29 September 2006

B36 News - 29 September

Sorry for yesterday's absence. I was out of action as a result of a flu that seems to be going around. My brain still doesn't feel like it's firing on all cylinders so the charm and wit that is such an integral part of the B36 News will be somewhat lacking today.

Baghdad Press Conference
In this week's press conference, MG Caldwell released the newest graphics showing the progress that's been made with regard to the Baghdad security plan, more formally knownas Operation Together Forward. This has been an ongoing update for the last several weeks and if you compare this map with previous maps, you'll notice much less of the shaded yellow areas. The shaded yellow areas were used to help visualize the neighborhoods that we were operating in so just because you don't see it doesn't mean that we've scaled back or abandoned those areas

In the same press conference, this graphic was also released that shows what areas in Iraq are currently under control of the Iraqi security forces. It also highlights the two provinces that are completely under Iraqi control. Remember where we were three years ago? Precisely zero square miles were under Iraqi control.

In Wednesday's update, I wrote about the NY Times constantly violating the integrity of classified information and I always check what I post to make sure that I'm not giving away information that could be used against my fellow troops. Wrapped up in MG Caldwell's press conference was a subtle example of just how seriously we take OPSEC.

At the very end of the conference, a reporter from a local paper asked MG Caldwell about a recent raid that left nine people dead including four women. You can read about the operation here to get the whole story, but I want to focus on the follow up question that was asked.

The reporter asked if he could clarify whether a plane or a helicopter was used to attack the house to which MG Caldwell said:
We -- it -- no, I'd have to get -- I'm not sure -- I do know what the asset was, but I'd have to go back and get clearance on the exact -- but it was an aerial asset that was used.
A plane or a helicopter? The point is that even General Officers check themselves when it comes to OPSEC and divulging potentially classified information.

Give me a second so I can set my hair on fire and put my running shoes on



Just don't tell that to the 15 Sunni tribal leaders in Anbar who just took the first official steps towards working with the elected Shia Prime Minister to kick al Qaeda out of Iraq.

The Doc
By Lance Cpl. Ray Lewis
Regimental Combat Team 5
Navy Seaman Samuel L. Blanco is a healer. The hospital corpsman, geared up in layers of body armor, has a bag of tricks he carries that heals not just bumps and bruises, scrapes and cuts, but also relations and trust between Americans and local Iraqis.

During a Sept. 23 patrol with 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, Blanco provided health care for dozens of Iraqi villagers.

“From an American view, it gives us a sense of pride to know that Iraqis would come to us,” said Blanco, a 26-year-old from Justin, Texas, assigned to Weapons Company.

He said less than two months ago, at the start of his service under Regimental Combat Team 5, Iraqis in this area west of Fallujah were hesitant to even speak to him or the other Marines. But over time, the mood has changed. Now, instead of leery stares, parents are bringing their children forward to get a once-over from “Doc” Blanco.

“When they get a serious problem they can come to us,” said Lance Cpl. Paul J. Burns, a mortarman. “They’re starting to get close to us and recognizing the ‘doc.’”

Burns said the locals could pick out the Marine's resident medical expert by his calm persona.

“Soon as they found out that I was a ‘doc’ everybody was like, ‘fix me, fix me, bandage,’” Blanco said.

Blanco said he enjoys regular contact with the Iraqis, while his teammates appreciate the benefits of his relationships.

“Doc’s not afraid to get hands-on with the residents,” said Lance Cpl. Liam E. Izar, a mortarman with Weapons Company. "He helps us focus on doing our job.


Blogger The Griper said...

ahhh doctors, the best PR tool that can be had. Say a kind word and a man remembers for a day. heal a child of his pain and the father remembers for life.

Anonymous Solo said...

Looks like "Doc" Blanco is just as good at apllying smiles as well as bandages.

Anonymous DJ Elliott said...

A Seaman (E-3) that has more influence than the rest of the platoon. Hospital Corpmen (HM) are the most decorated rating in the US Navy. For very good reason.

Blogger Canuckistani said...

Why do we never hear about that good stuff over here.

Last night on CNN was the story of a civilian trucker working for KBR (Haliburton), who got caught in an ambush and says his military escort left him behind, causing the death of 2 other truckers by insurgents and him getting shot twice. It put the military in a bad light and even the news anchor was sympathetic to the side of the trucker. I'd say it was badly slanted as it's military policy to keep on driving in an attack, clear the bad guys and then come back.

Would it hurt the mainstream media to have more feelgood stories???


Post a Comment


Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home