A Company 1-8 Infantry Secures Blast Site

By Staff Sgt. Mark Wojciechowski, 133rd MPAD

A Soldier from Alpha Co. exits a condemned building after a search
A Soldier from Alpha Co., 18 Infantry exits a condemned building after a search for anti-Iraqi forces.

BALAD, IRAQ – Reacting at a moments notice in response to insurgent activity is key to preventing further attacks against coalition and Iraqi security forces.

Soldiers of the 4th Infantry Division’s, Alpha Company, 1-8 Infantry at Forward Operating Base Paliwoda rushed to the scene of an improvised explosive device detonation not far from their base.

With a hasty brief by the company commander, Capt. David Sandoval, the force quickly rolled out the gate and was at the location in no time.

The blast occurred close to an Iraqi Police checkpoint with a U.S. Humvee as the target. The vehicle received minor damage and no injuries were sustained.

As commander of Alpha Company, Sandoval, a native of Downey, Calif., is responsible for determining why there was a breakdown in security so close to the Iraqi Police checkpoint.

“Our mission is to help provide security to the city and help the local government, establish structure,” said Sandoval.

Upon arrival on the scene Sandoval questioned locals and Iraqi Police to determine how this happened and what can be done to prevent this from happening again.

Analysis of the blast site revealed the detonation device. The group questioned the Iraqi police and combed the area for a trigger man.

An abandoned dilapidated structure not far from the checkpoint may have been a hiding place for anti-Iraqi forces, said Sandoval. The building was accessed and removed to prevent future attacks on Coalition and Iraqi Security Forces.

“The building was destroyed to deny sanctuary for any future insurgent activities,” said Sandoval.

Searching, assessing, and removing areas which could harbor insurgents is all part of the 1-8 Infantry’s mission with the end goal of making Iraq safe for its people and its growing government.

See Also: video story produced by Spc. Matt Zier.

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