Operation Yellow Stone
April 23, 2004
Elements of the 1st Cavalry Division moved into the former presidential island retreat of Al-Rashida on the morning of April 23, 2004 for Operation Yellow Stone, to secure the area and remove the enemy from the island.
On the island sits a dilapidated palace that houses Iraqi squatters and insurgents who have been attacking the Army camp with rockets and mortars. Combined elements of the 39th and 4th Brigade Combat Team of the 1st Cav. Div. as well as Macedonian Special Forces set the operation in motion. The only way onto the island was through a single bridge, but the Soldiers were prepared.
Early that morning, the Soldiers from Echo Troop, 151st Cavalry, 39th BCT, established an outer cordon, and immediately began taking enemy fire. Returning fire, the engagement was quickly squelched and the operation continued as planned.
Macedonian Special Forces secured the single gateway to the island, and quickly began searching the northwest area of the island.
With a large land area to search and access limited to the solitary bridge, 2nd Battalion 227th Aviation Regiment of 4th BCT used helicopters to deliver two additional 39th BCT platoons to the southeast area of the island.
From prior intelligence, the Soldiers knew there was the possibility for enemy attack, but they were ready to get the insurgents and their weapons.
A one-foot- thick reinforced-concrete wall surrounded the presidential compound, which would make the mission more challenging. On the other side of the wall, forces navigated a dirt path lined with tall, dense vegetation before reaching the palace grounds.
Then the rest of the Soldiers hit the island with force as they used their Abrams Tanks to smash through the thick concrete barrier. Their Bradley fighting vehicles rolled down the narrow dirt path and HHC, 2-7 Cav. established the inner cordon, effectively handing the squatters their eviction notice.
Five hours later, the presidential compound and island of Al-Rashida had been completely searched and the coalition forces returned to their established rallying point.
Operation Yellow Stone was complete. The island was clear and the squatters had been removed from the palace.
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