2nd Brigade Combat Team soldiers round up suspected insurgents in Iraq
Stars and Stripes October 24, 2004
YONGSAN GARRISON, South Korea — Soldiers from the 2nd Brigade Combat Team have rounded up more than 300 suspected enemy fighters during raids in and around Ramadi, Iraq, over the past two weeks, officials said Friday.
According to a release issued by the brigade in Iraq, soldiers also seized dozens of rocket propelled grenades, mortar systems, rockets, anti-tank mines and several tons of rockets and small arms ammunition.
“We are relentless in our pursuit of terrorists,” Col. Gary S. Patton, 2nd BCT commander, was quoted as saying in the release. “We will take this battle to them at every opportunity, with overwhelming combat power, and without warning.”
The raids have come during brigade- and battalion-level operations, designed to cut off insurgents’ organizational and supply routes, officials said. The brigade is operating in Al Anbar province, which contains the insurgent-controlled cities of Ramadi and Fallujah.
The successes claimed by the brigade have not come without cost. Since arriving in Iraq at the end of August, the brigade has suffered at least 14 deaths, 12 of those listed by the Pentagon as combat casualties.
Seven of the deaths have come since Oct. 6, according to the Department of Defense.
“Units have also battled insurgents in fierce urban fighting,” 2nd BCT leaders acknowledged. In recent weeks, the brigade has been among several U.S. units tightening their hold around Ramadi and Fallujah; military officials have said they want to stop the flow of insurgents between the two cities, which have become planning centers for the attacks carried out against Iraqi citizens and U.S. soldiers.
“We have sustained some losses in close combat, but our fighting spirit remains very high,” Patton said, according to the release. “Our soldiers and Marines recognize they are making the area safer and more secure for the Iraqi people.”
According to brigade officials, the 2nd BCT is augmented with a Marine infantry battalion in addition to its own six Army battalions. The 2nd BCT was part of the 2nd Infantry Division until August, when it deployed from South Korea. The brigade will move on to Fort Carson, Colo., once its yearlong deployment is up, the Army has said.
In addition to offensive operations, the units are conducting missions to rebuild infrastructure and provide humanitarian aid in the local area, officials said. Second Brigade units have established relationships with a local university and several local schools, providing both security and supplies for the students.
“Members of the brigade also recently conducted a census of a refugee camp near Habbiniyah in preparation for much-needed humanitarian assistance. The unit is scheduled to deliver medical supplies to the camp this week,” the release read.