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Release A0506011e

Task Force Baghdad Soldiers root out terrorists

Multi-National Force-Iraq

NEW BAGHDAD , Iraq – Soldiers from 1st Battalion, 64th Armor, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division conducted Operation Determined Fury June 6-7 in an effort to root out terrorists in central Baghdad .

“We're basically doing a week's worth of cordon-and-searches in two days,” said Maj. Paul Maxwell, 1-64 Armor executive officer. “Using intel we've gathered, we're targeting houses where terrorists cells are thought to plan (improvised explosive device) attacks.”

On the afternoon of June 6, Soldiers from Companies C, D and E, 1-64 Armor, rolled into a densely-populated New Baghdad neighborhood and blocked streets around target houses with M1 Abrams tanks, Bradley Fighting Vehicles and HUMMVs.

Soldiers from Company C quickly cleared their first house and emerged with two detainees. Another team immediately moved in to thoroughly search the house.

“This operation is targeting members of terrorist organizations who've been manufacturing IEDs and (vehicle-borne) IEDs,” said Capt. Dustin Baadte, Company C, 1-64, commander.

Company C., nicknamed “The Wild Bunch,” searched about 20 houses and apartments in three locations, and found several small weapons caches.

In one house, Soldiers found three AK-47 rifles and five magazines buried in a plastic bag in the front yard. In the same house, they found bags of auto parts that had been stripped of their ball bearings, a common component of IEDs.

Iraqi Army troops, normally a fixture in Wild Bunch operations, did not participate in the mission, as they are currently engaged in Operation Lightning elsewhere in south Baghdad .

“It's too bad the Iraqi Soldiers weren't here – they help with language and relations,” Baadte said. “We still got to remind (anti-Iraqi forces) that we can put 200 Soldiers on the ground at the same time and conduct large, coordinated operations in sector.”

New Baghdad is a diverse neighborhood, populated with Christians, Sunni Muslims and Shiite Muslims.

Wild Bunch detained six people, two suspected of plotting terrorist attacks. The other four were later released. Among the items confiscated were AK-47s, high-capacity rifle magazines, pistols, suspected bomb-making parts and a variety of ammunition.

The next day, Soldiers from Company B., 1-64 Armor conducted a similar mission in a different part of the neighborhood.

The target houses were located in a less-populated area than the day before and were on uneven terrain. So instead of tanks, AH-64 Apache attack helicopters circled the low buildings during the mission.

Company B. brought along a new asset to assist in searching homes – a German shepherd named Sammy.

“Sammy's trained to find all kinds of explosives and ammunition, as well as people who are hiding,” said Sgt. Nicholas Oberle, 35th Military Police Detachment. “She brings a whole new dimension in how well you can search a house – she can sniff out residues you'd never find.”

Oberle, from Eagle, Neb., and Sammy are attached to 1-64 Armor at Camp Rustimiyah, but have worked together for more than a year at Fort Gordon, Ga.

“Every day we train dogs to perform in a combat environment,” Oberle said. “She's a happy-go-lucky dog, but she's a hard worker, too.”

Bayonet Co. did not take detainees or confiscate weapons during their searches, but took the time to build relations with residents in the area, according to 1st Lt. Brent Dial, Company B., 1-64 Armor, executive officer.

“Every time you go out, it's an opportunity to meet residents of your sector and show them you're looking out for them,” Dial, of Bowie , Md. , said.

Dial said the success of Operation Determined Fury contributed greatly to the success of Operations Squeeze Play and Lightning, which focus on the larger mission of securing all of Baghdad .


Text for release and opsec review provided by the TASK FORCE BAGHDAD Public Affairs Office. contact david.abrams@id3.army.mil.


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