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Cpl. Joe Army
Posted on Saturday, June 05, 2004 - 04:44 pm:   

[NOTE: The work of “Joe Army” is being posted anonymously. In order to prevent anybody from getting in trouble, please do not publicly speculate on his identity.]

June 5th, 2004 - Cpl. Joe Army reporting

It’s starting again.

The month of April was hell with what seemed like casualty reports coming in everyday. At that time, everyone in the country was pretty much into humanitarian assistance missions so we were caught a touch by surprise when everything flared back up April 4th with the killing of U.S. civilians in Fallujah. At the time I was serving with the 1st Armored Division who was getting ready to go home. Much of their equipment packed, their mindsets already back in Germany, when the rumors of extension slowly crept into the dialogue. As the rumor become a steadier reality with each passing day and each soldiers death, soldiers grudgingly slipped the combat gloves back on and prepared themselves for the task ahead.

And on it went through April, chasing down members of the Mahadi Army, that group of men dedicated to Mutaquada Al-Sadr ready to die at his command, Improvised Explosive Devices (IED) became the norm and mortar attacks went from weekly to daily. As we ramped up and responded, slowly we turned the tide and isolated the majority of the insurgents to Najaf and Fallujah and the surrounding areas.

May came upon us; April had passed as the bloodiest month the Coalition had faced in this war. The tone was different. High clerics were growing tired of what they saw as an upstart young pup of a cleric, Sadr, causing too much damage to the area and people of Iraq. Armies of Iraqis began forming to fight the Mahadi Army and even Sadr himself began to acknowledge that negations needed to take place. Fallujah was handed over to Iraqi security forces and as the month came to a close, Iraqi Police began combined patrols into Najaf.

As we enter into June, the tenuous agreement to withdraw from Najaf has fallen apart. Attacks in the area have become daily again with Coalition forces regularly engaging in urban warfare. Iraqi police that were responsible for performing security patrols failed to show for work leaving Coalition forces to fend for themselves. The last three consecutive days in Baghdad have seen coordinated IED, small arms, and mortar attacks that have already killed seven soldiers seriously wounding many others. On one such mission the vagaries of war spared the lives of at least 20 when a dismounted patrol came upon an IED that was in the middle of construction. Four 155mm artillery rounds strung together, the final mechanism to remotely denote them was the only item missing.

As we draw closer to the hand over of Iraqi sovereignty, it’s starting again.

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