By Staff Sgt. Antonieta Rico,
4th Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division

    TARMIYAH, Iraq - Tarmiyah is a town with a history of violence, but three months to the day insurgents mounted an attack against Soldiers in a patrol base in Tarmiyah, killing two and wounding 29, Stryker Soldiers were back out walking the streets of the town. Watchful eyes followed the Soldiers' progress through a marketplace. Locals lined the shops of the town, a Sunni insurgent stronghold, watched as the Soldiers approached people out in the street, saying hello and shaking hands. The people seemed curious, and guarded. As Capt. Patrick Roddy put it, "some of them are not thrilled we are here." Roddy commands Company C, 4th Battalion, 9th Infantry Regiment, of the 4th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, from Fort Lewis, Wash. Soldiers of Co. C officially took responsibility for coalition efforts in the town May 15. The Stryker brigade is part of the "surge" of troops into the Baghdad area.

    Army 1st Lt. Gerald Wynn, a platoon leader with Co. C, approached some local men who sat outside their shop during the patrol, trying to get a feel for the area and assess their needs. A curious Iraqi girl peeked her head out from a gate to look at the men talking. "We are going to have as much interaction (as needed) with the people, to get them to be on our side, instead of the insurgent's side," Wynn said.

    Since the beginning of the war the population in the town has had mixed interaction with coalition forces. Troops have been in and out of Tarmiyah, but up to about year ago there was no constant presence, Roddy said. The cavalry Soldiers who were responsible for the area before the Stryker Soldiers took over did a good job inhibiting the insurgents' freedom to maneuver, but were unable to fully engage the population, because they did not have the dismounted Soldiers that a Stryker unit brings to the fight in Tarmiyah, Roddy said,

"We have a lot more people to put on the ground," he said.

    Wynn and Roddy both agree that the Stryker Soldiers face a complex challenge. The predominantly Sunni town - only about five percent of the population is Shia - harbors resentment for the Shia-run government in Baghdad. Insurgents favor the town for its prime location, with links to supply routes that run to Mosul, far north, and Baqubah to the east. The town is just 30 miles north of Baghdad. "It's a good place to funnel weapons, fighters and equipment for use in Baghdad," Roddy said. The town also has a large homeless Sunni population pushed out of Baghdad by Shia militias, said Roddy.

    Wynn knows the history of violence in the town and takes a realistic approach to his Soldier's mission in Tarmiyah. "It's going to be a lot of hard work," he said, "I can't say we expect (change) to happen in a day, or a couple of months." To win the faith of the people he plans to follow through on promises and help establish basic services in the town. He hopes that his Soldiers can have a big enough impact on the people that they will revolt against al-Qaida, as other Iraqis have done. As of now, Roddy believes the people are on the brink, and have not decided whose side they are on. "My observations are that the people here are scared, they are getting sick and tired of the terrorists, but they don't know what their options are," Roddy said. Roddy said he believes the average person in Tarmiyah has reached the point where they are thinking: "I'm scared to death of the insurgents, I'm scared of the Americans, and I'm not sure who I'm scared of more." Before Wynn's platoon heads out on a patrol a sergeant reminds the Soldiers that the people are the key, and they must walk a fine line as they seek to eliminate the insurgents who hide in the town, but also to gain the trust of the people.

"Our goal is to make them look at us as a far better option than the insurgents," Roddy said.


Photographer: Staff Sgt. Antonieta Rico
4th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division

Click on pictures for larger version
        

View Image Sgt. Christian Garcia pulls security in a street in Tarmiyah as a Mobile Gun System Stryker vehicle rolls through the town May 19. Garcia is with Company C, 4th Battalion, 9th Infantry Regiment, 4th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, from Fort Lewis, Wash. The Stryker brigade is the fourth of five brigades to arrive in Iraq as part of the President's "surge" of troops into the Baghdad area.

View Image Soldiers with Company C, 4th Battalion, 9th Infantry Regiment, 4th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, from Fort Lewis, Wash., move away from a medical evacuation helicopter after loading a fellow Soldier shot by a sniper in Tarmiyah May 20. The Soldier is in good condition and expected to recover fully. Soldiers with Company C are based out of a patrol base in the town which is targeted daily by insurgents with mortar, small arms and sniper fire.

View Image Stryker Soldiers from Fort Lewis, Wash., patrol a village north of Baghdad June 5. The Soldiers are with Company A, 4th Battalion, 9th Infantry Regiment, 4th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division.

View Image Staff Sgt. David Howard patrols a village north of Baghdad, in the Taji area, June 5. Howard is with Company A, 4th Battalion, 9th Infantry Regiment, 4th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, from Fort Lewis, Wash.

View Image Spc. Jairo Palacios talks with some boys in a village north of Baghdad June 5. Palacios is with Company A, 4th Battalion, 9th Infantry Regiment, 4th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, from Fort Lewis, Wash.

View Image First Lt. Daniel Lowe and his interpreter walk through a village just north of Baghdad June 5. Lowe is with Company A, 4th Battalion, 9th Infantry Regiment, 4th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, from Fort Lewis, Wash

View Image Sgt. George Wojtowicz walks through a village just north of Baghdad June 5. Wojtowicz is with Company A, 4th Battalion, 9th Infantry Regiment, 4th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, from Fort Lewis, Wash.

View Image A Soldier with Company C, 4th Battalion, 9th Infantry Regiment, 4th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, from Fort Lewis, Wash., pulls security in a street in Tarmiyah May 19. Soldiers of Company C, 4-9 Inf. Regt. patrolled the market places and shop streets in Tarmiyah in an effort to meet with the local people and assess their needs.

View Image It is labeled as CSM Pich and SFC Wallock. That is Pich on the right.

View Image Another from the uncasing ceremony. If the wind hadn't been blowing from the wrong direction you could have seen the battle streamers.

View Image This is a shot of them uncasing the colors when they first arrived in the region. It is labeled KWT without a caption so I suspect this is in Kuwait just before they moved north.

View Image This one is not described in any way. Looks like it is with an Iraqi soldier but which soldier is not clear. Guessing the guy with his back to us is an interpreter and the Manchu to his right could be LTC William Prior.

August 25,2007
Mr. James,
As you may have heard, the MANCHUS have lost another great Soldier, Warrior, and MANCHU. PFC Will Powell was taken from us by a snipers bullet. Comanche Company got their revenge the next day killing and capturing HVTs (High Value Target). We have had five KIA and over 60 WIA, 24 which have gone home for recovery. The Manchu's have been pressing the enemy everyday and making him think about his actions. We are way head of his decision making which makes it easy for the MANCHU BULLET to find him.

We have and are living up to the PAST MANCHUS reparation every day. As I told you at the reunion last year, along with many other VETs, the present day MANCHU will write a new chapter in history and do you all proud. The Soldiers have done that and will continue to do that.

We have one Manchu in for the DSC, 2 for SS, 4 for BSwV and over 40 receiving ARCOMwV. They are doing great but as you know comes at a terrible cost.

Once again, thanks for all the support we have received and the MANCHUS will always "KEEP UP THE FIRE".

CSM Philip s. Pich
4th Bn, 9th IN Regiment

View Image Soldiers from Company A, 4th Battalion, 9th Infantry Regiment, exfiltrate with two detainees after completing an air assault and raid. Able Company is part of the 4th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, from Fort Lewis, Wash., and is currently conducting operations with 4-2 SBCT north of Baghdad in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

View Image Soldiers from Company A, 4th Battalion, 9th Infantry Regiment, exfiltrate with confiscated contraband after completing an air assault and raid. Able Company is part of the 4th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, from Fort Lewis, Wash., and is currently conducting operations north of Baghdad in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

View Image U.S. Soldiers from Company B, 4th Battalion, 9th Infantry Regiment, 4th Battalion, 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, secure food shipments to Hussayniyah, July 25.

View Image With security aid from 4th Battalion, 9th Infantry Regiment, 4th "Stryker" Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, from Fort Lewis, Wash., a fleet of Iraqi cargo trucks, stretching out for miles, travels down the road to deliver bags of rice to the people of Tarmiyah.

View Image Staff Sgt. Russell Cash, assigned to 4th Battalion, 9th Infantry Regiment, 4th "Stryker" Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, from Fort Lewis, Wash., stands guard while the Mobile Civil Military Operations Center conducts claim reviews.

View Image Cpt. J. Dow Covey from St. Augustine, Fla., and Staff Sgt. Justin Evaristo from Lacey, Wash., both assigned to 4th Battalion, 9th Infantry Regiment, 4th "Stryker" Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, from Fort Lewis, Wash., move around the corner of a building to secure its perimeter for the Mobile Civil Military Operations Center.

View Image With security aid from 4th Battalion, 9th Infantry Regiment, 4th "Stryker" Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, from Fort Lewis Wash., Iraqi men from Tarmiyah converse around bags of rice while waiting for a cargo truck to pull into the warehouse.

View Image Cpl. Sean Spinks, assigned to 4th Battalion, 9th Infantry Regiment, 4th "Stryker" Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, from Fort Lewis, Wash., speaks to an Iraqi man for the Mobile Civil Military Operations Center.

View Image Sgt. Blake Ledingham, assigned to 4th Battalion, 9th Infantry Regiment, 4th "Stryker" Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, from Fort Lewis, Wash., takes a break from the heat while on watch for the Mobile Civil Military Operations Center.


September 4, 2007

TAJI, Iraq - Coalition Forces conducted a raid near the village of Ramadan and detained six suspects including three suspected al-Qaeda in Iraq operatives, Aug. 31.

Soldiers from 4th Battalion, 9th Infantry Regiment, 4th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, captured three suspected members of an AQI terrorist cell, believed to be responsible for several coalition deaths. Three other individuals were also detained, one of whom is also suspected in attacks against coalition forces.

Ground and air assets were used during the raid to prevent the AQI suspects from escaping during the operation.

Soldiers found several assault rifles and ammunition during the raid.

Copy of the BDE Newspaper. The Desert Raider
This will give you an ideal what each of the units in 4-2 ID is doing in IRAQ.
October 2007 PDF File      November 2007 PDF File


By: Noah Shachtman
September 26, 2007

TARMIYAH, Iraq -- They were supposed to be wearing the high-tech soldier suits of the future. But when the grunts of the 4th Battalion, 9th Infantry Regiment first started running around with a pile of gadgets on their backs and their helmets, they absolutely hated the gear.

Oh, maybe the Land Warrior gizmo suite -- complete with digital maps, wearable computers and new radios -- might do the bosses some good, the troops told me. And yeah, the equipment was about as close a troops today were going to get to the kind of tricked-out, sci-fi ensemble you might see worn by Halo's Master Chief. But at 16 pounds, on top of an already crushing 60-plus-pound load for grunts, the gear just wasn't worth the weight. The Army brass wasn't exactly thrilled with Land Warrior, either -- it yanked every last dime to fund the get-ups. The half-billion-dollar, 15-year project looked dead.

Cash was on hand to send the 4/9 into battle with Land Warrior, though. And their commanding officer, Lt. Col. Bill Prior, was a big fan. So, this spring, Land Warrior went off to Iraq.

I've just spent a week with Prior and the 4/9 (known as the "Manchus" since their assaults on China in 1901). And much to my surprise, a bunch of the soldiers in the unit are warming up to Land Warrior, especially now that the gizmo ensemble has been pared down and made more tactically relevant. So now the question is: can this once-doomed soldier-of-the-future ensemble spring back to life?

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MUSHAHIDA, Iraq – Infantry Soldiers in and around Mushahida, Iraq, are working hard to make the area safer for the civilians in the village.

Troops from Company A, 4th Battalion, 9th Infantry Regiment, 4th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, rotate between Camp Taji and Joint Security Station Mushahida, located about 10 kilometers to the northwest of Taji.

At Taji, the infantry Soldiers work to keep their area of operations clear of improvised explosive devices. Anytime a possible IED is reported in Able Company’s territory, they assist an explosive ordnance disposal team to eliminate the threat.

At Joint Security Station Mushahida, the Soldiers work with an Iraqi police station. The infantry company shares it with the officers, using it as a springboard for security missions in the area around Mushahida. Most days, troops from the 10th Mountain Division’s 543rd Military Police Company come out and work with the Iraqi police, trying to increase the officer’s level of productivity and skill.

“We have IPs work hand in hand with the MPs,” said Fire Support Officer Capt. Adam Payne. “Our job is to assist them in that.” Often the troops from 4-9 Inf. will go out into the village and talk with the civilians, asking them if they have seen any suspicious activity. The Soldiers frequently speak with a man named Abdullah, who is a high school teacher in Mushahida.

“He’s the voice of the town,” said 1st Lt. Daniel Lowe, platoon leader for 3rd Platoon, Company A. “He doesn’t hold an official position, but has a lot of pull with the people.”

Abdullah grew up in the area and has a vested interest in seeing terrorism in the village come to an end. The English teacher lost his wife and almost lost his son in a sniper attack and mortar attack, respectively.

“I have sacrificed too much,” Abdullah said. “Still, I will continue sacrificing for the new Iraq.”

Abdullah’s continued open relationship with coalition forces opened the door for communication between the villagers and Soldiers. The people use Abdullah as a liaison between themselves and the Soldiers, informing him of possible threats in the area. Abdullah then relays the information to the troops. The 48-year-old school teacher said if the area becomes secure, he will be proud of cooperating with the Soldiers.

Lowe, a platoon leader in Able Company, said civilians working with Soldiers has reduced violence in the area.

There is still a lot of work left to be done in Mushahida to ensure the security of the village, Lowe said. However, he remains hopeful and believes that if people continue to step up and speak out against terrorists in the area, Mushahida will become a permanently secure area.

View Image Spc. Michael O' Donnell of Company A, 4th Battalion, 9th Infantry Regiment, 4th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, from Fort Lewis, Wash., watches for enemy activity from the rooftop at Joint Security Station Mushahida, Iraq, Oct. 1.

View Image Soldiers from Company A, 4th Battalion, 9th Infantry Regiment, took fire from these palm groves, the morning of Oct. 1, near Security Station Mushahida, Iraq.

View Image Spc. Sean Rukse of Company A, 4th Battalion, 9th Infantry Regiment, 4th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, from Fort Lewis, Wash., watches palm groves to the southwest of Joint Security Station Mushahida, Iraq. Soldiers from Co. A, 4-9 Inf. took fire from these palm groves on the morning of Oct. 1.

View Image U.S. Army elements from Company C, 4th Battalion, 9th Infantry Regiment, 4th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, from Ft. Lewis, Wash., assist local Iraqi men sign up for police duty consideration on Sept. 22, in Tarmiyah, Iraq. Over one-thousand men submitted their information for review during the two-day sign up period.

View Image U.S. Army Spc. Kinkaid from Company C, 4th Battalion, 9th Infantry Regiment, 4th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, from Ft. Lewis, Wash., sits with an Iraqi army squad as they wait to begin an escort mission on Sept. 22 in Tarmiyah, Iraq. U.S. Army elements team up with IA personnel to conduct security watch and patrols throughout the city.

View Image A U.S. Army Soldier from Company C, 4th Battalion, 9th Infantry Regiment, 4th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, from Fort Lewis, Wash., laughs with an Iraqi army soldier at a U.S. and Iraqi army security checkpoint just outside the market in Tarmiyah, Iraq, Sept. 25. U.S. Army elements team up with IA personnel to conduct a security watch and patrols throughout the city.

View Image U.S. Army Spc. Brandon Parr from Company C, 4th Battalion, 9th Infantry Regiment, 4th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, from Ft. Lewis, Wash., uses his weapon's scope to secure the street down range from a U.S. and Iraqi forces patrol base after a sniper attack moments before on Sept. 22, in Tarmiyah, Iraq. U.S. Army elements team up with IA personnel to conduct security watch and patrols throughout the city.

View Image A U.S. Army Soldier from Company C, 4th Battalion, 9th Infantry Regiment, 4th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, from Ft. Lewis, Wash., instructs both Iraqi army and Iraqi police personnel on how their joint patrol will be stacked on Sept. 24, in Tarmiyah, Iraq. U.S. Army elements team up with IA, and sometimes IP, personnel to conduct security watch and patrols throughout the city.

View Image U.S. Army Spc. Gallegos from Company C, 4th Battalion, 9th Infantry Regiment, 4th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, from Ft. Lewis, WA., carries mail from home with him on his way across the street to mount a Stryker vehicle standing watch at a U.S. and Iraqi army security checkpoint in Tarmiyah, Iraq, on Sept. 25. U.S. Army elements team up with IA personnel to conduct a security watch and patrols throughout the city.

View Image U.S. Army Sgt. Justin Silverthorn from White Cloud, Mich., attached to Company C, 4th Battalion, 9th Infantry Regiment, 4th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, from Ft. Lewis, WA.., jokes around with an Iraqi army Soldier at a U.S. and Iraqi army security checkpoint just outside the market in Tarmiyah, Iraq, on Sept. 25. U.S. Army elements team up with IA personnel to conduct a security watch and patrols throughout the city.

View Image Soldiers from Company C, 4th Battalion, 9th Infantry Regiment, 4th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, from Ft. Lewis, Wash., review a driver's paperwork as he passes through a U.S. and Iraqi army security checkpoint in Tarmiyah, Iraq, on Sept. 25. U.S. Army elements team up with IA personnel to conduct a security watch and patrols throughout the city.

View Image A U.S. Army Soldier from Company C, 4th Battalion, 9th Infantry Regiment, 4th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, from Ft. Lewis, WA., stands guard while a bus is searched by Iraqi army personnel at a security checkpoint just outside the market in Tarmiyah, Iraq, on Sept. 25. U.S. Army elements team up with IA personnel to conduct a security watch and patrols throughout the city.

View Image While on guard at a U.S. and Iraqi army security checkpoint, U.S. Army Sgt. Justin Silverthorn from White Cloud, Mich., attached to Company C, 4th Battalion, 9th Infantry Regiment, 4th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, from Ft. Lewis, WA., takes a break to pet a stray dog who had attached herself to the platoons rotating through the patrol base in Tarmiyah, Iraq, on Sept. 25. U.S.

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