1-77 brought the big guns, but rarely fired themThe guns were based at Forward Operating Base Kalsu in Babil province and FOB Delta in Wasit. However, the guns were rarely fired, and when they were, it was only to provide illumination for ground troops, Hite said. • Story

Bringing back Balad Ruz: Area swept of al-Qaida in grueling battleSince the U.S. invasion in 2003, American coalition forces had operated in the area for only a few weeks at a time. Al-Qaida fighters had run off Shiite farmers, who once made up half of the population, and destroyed irrigation systems to stop the farmers from coming back. The insurgents fortified villages with double- and triple-stacked anti-tank mines and resisted strongly from late January until May. • Story

Road warriors of GilaIn the battle against roadside bombs, it’s the enemy who chooses when and where to fight. Members of Task Force Gila spent a year combating improvised explosive devices on Iraq’s treacherous roads, clearing 60,000 kilometers without a fatality. • Story

1-2 soldiers tasked with getting Iraqis autonomyThe unit was tasked with training Iraqi forces, supporting provincial reconstruction teams and working with the “Sons of Iraq” program. It was a wide-ranging mission that had task force troops scattered around numerous bases. • Story

Despite new restrictions, battalion kept traveling to supply troopsWhile many soldiers found themselves restricted to U.S. bases as Iraqis took the lead in securing their nation, personnel from the 172nd Support Battalion carried on business as usual, moving supplies for thousands of soldiers across five Iraqi provinces. • Story

With Iraq violence down, 2-28 focused on training, rebuildingThe Babil PRT included dozens of civilian personnel on one-year deployments and a handful of U.S. military staff. It was involved in projects ranging from building farmers markets to road construction • Story

See the electronic version of the print edition

Sign Up for Daily Headlines

Sign up to receive a daily email of today's top military news stories from Stars and Stripes and top news outlets from around the world.

Sign Up Now