View Full Version : From commander, 1st Bn, 22nd Inf. in Iraq

04-17-06, 06:59 AM
From commander, 1st Bn, 22nd Inf. in Iraq
April 16th, 2006
Lieutenant Colonel Craig A. Osborne

Happy Easter from FOB FALCON in southern Baghdad! We have completed our fourth month here and continue to improve every day. Our Soldiers are doing very well and I am incredibly proud of each one of them and what they have accomplished. I am convinced that there is no unit in the 4th Infantry Division that is executing such a diversity of missions and achieving such great successes as the Regulars are in our area of operations. We are increasing the tempo of combat operations against the insurgents and our collective efforts are reducing their abilities to operate in our area of operations.

In our area, the number of insurgent actions continues to fall as a result of our efforts. Although we still have enemy contact, there is a significant reduction in what the enemy is able to do. We have killed and detained insurgents, destroyed their weapons and munitions stores, impacted their ability to move freely, and eroded their bases of support within the population. Of note, we have conducted six air assault operations in the past four weeks – the most air assaults of any battalion in all of Iraq. These operations allow us to quickly strike at enemy locations without warning and without traveling roads that may be mined by the insurgents. As before, our Soldiers have earned their Combat Infantryman’s Badges, Combat Action Badges, Combat Medical Badges, and, unfortunately, some Purple Hearts as well.

We attempt to conduct very precise combat operations and cause minimal disruption to the Iraqi civilians while massing overwhelming combat power on known enemy forces. When we detain an insurgent, we must collect all of the evidence according to a very specific procedure to ensure that the detention will be supported by the Iraqi Justice system. It sometimes seems excessive and is frequently very similar to police work, but when done correctly it ensures that the enemy will be sent to long-term detention facilities such as Abu Ghraib. Due to our Soldiers’ professionalism and attention to detail, our rate of getting insurgents imprisoned in long-term facilities is 50% higher than the Brigade and Division averages.

This past month, we discovered significantly more Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) before they detonated than were detonated against us. In general terms, most units find about half of the IEDs before they detonate in their area. We are far ahead of that rate and it is a testament to our Soldiers and their abilities. The local people are starting to call us and tell us where some of the devices are – a significant step that shows we are making inroads into the community.

Our projects to rebuild the infrastructure of our area continue and are an enduring focus for us here. For example, we are currently rebuilding eleven schools in our area – one of those schools was built in 1946 and has seen no significant repairs in the past 60 years. That particular school houses 600 students and they have been without electricity, sanitation, water, and basic supplies for years. We are changing that. The Iraqi people in our area are starting to believe that the coalition is not an occupying force and that we want to help them rebuild their lives. As a result, the insurgents are shunned in many areas because they are viewed as inhibiting progress and the amount of information we receive about insurgent activity from the people continues to rise.

Although we suffered fewer wounded this month than previous months, we lost Private First Class Sean Tharp of B Company to enemy fire on March 28, 2006. We held the Memorial Ceremony on FOB FALCON a few days later where we said goodbye to him and I was happy to see the unit truly support each other during that time. I spoke to Sean’s mother shortly after his death to offer her our condolences for her loss and she told me how much Sean loved being a Soldier in B Company and how much he wanted to be here with his brothers – it is where he felt he belonged. Because he touched our lives and lived as a Regular, I know that he will never be alone and he will never be forgotten.

We are all very proud of each one of our Soldiers that reenlisted this past month – we had another 18 great Americans raise their right hand and recite the oath. Any reenlistment is special and shows a commitment to our Army and to the nation, but reenlistment in a combat zone is even more distinctive and shows that our Soldiers knowingly and willingly accept the risks and hardships associated with our service. It is an affirmation that they are willing to fight and die for the ideals of our nation. I want to thank all of the family members of those who have reenlisted as well. Thank you for continuing to support your loved one as he continues to serve – you all have sacrificed as well and I thank you for your commitment and support.

As some of you may know by now, we will likely move from FOB FALCON to another location in Iraq in the coming months. When it occurs, it will be a planned operation and in response to a need for our forces to operate elsewhere based on the threat that exists in that area. Our address will change, but we will ensure that the Family Readiness Group has the required information at the appropriate time.

If you have any concerns or need assistance, do not hesitate to contact the Rear Detachment Commander—CPT Warren Litherland. His duty is to assist our loved ones in the states while we conduct our mission here and he is doing a great job for all of us. The Rear Detachment’s contact information can be found on the last page of this newsletter.

The Regulars continue to operate at a high standard and I am humbled to be associated with them—I consider it a privilege to lead them each day. I cannot overstate how important your support is to us and I cannot tell you thank you enough for what you have done. Our Family Readiness Group leaders continue to take care of the home front and, without them, we would fail. Please keep all of the Regulars in your thoughts and prayers.

Regulars, by God! Deeds, Not Words.

Lieutenant Colonel Craig A. Osborne (Regular 6)