Surra Man Ra'a (pleased who saw) was the historical name of Samarra city. It was established by the Abassid Caliph al-Mu'tasem Billah, the eighth Caliph of the Abbasids. He was born in (180 BC -797 AD). He was chosen a caliph after al-Ma'moon in (218 BC-833 AD). His reign had continued for nine years, during which he built the city of Samarra which was considered as the capital of the Abassid Caliphate after Baghdad in (221 BC-836 AD).
The modern city of Samarra is situated on the bank of the river Tigris some sixty miles from the city of Baghdad. The city is of outstanding importance because of its two shrines. The first shrine is the al-Askari Mosque where Imam Ali al-Naqi (10th Imam) and his son Imam Hasan al-Askari (11th Imam) are buried. The second shrine marks the place where Imam al-Mahdi went into concealment.
On 18 April 2003 elements of the 4 th Infantry Division engaged with Iraqi paramilitary forces in the vicinity of Taji and Samarra, destroying 8 "technicals" (civilian vehicles mounted with military weapons) and capturing 30 prisoners.
As of late 2003 more than 70 percent of the young men from 18-to-35 years old in the city of about 300,000 residents are unemployed.
Camp Brassfield-Mora / FOB Brassfield-Mora
Camp Brassfield-Mora, also known as FOB Brassfield-Mora, is located approximately 10 km north of Samarra. The base is named after Specialists Artimus Brassfield and Jose Mora. The two soldiers were killed in separate mortar attacks in October 2003.
Arriving with Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicles and sticks of C-4 explosive, American soldiers from Camp Brassfield-Mora began knocking down the doors of suspected insurgents throughout Samarra during the early morning hours of 17 December 2003. The objective of the operation, known as Ivy Blizzard, was to root out terrorists and elements with loyalties to the former regime, deliver the city into the hands of the Iraqi Civil Defense Corps and local police, and leave it in the control of the local governing council. The operation netted more than 70 suspects. The soldiers of1 st Battalion, 8th Infantry Regiment rolled into the city ready to pour out the hatches and face the unknown. Soldiers of the 720 th Military Police Battalion and Samarra police officers conducted their first joint patrols 19 December 2003 in Samarra, a city that had been the site of violent opposition to coalition forces since May 2003. During the patrols, MPs and local police walked through the heart of Samarra, down crowded streets littered with trash and through markets full of shop owners and customers near the city's large downtown mosque. It's the same site where 720th MPs and 4th Infantry Division soldiers fought a fierce battle with hostile forces 30 November 2003. The 300,000 or so people living in the city of Samarra were becoming accustomed to seeing Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicles parked at major intersections and Humvees racing along side roads.
The cooks of Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Battalion, 26th Infantry Regiment run one of the few Army-only dining facilities in the area of operations, and cook all the meals themselves. They put their lives on the line, convoying out three to four times a week to bring back the food that will be cooked, baked, grilled or fried before being fed to the hungry, hardworking Soldiers of Task Force 1-26.
These cooks serve hot breakfast and dinner to every growling stomach on post. Unlike most forward operating bases in Task Force Danger, the Brassfield-Mora dining facility doesn’t have civilian contractors to help lighten the load. They cook the food, wash the pots and pans, clean the equipment and serve hot meals twice a day.
After a long day of patrolling near the City of Samarra, Soldiers can get tired of the same old stuff. The cooks of HHC 1-26 try to mix up the usual fare by providing some variety. Their most popular dish is their grilled T-bone steak, which they serve on Sundays.
With about 900 Soldiers filing through twice a day, the plastic tables and chairs are showing the expected wear and tear. Luckily a new dining facility is nearing completion. After three long months of cooking hot meals in even hotter weather, the cooks are ready to move into their new digs. The renovated building will allow for indoor meals and more sanitary conditions.
An Iraqi Army base is located directly behind FOB Brassfield-Mora.
Patrol Base Razor / Patrol Base Uvanni / Patrol Base Olsen
Patrol Base Casino / Camp Daniels
Patrol Base Olsen, formerly known as Patrol Base Casino, is located approximately 10 miles from Brassfield-Mora. Hot meals are rarely served at Olsen. When hot food is delivered it is usually the left-overs from Brassfield-Mora. Deliveries to PB Olsen are kept at a minimum because the 10 mile strech between Bassfield-Mora and Olsen is treacherous.
CMOC (Civil-Military Operations Center)
The CMOC (Civil-Military Operations Center) in Samarra is a small base in the middle of the town. The small walled compound is no more than a lightly protective shell with two platoons of US Army soldiers. The CMOC isn't a clean, well-ordered American base -- it's dingy and strewn with debris. In June 2003, a mortar attack on the CMOC in Samarra killed one Iraqi and injured 12 others, although no US troops were hurt, according to US Central Command.
The Soldiers of the 720th Military Police Battalion spent the month of July 2003 working to secure peace and stability in Iraq. Their missions continued to be conducted primarily in the area known as the "Sunni Triangle." This part of central Iraq, which includes the cities of Baghdad, Al-Fallujah and Tikrit, is where Saddam Hussein and Baath party loyalists had been most active against US forces. Soldiers of the Gauntlet were mostly working in the northern portion of this triangle in and around Tikrit. The 401 st and 411 th Military Police companies conducted missions in Tikrit with the 4th Infantry Division. Fourth platoon from the 401 st MP Company worked with 1-66 Armor, 4ID, in Samarra, a city about 20 miles south of Tikrit. The 64 th MP Company worked in Ad-Duluiyah, a small town 20 miles south of Samarra.