1st AD soldier killed during Tal Afar foot patrol
May 9, 2006
A 1st Armored Division soldier was killed Sunday near Tal Afar, U.S. military officials said Monday.
The identity and unit of the soldier were being withheld until family notification, but the soldier was assigned to the 1st Brigade Combat Team, officials said.
Another soldier assigned to the unit was wounded in the incident.
According to the U.S. military, the troops were “assisting Iraqi security forces in clearing a building from which several anti–Iraqi forces were firing at civilians, ISF and coalition forces,” a news release read.
There were few other details of the attack. The 1st Brigade, 1st Armored is operating in northern Iraq under the command of the 101st Airborne Division-led Task Force Band of Brothers.
The 1st AD soldiers have been in Tal Afar and the surrounding regions since deploying from Germany late last year. At least three brigade soldiers have been killed during the deployment.
While their predecessors in the region — the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment — fought a pitched battle to regain the one-time insurgent stronghold, the 1st Armored Division troops have largely focused on foot patrols throughout the city.
Unit commanders say that the foot patrols are necessary for several reasons — the first one being that many city streets are too small for armor to fit through. The streets that are large enough have suffered heavy damage from continuous tank traffic, and some intersections bear jagged troughs several feet deep — pivot points for tanks and Bradleys.
Commanders also say that foot patrols are much more familiar with the city’s neighborhoods and residents, and are capable of spotting new and potential troublemakers to a neighborhood, as well as signs of roadside bombs.
Interpreters accompany patrols, allowing soldiers to speak with residents and gather information. In some cases, locals have warned soldiers of bombs lying in their path.
Attacks have increased in the ethnically mixed city over the past few weeks, particularly in the north. Some soldiers speculate that insurgent fighters stepped up their attacks after President Bush held Tal Afar up as a model city during speeches earlier this year.