News Archives For December 2005

U.S. Army Foils Terrorist Bombings
Task Force Band of Brothers soldiers disrupted two terrorist bombing operations yesterday in Baqubah, a city about 20 miles north of Baghdad, killing two terrorists and detaining another at a new checkpoint, U.S. military officials in Baghdad reported. more

High Re-up Rate Among Deployed
Servicemembers who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan are re-enlisting in high numbers. "(The high re-enlistment rate) shows their pride in what they're doing and their understanding of how important it is," the general said. "It is absolutely true that for those units that have served overseas in Iraq and Afghanistan, that their re-enlistment rates are the highest of all of our armed forces." more

Christmas Stockings Cheer Soldiers
It was 11 p.m. on Christmas Eve, and it was raining at an air base in Kuwait. The "moon dust" that overlays everything in the country was now a gooey mire that stuck to everything. Contrary to popular belief, it does get cold in the Middle East, and it was wet and cold.
About 60 soldiers from the 101st Airborne Division waited in a tent for a flight to Baghdad. They had been there a while, as previously scheduled flights were diverted or cancelled. more

2005 Holiday Message
As we celebrate this holiday season, we should also celebrate the spirit of the American Soldier.

For more than 230 years, this spirit led America’s men and women to courageously answer the call to duty and help preserve liberty throughout the world. Today, this same noble spirit inspires our Soldiers as they simultaneously fight the war on terror and transform the Army to meet future challenges.
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Iraq Force Adjustments Announced
The Department of Defense announced today a decision to not deploy portions of the 1st Brigade, 1st Infantry Division, based at Fort Riley, Kansas to Iraq, and to modify the deployment orders of the 2nd Brigade, 1st Armored Division, based in Baumholder, Germany, to remain in Kuwait as a call-forward force. more

National Guard Celebrates 369th Birthday
Task Force Falcon Soldiers took a moment to recognize the 369th birthday of the National Guard with a traditional cake cutting ceremony, Dec. 13. The U.S. Kosovo Forces is run primarily by Army and Air National Guard troops from 26 states. Eighty-one National Guard units have members serving in the province where more than more than 1300 citizen-Soldiers are assigned. The 24/7 demands of deployment have been an opportunity for National Guardsmen to showcase their abilities.
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Troop Levels in Afghanistan Slated to Drop
The number of American troops serving in Afghanistan, currently about 19,000, is slated to decline by about 2,500 next year, a senior U.S. military officer said here Dec. 19.

Improved Afghan National Army and police forces and an expanded NATO contingent are enabling the reduced American military presence, Air Force Lt. Gen. Gene Renuart, the Joint Staff's director for strategic plans and policy, told the Pentagon Channel and American Forces Press Service. more

Counter-IED Lanes Train Troops
Soldiers arriving in Kuwait now receive a new situational training exercise to update them on enemy improvised explosive devices and other tactics before going into Iraq. There are also new Counter-IED dismounted and mounted lanes for combat arms units, a route reconnaissance and recurrence lane for engineers and explosive ordinance disposal units, a C-IED fundamentals lane and multiple practice maneuver lanes.
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Vice President Makes Surprise Vsit
U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney paid a surprise visit to Iraqi and U.S. Soldiers Dec. 18 at Taji Military Training Base during his unannounced visit to Iraq.
The vice president was there to observe Iraqi and U.S. troops training together and to congratulate them for providing security for the successful elections on Dec. 15.
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Iraqis Flock to Polls
December 16, 2005 - Millions of Iraqi citizens flocked to the polls Dec. 15 to vote under the new Iraqi Constitution, giving birth to a Middle East democracy.

Gen. George W. Casey, Multi National Force-Iraq commanding general, said Iraq's transition into democracy "has not come about by accident or coincidence, but by shear will power and the determination of the Iraqi people.”
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Security Tight as Iraqis Vote in National Elections
12/15/2005 - Many Iraqis began lining up at polling stations to vote well before the 7 a.m. opening of the Dec. 15 national elections. Election turnout throughout Iraq is expected to be high as voting continues throughout the day.
Iraqi security forces have taken the lead in providing election security, with 225,000 troops on duty -- 85,000 more than there were for the constitutional referendum voting Oct. 15.
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Iraqis Taking Lead in Election Security
Iraqi security units are taking the lead in preparing for the Dec. 15 national elections.
This is the third election this year, and each time the amount of support coalition forces provide has been less, military officials said. The plan builds on experiences gained in the Jan. 30 National Assembly election and the Oct. 15 constitutional referendum. Iraqi police will provide close-in protection at the polling stations.
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Tighten Security for Iraqi Elections
Most Iraqis are anticipating the upcoming Dec. 15 national elections with enthusiasm, according to a recent poll, and Coalition forces have been busy conducting pre-election security sweeps to remove terrorists from the streets and ensure a safe election day.

Early voting for Iraqi security forces and detainees has already begun. Nearly 90 percent of all eligible detainees in Coalition internment facilities had voted by Dec. 13, Coalition officials said. They said every detainee was afforded the opportunity to vote.
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Iraqis Want to Vote
Almost 90 percent of Iraqis want to vote in Dec. 15 national elections, according to an Iraqi poll. A total of 89 percent of respondents to the poll indicated they want to vote in the election of a permanent democratic government.

The intent to vote is strong across ethnic and religious lines. The Kurds have the highest percentage, with 95 percent telling pollsters that they want to vote. Sunni Arabs have the lowest percentage, but that is still pegged at 87 percent. A total of 91 percent of Shiite Arabs, the largest religious group in the country, said they will vote.
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Iraqis to Provide Frontline Defense for Elections

Al Qaeda's top leader in Iraq likely will try to stop Iraq's Dec. 15 election of a permanent government, and failing that, terrorists will continue their campaign of violence to try to unseat the new government, a senior U.S. military officer told reporters at a Baghdad news conference today.
"No one should believe that on the 15th of December, when there's a safe and secure election, the insurgents will go home," Army Maj. Gen. Rick Lynch, a spokesman for Multinational Force Iraq, said. more

Army Divers Train at Pearl Harbor
Members of the 7th Engineer Detachment (Dive), 29th Engineer Battalion, train underwater. For the last two weeks, the dive detachment trained at the Naval Magazine at Pearl Harbor on their most important collective battle drills and emergency procedures. Of equal importance, Soldiers, also executed the most comprehensive emergency diving casualty medical evacuation drill in the unit's history.

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Big Boost to Battlefield Operations
FORT KNOX, Ky. (Army News Service, Dec. 5, 2005) -- While the booming sounds of a 120mm tank main gun firing on Cedar Creek Range were familiar, the type of tank round being fired was very unique. more

Traumatic Injury Insurance Protection
The Department of Defense has enacted a traumatic injury protection insurance under the Servicemembers' Group Life Insurance, or SGLI program. On Dec. 1, all service members eligible for SGLI became insured for traumatic injury protection of up to $100,000 unless they declined SGLI coverage.
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Trophy on line when Army meets Navy
It has been 38 years since the Black Knights entered the annual Army-Navy Classic riding a winning streak of at least four games. And for the first time since 1996, the Black Knights and Midshipmen enter the fabled service academy skirmish having both beaten Air Force, assuring the prized Commander in Chief's Trophy will go to the winner Dec. 3 more



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