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Ramadiyah / Ar Ramadi

Ramadiyah [variants: most frequently Ramadi, but also Ramadiya, Ramadieh, Ramadie, Ramadie, al-Ramadi, Ar Ramadi] is situated about 70 miles, or 110 kilometers, west of Baghdad on the Euphrates River and forma the south-west point of the "Sunni Triangle". The alluvial Plain forms a quarter of Iraq's area [about 132,000 sq. km], extending in the form of a rectangle (650 Km long and 250 Km wide) between Balad, on the Tigris river and Ramadi, in the Tal Al Aswad region on the Euphrates river, in the north, the Iranian frontiers on the east, and the desert plateau on the west.

This provincial capital is the eastern terminus of a highway across the desert from the Mediterranean Sea. The town was founded in 1869 by the local rulers of the Ottoman Empire in order to control the nomadic Dulaym tribes of the region. The British won an important victory over the Turks there in 1917. Ramadi was established for political reasons, but proved vital as a stop-over on the caravan routes between Baghdad and the cities of the Levant.

The arabisation of towns in northern Iraq involved the forced removal of non-Arabs - Turkmens and Kurds - to the three (predominantly Kurdish) northern muhafazahs (provinces) of Arbil (Irbil), Dahuk (Dohuk), and As Sulaymaniyah (Suleimaniyah), which remain outside Baghdad's control; or to the south, often to the city of Ar Ramadi (al-Ramadi).

After the Gulf War cease-fire, a promise was made by Saddam Hussein on November 3, 1992 in Ramadi that "the mother of battles . . . has continued, and will continue."

There were anti-government demonstrations in al-Ramadi province in 1995. About 2,000 people arrested following the demonstrations were held without charge or trial, as were tens of thousands arrested in previous years.

On February 19, 1999, Grand Ayatollah Mohammad Sadiq al-Sadr, the most senior Shi'a religious leader in Iraq, was killed in downtown Najaf when the car he was riding in was boxed in by two other cars and hit by machine gun fire. Outside Baghdad illegal assemblies of Shi'a took place in most of the major cities of the south in reaction to the al-Sadr killing. Nine demonstrators reportedly were executed in Ramadi. To prevent them from leading religious gatherings, the chief Shi'a clerics of Basra and Nasiriyah reportedly were arrested. These government actions ultimately silenced the mourners and protesters, and the disturbances had ended by late February 1999. In April of 1999 about 100 detainees from Radwaniyah prison reportedly were taken to Ramadi province where they were buried alive in a pit.

As of January 2001 some 20,000 Iranian civilians remained held in Iraq's Ramadiyah Camp, according to the office of Kermanshah Province's governor-general, whose comments were reported in "Jomhuri-yi Islami" on 16 January 2001. An unnamed official in that office explained that "shortly after the start of the Iraqi-imposed war against the Islamic Republic of Iran, these people were rounded up along our country's western and southern border regions and taken to Iraq." All the Iraqi prisoners of war have been released, according to the 9 December 2000 "Javan," while over 2,000 Iranians are being held in Iraq.

Northern Palace / Camp Rawah
Rifles Base
Camp Blue Diamond

The Ar Ramadi palace complex has undergone an extreme transformation since the 3d Armored Cavalry Regiment arrived. The opulent palace complex that once was home to balls and affluent guests of Saddam Hussein is now the Regimental Headquarters, otherwise known as Rifles Base.

In early May 2003, after perilous convoys and desolate campsites, the soldiers and attachments of the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment from Fort Carson, Colo., finally reached Ar Ramadi, otherwise known as Rifles Base. The spacious grounds were slowly changed from a luxurious getaway spot to a functional operations center by the soldiers of the 3rd ACR Headquarters and support detachments. Most soldiers agree that the living conditions have improved greatly from their last stop at Tactical Assembly Area Rifles. Each minor improvement brings increased morale and increases the fighting capabilities of the troops. Already, many soldiers have fired up their generators and begun movie nights, while others read recent letters from home. While it is not a permanent home and one must remain on guard, soldiers at the Northern palace in Ar Ramadi are making themselves comfortable.

In July 2003 at Rifles Base it was reported that a portion of the palace was slowly being transformed into a dining hall and recreation area for the troops stationed at Ar Ramadi, Iraq . Hundreds of workers from many countries were working round the clock to get the facilities up and running as soon as possible. "It may look like chaos to someone on the outside, but I like to call it controlled chaos," said Glenn Schultz , Iraq Division Manager with Diauda-a subsidiary of Brown and Root. "At least we have an end product in mind." Schultz's team brought everything necessary to get the dining facility up and running, from stoves and sinks to the actual food. They will build, operate and maintain the facility themselves, allowing for the soldiers to relax. "I think that having a place like this really helps out the morale. More than that it helps out the soldier by giving them a place where they can get away from the stress," said Schultz. Schultz's company was the first to offer a hot meal inside the theater and is, to the best of his knowledge, the only contracted catering service working in the area. Thanks to the efforts of Schultz and his crew, the soldiers at Rifles base will soon be able to enjoy a hot Class A meal that more than likely did not simply come from a can or bag.

Company C, 2nd Battalion, 325th Airborne Infantry Regiment occupied a former palace used by Saddam's regime as its headquarters for operations in Ar Ramadi. US troops stationed in the presidential palace at Ramadi have repeatedly come under mortar fire.

Initially Bravo Company, First Battalion, 124th Infantry Regiment, Florida National Guard was based downtown at a government building nicknamed "the Mayor's Cell." But one day in June 2003 a local protest march got out of hand. Soon thereafter Bravo Company relocated to a sandstone palace on the edge of town. The rooms are jammed with black metal bunk beds, 20 or 30 to a room. It's safer but more isolated, making "winning hearts and minds" more difficult.

In May 2003 several Iraqi Sheiks from the Al Anbar Governate met with Coalition Forces to discuss plans for the rebuilding of the region. Col. David A. Teeples, Regimental Commander for the 3d Armored Cavalry Regiment, played host to a large group of Sheiks, government officials and other community leaders in the ruins of the Northern Palace at Ar Ramadi. Inside the war-ruined Grand Hall, there is a room that was once a large lavatory for the guests. Now it is home to the "Triple Threat PX". Soldiers formed lines extending well outside of the building as they waited for the noon opening, their faces a mix of curiosity and hope. Finally, the time arrived and with as much ceremony as could be mustered, Lt. Col. Brian Hamilton, commander of the 16th Signal Battalion, and Command Sgt. Maj. Aaron General, of the 16th Sig. Bn., cut a simple orange ribbon, officially opening the new post exchange. The first soldier to make a purchase was Pvt. William Cardish, who smiled and held up a bottle of Gatorade. "You don't know how long I've been waiting for this." General stood quietly to the side as soldiers from both 16th Sig. Bn. and 3d ACR filed in. The "Triple Threat PX" sold more than half its inventory in the first day and had to be re-supplied immediately. The soldiers of Rifles Base now have easy access to sundries, flashlights and snacks, all due to the hard work of one command sergeant major, his battalion and their neighbors.

The soldiers at Ar Ramadi's Northern Palace have literally been getting down and dirty. The dust and grime disturbed while transforming the ruins of a presidential palace into living and working areas has proven equally as hard to remove from the troops. Baby wipes and moist towelettes have had to replace approved water sources and many soldiers are running short on supplies. Members of the 89th Regimental Chemical Shop were in late May 2003 erecting a field shower area for Rifles Base. The showers are fed by two 2000-gallon water blivets double sanitized through the use of chlorine and heat to provide a healthy and hot means for soldiers to get rid of the grease and grime. The showers are conveniently located on the river walk near the guest houses. There are separate hours for male and female access posted along with the rules for use of the facilities.

The former home of Saddam Hussein's half-brother is Camp Blue Diamond in Ramadi, headquarters of the 1st Marine Division, based out of Camp Pendleton, Calif. Maj. Gen. James N. Mattis, commanding general of 1st Marine Division, and Sgt. Maj. Wayne R. Bell, the division sergeant major, uncased the "Blue Diamond's" colors during a relief-in-place ceremony, March 20, 2004. The Camp Pendleton, Calif.-based unit relieved the Army's 82nd Airborne Division of its duties here.

Southern Palace
Champion Base / Loyalty Base / Firebase Shoemaker
FOB Champion Base / FOB Paliden Base
FOB Hurricane / Hurricane Base / Camp Hurricane Point

Ramadi is one of several Sunni-majority towns along the Euphrates River west of Baghdad that was a stronghold of support for Saddam Hussein. It has been the site of frequent attacks that have killed Americans as well as Iraqis.

At the end of Ramadi's traffic choked stretch of Highway 10, past the recovering city's sights, smells, and narrow streets lies a place where luxury is as unfamiliar as the territory. The 'Combat Outpost,' a former Iraqi military maintenance facility, received its title from the Guardsmen of North Miami, Florida based Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, 124th Infantry Regiment, because of the compounds' Spartan, austere and-at times- dangerous nature. Ramadi has rapidly developed a new reputation as a hot bed of post-war, pro-Saddam militancy. This has led to many ineffective, yet remarkably brazen attacks on the compound. Mortars, RPG's and small arms are the weapons of choice for local guerrillas, and preparations for them a daily occurrence.

After President Bush declared major combat operations over in Iraq, the Al Anbar Province experienced its share of the rampant looting which plagued urban areas of the country. Structures in Ramadi belonging to the regime of Saddam Hussein were targeted with cathartic impunity and stripped of anything valuable or useful. In the case of Hurricane Base, the buildings they occupied were reduced to mere shells of block and brick, devoid of basic amenities such as electricity, running water, even window frames and doors.

By October 2003, buildings that once sweltered under the desert sun were cool bastions of comfort thanks to doors, makeshift plywood windows, and wall unit air conditioners. Soldiers now have freezer chests filled with cold drinks and satellite Internet access in the main building. Significant events include several quality of life improvements to Champion Base, assessments of several of the large ammunition storage points, and several important civil military events. Champion Base witnessed the grand opening of the contractor installed shower facilities, a much needed quality of life improvement. Troopers also began to receive bunk beds, providing better conditions in the sleeping / living areas. Mail delivery was regular and the post office was fully operational. Finally, laundry service was established locally. These improvements were direct results of the hard work of the paratroopers of DIVARTY.

1-319th AFAR provided support to the Panthers of 3rd Brigade in October 2003. HSB occupied the Champion Base main base camp and provided life support to the battalion as it continued to improve its force protection posture and quality of life.

The Loyalty Battalion Non-commissioned officers and paratroopers maintained "Loyalty Base" to the highest standard. It was the envy of the entire basecamp area. In addition to its regular mission the Battalion Tactical Operations Center (TOC) it is acting as the Civil Military Operations Center and is the focal point for the entire brigade as it tries to assist the Iraqi people in repairing and developing their own country. The TOC is a very busy place as is the entire battery.

B Battery of 1-319th AFAR built Firebase Shoemaker in honor of SGT Shoemaker who passed away June 2003. Firebase Shoemaker is in the same area as Loyalty Base. They delivered timely and accurate artillery fires as well as served in many other capacities.

Reported in April 2005 at Camp Hurricane Point - Sgt. Miguel E. Mejia's mobile convenience store has been providing snack foods, magazines and, most importantly, improved morale to the Marines of the 5th Marine Regiment. The 24-year-old retail store manager with Headquarters and Service Company, 2nd Force Service Support Group, has been running the Warfighter Express Service Team, which provides exchange items for purchase, dispersing and postal services to warriors fighting on the frontlines of the urban battlefield. "The mission of the WEST team is to enable Marines to get money, make purchases and mail things back to the States, we provide simple services that make a big difference in the lives of these service members". Mejia is like Santa Clause for Marines with the infantry battalion. They don't have to wait a year for him to arrive, though. Christmas for them comes once a week when Mejia visits their camp in his sleigh, which is a 7-ton truck, loaded with goodies from the Camp Ramadi Exchange. "We look forward to it coming all week", said Lance Cpl. Matthew R. Tanous, a rifleman with the guard force here, while standing in line for the PX. "The PX is a morale booster. It's a little piece of home for us out here. I'm glad it comes here because we don't have everyday access to a PX like others do at Camp Fallujah or Ramadi".

Camp Junction City

Operation Junction City was the only combat parachute operation of the Vietnam conflict.

The 101st Forward Support Battalion deployed to Camp Junction City.

The First Infantry Division's 1st Brigade Combat Team deployed to Iraq from Fort Riley beginning on 4 September 2003, and took over combat operations from the 3d Armored Cavalry Regiment in the Ar Rammadi and Habbiniyah area of operations on 26 September 2003. The Brigade Combat Team was fighting as part of the 82d Airborne Division and occupied three major base camps: Base Camp Junction City in Ar Rammadi containing the Brigade Headquarters, 1st Battalion 16th Infantry, 1st Battalion 5th field Artillery, 1st Engineer Battalion, D Troop 4th Cavalry, 331 Signal Company, and C Battery 4-3 Air Defense; Base Camp Manhattan in Habbiniyah containing 1st Battalion 34th Armor; and Forward Operating Base Ridgway near Al Taqqadam airfield containing the 101st Forward Support Battalion.

The Ar Ramadi Regional Pubic Safety Academy currently exists on approximately 25 acres (at coordinates LC 3706800591) within the external security wall of Camp Junction City. The total expected student population daily is 250 students.

The US Mission Iraq, and the Iraqi Ministry of Interior have a requirement to upgrade a semi-permanent police training academy in AR Ramadi, Iraq, (Grid Coordinate LC 37068 00591) and provide life support services. To accomplish this the CPA intends to award a cost type contract to a single vendor to provide immediate life support operations for 275 and install the remaining required facilities as provided in this SOW.

The installation has an existing perimeter security wall but the system does not provide adequate stand off distances in some areas, and other areas within the compound are unprotected in the event of the external walls being breached. The new security system design shall include a wall that will obstruct view of the site; the top of the wall shall be prepared with "Y" brackets to hold concertina wire security on top that encompasses the entire perimeter of the installation; design of a denial system at the security gates on the perimeter walls; and barriers and or trenches to provide explosion stand off distances where vehicles/motorcycles can enter.

It was reported widely in July of 2005 that troops and civilians at Camp Junction City were exposed to contaminated water, supplied by Halliburton Co. Halliburton, the company formerly headed by Vice President Cheney, disputed the allegations and a subsequent military medical unit found nothing out of the ordinary. Marine Corps Major Tim Keefe said, "The allegations appear not to have merit".

FOB Sabre / Sabre Base

On 17 June 2003 soldiers from the 3d Armored Cavalry Regiment set up a traffic control point (TCP) in Ar Ramadi. During TCPs Troopers typically stop cars, remind drivers of curfew violations, and then check the automobiles for weapons. On this evening, a white van bearing a Red Crescent moon, usually used to mark an ambulance or medical supplies, approached the TCP. Troopers from Sabre Squadron stopped the van and dismounted soldiers approached the vehicle as men stepped out. "We grew suspicious of the men because they were overly friendly. Usually when we stop cars the people aren't very happy to see us," explained Anderson. Troopers opened the back of the vehicle and entered as they normally would. A trooper stood on top of a crate covered with a large cloth. When he lifted the cloth the soldier was surprised to find not one, but 36 boxes containing six rocket propelled grenade warheads. They took them as enemy prisoners of war and drove the van back to Sabre Base.

Forward Operations Base Eden

On 05 May 2003 Company B/54 (-) moved to FOB Eden, and soon thereafter began improvement projects at FOB Eden to include berming, digging latrines, wiring barracks, and installing screens. On 17 May 2003 1/B/54 was relieved of mission and returned to the company at FOB Eden. Whether it's demolishing a building to create a secure perimeter or digging burn pits for trash, the 489th Mechanized Engineer Company [Reserve component from Conway, Arkansas] attached to the 3d ACR are constantly busy. At Forward Operations Base Eden, the engineers have improved perimeter defenses and worked hard at improving the living conditions on the base. They also assist in conducting force protection patrols and have installed a number of observation towers around the facilities. Their work off the post, in the town of Hit, has been limited. However, they have conducted repairs at a local pump station to restore water and assisted in small electrical projects in town.

The members of 94th Military Police Brigade-Reserve unit out of Saco , Maine assigned to F.O.B. Eden have been some of the chief players in getting the local police force up and running. They have worked with 3d squadron to enforce the Coalition mandated curfew and worked with groups like PSYOP and Civil Affairs to ensure the local police get the support of the community. They have also provided escorts for U.S. and Coalition convoys in their area.

The members of 974th Quartermaster Company, comprised of Reservists from across America, have been assembled from at least 18 other components from the United States . Their mission, to keep soldiers clean, healthy and well dressed. To facilitate this mission, they have set up a twelve person shower point at F.O.B. Eden which runs day and night with a brief break during the heat of the day to ensure that their equipment doesn't overheat. To keep soldiers uniforms in a good state of repair, they have brought tailors and seamstresses to sew on patches, rank, and repair any damage soldiers may have as a result of their various missions. They also coordinate the laundry runs to Al Asad airbase where a larger portion of their unit waits to clean and sanitize uniforms and return them quickly to the soldiers.

Camp Snake Pit

There are approximately 5,000 total British and American servicemembers at Camp Snake Pit. The facilities are said to be fair. However, like much of Iraq, electricity is erratic and outages are common.

Civil-Military Operations Center (CMOC)

In the aftermath of a war, it is often difficult for the surviving communities to recover. To combat this problem, Army Civil Affairs groups are working with local communities to aid in reconstruction. On May 9, 2003, personnel from the 3d Armored Cavalry Regiment, together with the Regimental Surgeon, Maj. Blake Graham, conducted an inventory of the hospitals in Ar Ramadi. The purpose of their visit was to gather information concerning the status of the Saddam General Hospital and the Maternity and Children's Hospital of Ar Ramadi.

The 304th Civil Affairs Brigade out of Philadelphia, Penn. is working hard to restore normalcy to the people of Ar Ramadi. The Civil Affairs specialists settle disputes, manage claims, locate resources and manage a host of other tasks designed to foster a lasting relationship between the Coalition Forces and the citizens of Iraq's largest province. To facilitate this goal, the soldiers working under the 304th Civil Affairs Brigade have organized a permanent shop in the governor's building to handle complaints and claims from the local population. The Civil Military Operations Center also handles the hiring of contractors to handle construction projects in the region, such as sewage systems, roads, government buildings and other public works. The Civil Affairs work with local claims and management of reconstruction projects within Al Anbar is one way Coalition Forces work to transition authority to the local Iraqi populations.

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