Thursday, January 31, 2008

Buchanan Announces Mileage Reimbursement Rate Increase for Area Veterans

Washington, D.C. – Congressman Vern Buchanan (R-FL 13) announced today that mileage reimbursement rates for eligible veterans will more than double tomorrow. The freshman lawmaker has championed the issue and helped pass the fiscal year 2008 omnibus appropriations bill, which dedicated $125 million for a mileage reimbursement increase of 17.5 cents a mile.

“This is the first increase in mileage reimbursement in 30 years,” said Buchanan. “It is long overdue.”

Buchanan noted, “Gas prices are high. We can have the best possible health care, but it is of little use if our veterans can’t afford the gas to get there. Increasing the mileage reimbursement rate will help veterans access the health care services they were promised.”

Beginning February 1, 2008, the Veterans Administration will increase the mileage reimbursement rate for eligible veterans from 11 cents per mile to 28.5 cents per mile for travel to VA medical facilities. Buchanan has been working with like-minded members of Congress to increase the reimbursement rate even higher to 48.5 cents per mile.

“This is a good first step forward,” added Buchanan. “But the reimbursement rate for veterans should not be less than what any federal employee receives. I will continue to work with area veterans to bring the mileage reimbursement rate to 48.5 cents a mile.”

Area veterans praised the 13th District Congressman for successfully working to increase the mileage reimbursement rate for those who have served in the U.S. armed forces.

“In his first term, Congressman Buchanan has made good on his promise to fight for veterans and increase the gas reimbursement rate,” said retired Col. Lee Kichen of the VFW’s National Legislative Committee. “We will continue to work with the Congressman to get mileage reimbursement to a rate respectful of veterans who have sacrificed much in our defense.”

Buchanan represents more than 97,000 veterans and is a member of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

VFW State Commander Praises Representative Buchanan’s Co-Sponsorship of H.R. 4930 National Guardsman and Reservists Parity for Patriots Act

After learning that Congressman Vern Buchanan (R-FL 13) agreed to sponsor H.R. 4930, Vietnam veteran Jack McDermott, State Commander of Florida’s Veterans of Foreign Wars issued the followed statement: “I’m incredibly pleased that Mr. Buchanan continues to support our Florida Guardsman and Reservists by co-sponsoring this important bill, which will significantly modernize the Reserve Component retirement system.”

Under the current system, a member of the National Guard or Reserves is not eligible to receive retirement until he or she reaches age 60. Recently enacted legislation reduces the age at which a Reservist can draw retired pay below the age of 60 by three months for every aggregate 90-days of active duty service in support of a contingency operation. However, the Congress failed to make this provision retroactive to September 11, 2001, H.R. 4930 addresses this injustice by making the changes to the system retroactive to the beginning of the War on Terrorism.

McDermott added, “This is clearly the right thing to do for the over 600,000 reservists and members of the National Guard who have been mobilized in support of the war on terrorism.”

Steve Valley, a Sergeant Major in the Army Reserve and Commander of VFW Post 12055 in Bradenton, Fla. said, “Congressman Buchanan has shown time and time again that he’s sensitive to the needs of Citizen-Warriors. I was incredibly disappointed to learn that the bill signed by the President was not retroactive to September 11, 2001, as thousands of Reservists and Guardsmen across the country have served proudly on active duty while putting their civilian careers, there families and education on hold.

Valley served as a First Sergeant in Iraq and knows first hand of the sacrifices that the families of the deployed troops pay during deployments to a combat zone. “I hope the Congress quickly passes this bill. The 10,000 Floridians in the Army Reserve and National Guard activated, including the men and women in the National Guard units in Bradenton and Sarasota, deserve no less,” Valley said.

Monday, January 28, 2008

BG Wilma Vaught events February 8 - 9, 2008

Media Release: 28 January 2008
Contact: Mary McFate, 941.358.3070


Founder of the Military Women’s Memorial at Arlington Cemetery to speak at 4 venues February 8 & 9.

(Sarasota, FL) Brigadier General Wilma Vaught, one of the most highly decorated women veterans in the world will speak at 4 events next week in Sarasota & Bradenton. All events are open to the public.

BG Vaught is president of the Military Women’s War Memorial at Arlington Cemetery. The interactive site honors the two million women who currently serve and have served in the military beginning with the Revolutionary War.

[1] On Friday 8 February at 7:15 AM she will participate in the opening formation at Sarasota Military Academy, 801 N. Orange Avenue, Sarasota.

[2] At 1 PM on Friday 8 February she will address JR ROTC cadets at Lakewood Ranch High School, 5500 Lakewood Ranch Blvd. Bradenton.

[3] The Sara DeSoto Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution will host a gala dinner Friday February 8, at 5:30 PM, with entertainment, for Vaught, who is a DAR member. The dinner will be held in the DAR Chapter house in Historic Pioneer Park, 1232 12th St., Sarasota. Proceeds benefit the Women’s War Memorial at Arlington Cemetery and Haley House at the James Haley Veterans Hospital in Tampa. Haley is the only catastrophic spinal cord injury hospital in the South.

[4] There will be a luncheon for women veterans and their guests Saturday 9 February 11:30 at the American Legion Kirby Stewart Post 24, 2000 75th St. West, Bradenton. Congressman Vern Buchanan will introduce BG Vaught. It is estimated that there are over 5,500 women veterans living in this area.

A press kit and photo of General Vaught are available at Or contact Lt. Col. Marilla Cushman at:

Berkley, CA wants to treat Military Recruiting offices like porn shops

In response to a Marine Corps recruiting office established in Berkeley last year, local activists are trying to make it more difficult for future recruiting centers to open in the city.

If passed by a majority of Berkeley voters, a proposed initiative would require military recruiting offices and private military companies in Berkeley to first acquire a special use permit.

To obtain this permit, a business must hold public hearings and a public comment period.

If the initiative passes, recruitment offices could not be opened within 600 feet of residential districts, public parks, public health clinics, public libraries, schools or churches.

Currently, a recruiting office is held to the same standards as most other businesses, which do not require a public hearing or have limits on where offices can be established.

The author of the initiative, Berkeley-based lawyer Sharon Adams, modeled the initiative after current zoning law that restricts the location of adult-oriented businesses.

“In the same way that many communities limit the location of pornographic stores, that’s the same way we feel about the military recruiting stations,” said Phoebe Sorgen, an initiative proponent and a member of the city’s Peace and Justice Commission.

For the full story on this visit The Daily Californian.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Daughters of the American Revolution Host Gala honoring BG Wilma Vaught - February 8, 2008

You are cordially invited to a gala dinner to honor Brig Gen Wilma Vaught, founder of the Women in Military Service for America Memorial, at Arlington Cemetery. Friday 8 February at 1730 hrs at the DAR Chapter House in Historic Pioneer Park, on 12th Street near 41, Sarasota, FL.

There will be docented tours of the house and the adjacent Whitaker Cemetery, the first cemetery in Sarasota.

A gala buffet will be served at 1800 hrs. followed with remarks by General Vaught.

Please remit your reservation by Tuesday 5 February:

$35.00 General admission

$50.00 Silver

$75.00 Gold

$100.00 Platinum

Please make your check payable to Sara DeSoto Chapter DAR and mail to: Cynthia Colbath, 275 Woods Point Road, Osprey, FL 34229.

For more information please contact: Mary Lou McFate, Regent, Sara DeSoto Chapter, Daughters of the American Revolution at 941.358.3070 or via e-mail.

Proceeds benefit The Women’s Memorial & Haley House

SALUTE TO ALL WOMEN VETERANS - American Legion Kirby Stewart Post 24, Bradenton, FL on February 9, 2008

The American Legion will host a “Salute To All Women Veterans” on Saturday, February 9, 2008 at Kirby Stewart Post 24 in Bradenton, Florida. All women veterans, their guests and the public from Manatee, Sarasota, Charlotte and Hillsborough Counties are invited to participate in this event. Men are asking if they may attend the meeting and the answer is definitely, YES. What better way is there to Salute Women Veterans?

Brigadier General Wilma L. Vaught USAF Retired will be the keynote speaker. B/G Vaught is one of the most highly decorated military women in US history. Currently, she is the President of the Board of Directors for the Women in Military Service Memorial in Washington, D.C.

Sign-in will be at 11:30 followed by a light $5 luncheon at 12:00 noon. US Representative Vern Buchanan will introduce B/G Vaught. After the formal presentation, B/G Vaught will entertain questions and comments from the attendees. It is about time that the 5,500 Women Veterans in this area get recognized for all of their efforts in the service of their country.

Please confirm whether you will be available to attend by calling Harold or Elaine at 941-756-7272 or Commander Gwen Rodgers at 941-794-3489. We need a head-count to prepare lunch. We look forward to seeing you at the event. Let’s pack the house.

Harold & Elaine Crapo

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Great News from Iraq - January 20, 2008

Black Lions detain hospital bombing suspect BAGHDAD - Multi-National Division - Baghdad

Soldiers, acting on a tip from a local resident, detained a man on suspicion of involvement in the Jan. 3 bombing at the Furat Hospital in the West Rashid district. "Black Lions," from Task Force Dragon, arrested the alleged extremist after learning about his whereabouts from sources.

Iraqi Soldiers detain suspected militia based on threats against Concerned Local Citizens, BAGHDAD

Iraqi soldiers detained two suspected members of an illegal armed group in a raid in Baghdad's Adhamiyah district after receiving information that the suspects were planning an attack on members of the area's Concerned Local Citizens group. Numerous sources reported an impending attack on a checkpoint tokill CLC members who had not given in to their intimidation. The 11th Iraqi Army Div., which has begun working closely with the CLC group, responded quickly to prevent the attack from taking place. In remarks last week, Maj. Gen. Kevin Bergner, chief American military spokesman in Iraq, said the increased number of attacks against CLC members was "perhaps one of the clearest indications of the importance that these Concerned Local Citizens are having on improving the security situation in Iraq."

Concerned Local Citizens turn in large cache to Iraqi Army soldiers, BAGHDAD

Members of a Concerned Local Citizens group from the Karkh district in the Iraqi capital turned over a significant weapons cache they discovered to an Iraqi Army outpost there. Helping remove unauthorized weapons and ordnance like this cache is an example of the effectiveness of Concerned Local Citizens to combat extremists and promote an end to violence by securing their neighborhoods.

Iraqi Police, Iraqi Army team up to prevent kidnapping, save civilian, BAGHDAD

Iraqi Police and Iraqi Army soldiers teamed up to prevent an attempted kidnapping in the Karada peninsula of Baghdad saving an Iraqi civilian from potential harm or death. "Iraqi Army soldiers and Police teaming up to protect its citizens is a positive indicator of increased capability and reconciliation," said Lt. Col. Steve Stover, spokesman, Multi-National Division - Baghdad. "The Iraqi Security Forces and Concerned Local Citizens are restoring and enforcing the rule of law."

Car chase leads to two arrests near Jisr Diyala, BAGHDAD

Soldiers from Troop C, 3rd Squadron, 1st Cavalry Regiment, arrested two men following a car chase near Jisr Diyala. The two men were suspected of emplacing improvised explosive devices and are believed to be a part of an extremist group responsible for IED attacks targeting National Police and Coalition Forces.

Iraqi Special Operations Forces, U.S. Special Forces detain terrorist cell leader, BAGHDAD

Iraqi Special Operations Forces, with U.S. Special Forces as advisers, detained a suspected terrorist cell leader during a raid in Mosul. According to intelligence reports, the suspect is responsible for numerous improvised explosive device attacks against Iraqi and Coalition Forces. The terrorist cell that he is reported to lead, is involved in storing and emplacing IEDs and car bombs for use in attacks throughout Mosul. He is also believed to be involved in the kidnapping and murder of innocent Iraqi civilians.

Rakkasans uncover VBIED factory, BAGHDAD

A routine gathering with local leaders resulted in the discovery of a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device factory near Hamid Shaban. Acting on a tip from an attendee at the meeting, Rakkasan Soldiers from the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), acted quickly and found what appeared to be a makeshift VBIED workshop about a mile away from the gathering. "We came up with a quick plan and headed that way," said Staff Sgt. Adam McMurray, a platoon sergeant , who provided command and control for the mission. "After the house was cleared, we noticed that the kerosene heater was still on, the Chai (tea) was still hot," McMurray said. "I mean, we had just missed these guys." The most valuable find was in front of the house - four vehicles suspected to be used as VBIEDs. One vehicle had wires running from the inside to the trunk. McMurray said it was blatantly obvious the vehicle was intended to be used as a VBIED. The Soldiers found more explosives and a homemade rocket launcher. "We feel great that we found something that could've caused a lot of damage to Coalition Forces," said Sgt. Jose Rivas. "It was a long day but it was worthwhile."

Operation Phantom Phoenix: Mosul residents reaps benefits of highway clearing operation MOSUL, Iraq

As part of the country-wide Operation Phantom Phoenix, Operation Thunder Reaper is a route clearance operation that has opened 15 kilometers of road on Highway 1 in Mosul, Iraq, in the past 30 days. The road was largely unusable, but now is quickly being used again by local citizens. "Highway 1 has seen a large increase in usage from just 30 days ago," said Capt. Adam Cannon, Iron Hawk Troop commander for 3rd Squadron, 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment. "In order to move across town, most vehicles were forced to take smaller, more congested neighborhood roads until recently." The Iraqi Security Forces and Coalition Forces have been a constant presence on Highway 1 since the operation started Dec. 12. During that time they found and destroyed several dozen improvised explosive devices along the vital route. That is in addition to clearing debris and filling in craters from previous IEDs. "The most profound gain is in the movement of commerce that can be seen utilizing the road. Trucks carrying construction supplies, produce, fuel and other commodities can be spotted on the road at any time during the day," said Cannon.

Multi-National Corps - Iraq

Saturday, January 19, 2008


Bet you didn't know the following! I surely did not. The data comes from a Congressional Research Service Report titled, "American War and Military Operations Causalities: Lists and Statistics" published on June 29, 2007.

These are some rather eye-opening FACTS. Since the start of the war on Terror in Iraq and Afghanistan, the sacrifice has been enormous. In the time period from the invasion of Iraq in March 2003 through now, we have lost over 3000 military personnel to enemy action and accidents.

As tragic as the loss of any member of the US Armed Forces is, consider the following statistics.

The actual annual total fatalities of military members of all types (combat deaths, accidents, suicides, murders, natural causes, etc.) while actively serving in the armed forces from 1980 through 2006:

1980 ........ 2,392
1981 ........ 2,380
1984 ....... 1,999
1988 ....... 1,819
1989 ....... 1,636
1990 ....... 1,508
1991 ........ 1,787
1992 ........ 1,293----------------------------------------------------
1993 ........ 1,213
1994 ........ 1,075
1995 .........1,040
1996 ........ 974 President Clinton 8 years @ 8,035 deaths
1997 ........ 817
1998 ........ 827
1999 ........ 796 -------------------------------------------------
2000 ....... 758
2001 ........ 891
2002 ........ 999 President Bush 7 years @ 9,550 deaths
2003 ........ 1,228
2004 ........ 1,874
2005 ........ 1,942
2006......... 1,858 ------------------------------------------------------------

If you are confused when you look at these figures, so was I.

Do these figures mean that the loss from the two latest conflicts in the Middle East are only 1,515 more than the loss of military personnel during Mr. Clinton's presidency; when America wasn't even involved in a war? The answer is yes!

Our mainstream Print and TV media report these brave men and women, who are losing their lives in Iraq, are mostly Minorities! Wrong AGAIN!

The latest census of Americans shows the following distribution by Race:

European descent (White) .......69.12%
Hispanic ............................... 12.5%
Black..................................... 12.3%
Asian .................................... 3.7%
Native American ................ 1.0%
Other ................................... 2.6%

Here are the fatalities by Race over the past three years in Iraqi Freedom:

European descent (White) ..... 74.31%
Hispanic ...............................10.74%
Black ................................... 9.67%
Asian ................................... 1.81%
Native American ............... 1.09%
Other ................................... 3%

These statistics are published in a Congressional Research Service Report that may be found here.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Future Weapons - New Military Shotgun

Thanks to Don O'Nesky for passing on this video of a new military shotgun. We hope the Army and Marines adopt this weapon. It will save our soldiers lives.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Great News From Iraq

MND-Center NCOs team up to build Iraqi Army's 'backbone' FORWARD OPERATING BASE KALSU, Iraq

"No one is more professional than I," states the U.S. Army's NCO Creed, and noncommissioned officers at Forward Operating Base Kalsu are gearing up to instill the same pride and professionalism in their Iraqi Army counterparts. The Task Force Marne NCO Academy at FOB Kalsu will welcome its first class of Iraqi Soldiers Jan. 14. "We're going to be teaching them everything - combat orders, combat medical, map-reading, mounted patrols, dismounted patrols, weapons, rules of engagement, duties and responsibilities," said Master Sgt. Michael Howle, the new training facility's commandant. "The instructors who were selected are supposed to be some of the best NCOs we have here." Training Iraqis to take over is a driving force for the NCOs running and teaching at the academy. "Over the years, it has been acknowledged that the NCO Corps is the backbone of our Army," Multi-National Division - Center Command Sergeant Major Jesse L. Andrews Jr. said. "Once the Iraqi NCOs get that, they'll get a better grip on their worth. They've got the combat experience - now they need the institutional knowledge. You've got to have both."

IA, CF Soldiers kill, capture al-Qaeda operatives BAQUBAH, Iraq

Coalition Forces and Iraqi Army Soldiers detained nine individuals and killed one enemy combatant during a joint operation in Abu Tamur. One of the detainees is a known al-Qaeda in Iraq operative wanted by the Iraqi Army for stealing weapons. Soldiers from the 2nd Infantry Division from Fort Lewis, Wash., were clearing the village when they were engaged with small arms fire by enemy forces. The troops returned fire, killing one enemy combatant. A cache was found in the area containing four AK-47s, six AK-47 magazines, a PKC, PKC drum and PKC ammo belt. "AQI presence (in) this area was confirmed, and I believe it validates our assessment that (the village) was an AQI safe haven from which they planned attacks," said Lt. Col. Ricardo Love. "I believe this operation will positively impact peace and security in the area."

MND-Center Soldiers capture weapons traffickerFORWARD OPERATING BASE KALSU, Iraq

A suspected distributor of car bombs and a weapons trafficker for al-Qaeda in Iraq was captured 25 miles south of Baghdad. The detainee is the 4th Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division's No. 1 most wanted individual. Prior to the raid, Soldiers watched the target for hours with a Predator drone and OH-58D Kiowa observation helicopters. Shortly after the individual stopped at his house, Soldiers boarded helicopters and landed in a field next to the house. Within minutes, the target was in custody.

Samarra reopens bridge to citySAMARRA, IRAQ

The Salah ad Din governor, the deputy governor, and the provincial director of police, along with other leaders from the city of Samarra attended a joint ribbon-cutting ceremony marking the opening of the Samarra Dam Bridge. After eight months of traffic restriction, the bridge will provide passage from surrounding communities to Samarra's markets and services. For the past eight months, the entrances to the city of Samarra were essentially closed due to the levels of violence. Commerce into and within the city stopped. The re-opening of the bridge and other entry points is a direct result of improving security. "The reopening of the bridge is a positive sign for improved security, as well as an improvement of freedom for the citizens of Samarra to conduct their daily lives," said Capt. Josh Kurtzman. Captain Kurtzman is the local Coalition Force commander in Samarra.

Iraqi Security Forces detain 4 known extremists in Barrah BALAD, Iraq

Iraqi Security Forces, advised by U.S. Special Forces, detained four known extremists Jan. 3 in an operation in Barrah. The extremists are said to be part of a counterfeiting and smuggling cell in and around villages near Barrah. They are reported to be involved in the smuggling and distribution of counterfeit U.S. and Iraqi currency, weapons and explosives, as well as reporting Iraqi Army and Coalition Forces movements to foreign fighters. One other suspect is being held for further questioning.

Iraqi Security Forces detain 4 suspected extremists, kill one BAGHDAD

Iraqi Security Forces, advised by U.S. Special Forces, detained two suspected extremists and two extremist cell leaders in separate raids. In Mahmudiyah, south of Baghdad, Iraqi Special Operations Forces detained two suspected extremists who are believed to be responsible for the kidnapping and murder of Iraqi citizens, weapons trafficking as well as attacks on Iraqi and Coalition Forces. During the course of the operation, the assault force received small arms fire from an individual near the target objective. Iraqi and U.S. Forces engaged the individual, killing him. In a separate operation, an Iraqi Special Weapons and Tactics Team from Ninewah detained two extremist cell leaders in western Mosul. The two suspects are believed to be responsible for financing and planning attacks against Iraqi and Coalition Forces along with smuggling weapons for extremists in the region.

Multi-National Corps - Iraq
January 6, 2008

Saturday, January 5, 2008

An American Hero - Lance Cpl. Travis Layfield, U.S. Marine

Even in death, Lance Cpl. Travis Layfield is reaching back to his family.

The Fremont, Calif., Marine was just 19 when he laid down his life in Iraq, one of 20,000 Camp Pendleton Marines fighting off murderous Islamic radicals around Fallujah and Ramadi on April 6, 2004.

Ten others died that day for freedom.

Although Layfield's life ended in a blood-red frozen moment of gunfire, the family left behind to mourn his death continues to receive words of love and support.

There's an almost supernatural connection as well that continues to provide a bond to their fallen hero.

During the funeral services at the Golden Gate Cemetery in San Bruno honoring Cpl Travis and his Lakota Sioux roots on his father's side, a hint of his continuing spirit came when a gust of wind knocked over the photograph of the young Marine. His family stood in wonderment, interpreting the moment as a sign from Travis that he loved all of them from above.

Last fall, a DNA test confirmed that Travis Layfield left more behind than his loving spirit. Diane Layfield, Travis' mother, found out that he left a young son.

His family has warmly embraced the toddler named Dylan Thomas Stefani, born to his ex-girlfriend.

"It's a blessing discovering that there is still a part of Travis that will live on," Diane Layfield told the Oakland Tribune.

"(Dylan) helped ease the pain a little this year."

John Layfield, who is divorced from Diane, and his older sister, Tiffany Bolton, were shocked at first, and then deeply grateful to have Travis' child in their lives.

But Travis wasn't done yet surprising his family.

During my most recent trip to visit our troops in Kuwait, I was given the opportunity by base Chaplain Lt. Col. Rachel Coggins to speak to the assembled troops waiting for their C-130 transport home for Christmas.

My organization, Move America Forward, was delivering 226,000 Christmas, Hanukkah and holiday cards to the military men and women who shine with pride over their duty and service fighting the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Afterwards, a Marine sergeant approached me.

"Ma'am, my name is Sgt. Chavez, and I heard you say that you are from the San Francisco Bay Area. Do you know Diane Layfield?"

"Yes, Sergeant Chavez, I know her," was my stunned response.

"Please, ma'am, will you do me a favor? I recruited her son into the Marines, and I have carried his bracelet with me for two and a half years. Will you give it to his mom? It would mean so much to me."

Sgt. Chavez, 6-foot-1, all Marine-built muscle, trained to fight and kill our enemy, looked at me with stricken eyes.

Gently, I took the bracelet and promised him that I would deliver the well-worn remembrance of a young man who lived and died for his country.

I am going to make good on that promise today. Diane Layfield, determined that Travis and his memory shall live forever, marveled that her son has kept speaking to her over and over again, in the most unexpected and wondrous ways.

It is a Christmas gift neither she nor I will ever forget.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Great News From Iraq - January 2, 2008

Explosives found, hostage rescued during joint Saydiyah operation, BAGHDAD

Iraqi Security Forces and Multi-National Division - Baghdad Soldiers destroyed an abandoned house, and rescued a kidnapping victim during clearing operations in West Rashid. Iraqi Army and US Soldiers Task Force Dragon found homemade and plastic explosives during the joint operation aimed at quelling unrest in the Saydiyah area. IA Soldiers entered a house in search of a crane operator who had been kidnapped days before. The man was taken to a Coalition Forces' facility for medical screening. Soldiers also found a cache of eight 120mm rockets, a 107mm rocket, a 105mm projectile, roughly eight pounds of homemade explosives, four canisters of an unknown liquid and a car battery with wires.

Coalition capture 3 extremists, BAGHDAD

Multi-National Division - Baghdad troops arrested three suspected extremists after receiving a tip from a local citizen on their whereabouts in the Doura neighborhood in southeastern Baghdad. Soldiers attached to Task Force Dragon, arrested the three suspects after informants identified them as having transported al-Qaeda snipers in and out of Doura, and allegedly being part of an improvised explosive device cell.

ISF, CF host meeting with sheiks to reaffirm security, express vision for future, FORWARD OPERATING BASE KALSU, Iraq

Iraqi Security Forces and Multi-National Division Center Soldiers will host the North Babil Tribal Council meeting at Forward Operating Base Kalsu Jan. 3. More than 60 Sunni and Shia sheiks are expected to attend the ceremony, which will focus on reaffirming security in North Babil, empowering the tribes and tribal leaders against al-Qaeda, and advising tribal leaders on how to increase their focus on capacity building. The NBTC is designed to promote unity of mutual understanding between influential sheiks, ISF, Iraqi Police and CF in the North Babil area. The meeting will also provide an opportunity for tribal and community leaders to come together to express their vision for the future, decide on a plan and forge ahead to build a secure, prosperous region for all of North Babil citizens.

2 caches found near COP Murray FORWARD OPERATING BASE KALSU, Iraq

In two separate finds, Concerned Local Citizens turned over extremist weapons caches to Multi-National Division - Center Soldiers near Combat Outpost Murray. The first cache consisted of eight protective masks, one 100 mm high explosive round, three six-volt motorcycle batteries, two AK-47 rifles and one propane canister. CLCs directed Coalition Soldiers to the second cache. It consisted of three 57 mm anti-aircraft rounds, four propellant charges, one compressed gas cylinder and one initiation device for a pressure-plate-detonated improvised explosive device.

CLCs find majority of caches, extremists in Arab Jabour, FORWARD OPERATING BASE KALSU, Iraq

Since Dec. 24, the Concerned Local Citizens group in the Arab Jabour area has played a significant role in diminishing al-Qaeda in Iraq's ability to attack Coalition Soldiers, Iraqi Security Forces and local residents. The CLC has assisted Soldiers by turning in weapons caches and improvised explosive devices. Eleven IEDs were taken to 1-30th Inf. Reg., 2nd BCT Soldiers at an observation post. Three of the IEDs were rigged with pressure-plate detonation systems. Other Soldiers were given a cache of seven 57 mm projectiles, two 60 mm mortars and four pressure plates by the CLCs.

15 more IEDs were turned over to Soldiers on Dec. 25. The IEDs were made from unknown bulk explosive, projectiles and landmines. Soldiers were given a cache of three 57 mm projectiles, seven soda cans filled with unknown bulk explosive, one 122 mm projectile, a one-pound bag of UBE, four pressure strips and one spool of wire.

Two weapons caches were discovered by CLCs on Dec. 27. The caches consisted of two rocket-propelled grenade launchers, one 122 mm projectile and other IED-making materials. Two suspected extremists were also detained during the week. One man admitted to Coalition Forces he was an IED emplacer. On Dec. 30 a local Iraqi was identified as a member of al-Qaeda by CLCs. The CLCs have been a driving force in the success of operations in Arab Jabour.

Renovated elementary school reopens in Baquba

U.S. and an Iraqi Soldiers provide security at the reopening of the Al Terbia Elementary School Dec. 31 in Baquba, Iraq. The school, which was damaged during the summer's fighting, received major renovations, including fixing the septic system, windows, exterior and plumping. The school also received new desks and a playground.

Multi-National Corps - Iraq
January 2, 2008