Joint ops in Tall Abtah

Troops detain 30 in raid on Iraqi village

Well, just as the insurgents replace leaders nabbed during the pre-election offensives and reorganize to increase their attacks on US and Iraqi forces, our forces react to changing conditions and move to retain the upper hand. But this passage is what I liked the most:

After shutting down roads in and out of the town of several thousand residents, more than 725 soldiers — 550 Iraqis and 175 Americans — poured into the dusty streets Wednesday morning in up-armored Humvees, Stryker combat vehicles and the small pickup trucks used by Iraqi forces. Apache helicopters circled the village and a pair of F-16s sliced the sky.

I like that mix, 3:1 Iraqis to Americans. Let’s keep that up for a while, then start edging it up even further.

And get a load of this:

The 2nd Battalion of the 8th Field Artillery spearheaded the mission, acting on intelligence reports that car-bomb makers were operating out of the remote village to conduct attacks against coalition forces north in Mosul.

Insurgents carried out 10 car bomb attacks against coalition forces in the past 14 days, said Lt. Col. Bradley Becker, 2-8 commander. He led the mission along with commanders of the Iraqi Army’s regional forces. [emphasis mine]

Cannon boys. Gotta love ’em.

If they engaged in combat, though, what sort of decorations do they get? The Close Combat Badge. Good. But it should be the Combat Infantryman Badge. The story doesn’t report any combat, though, so it’s probably moot this time around.


  1. Close combat operations led by CS units have bugged me since OIF started. I just don’t think it makes sense to train hundreds of soldiers to do specific tasks really well, and then deploy them to do infantry work that they kinda learned but need alot of OJT to do right. In my day, I was taught that every soldier was an infantryman first. Yeah, fine. But what that meant was that CS/CSS people could put up a credible defense against being overrun, or dig a fighting position, or use camo to best effect, etc, but all with the understanding that such measures grew more likely as the situation deteriorated. Staff people in the fight = things were bad out there. Now they have HHCs running patrols, responsible for their own sectors just like the line companies are. That doesn’t make sense to me, and if it weren’t absolutely necessary I doubt it would be done that way. I consider it evidence not that the Army is in need of more bodies, but it certainly seems to need more of certain specialties in theater. None of which takes away from the professionalism and capability of those units. It just doesn’t make sense to train mechanics to be mechanics, gun crews to be gun crews, MI people to be MI people, et al, only to make them all infantry in the end.

  2. Remember, IN HHCs have 2 x infantry platoons, one which has the best infantrymen in the battalion (recon). It is too simple to task organize other elements from line companies as necessary. In a fight where interaction with local leaders is key, I think it is smart to involve additional leaders in that process, especially when most line companies and HHC are colocated on the FOB, meaning that the HHC commander’s job of running LOGPAKs doesn’t exist. In this article, I don’t see any reference to HSB troops, but rather EN and IN attachments (combat arms) to the FA BN conducting the mission. This makes sense to me – let the unit that owns the AO command and control the mission and attach assets as necessary. I would agree with you that we do need more troops, but that this is more for providing a larger base to sustain deployments rather than deploying more to Iraq. At this point, it would be counterproductive, although it would have been more effective 2 years ago.