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Archives: June 2007


Arrowhead Ripper rolls on

Michael Yon’s got another dispatch from Baqouba. Yon’s reports were great to have when the old 1st Brigade, 25th Infantry Division was in Mosul, and I’m sure they’ve come as a huge relief to the 3rd Brigade followers back home now.

There’s this from the Multi-National Corps-Iraq public affairs office about another torture house that the 5th Battalion, 20th Infantry Regiment found.

Meanwhile the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s military columnist Jack Kelly weighed in Sunday to express a sentiment I’ve heard from a few readers: where’s the continued Ripper coverage?


Where Arrowhead Ripper got its name

“Operation Ripper” was Lt. Gen. Matthew B. Ridgway’s campaign in March 1951 to flank Seoul and destroy North Korean and Chinese troops and equipment to prevent them from organizing an offensive of their own. It followed Ridgway’s “Operation Killer.”

The 25th Infantry Division and the 2nd Infantry Division participated in Ripper.

Fast forward 56 years. The 25th ID is commanding the 3rd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division in an operation to drive out, kill or capture al-Qaida fighters holed up in Baqouba. A little history, an aggressive, metal kind of ring to it – voila!


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Townsend on TV

It’s hard to tell exactly what Col. Steve Townsend was asked in his KIRO TV interview that aired last night, because the video we got only has audio of his answers, not the questions. But we think they asked him about morale in light of the fact his 3rd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division was originally due to be coming home right about now.

Instead, it’s at the pointy end of a big offensive. The brigade commander said:

“We’re five days short of our year anniversary here in Iraq. So some of our soldiers would already be home.

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Still rippin’

Lt. Gen. Raymond Odierno, the day-to-day commander in Iraq, briefed Pentagon reporters today and covered some of what the Fort Lewis units are encountering.

Re 3rd Brigade in Baqouba, Odierno said:

What we have found so far is a determined and entrenched enemy who’s trying to stand and fight, and we have continued to use many joint fires, both close air support, artillery, and helicopter air weapons teams with success.

Also noted that some of the senior AQ leadership in Baqouba abandoned their troops as they have in the past and left them to fend for

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More Arrowhead Ripper

Time magazine’s Joe Klein quotes the 5-20′s CO Lt. Col. Bruce Antonia and the 1-23′s CO Lt. Col. Avanulas Smiley in this piece about the Baqouba fight. They tell the story of how Sunni insurgents approached them about switching sides and fighting against the al-Qaida in Iraq elements that took over the city.

The New York Times has interesting details from inside the city in this dispatch by Alissa J. Rubin and Graham Bowley. The 5-20, for instance, found a fully stocked medical station that insurgents had prepared.

And Michael Yon has an update from

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Arrowhead Ripper update

A sergeant with B Company of the 4th Battalion, 9th Infantry Regiment and an interpreter talk with an Iraqi man outside Baqouba on Tuesday on the opening day of Arrowhead Ripper. Elements of the 4-9, part of the 4th Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division, are taking part in the operation led by their Fort Lewis comrades from 3rd Brigade. This is one of several Army photos moved by The Associated Press from the Diyala Province operation.

Associated Press Photo: Staff Sgt.

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Gagarin laid to rest in Philippines

Photo: The Associated Press.

An Army officer handed flags to members of Staff Sgt. Greg P. Gagarin’s family at his funeral today at Candon, Ilocos Sur province. Gagarin, 38, was buried at his family’s home town with full military honors.

He was killed June 3 in Thania, Iraq, with three other soldiers from 3rd Brigade’s 1st Battalion, 37th Field Artillery Regiment, and was among the nine soldiers remembered in a June 14 memorial ceremony at Fort Lewis.


Arrowhead Ripper

As the name would indicate, the 3rd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division Strykers are in the lead in the Diyala offensive that began this morning. has assembled some links about the operation.

Judging by the early reports – Yon’s piece, a story in Time, the New York Times –  it would appear that U.S. military officials in Iraq briefed the reporters there at least a little bit in advance.

Nothing subtle about it, according to the commanders with the 25th Infantry Division who are running the operation: “The end state is to

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