After we worked collectively to get everything squared away, we took a seat and awaited the daily brief. When you haven’t had a great deal of conversation with the men who are in your squad you really don’t know what to talk about. So we just sat there, and there was a librarylike silence. I couldn’t stand it, so I started the conversation, go figure. “So what’s your plan when you get home?” Lance and John gave their plans, and then I shared mine. After a little while we had a good solid conversation going. Just like in every working friendship it’s important to know what someone dreams about doing or what their goals are just in case things get ugly and those words can be used for encouragement or direction.
(DoD release) – Sgt. Mickel D. Garrigus, 24, of Elma, Wash., died Jan. 27 in Taji, Iraq, of wounds suffered when an improvised explosive device detonated near his vehicle during combat patrol. Garrigus was assigned to the 543rd Military Police Company, 91st Police Battalion, 10th Sustainment Brigade, 10th Mountain Division, Fort Drum, N.Y.
The Weekly Volcano, the Authority on South Sound Culture, runs the following stoy in its entirety this Thursday. The following is a preview....
It won’t be long before you see the work of Gordon Swetland and his company of soldiers turned artists.
In fact, if Swetland and partners in the so-called Patriot House project have their way, art produced by local military types will soon adorn lobbies, galleries, museums, public spaces and military buildings. Veterans have deep creative drives, say Patriot House proponents, and represent diverse, unique perspectives worth sharing and expressing.
That is, if they can get someone to show their artwork.
“For everyone that gets their art into a gallery, there are another 15 or 20 that would like to get in,” said Swetland. “Our goal is to help veterans get their art into the public eye.”
Swetland suggests that sun-bleached classic prints and other outdated works adorning Department of Defense and Veterans Affairs buildings, for example, could be replaced with works created by soldiers at little cost.
Those interested in adding their names to the list of supporters are encouraged to visit www.Patriothouse.org, and then join organizers for coffee and grub at Corina Bakery, 510 Sixth Ave., in Tacoma Friday, Feb. 2, at 4 p.m. RSVP by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org.