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Iraqi firefighters turn in ordnance to U.S. troops

By Maj. Russ Goemaere

BAGHDAD (Army News Service, Dec. 6, 2005) -- Iraqi firefighters from the Rusafa Fire Station in east Baghdad turned over more than 200 rounds of unexploded ordnance to elements of Task Force Baghdad for destruction Dec. 1.

The firefighters gave 65 artillery rounds and 143 mortar rounds to elements of 1st Battalion, 9th Field Artillery.

This is a continuing effort and partnership between the leadership of the Rusafa Fire Station and 1/9 FA to rid the area of unexploded ordnance and denying terrorists potential bomb-making material.

"On Nov. 3, we secured a slightly smaller, but still significant, load of munitions in the same location. I am glad to be working with the firefighters here to make the community safer for everyone – especially the children who like to play in areas where much of the unexploded ordnance still remains," said Maj. Jay Sawyer, operations officer for 1/9 FA.

“The most exciting aspect to me is that the Iraqi citizens provide the Iraqi security forces and fire departments with the location of unexploded ordnance they find in their neighborhoods,” Sawyer added. “The people want their communities safer and they look to the Iraqi government to provide that safety.”

All of the ordnance was later destroyed by a U.S. explosive ordnance disposal team.

(Editor’s note: Maj. Russ Goemaere serves with 2nd Brigade Combat Team PAO.)

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