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Operation Bastogne: Counter Insurgency Operation Completed East of Ramadi

By Capt. Alfred A. Smith

RAMADI, Iraq - Iraqi Army Soldiers from the 1st Battalion, 1st Brigade, 1st Division - partnered with Soldiers of Task Force 1-506 Infantry of 2/28 Brigade Combat Team, launched Operation Bastogne in the Julayba area, east of Ramadi; a former insurgent stronghold.

Operation Bastogne launched in the early morning hours of April 6th and spanned into the evening of April 7, 2006.

A Counter Insurgency Operation (COIN), Operation Bastogne was executed by a combined effort of Iraqi Army (IA) and Coalition Forces (CF). The focus was to disrupt and destroy insurgency activity in Julayba, and set the conditions to provide a secure environment for the local residents. Insurgents have used the Julayba area to conduct attacks against IA, CF and innocent Iraqi citizens.

Iraqi Army and Coalition Forces conducted cordon and searches, blocked off known insurgent escape routes, searched for weapons caches, and destroyed or detained targeted insurgents. A critical part of the operation was to foster a positive relationship with the local residents. The Iraqi Army will provide a continued presence in the Julayba area in order to provide a safe and secure environment.

"The IA Soldiers of the 1-1-1 have developed very good relationship with the Task Force 1-506 IN. The 1-506 IN is a strong battalion and has gone to great lengths to coordinate and share information with us. During the mission my Iraqi Soldiers ate, slept and fought alongside the Soldiers from the 1- 506th, and we had very good communication and camaraderie. The result of this has been a very successful Operation Bastogne," said General Razaq, Commander of the Iraqi Army 1st Brigade, 1st Division.

The successful operation netted: two insurgent killed, three insurgents wounded, three suspected insurgents detained, one cache discovered and two IEDs discovered. The cache found consisted of numerous artillery rounds, rocket propelled grenades, anti-aircraft rounds, fuzes, primers and mortar propellants.

As Operation Bastogne was being executed the IA and coalition forces faced resistance from insurgents through IED, indirect fire, and small arms fire attacks. The sporadic insurgent attacks were easily repelled.

"This mission is not the first that the 1st Brigade IA has conducted with Coalition Forces. My Soldiers have executed many missions with Coalition Forces in Iraq. They have become very good at executing operations. They know how to work with partner units, and how to coordinate their efforts." said General Razaq.

The Iraqi Army provides the cultural and language capabilities that are pertinent to fighting the insurgency. Through intelligence gathering capabilities, the Iraqi Army has proved to be a tremendous asset to defeat the insurgency.

Insurgents linked to Al Qaida in Iraq (AQIZ) cell which is a part of the Abu Musab AL Zarqawi network in Ramadi, continue to intimidate the citizens of Al Anbar with their terrorist threats.

The 1-1-1 Iraqi Army and Task Force 1-506 Infantry stand committed to provide a secure environment for the citizens of the Al Anbar Province.

"The residents of Julayba approached my Soldiers many times with good information about the insurgents and expressed their concern for us to stop them. The insurgents have angered the people of Ramadi with their brutality, and the population is ready to get rid of them.

Operation Bastogne was very successful and it proved to the local citizens that the Iraqi Army and Coalition Forces are working together to provide a safe place for them to live," said General Razaq.

Operation Bastogne consisted of approximately 400 Iraqi Army Soldiers and 350 Coalition forces of the 2nd Brigade/28th Infantry Division (2/28 BCT).

Captain Alfred A. Smith is with 2nd Brigade Combat Team / 28th Infantry Division

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