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>From a DoD news release on 11-21-03:
DoD Identifies Army Casualty
The Department of Defense announced today the death of a soldier who was supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Pvt. Scott M. Tyrrell, 21, of Sterling, Ill., died on Nov. 20 at Brooke Army Medical Center, in San Antonio, Texas, of wounds received on Nov. 14 in Tikrit, Iraq. Tyrrell was at an ammunition point when it caught on fire.
Tyrrell was assigned to C Company, 299th Engineer Battalion, 4th Infantry Division (Mech), based in Fort Hood, Texas.
The incident is under investigation.
Our prayers go out to the family and fellow soldiers of PFC Tyrrell. He was the burn victim that we talked mentioned a few days ago in the article asking us to keep our WIA in our prayers.
I had also gotten a note from the pilot of the C-130 who flew him to Germany wanting to know about his condition. I had been able to tell him that PFC Tyrrell had made it back to the US. I just received the following note after sending the pilot the DoD death announcement: "Very sorry to hear about the tragedy. We received the official report on the accident and investigation yesterday. I saw your email just as soon as I returned from a mission last night. My crew sends our most heartfelt condolences to the family and service-mates of the soldier."
Two Car Bombs Explode, Killing 16 in Iraq
.c The Associated Press
BAQOUBA, Iraq (AP) - Two car bombs, one of them driven by a suicide attacker, exploded Saturday at police stations in a pair of towns near Baghdad, killing at least 16 people, most of them policemen, U.S. and Iraqi officials said.
The first blast occurred in Baqouba, about 35 miles northeast of Baghdad. Minutes later, a suicide driver blew up his car at the gate of the police station in Khan Bani Saad, a crowded market town about 12 miles south of Baqouba on the road to Baghdad.
Lt. Hussein Hazem said six officers died in the Baqouba explosion, which left a large hole at the entrance to the building. He said at least 10 civilians were hurt.
Capt. Ryan McCormick of the 4th Infantry Division said the explosion in Khan Bani Saad killed six policemen and three civilians apart from the suicide driver. Iraqi police said one of the dead was a 5-year-old girl. Ten people were wounded, McCormick said.
McCormick said a police guard fired on the approaching vehicle but could not prevent the blast. He said there were no U.S. or other coalition casualties.
There have been five vehicle bombings in Iraq since Wednesday, mostly targeting Iraqis who support the coalition.
A bomb Wednesday night exploded at the home of a pro-U.S. sheik in Ramadi. On Thursday, a blast occurred at the offices of a U.S.-allied Kurdish political party in Kirkuk. Late Friday, a truck blew up near the office of a British de-mining company in Irbil.
Khan Bani Saad and Baqouba are part of the so-called ``Sunni Triangle'' north and west of the capital that has seen fierce resistance to the U.S.-led occupation.
At the 4th Infantry Division headquarters in Tikrit, Lt. Col. Steven Russell said U.S. troops have been warned to expect more bombings at the end of the Muslim holy month Ramadan early next week.
11/22/03 03:56 EST
Copyright 2003 The Associated Press.
Eager but green, Iraqi guards learn the ropes
By Dean Yates
TIKRIT, Iraq, Nov 23 (Reuters) - The Toyota pickup cruises into the razor wire checkpoint. When the Iraqi guard asks the occupants if they have any weapons, the driver pulls a pistol from the sun visor and pretends to shoot the guard dead.
"No, we'll do it again. We're practising to search people, not shoot them," a slightly irritated Staff Sergeant Patrick Turner of the 4th Infantry Division told recruits in the Iraqi Civil Defence Corp in Saddam Hussein's hometown of Tikrit.
"They are anxious to learn, but they also get a bit excited," the gruff-talking Turner, from Shreveport, Louisiana, told Reuters before watching a rerun of the checkpoint exercise.
Across Iraq, U.S. soldiers have taken thousands of Iraqis under their wing to create a paramilitary force similar to the Carabinieri of Italy and known as the ICDC.
The recruits get three weeks of basic training before they hit the streets on patrol, take part in raids on suspected insurgent hideouts, man checkpoints or guard installations.
That training is not enough, U.S. troops at the 4th Infantry Division base in Tikrit said, but there is growing pressure from Washington to get Iraqi security forces onto the streets to take the load off American soldiers who come under attack dozens of times a day in Iraq.
The recruits here live and train at the division's base inside a complex of Saddam's former palaces in this dusty hotbed of anti-American sentiment north of Baghdad.
There are 108 in the latest batch, all sporting marine-style haircuts. Around 130 have graduated, nearly two thirds of them soldiers from the old Iraqi army.
EYES AND EARS
Captain Jason Deel of the 1-22 (Infantry) Battalion said recruits could use more training, but added they always had U.S soldiers with them on missions.
"In 21 days, we do what we can to get them prepared. I really can't stress enough what a step forward this is," said Deel, from Haysi, Virginia.
Some security experts have questioned the wisdom of rushing lightly-trained Iraqis onto the streets. Saddam loyalists and foreign Islamic fighters in Iraq consider anyone cooperating with U.S.-led occupation forces as targets.
The U.S.-led administration in Baghdad has promised to double the size of the 7,800-strong ICDC by March, and boost numbers to 25,000 by September. The paramilitaries could one day be incorporated into the new Iraqi army, which so far comprises just one battalion.
Deel said the ICDC were his eyes and ears on the street. "They can pick up things we would never have caught," he said.
But during a recent patrol with nine paramilitaries armed with AK-47s, it was Deel who spotted an Iraqi in the distance carrying what looked like a weapon. It was only a pellet rifle, but Deel made sure the Iraqi man got the message.
"If I go by and I see someone with a weapon, I'm free to kill him...," Deel told the Iraqi through an interpreter as a little boy holding a toy revolver stood with his mother nearby.
Several recruits said they had no problem working with American soldiers. None had a kind word for Saddam.
Some are older, like Basim Jabar Sabar from Basra in the south. He spent 12 years in the Iraqi army training men in self defence and weapons use.
Sabar said he wanted to help stabilise Iraq -- and earn some money for his family of seven children.
"I'm comfortable with the Americans. They treat people with dignity and respect," said Sabar, 37, sporting grey stubble and a big smile. "I hate Saddam, he is nothing."
11/23/03 06:51 ET
Copyright 2003 Reuters Limited.
A Few Words From Bob:
I have a major concern that I want to bring to your attention. That concern is very plain and simple:
Security and Common Sense
Those of you who are passing the names of your soldier's unit and home town or his/her Iraq address around on the internet or future movements to strangers who want to send them Christmas cards or packages are not using common sense and have thrown all common sense security precautions away.
A few points I would like to make:
1) We are at war and there are elements in this world who want to eliminate the United States and our way of life. Like us, they have full access to the internet and email. They will use any available devious means to get information to help their cause.
2) It is the nature of most of us to be very trusting of well intentioned sounding people who send nice email notes, or post messages on web pages, wanting to help our soldiers - bad guys know that and can be the ones sending those nice sounding notes and messages.
3) Anyone wanting to find out about the 4th Infantry Division can enter those words on www.google.com (or any other search engine) and the first thing that comes up is the web page of the National 4th Infantry Division Association. Dig around that page a little and you will find the bulletin board or guest book - and some of our family members are blatantly passing around information that no one has any business seeing in a public forum like that. Those are things such as future troop movements, names and addresses of soldiers, home towns, discussions of details of hostile incidents that you heard about from your soldier, etc...
4) Remember - Loose Lips Sink Ships. Do NOT give out information so freely in worldwide electronic media. Especially don't pass on information about someone else - such as the family members of our casualties, no names, no addresses for condolence cards, nothing. Their privacy should be protected.
If in doubt, don't say it over the internet - the internet is not secure and by failing to adhere to common sense security precautions you are potentially risking harm to your soldier, your soldier's unit, and also to yourself and your family here in the US.
Others besides me have noticed this and brought it to my attention. Hopefully as we move into the holiday season you will become more and more security conscious and not let your common sense take a vacation. For most of you, this note is totally unnecessary. For those who have not thought about security - hopefully you will start doing it immediately.
4ID Christmas Ornaments
The 4th Forward Support Battalion FRG 4ID has a Christmas ornament for sale. The ornaments are $10 each and the proceeds will help raise money for the FRG. It is a four inch diameter, round glass ornament, white with the 4ID and Ironhorse patch, with the words "Operation Iraqi Freedom" above the patch and "2003" below the patch. For more information please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. For those living on/near Fort Hood, they will be sold November 29th outside the Clear Creek PX from 10am-2pm.
What Our Families Are Hearing From Our Soldiers in Iraq:
1) My husband is a Blackhawk pilot with B Co, 2-4 AVN, 4ID. We currently have 4 boys and twin boys on the way. Well, I just thought I would share what I have thought of to send to him. I am going to send a Christmas stocking with drawings in it. The drawings will be by my children and myself of all the things that we will be doing when our hero comes home (hugging, feeding babies, water-skiing, etc.). I believe that the drawings will help him focus on the future, give him good thoughts, and smiles. I plan to make them humorous.
2) My son just had a 4 day R & R in Quatar. It was great to know he was there and to be able to talk to him on a clear phone. He had a relaxing time. Saw some comedy and drank beer with the brass. He felt honored and respected by everyone. He said it felt great to wake up in a real bed and not have to dodge anything or shoot at anything for a change. I was happy to hear that he was able to laugh. Laughter is such good medicine. My husband said it looked like the weight of the world was lifted off of my shoulders when I found out he was in Quatar. First I was releaved that he had made it their safely and was out of harms way. if only for a few days. I finally had a real nights sleep. We have all kept him stocked with cookies and care packages. He never asks for anything so we have to be real creative. He said they have plenty of food and have to check everything first to see if little mousy has been there. They have a little mouse that is smarter than the traps they have set...and probably lighter. Whenever they find some evidence that little mousy has ate some of their food. They always say, "little mousy strikes again." It was funny. I am glad they are able to find humour in their surroundings. He is with the 3/66 AR, attached to 1-22 in Tikit. God bless him and keep him and all of our brave soldiers safe.
3) Our son in B/1-22 in Bayji says they are keeping QUITE busy with raids and patrols a couple of times a day in support of the current Ivy Cyclone show of force. While it has become very cold there, their supply group has made sure everyone has the necessary cold weather gear, so he didn't need any extra clothing or blankets, not even the Snoopy earmuffs and Spiderman gloves I offered to send (ESPECIALLY not the Snoopy earmuffs and Spiderman gloves...). Anyway, he sounded tired but in reasonably good spirits.
4) I just wanted to share my good news. My husband is with HHOC 104th Mi BN from Fort Hood TX. To start off my husband had just got back from a year tour in Korea in Feb and then moved us to TX and left for Iraq right after getting there. Which that was hard at first but I know that is his job so adjusted to it quick, especially after finding out this would also be a year tour so basically 2 years apart in all. He was told that he would most likely not be able to take the two weeks R and R due to he went to Qutar for the 4 days. Then things were changed and they said that did not matter, since he was in Korea he ended up being able to be one of the first ones home. He called and told me that he would be home Oct 15 for two weeks. Well that was a big surprise to me, I was adjusting to him not coming home until April. All went well while he was home. Things were really great, in fact I just got news that he left me a great surprise when he left. We are now Expecting #4. We have 3 boys already so hope this is a girl. The funny thing is that we have a Bosnia surprise already and now we have an Iraqi surprise. I just wanted to share my happiness. Thanks all for listening......
5) Can you stand another story from a mom? My son is with the 3/16 FA in Baqubah, when yesterday's update came out mentioning the loss of yet another fine solider, my heart fluttered when I read where that solider was. Oh dear Lord please, don't let that be my son. Then I thought, how selfish I was being, if not my son, then he was some one else's son, and my heart just ached for that mom. It's hard not to be selfish under these circumstances, but I'm still embarrassed at my thoughts. Then this morning at 0320 our phone rang, and with mixed emotions I picked it up, oh the simple joy of hearing Hi MOM! I can't think of a better way to wake up. He was able to use a "regular" phone (thank goodness he has calling cards!) so there wasn't any delay, and it sounded like he was in the next room. We got to talk for almost 1/2 an hour. He sounded good, and upbeat. We talked about deer season (no I still haven't gotten my deer), and he is looking forward to next year when he'll be able to come home and go hunting with us. There's so much I wanted to tell him, but found that just listening to him talk was more then enough, I can write the other stuff. It's always hard to hear him say, I gotta go, but I'll try to call again soon. All I can say is I love you and try to stay safe. Then when the phone is quite, I say a small prayer, and thank the good Lord for watching over him. To all the mom's who have lost their son's or daughters I can't begin to express the heartache that all mom's feel for you. You are all in our prayers.....
6) I was saddened to read your update tonight (Friday). It just so happens that the young man (Brent McJennett) killed by an IED is from my home town. He attended East Detroit High which happens to be my old school as well as my brother's who is now serving in Balad (1-4 AVN B Co). They both would have been there in the same time period so they may have known each other. I would just like to extend my condolences to the family and let them know they will be in my prayers.
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