Soldiers Uncover Weapons Cache and Get Information on Recent Attacks
1st Cavalry Division
By 1st Lt. Chris Heathscott
39th BCT Public Affairs Officer
TAJI, Iraq- Soldiers from Oregon's Company B, 2nd Battalion, 162nd Infantry Regiment, recently uncovered a weapons cache just north of Camp Cooke, with the assistance of the Iraqi National Guard. Klemmer Capt. Damian San Miguel looks on as the commander of the Iraqi National Guard's 307th Battalion tours the site of a weapons cache discovered by San Miguel's Soldiers with the assistance of the ING. The cache produced several potential improvised explosive devices, including 28, 155 mm rounds and one which was already wired and ready for placement. >
"They found two separate caches consisting of 28, 155 mm artillery rounds, [rocket propelled grenade] launchers, and small-arms ammunition," said Staff Sgt. Jon Jeu, of North Little Rock, Ark.. "A search of a small residence nearby, located an actual [improvised explosive device] that was wired and ready for placement."
"They found a whole bunch of propaganda, a whole bunch of gas masks, and a whole bunch of rounds," said Capt. Damian San Miguel, a resident of Eugene, Ore., and Company B commander. "We took a whole lot of rounds that were possible [IEDs]."
Commander of the 1st Battalion, 206th Field Artillery Regiment, Lt. Col. Keith Klemmer, a Russellville, Ark. resident, said the discovery of the weapons cache was a significant development to the recent attacks on the Multi-National Forces at Camp Cooke. Staff Sgt. Larry Price, of the 103rd Field Artillery Battalion from Rhode Island, looks on as the commander of the 307th Battalion, Iraqi National Guard demonstrates the use of a protective mask. The mask was one of many items that were found at the site of weapons cache that netted 28, 155 mm artillery rounds, which were most likely used as improvised explosive devices against the Multi National and Iraqi Security Forces.
"What's interesting is, this is no more than a couple of kilometers away, roughly a little over a mile, from where we actually have received several attacks over the past few months," Klemmer said. "We may have done two things. We found a cache of weapons and may have actually solved a big mystery of attacks on convoys just north of our location."
The mission brought in more than weapons. The discovery resulted in intelligence on those responsible said Jeu, who assisted in the interrogation of a detainee. "We ended up taking one detainee at the time, who was a former Iraqi Soldier who served during the Iran-Iraq war," Jeu said. "We also identified our primary target, the person responsible for the majority of the ammunition in the arms cache that we located." Klemmer said, the find was an impressive accomplishment for the battalion, because the process from receiving the initial order to unearthing the cache took place in less than 24 hours.Lt. Col. Keith Klemmer, commander of the 1st Battalion, 206th Field Artillery Regiment of the 39th Brigade Combat Team, talks with an Iraqi National Guard Soldier as they prepare to depart the site of a recently located weapons cache north of Taji, Iraq. The ING Soldiers assisted in the discovery, with Company B of the 2nd Battalion, 162nd Infantry Regiment heading up the find. Klemmer's battalion has taken up patrols outside the wire under a coordinated effort through various units to cover down on the former area of operations for the 2nd Battalion, 7th Cavalry Regiment, which pushed in the holy city of Najaf, Iraq.
"It was in a very compressed time frame," he said. "It was a very successful mission, well executed by the infantry Soldiers on the ground." "It's a very labor intensive process searching the area with metal detectors," Jeu said. "The teams work very hard and they work very well together and it's a team effort that involves not only the Oregon National Guard and the 39th Brigade, but also the [ING] and the citizens in that community."
Klemmer, along with the ING Commander, took advantage of an opportunity to view the cache site and meet with their Soldiers on the ground after the discovery. "[The ING commander] was able to get out and shake his Soldiers hands and thank the Soldiers for the work that they're doing. In essence that's where we want to go with this. We want to turn over that ability to act on intelligence and eliminate people that are out trying to tear away at the security that exist right now."
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