Archive: Mar 2003

NORTH OF NAJAF, IRAQ - Twenty-four hours after the suicide car bombing that killed four US soldiers on Highway 9, some 30 kilometers north of Najaf, the air still reeks of the explosion. The force of the plastic explosive blast not only completely destroyed the taxi cab used for the car bomb, it also charred a pickup truck and a passenger bus parked on the other side of the highway. Cassette tapes, screwdrivers, and a woman's shawl were the only telltale signs left of the life that preceded…
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30 KM. NORTH OF NAJAF, IRAQ - 'Handling threats posed by civilians is a new situation for the US Army [in Iraq]. Precedents are being set today by the guys on the ground at the battalion level.' So ruminated Lt.-Col Scott Rutter, commander of the 2-7 mechanized infantry battalion of the army's Third Infantry Division's First Brigade, hours after four of his men were killed by a car bomb at a roadblock at 10:30 Saturday morning in the first Iraqi suicide bombing of the war. 'I…
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WITH THE 3RD INFANTRY DIVISION IN IRAQ - Specialist Julie Albrecht is the first woman I have spoken to (and the third I have seen) since joining up with this division's Third Brigade.   Albrecht, 19, from Joliet, Illinois, is a Humvee driver in a chemical weapons company. She joined the army to finance her college education, and she has had quite a ride. 'I thought I'd be in a laboratory doing experiments in the army. That is what the recruiter showed us in the videos, I ne…
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NAJAF AMMUNITION STORAGE FACILITY - The winds and the sands of the Iraqi desert began swirling at around noon Tuesday but it didn't seem so bad. Two hours later, the storm was still passable as we set out for the suspected chemical weapons storage facility and the largest weapons storage facility in Najaf, Iraq, to meet the army weapons inspection team that arrived in the morning to survey the site that was taken by Bravo mechanized infantry company on Sunday without a fight. By the time we…
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SOUTH OF BAGHDAD - In the midst of a sandstorm that turned the landscape into moonscape, day into night, and night into pure blackness, a US Army sensitive site team arrived at the ammunition storage facility at Najaf Tuesday to investigate suspicions the complex had been used for chemical weapons. The team - Site Survey Team 4 - from Fort Sill, Oklahoma, conducted tests inside the complex's bunkers. Lt. Robert M. Naspaugh, who managed the two-hour inspection, said, 'We did not get indic…
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150 KM. SOUTH OF BAGHDAD - US forces continued to secure the suspected chemical plant in Najaf on Monday, as 12 civilians were caught attempting to transport a truckload of AK-47 rifles to the site. The 12 were added to the 54 Iraqi officers and enlisted men - including one general - who surrendered to the 2-7 mechanized infantry battalion during Sunday's raid. Senior army sources revealed to this reporter that the army is concerned with the sensitive status of the site. Specialists from an…
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DUE WEST OF NAJAF, SOUTHERN IRAQ - Soldiers of the US 3rd Infantry Division Sunday captured in Najaf, some 250 kilometers south of Baghdad, the first Iraqi installation that is suspected of having produced chemical weapons. About 70 Iraqi troops, including a general, surrendered to US forces at the plant. One soldier was lightly wounded when a booby-trap exploded as he was clearing the sheet metal-lined facility, which resembles the eerie images of scientific facilities in World War II concentra…
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DUE WEST OF NAJAF, Southern Iraq - The First Brigade of the 3rd Infantry Division conducted its first planned operation against an Iraqi target Sunday. Battalion forces were engaged twice by enemy forces along Highway 8, first in the village of al-Khadir just south of a-Samwah and later on the outskirts of a-Samwah itself. In the first battle, Iraqi forces attacked twice. Initially small arms were fired at soldiers from Alpha Company from inside the town's water tower. The troops quickly neu…
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ON THE IRAQ-KUWAIT BORDER - The few Iraqi guards on the Kuwait border fled on Thursday night in advance of US troops crossing into Iraq. At midnight, soldiers saw that the roof of the building housing the guards had been blown off and there was rubble all around, but there were no Iraqis; neither dead nor wounded. They had all run away. Pilots of US jets reported that Iraqi forces expected to engage in battle had also dispersed. Iraqi tanks began engaging US fo…
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SOUTHERN IRAQ - I do not recall ever considering the country of Kuwait or the Kuwaiti people for that matter with any particular emotion. To the best of my knowledge, Kuwaiti forces never participated in the Arab world's wars against Israel, nor have the Kuwaitis overtly funded terrorism against us like the Saudis and the Iraqis. If I had any feeling at all it came from the American in me. As an American I felt satisfied that after the US-led forces liberated Ku…
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