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Tag: iraq


Local links, Feb. 26

The Olympian carried a brief today about an event next week dubbed Religion in Wartime. It’ll take place at The Evergreen State College and features some local military names, including James Yee, the former Fort Lewis chaplain who later served at Gitmo and was accused of spying and espionage. (He was later cleared and previously has had some unfriendly things to say about the military’s tolerance of Islam.)

Capt. Kelly Hansen, a chaplain at Joint Base Lewis-McChord will also be there. She deployed in 2008-09 with the Washington National Guard’s 81st Brigade Combat Team.

Other local links:

24th Quartermaster

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Local links, Feb. 19

The public affairs folks for 3rd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division up in Diyala province have a pretty neat story. We reported a while back on the trilateral checkpoints — manned by American, Arab Iraqi and Kurdish soldiers — going up throughout northern Iraq.

The three forces recently held a trilateral medical civil action program. Doctors, physicians assistants and medics from U.S. Army, Iraqi Army and Kurdish peshmerga had an open call for medical care in a small village outside Tibaj.

These soft-power projects are what local troops are spending much of their Iraq deployment doing, and most of

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‘Don’t hit your golf balls at the Al Faw Palace.’

BAGHDAD – Joe and I have landed in Baghdad, the final leg of our Iraq journey. We’ll soon be bringing you stories from I Corps, which is running daily American military operations throughout the country.

When I was hammering out our itinerary before we left, I envisioned Baghdad being the start and finish point for us. The start because we needed press badges, available only from the Green Zone, and the end because the creature comforts of Baghdad are unlike anywhere else in the country.

I’m writing this from the back patio of the Joint Visitor Bureau, which sits just

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Happiness for the neediest

MUJADEED, Iraq – At the site of goodies, the kids went bonkers.

Fort Lewis soldiers from 1st Battalion, 23rd Infantry Regiment were in Mujadeed, a site of a joint United States-United Nations project to relocate refugees who fled during 2007’s ethno-sectarian fighting. As they were preparing to load up on their Strykers, the kids gathered around as the troops handed out coloring books, colored pencils and other gifts – all donated from folks back home.

Lt. Col. Chuck Hodges, the battalion commander, kept a pack of lollipops in a cargo pocket that he hands out to kids. Soldiers handed out

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Militia chic

KHALIS, Iraq – Want to confuse the heck out of a print-shop owner in Diyala province? Just walk in and ask for posters of Muqtada al-Sadr.

Joe and I went on a daylong tour of the civil-affairs projects of 1st Battalion, 23rd Infantry Regiment and walked through the main market in Khalis. One shop hawked large posters of Sadr, the firebrand Shiite cleric whose hate of the Americans is pretty well-documented. The guy’s a major political influence throughout Diyala province (and much of Iraq), so posters of him aren’t a rare sight.

So Lt. Col. Chuck Hodges and

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Coming home is never easy

MUJADEED, Iraq – Small white buildings sit randomly among untended fields like some sort of unnatural plant. Men in kuffiyahs move bricks and construction supplies. Little girls play among piles of discarded plastic wrappers and water bottles.

This collection of three villages outside Khalis in Diyala province was once the site of fierce fighting. Al Qaida in Iraq arrived first in 2007, targeting the Shia who lived there. The Mehdi Army responded, killing Sunnis.

The residents, Shia and Sunni who long lived as neighbors, fled across the country.

But now about 250 families have returned, lured by new homes

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From Iraq to Washington

BAQOUBA, Iraq – We like helping folks out here at FOB Tacoma. We also like recognition.

So when Sgt. Julius Gutierrez recognized Joe and I as we got off a UH-60 Black Hawk at Forward Operating Base Warhorse and asked to send a message to his in-laws in Spanaway, how could we resist?

Gutierrez, 35, is deployed with 3rd Brigade, 25th Infantry Division. He sends this message to his wife’s parents: “I hope you’re safe. I am coming home soon – and Jessica and I are coming to visit for Christmas this year.”