Full Report on the Sgrena incident

I don’t know what I’d do without my trusty readers. I’m constantly getting good tips and info, not to mention valuable opinions, from them in the comments section and via email. The latest appears to be a doozy:

Copy-and-Paste Reveals Classified U.S. Documents

Although about a third of the report was classified, some clever individual discovered that by copying the hidden .pdf text and pasting it into a word processor the classified information was made visible.

Below is the full text of the .doc document. I haven’t read it yet at all, though I intend to this evening. I imagine I’ll have something insightful to say. Or not…You know me.

UPDATE: Forgot to mention that I find it interesting that no “smoking guns” pointing at American wrong-doing have been pointed out. Seems to me that they would have been, if they were there.

Also, Murdoc wonders at the hopelessly clueless idea that hiding the text would make it unreadable. While there’s a chance that there’s some moron who thought this “safeguard” was adequate, Murdoc suspects that this was done intentionally to get the entire report out.

I mean, the only worse way to keep this from getting out would be to change the font color to white in classified sections.

Perhaps the classification of certain sections was made at the request of the Italian government, or as part of a deal (of some sort) with them. But, either by order from higher up or just by an individual or group who felt the info should be out there, the classified info was left in and simply hidden.

Ooops.

UPDATE 2: I tried to clean it up a bit so it’s more readable. i didn’t change any text except fix some numbered lists, although I did remove a lot of what appeared to be formating commands. Hopefully this is a bit better.

UPDATE 3: I’ve still only skimmed this thing a bit. One thing that stands out is the lack of a mention of the satellite imagery that CBS News reported allowed the military to determine the car’s speed.

I was wondering how they were able to do that, and now I’m wondering if it’s just a crock. I mentioned at the time that it might be “fake but true” since it was on CBS, but I was kidding.

Enjoy.

UNCLASSIFIED
TABLE OF CONTENTS
I. BACKGROUND . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1
A. Administrative Matters . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1
1. Appointing Authority . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1
2. Brief Description of the Incident . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1
B. Constraints and Limitations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2
C. Format of the Report . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2
II. ATMOSPHERICS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4
A. Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4
B. Local Security Situation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4
1. Iraq . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4
2. Baghdad . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4
3. Route Irish . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4
C. Known Insurgent Tactics, Techniques, and Procedures . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5
1. Methods of Attack . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5
2. Insurgent TTPs for IEDs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5
3. Insurgent TTPs for VBIEDs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6
4. Effectiveness of Attacks . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7
D. Recent Incidents in the Vicinity of Checkpoint 541 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8
E. Unit Experience in the Baghdad Area of Responsibility . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8
1. Third Infantry Division . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8
2. Second Brigade, 10th Mountain Division . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9
3. 1-69 Infantry Battalion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9
4. 1-76 Field Artillery Battalion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10
F. Findings . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10
III. TRAFFIC CONTROL POINTS, BLOCKING POSITIONS,
AND TRAINING . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12

A. Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12
B. Traffic Control Points and Blocking Positions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12
C. Standing Operating Procedures in use on 4 March 2005 . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12
1. Doctrinal Discussion of TCPs and Roadblocks . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13
2. 3ID TCP SOP . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14
3. 2/10 MTN TCP SOP . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15
4. 1-69 IN TCP SOP . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16
5. Rhino Bus Run TTP Background Information . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17
D. Training of BP 541 Soldiers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18
E. Rules of Engagement Training Received by BP 541 Soldiers . . . . . . . . . . 19
F. Findings . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20
G. Recommendations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21
IV. THE INCIDENT AT BP 541 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23
A. Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23
B. Site Description . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23
C. Personnel Involved . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24
D. The Mission . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25
1. Receipt of the Mission . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25
2. Establishing the Blocking Position . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26
3. The Duties of the Soldiers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27
4. Communications Regarding the Mission Duration . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28
E. The Incident . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29
F. Post-Incident Events . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31
G. Forensic Evidence . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 33
1. 5 March 2005 Report . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 33
2. 11 March 2005 Report . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 33
3. 14 March 2005 Report . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34
4. BP 541 Traffic Samples . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34
5. Number of Rounds . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34
H. Findings . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35
I. Recommendations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37
V. COORDINATION . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 40
A. Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 40
B. MNF-I/MNC-I Involvement . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 40
C. Captain Green . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 41
D. Findings . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 42

I. BACKGROUND
A. Administrative Matters
1. Appointing Authority
I was appointed by LTG John R. Vines, Commander, Multi-National Corps-Iraq (MNC-I) on 8 March 2005 to investigate, per U.S. Army Regulation 15-6 (Annex 1B), all the facts and circumstances surrounding the incident at a Traffic Control Point (TCP) in Baghdad, Iraq on 4 March 2005 that resulted in the death of Mr. Nicola Calipari and the wounding of Ms. Giuliana Sgrena and Mr. Andrea Carpani. Lieutenant Colonel Richard Thelin, USMC was appointed as my legal advisor for this investigation. I was directed to thoroughly review (1) the actions of the Soldiers manning the TCP, (2) the training of the Soldiers manning the TCP, (3) TCP procedures, (4) the local security situation, (5) enemy tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTPs), (6) the Rules of Engagement (ROE) employed during the incident, and (7) any coordination effected with the Soldiers at the TCP or their higher levels of command on the transport of Ms. Sgrena from Baghdad to Baghdad International Airport (BIAP). (Annex 1A).

The appointing letter (Annex 1A) refers to the location of the incident as being a Traffic Control Point (TCP). As will be further explained in this report, the Soldiers involved were actually manning a former Traffic Control Point, but executing a blocking mission. This mission took place at a southbound on-ramp from Route Vernon (also known as Route Force on MNF-I graphics) onto westbound Route Irish, the road to BIAP. The intersection of these two routes has been designated as Checkpoint 541. For purposes of this report, the position will be referred to as Blocking Position 541 (BP 541).

2. Brief Description of the Incident
On the evening of 4 March 2005, personnel of A Company of 1-69 Infantry (attached to 2d Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division), were patrolling Route Irish, the road linking downtown Baghdad with BIAP. Seven of those Soldiers were then assigned the mission of establishing and manning a Blocking Position (BP) on the southbound on-ramp off Route Vernon to westbound Route Irish. They were to man the BP until relieved, which was anticipated to be after a convoy transporting the U.S. Ambassador to Camp Victory had passed and arrived at its destination.

The Soldiers established the BP by approximately 1930 hours and began executing their mission. At approximately 2050 hours, the car carrying Mr. Calipari, Mr. Carpani, and Ms. Sgrena, traveling southbound on Route Vernon, approached the on-ramp to enter westbound Route Irish. For reasons that are examined later in this report, the car came under fire. The shooting resulted in the wounding of the driver (Mr. Andrea Carpani), and Ms. Sgrena, and the death of Mr. Nicola Calipari. The Commanding
General, Third Infantry Division directed a commander’s inquiry/preliminary investigation be conducted that night.

B. Constraints and Limitations
Ideally, the scene of the incident would have been preserved as it existed immediately after the shooting was over and the car had stopped. Doing so would have allowed the initial investigators to get precise measurements on the distances and locations of the significant objects involved in the event. An initial on-site investigation was conducted, but a number of circumstances that occurred on the site prevented the incident site from being treated as a sterile site. Both HMMWVs involved in the blocking position were moved to transport Ms. Sgrena to the Combat Support Hospital in the International Zone. Further, the scene was not deemed to be a crime scene, and efforts were made to clear the roadway. As a result, the car was moved from its position, per the unit’s Standing Operating Procedure on Consequence Management, before a location using a global positioning system could be obtained. At the direction of the Commander, 2d Brigade, 10th Mountain Division the car was placed back in the position that was thought to be its actual stopping point based on eyewitness testimony and digital photographs taken of the car before its initial removal from the scene.

A further constraint was the inability to reconstruct the event so as to provide accurate data for forensic analysis of bullet trajectory, speed of the vehicle, and stopping distance due to the inherent danger in the vicinity of the incident location. This was made evident during a site visit by the Joint Investigation Team when a hand grenade was thrown (from the Route Vernon overpass) at the Team’s vehicles as members were boarding, injuring one Soldier.

These factors limited the forensic team’s ability to conduct an on-site, in-depth analysis, although extensive tests were performed on Camp Victory. As a result, the forensic studies of the car could not be as conclusive as they normally would be.

Other limitations include the removal and disposal of the shell casings to allow free operation of the turret in the blocking vehicle. Additionally, the cell phones involved in the incident were returned to Mr. Carpani before he left the scene. (Annex 4M). More importantly, while sworn statements were provided by all the key U.S. personnel involved in the incident, the Italian personnel provided only unsworn statements as they are not required under Italian law to swear to statements until appearing before a judge.

C. Format of the Report
This report is divided into five sections; (1) Background, (2) Atmospherics, including a historical overview of attacks along Route Irish and prevailing enemy Tactics, Techniques, and Procedures (TTPs), (3) Discussion of TCP and BP tactical missions and training received by BP 541 personnel, (4) Events and actions at BP 541 on the evening of 4 March 2005, and (5) Coordination effected pertaining to the hostage recovery. Each section will review the pertinent facts, set forth findings, and, as appropriate, provide recommendations for future action. Additionally, documentary evidence used in preparing this report is included in annexes.

II. ATMOSPHERICS

A. Introduction
This section examines the local security situation as of 4 March 2005, known insurgent Tactics, Techniques, and Procedures (TTPs), and recent events occurring in the vicinity of Checkpoint 541. The previous experience of the Soldiers manning the BP that night, their parent unit, and their higher headquarters units in the Baghdad Area of Responsibility (AOR), is also examined. The purpose of this section is to present a full picture of the conditions facing the Soldiers manning BP 541 that night.

B. Local Security Situation
1. Iraq. From July 2004 to late March 2005, there were 15,257 attacks against Coalition Forces throughout Iraq. The U.S. considers all of Iraq a combat zone. (Annex 8E).

1. Baghdad. Baghdad is a city of six million people and is home to a large number of suspected insurgents and terrorists operating both in the city and its environs. From 1 November 2004 to 12 March 2005 there were a total of 3306 attacks in the Baghdad area. Of these, 2400 were directed against Coalition Forces. (Annex 8E)

2. Route Irish. Route Irish is an East-West road along south Baghdad. It is approximately 12 kilometers long and runs from the International Zone in downtown Baghdad to BIAP. The highway is a four-lane road with a 50 meter wide median. (Annexes 8E, 144K). Route Irish has six major intersections. Each of these has been assigned a corresponding checkpoint number by Coalition Forces to facilitate command and control. Entry Control Point 1 (ECP 1) is located at one end of the highway near BIAP. Checkpoints 539-543 follow the road east going into downtown. (Annex 141K).
Checkpoint 541 refers to the intersection of Route Irish with Route Vernon (also known as Route Force), which runs North-South. (Annex 142K).

Route Irish is commonly referred to as “the deadliest road in Iraq” by journalists, Soldiers, and commanders. There is no corresponding alternative route from downtown Baghdad (and the International Zone) to BIAP, which gives the route a heavy traffic flow and causes Coalition convoy movement to become more predictable. These conditions make Route Irish a lucrative target area for insurgents to employ improvised explosive devices (IEDs) of varying types and to achieve effects in terms of casualties. Soldiers in 1st Cavalry Division and 3d Infantry Division have come to refer to Route Irish as “IED Alley.” (Annex 8E).

Between 1 November 2004 and 12 March 2005, there were 135 attacks or hostile incidents that occurred along Route Irish. These included 9 complex attacks (i.e., a combination of more than one type of attack, e.g., an IED followed by small arms fire or mortars), 19 explosive devices found, 3 hand grenades, 7 indirect fire attacks, 19 roadside explosions, 14 rocket propelled grenades (RPGs), 15 vehicle borne explosive devices, and 4 other types of attacks. (Annexes 1E, 8E).

The attack density for the period 1 November 2004 to 12 March 2005 is 11.25 attacks per mile, or a minimum of one attack per day along Route Irish since November. (Annex 8E).

The highest concentration of IED attacks occurs at 1000 hours, with the second highest concentration of attacks occurring at 1600 hours. These times correspond to convoys departing from or arriving at the Victory Base complex, the largest Coalition military facility in Baghdad. (Annex 5E).

Approximately 66 percent of all night time attacks along Route Irish occur between the hours of 1900 and 2100. (Annex 8E). The incident at BP 541 occurred between 2030 and 2100 hours on 4 March 2005.

The majority of IED and VBIED attacks occur in and around three overpasses (CP 540, CP 541, and CP 543) and the turnoff to the International Zone. As mentioned earlier, CP 541 is the location where the incident occurred on 4 March 2005. (Annex 3E).

C. Known Insurgent Tactics, Techniques, and Procedures
1. Methods of Attack
Insurgent attacks throughout the Iraqi Theater of Operation fall into one of several categories, all of which have occurred along Route Irish in the past year. They include:

Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs), Unexploded IEDs, Hand Grenades, Indirect Fire (mortars, rockets, and unidentified indirect fire), Rocket-Propelled Grenades (RPGs), Small Arms Fire (SAF), Vehicle-Borne Improvised Explosive Devices (VBIEDs), and Complex Attacks. The most common attacks along Route Irish are IEDs, VBIEDs, and SAF. (Annex 8E).

2. Insurgent TTPs for IEDs
A large number of evolving techniques have been adopted by the insurgents in placing IEDs along Route Irish. Examples of currently used techniques are listed below:
1 + Explosives positioned alongside guard rails. The large number of guard rails on the road make these devices difficult to detect and relatively easy to emplace by staging equipment in vehicles or near overpasses, and, in a matter of minutes, having the IED armed and in the desired location.
2 + Explosives wrapped in a brown paper bag or a plastic trash bag. This is a particularly easy method of concealment, easy to emplace, and has been used effectively against Coalition Forces and civilians along Route Irish.
3 + Explosives set on a timer. This technique is new to the Route Irish area, but is being seen more frequently.
4 + Use of the median. The 50 meter wide median of Route Irish provides a large area for emplacing IEDs. These can be dug in, hidden, and/or placed in an animal carcass or other deceptive container.
5 + Surface laid explosives. The enemy will drop a bag containing the explosive onto the highway and exit the area on an off-ramp with the detonation occurring seconds or minutes later depending on the desired time for the explosion.
6 + Explosives on opposite sides of the median. Devices have been found along both sides of the median that were apparently designed to work in tandem, to counter Coalition Force tactics to avoid the right side of the highway while traveling Route Irish.
7 + Explosives hidden under the asphalt. Insurgents pretend to do work on the pavement, plant the explosives, and repair the surface. These are usually remote-detonated devices. (Annex 11E).

3. Insurgent TTPs for VBIEDs
There are two basic types of car bombs, i.e., suicide (where the car is moving) and stationary (where the car is parked). Both can be either command or remote-detonated. (Annex 8E).

The enemy is very skillful at inconspicuously packing large amounts of explosives into a vehicle. The most commonly used detonation materials are plastic explosives and 155mm artillery shells. When moving, these VBIEDs are practically impossible to identify until it is too late. (Annex 8E).

The techniques for employing VBIEDs continue to evolve. Some of the more commonly used techniques include:
1 + Multiple suicide vehicles. The first vehicle either creates an opening for a second, more powerful vehicle, or acts as bait to draw other personnel, such as medics and other first responders, into the kill zone of the first vehicle. As people respond, the second VBIED engages the responders.
2 + Suicide VBIEDs are typically used against convoys, Coalition Force patrols, or Coalition checkpoints where they can achieve maximum damage. Such vehicles will rapidly approach the convoy from the rear and attempt to get in between convoy vehicles before detonating.
3 + Stationary VBIEDs are typically parked along main supply routes, like Route Irish, and often have been found near known checkpoints. These are usually remotely operated and may be employed in conjunction with a suicide VBIED.
4 + A particularly devious technique is for a driver to approach a checkpoint and claim that he has injured people in his vehicle. The VBIED is then detonated when Coalition Soldiers approach. (Annex 8E).

4. Effectiveness of Attacks
The number of IED detonations from 15 June 2003 through 4 March 2005 (the date of the incident), has steadily increased. Although the effectiveness of those detonations has decreased over that timeframe, the overall average number of casualties during that period is nearly one per IED detonation. (Annex 4E).

The week of the incident saw 166 IED incidents, with 131 detonations and 35 IEDs rendered safe. There were 82 casualties from those incidents. (Annex 4E).

The number of VBIED detonations from 15 June 2003 through 4 March 2005 has also seen a relatively steady increase. Similar to the decrease in the effectiveness of IEDs, the effectiveness of VBIEDs has also decreased over that period, but there have been spikes for particular VBIED events that have produced large numbers of casualties. (Annex 4E).

There were 17 VBIEDs detonated during the week of the incident with five rendered safe. The average casualty per VBIED detonation that week was 23 due to the large number of casualties that resulted from a VBIED detonation in Al Hillah. The Al Hillah attack was widely publicized and caused all Coalition Forces concern as they patrolled Baghdad and its environs. Any intelligence gained on potential VBIEDs was passed in the form of a BOLO (Be On the Look Out) message to units on patrol via FM radio. (Annex 4E).

D. Recent Incidents in the Vicinity of Checkpoint 541
Overpasses like Checkpoint 541 are particularly susceptible to attacks. Such sites provide excellent early observation in all directions, easy escape routes, and high speed access to Route Irish. The latter factor is particularly evident at Checkpoint 541 where there is a long (380 meter) exit lane coming off of southbound Route Vernon leading to the on-ramp to Route Irish. (Annex 5E).

Checkpoint 541 has been the site of 13 attacks between 1 November 2004 and early March 2005. Two of those attacks involved VBIEDs. Other attacks included mortars, small arms fire, and IEDs. (Annex 1E).

On the evening of the incident, there were at least two cases of small arms fire in the immediate vicinity, one before and one after the incident. Also, as mentioned earlier, while the Joint Investigation Team was examining the site, a hand grenade was tossed at the personnel from the Route Vernon overpass. This site is under the observation of insurgents in the adjoining housing complex and local neighborhoods anytime a position is established at Checkpoint 541. (Annex 1E).

The two adjoining Route Irish checkpoints, numbers 540 and 542, were also the target of attacks during the 1 November 2004 to early March 2005 period. Checkpoint 540 had 15 attacks, with three of those attacks being VBIEDs. Similarly, Checkpoint 542 had 12 attacks during that period, with two of those attacks being VBIEDs. (Annex 1E).

Furthermore, two days before the incident, two Soldiers from the same unit (1-69 IN) were killed by an IED at Checkpoint 543. The Commander, A Company, 1-69 IN lost a very close friend in that attack. (Annexes 1E, 74C).

E. Unit Experience in the Baghdad Area of Responsibility
1. Third Infantry Division (3ID)
The Division returned to Iraq in early February 2005. It conducted a formal Transfer of Authority with the 1st Cavalry Division and assumed responsibility for MND-Baghdad on 27 February 2005. (Annex 15E).

The Division consists of seven U.S. Brigades and one Iraqi Brigade. Since their arrival, units of 3ID have conducted 14,463 patrols throughout the Baghdad area, to include 33 Rhino Bus escort missions (See Section III.C.5. of this report for background information on the Rhino Bus), through 25 March 2005. (Annex 15E).

In its first month since TOA, 3ID has received 422 attacks from insurgents resulting in 13 killed and 60 wounded. (Annex 15E).

2. Second Brigade, 10th Mountain Division (2/10 MTN)
The Second Brigade has been in Iraq for nearly eight months. (Annex 65C).

From 12 August 2004 to 11 March 2005, 2/10 MTN Soldiers conducted approximately 50,000 patrols. The Soldiers also conducted 5,237 Traffic Control Points (TCPs) during that period. (Annex 4E).

Between 15 December 2004 and 13 March 2005, 2/10 MTN Soldiers conducted 712 TCPs in support of Rhino Bus operations. There were usually eight such TCPs conducted per night in support of Rhino Bus movements. (Annex 4E).

The “TCPs” that were conducted for the Rhino Bus movements are more properly called hasty Blocking Positions (BPs). (See Section III.B. of this report for a discussion of the difference between TCPs and BPs).

3. 1-69 Infantry Battalion (1-69 IN)
1-69 IN arrived in the Iraqi Theater of Operations on 4 November 2004. The unit first served in Taji, north of Baghdad where they spent approximately three months. While in Taji, the primary mission of 1-69 IN was to conduct patrols in search of insurgents responsible for firing rockets and mortars at Coalition bases. (Annex 10E).

In February 2005, 1-69 IN relocated to Baghdad under the command and control of 2/10 MTN. The Commander, 1st Cavalry Division assigned the unit the mission of patrolling and securing Route Irish as of 15 February 2005. (Annex 65C).

Through early April 2005, 1-69 IN had conducted over 2000 patrols in Iraq. About two-thirds of those patrols were dismounted patrols requiring the Soldiers to leave their vehicles. About one-third of the patrols were conducted at night. (Annex 10E).

The unit has conducted over 1000 Traffic Control Points (TCPs) since arriving in Iraq. Most of those occurred along Route Irish. Other than the subject incident, there was only one incident involving civilians (one wounded civilian in Taji). (Annex 10E).

Since arriving in Iraq, 1-69 IN has experienced 19 roadside explosive devices, 38 incidents of small arms fire, 4 RPGs, 3 VBIEDs, 3 hand grenades, 16 indirect fire attacks, and 2 complex attacks. (Annex 10E).

Five attacks against 1-69 IN in November resulted in two fatalities and three wounded. Five detonations in December resulted in one fatality and three wounded. In January 2005, 1-69 IN received six detonations that resulted in seven fatalities and three wounded. The seven fatalities all came in one attack involving 10 buried 155mm artillery rounds. After relocating to Baghdad in February, the unit received one attack with no fatalities or wounded. Through early March, 1-69 IN has received four detonations resulting in three fatalities and three wounded. (Annex 10E).

Overall, 1-69 IN suffered 10 fatalities and 9 wounded while in Taji, followed by 3 fatalities and 3 wounded while conducting security operations on Route Irish. All 13 of the unit’s combat related fatalities in theater have come as a result of IEDs. (Annex 10E).

4. 1-76 Field Artillery Battalion (1-76 FA)
1-76 FA was new to the Baghdad AOR, having arrived on 21 February 2005. Their Right Seat/Left Seat Ride program began on 22 February 2005. 1-76 FA personnel were in the last night of their Right Seat/Left Seat Ride program with 2-82 FA and in charge of VIP security operations on the evening of 4 March 2005. The Transfer of Authority occurred the next day, 5 March 2005. (Annexes 59C, 63C).

1-76 FA is responsible for security inside the International Zone as well as U.S. Embassy VIP movement security along Route Irish. (Annex 58C).

1-76 FA has Direct Liaison Authorized (DIRLAUTH) to coordinate directly with 1-69 IN for security along Route Irish. This is the same level of coordination previously authorized by 1st Cavalry Division to 2-82 FA. When executing DIRLAUTH, 1-76 FA directly coordinates an action with units internal or external to its command and keeps the 3ID commander informed. The 1-76 FA TOC passes all coordination efforts through the 4th Brigade TOC to 3ID JOC. (Annex 58C).

F. Findings
Route Irish and its checkpoints, particularly the ones at the three overpasses (CP 540, CP 541, and CP 543), are continually subject to attacks from IEDs, VBIEDs, SAF, and other methods of attack. It is a road filled with dangers that can kill, maim, and injure Soldiers and civilians. (Annexes 3E, 5E, 8E).

The insurgents are continually adjusting their methods of attack along the Route Irish corridor. (Annex 11E).

The long straightaway off southbound Route Vernon leading to the on-ramp to westbound Route Irish provides an excellent opportunity for a suicide VBIED to build up speed and threaten Soldiers in their positions. (Annex 5E).

The Soldiers of 1-69 IN had suffered a significant number of deaths in the four months that they had been in Iraq as of 4 March 2005, including two Soldiers that were killed by an IED at Checkpoint 543 two days before the incident. (Annexes 1E, 10E).

1-69 IN Soldiers were experienced in patrolling, providing route security, and conducting TCPs. (Annex 10E).

Due to it being their first full day on shift, 1-76 FA Soldiers lacked experience in issuing operational orders and in battle tracking security forces during execution of blocking missions. (Annexes 59C, 63C).

.III. TRAFFIC CONTROL POINTS, BLOCKING POSITIONS, AND TRAINING

A. Introduction
This section examines TCPs, BPs, and training matters. It first discusses the difference between a TCP and a BP. Standing Operating Procedures (SOPs) for the various units involved regarding TCPs and BPs are assessed, and the Rhino Bus TTP is outlined. This is followed by a review of the training on TCPs, BPs, weapons, and Rules of Engagement (ROE) that the Soldiers manning BP 541 had received before 4 March 2005. The ROE that were in effect that night are explained. The section concludes with findings and recommendations.

B. Traffic Control Points and Blocking Positions
Task Force 1-69 IN had received missions to establish TCPs and blocking positions numerous times in the past. Although the terms are used interchangeably (Annex 65C), there are subtle, but distinct, differences in approach to establishing the two positions. (Annex 96C).

A traffic control point involves (1) the stopping of a vehicle, (2) a search of that vehicle, and (3) the authorized passage of the vehicle through the control point. (Annexes 66C, 68C, 70C, 72C). TCPs can be of limited or extended duration. (Annex 97C).

A blocking position, in contrast, does not involve the search of a vehicle. Ideally, the underlying intent of a blocking position involves no contact with a vehicle. In Iraq, the purpose of a BP is twofold: (1) to prevent vehicles from gaining access to the protected location, and (2) to prevent VBIEDs from getting close enough to kill or injure Soldiers or civilians. Blocking positions are neither intended nor designed to allow traffic to pass. The intent is to achieve maximum standoff from approaching vehicles and force them to turn around. (Annexes 66C, 68C, 70C). Blocking positions can be temporary or for longer durations. (Annex 97C). As indicated to 1-69 IN during Relief in Place operations, patrols must be prepared to execute hasty BPs when required.

C. Standing Operating Procedures in use on 4 March 2005
SOPs are designed to serve as guidelines for specific operations and are not prescriptive in nature. They provide a baseline for acceptable operations from which commanders can derive principles and techniques and adapt them to their current mission. (Annexes 44C, 65C, 72C, 96C, 98C).

1. Doctrinal Discussion of TCPs and Roadblocks (Army Field Manual 3-21.9,
Chapter 7)
Construction and manning of checkpoints and roadblocks are high frequency tasks for an infantry company and subordinate elements when they must establish area security during stabilization operations. (Annex 5F).

A checkpoint is a predetermined point used as a means of controlling movement, such as a place where military police check vehicular and pedestrian traffic, to enforce circulation measures and other law, order, and regulations. (Annex 5F).

A roadblock is used to limit the movement of vehicles along a route or to close access to certain areas or roads. Checkpoints and roadblocks can be either deliberate or hasty. The primary difference is the extent of planning and preparation conducted by the establishing force. (Annex 5F).

Checkpoints and roadblocks may be established to:
1 + Check and/or inspect and register all personnel and vehicles in and out of the controlled area.
2 + Deter illegal movement.
3 + Create an instant roadblock.
4 + Control movement into the area of operations or on a specific route.
5 + Prevent smuggling and contraband. (Annex 5F).

The layout, construction, and manning of checkpoints and roadblocks should reflect the considerations of Mission, Enemy, Terrain, Troops Available — Time, Civilians (METT-TC), especially the time available for emplacing them. (Annex 5F). The following factors should be considered in establishing a checkpoint or roadblock:
1 + Position the checkpoint or roadblock where it is visible and where traffic cannot turn back, get off the road, or bypass without being observed.
2 + Place obstacles in the road to slow or canalize traffic into the search area.
3 + Position a combat vehicle off the road, but within sight, to deter resistance to Soldiers manning the checkpoint. It must be able to engage vehicles attempting to break through or bypass a checkpoint. (Annex 5F).

Many items are used to reinforce a roadblock or a checkpoint. These include: barrels filled with sand, water, or heavy concrete blocks (emplaced to slow and canalize vehicles), concertina wire (emplaced to control movement around the checkpoint), and signs stating the speed limit into and out of the checkpoint (in both English and the local language.) (Annex 5F).

2. 3ID TCP SOP
In 3ID’s published Field Standard Operating Procedures (FSOP), there is a section directly addressing traffic control points. A TCP is defined as a “Structured Engagement Area.” The 3ID FSOP does not include guidelines for positions with a blocking mission (i.e., blocking positions). (Annex 1F).

The TCP SOP calls for an Alert Line, a Warning Line, a Stop line, a Search Area, and an Overwatch Area. (Annex 1F).

The Search Area should be a well-lit checkpoint, provide standoff from neighborhood structures, allow a sufficient area to accommodate more than one search team, the establishment of warning signs with sufficient distance for drivers to react, the use of physical barriers to force vehicles to slow down, and other barriers like tire poppers, to block movement of vehicles attempting to continue through the search area. (Annex 1F).

The Warning Line and Alert Line should provide maximum standoff for oncoming traffic. (Annex 1F).

Soldiers should fire into engine blocks before engaging the driver. (Annex 1F).

The equipment for a TCP includes warning signs, triangles, sawhorses, traffic cones, and/or tire poppers. (Annex 1F).

Minimum leader requirements for executing a TCP are listed as (1) map reconnaissance, (2) mission briefing, (3) safety briefing, and (4) back brief to the commander or designated representative. Position selection considerations are not specifically addressed. (Annex 1F).

3. 2/10 MTN TCP SOP
The 2/10 MTN’s published Tactical Standing Operating Procedures (TACSOP) addresses checkpoint operations. The TACSOP does not provide guidance on blocking positions. (Annex 2F).

A unit establishes checkpoints to control its area of responsibility, deny the enemy freedom of movement, and contribute to security of military units as well as the populace. They must be established to ensure that the position cannot be bypassed. (Annex 2F).

The 2/10 MTN TACSOP distinguishes between vehicle checkpoints (VCPs) and personnel checkpoints (PCPs). These are further divided into three types: deliberate, hasty, and flying. (Annex 2F).

Deliberate checkpoints are permanent or semi-permanent. They are used near operating bases or along Main Supply Routes (MSRs). (Annex 2F).

Hasty checkpoints are planned in advance and will be maintained for a set period of time of short duration. Hasty checkpoints are frequently employed during the conduct of vehicle or foot patrols. (Annex 2F).

Flying, or immediate, checkpoints are conducted when specific intelligence indicates that a checkpoint will hinder the enemy’s freedom of movement at a specific time and place. They are conducted immediately and often with little or no planning. (Annex 2F). Although not a TCP mission, the mission given to 1-69 IN to block Route Irish on 4 March 2005 fell into this category.

Vehicle checkpoints should consist of four zones: canalization zone, turning or deceleration zone, search zone, and safe zone. (Annex 2F).

The canalization zone uses natural obstacles and/or artificial obstacles to canalize the vehicles into the checkpoint. It usually consists of disrupting or turning obstacles, such as serpentines and other barrier systems. Warning signs should be placed at least 100 meters in front of the checkpoint. (Annex 2F).

The turning or deceleration zone forces vehicles to make a rapid decision, i.e., decelerate, make slow hard turns, or maintain speed and crash into obstacles. (Annex 2F).

The search zone is a relatively secure area where personnel and vehicles are positively identified. (Annex 2F).

The safe zone is the assembly area for the checkpoint that allows personnel to eat, sleep, and recover in relative security. (Annex 2F).

The use of radios or cell phones should be limited to essential communications and/or entirely prohibited as their transmissions may detonate any IEDs present. (Annex 2F).

The SOPs used by 2/10 MTN originated with the 1st Armored Division, and then were adopted by the 1st Cavalry Division, and in turn by 3ID. (Annexes 66C, 67C). It is noted that the SOP is not prescriptive, i.e., there is no requirement for signs, only a suggestion. (Annex 2F). Soldiers and leaders alike acknowledged using this SOP as a reference for establishing blocking positions, adopting certain procedures and equipment as required. (Annexes 65C, 66C, 98C).

4. 1-69 IN TCP SOP
The 1-69 IN has its own Tactical Standard Operating Procedures (TACSOP). It is a modified version of the 256th Brigade TACSOP. (Annexes 72C, 98C, 3F). It addresses checkpoint operations, but not blocking positions. (Annexes 72C, 96C, 3F). In addition, there are checklists for equipment to be used at TCPs. (Annex 3F).

The TCPs described in the 1-69 TACSOP are of a more enduring nature than those described in 2/10 MTN’s TACSOP. Even hasty checkpoints are more like 2/10 MTN’s deliberate checkpoints. There is no similar position as the flying or immediate TCP described by the 2/10 MTN SOP. (Annex 3F).

The Battle Drill for TCP occupation described in the 1-69 IN TACSOP is the same as that found in 3ID’s FSOP. (Annexes 1F, 3F).

The Battalion considers barriers as mandatory equipment for blocking positions (Annexes 96C, 97C, 98C). These can be existing barriers on site or other obstacles such as concertina wire. (Annexes 96C, 98C). The team at BP 541 considered the on-site Jersey barriers as meeting this requirement. (Annexes 74C, 77C).

Signs are required for TCPs. (Annex 96C). Signs were not used at BPs by 4-5 Air Defense Artillery (ADA), 1-69 IN’s predecessor. Based on their experience, the opinion of the BP 541 Soldiers was that signs had been marginally effective for TCPs conducted in the daytime in Taji. They were less effective at night. During both day and night operations, the signs were easily bypassed. (Annexes 79C, 87C).

The Soldiers have found concertina wire to be effective at TCPs in the daytime. Wire becomes quite ineffective at night as motorists cannot see it, even when chemlights are attached to it. Furthermore, the BP 541 Soldiers believed that the emplacement of concertina wire exposes them to additional risk. (Annexes 79C, 87C).

The signs that A Company, 1-69 IN Soldiers had used in Taji had not been available since their move to Baghdad on 5 February 2005. (Annexes 81C, 112C). On or about 12 February 2005, the signs were unloaded and stored next to a conex. There were approximately 25 signs in this shipment. These were TCP signs that said “Stop and Wait to be called forward.” Other signs that had been for the rear of vehicles said “Stay back 100 meters or you will be shot.” The last part of that phrase “or you will be shot” was to be covered with tape. (Annex 112C). The signs had not been modified, and, therefore, not reissued as of 4 March 2005. (Annex 95C).

5. Rhino Bus Run TTP Background Information
Since October 2004, there had been significant insurgent contact on Route Irish. Most of the contacts were RPGs, SAF, IEDs, and VBIEDs. These attacks prompted a re-assessment of the Coalition’s responses for operations along Route Irish.

Route Irish is the primary route to BIAP for U.S. Embassy personnel, and there was routinely at least one convoy each day. Rhino buses (armored buses) were procured to provide better protection for passengers. Additionally, a series of briefings and plans were developed to address the insurgent situation along Route Irish. The result was the Rhino Bus Run Program. (Annex 65C).

Under the Rhino Bus Run Program, 1-76 FA escorts two or three Rhino armored buses and one or two baggage trucks to and from the Embassy staging area in the International Zone and the BIAP passenger terminal twice nightly, seven days a week. Each run consists of up to 65 escorted passengers. This is the standard TTP 1-76 FA learned during the Right Seat/Left Seat Ride program conducted by 2-82 FA as part of Relief in Place operations. 1-76 FA’s higher headquarters, Fourth Brigade, coordinates attack helicopter support to conduct route reconnaissance ahead of the convoy and Close Air Support in the event of an attack. (Annex 59C).

Under the Rhino Bus Run TTP, 1-76 FA identifies the escort platoon. Once the escort platoon leader receives the number of passengers for transport at the staging area, and has established communications with the attack helicopters, the 1-76 FA TOC requests clearance from the 3ID TOC (the battlespace owner) through 4th Brigade TOC to move the convoy. Once 4th Brigade receives clearance from 3ID TOC, the 1-76 FA Battle Captain contacts 1-69 IN Battle Captain and requests that they establish blocking positions along Route Irish. Once the 1-69 IN Battle Captain notifies the 1-76 FA Battle Captain that the units are set in position, the convoys depart from the staging area. Once the convoy has passed ECP 1, the 1-76 FA Battle Captain contacts the 1-69 IN Battle Captain and clears the units to open their blocking positions. The same process is followed for the reverse trip. (Annex 59C).

There is no written SOP that covers Rhino Bus operations. The TTPs that 1-76 FA used on 4 March 2005 are the same TTPs employed by 2-82 FA. (Annex 59C).

D. Training of BP 541 Soldiers
The Soldiers manning BP 541 on 4 March 2005 received SOP training on TCPs at Fort Hood and the National Training Center (NTC). (Annexes 72C, 96C, 97C, 98C). The training at Fort Hood was part of mobilization training, and was conducted by the Battalion leadership and the Mobilization Assistance Team, while the training at NTC occurred as part of the Mission Rehearsal Exercise. (Annex 96C).

The Soldiers were trained to the following standards for TCPs: (1) 360 degree security, (2) one element controls traffic entry to the TCP, and (3) one element conducts searches and operates the detainee holding area. Soldiers are to control traffic effectively and efficiently, keep Soldiers safe, and accomplish the mission. (Annex 96C).

The Battalion Commander gave verbal guidance at Fort Hood on using M4s as the primary weapon for firing warning shots. This was intended for mounted mobile operations as a TTP for clearing overhead passes instead of static blocking positions due to difficulty in traversing the gunner’s turret. (Annex 73C).

There is no evidence to indicate that the Soldiers were trained to execute blocking positions before arriving in theater. TTPs for blocking positions and other operations were learned and practiced during the Right Seat/Left Seat Ride exercises as part of the Relief in Place/Transfer of Authority process with the Soldiers of 4-5 ADA from 5 to 15 February 2005. Gunners and leaders were able to watch tasks being performed before they had to perform these tasks themselves under the supervision of 4-5 ADA. (Annexes 72C, 96C, 97C, 98C, 9G). These TTPs were accepted by the 1-69 IN Battalion Commander as approved higher headquarters sanctioned guidance. (Annex 72C).

The 4-5 ADA blocking position TTP called for one vehicle, either a HMMWV or a Bradley Fighting Vehicle, to pull up next to the last Jersey barrier (closest to Route Irish). The Soldiers at the BP would then use a hand-held spotlight and laser pointer to get drivers’ attention, and make them stop and turn around. Normally, these blocking positions, which were hasty in nature, would be held for 10-15 minutes before the TOC would order the road opened. Signs were not used by 4-5 ADA. (Annexes 74C, 83C).

As demonstrated by 4-5 ADA previously, the standard practice by Alpha Company, 1-69 IN personnel at blocking positions is for the gunner to use the spotlight, while the HMMWV commander or Truck Commander operates the laser pointer. If the gunner must fire his weapon, M4 or M240B, he drops the hand-held light to engage the threat with well-aimed fire using both hands. (Annexes 74C, 79C). There is no specific training for operating the spotlight and the M240B simultaneously. (Annex 66C).

Based upon the fact that two 1-69 IN Soldiers were killed by an IED two nights before at Checkpoint 543, his experience, training, and risk assessment, the Alpha Company Commander chose to augment the 4-5 ADA TTP on 4 March 2005 by placing two HMMWVs at BP 541 for additional force protection. Force protection was paramount in his mind because of the threat of IEDs and VBIEDs. (Annex 74C). As a result, Second Lieutenant Acosta tasked the overwatch vehicle gunner to operate the green laser pointer rather than have Staff Sergeant Brown, the Truck Commander do so. (Annexes 77C, 87C).

E. Rules Of Engagement (ROE) Training Received by BP 541 Soldiers

The Soldiers were trained on ROE as part of their deployment preparation at Fort Hood and the National Training Center (NTC), as well as in Kuwait and Iraq. (Annexes 111C, 128C, 134C). The training at Fort Hood and NTC centered on basic ROE concepts of the escalation of force, hostile intent, hostile act, and positive identification. Specifically, Soldiers were briefed on the right of self defense, which allows them to defend themselves and Coalition Forces with all necessary force to negate the potential threat. Soldiers also received training in graduated force, which is designed to allow them to employ escalating measures of non-lethal force to properly discern hostile intent and prevent accidental civilian injury. Soldiers were briefed on positive identification (PID), which requires Soldiers to have a reasonable certainty that the object of attack is a proper military target. Soldiers were also briefed on the protections afforded detainees and civilians, their duty to care for the wounded and sick, military necessity, proportionality, discrimination, and collateral damage1 . (Annexes 111C, 1G, 3G).

While at NTC, judge advocates from the Center for Law and Military Operations (CLAMO) conducted impromptu interviews with the Soldiers, including Soldiers from 1-69 IN, where they were questioned about basic ROE principles. ROE is a key aspect of training at NTC and Soldiers are challenged with difficult, real world scenarios that emphasize ROE issues, such as, the use of force and properly identifying hostile intent. (Annexes 111C, 1G).

The Soldiers of the BP 541 team had received formal refresher ROE training approximately one month before the incident. (Annexes 129C, 132C, 133C, 137C). This training included vignettes on TCP operations, fixed site security, and patrols, and emphasized the use of graduated force and how and when to use non-lethal measures of force. Specifically, the vignettes highlighted how to discern hostile act and hostile intent from innocuous civilian activity. (Annexes 111C, 1G).

1 Military necessity requires that all targets are proper military targets, i.e., they possess a military attribute, the destruction of which provides a military advantage. Proportionality refers to whether any expected collateral damage is excessive in comparison to the overall military value of the target. Discrimination requires Soldiers to employ force in a manner that properly distinguishes between lawful targets and unlawful targets. Collateral damage encompasses any death or injury to civilians and damage or destruction of civilian property.

The entire battalion, including every member of the BP 541 team, received an in-depth review of a recent AR 15-6 investigation involving a shooting incident that further reinforced proper execution of ROE. (Annex 133C). The investigation involved the wounding of a civilian at a TCP, in which the vehicle was driving at a high rate of speed and the Soldiers at the TCP engaged the vehicle. The brief discussed the use of signs, chemical lights, spotlights, and graduated force as it applies to fixed position operations. Failure to follow the SOP was discussed and how proper use of the SOP can help a Soldier to discern hostile intent. Escalation of force to discern hostile intent was emphasized. (Annexes 111C, 1G, 2G, 3G).

Furthermore, the Soldiers were briefed on ROE before going out on patrol each day. They were so briefed on 4 March 2005. (Annexes 83C, 129C, 130C, 132C, 134C, 135C).

The 1-69 IN TACSOP ROE defines a Hostile Act as “a use of force against 1-69 IN or friendly forces, or persons or property under the protection of 1-69 IN forces that is likely to cause serious permanent injury or death or significant property damage.” (Annex 3F).

The 1-69 IN TACSOP ROE defines Hostile Intent as “a threat of imminent use of force against 1-69 IN or friendly forces, or persons or property under the protection of MNC-I forces that is likely to cause serious permanent injury or death or significant property damage. Hostile intent may be judged by the threatening force or individual’s capability and preparedness to inflict damage, or by evidence, particularly intelligence, that clearly indicates that a surprise strike is imminent.” (Annex 3F).

The 1-69 IN TACSOP ROE allows the use of deadly force if a Soldier, his unit, other U.S. forces, or designated friendly forces are attacked or threatened with imminent attack. (Annex 3F).

The ROE taught to the Soldiers was shout, show, shove, shoot. (Annexes 129C, 130C, 131C, 132C, 133C). The 1-69 IN TACSOP ROE also provides for shout, show, shove, shoot. (Annex 3F). For the night of 4 March 2005 at BP 541, the Soldiers were told the ROE was: Shout, i.e., use the spotlight on an approaching vehicle as far in advance of the Alert Line as possible; Show, i.e., use the green laser light, aimed at the driver, at the Alert Line; Shove, i.e., fire warning shots; and Shoot, i.e., disabling shots first, then, if necessary, shoot to kill. (Annexes 77C, 81C).

F. Findings
The leaders and Soldiers understood their mission to block vehicle access to Route Irish on the evening of 4 March 2005. They were knowledgeable of the Rules of Engagement to be employed in that mission. (Annexes 74C, 77C, 83C).

The Soldiers at BP 541 had been trained, and routinely refreshed on, the Rules of Engagement since their arrival in theater. (Annexes 77C, 81C, 111C).

There is no written SOP or TTP in 3ID, 2/10 MTN, or 1-69 IN for the execution of the blocking mission and establishing a blocking position. (Annexes 1F, 2F, 3F). The procedure was passed on from the departing unit (4-5 ADA) to the incoming unit (1-69 IN) during the Relief in Place/Transfer of Authority, where leaders observed the execution of the mission one week, and executed the mission the following week under the supervision of the outgoing unit (Right Seat/Left Side Ride). The only training received by 1-69 IN Soldiers on blocking positions was that employed along Route Irish during after-curfew Rhino Bus Runs, and occurred during the Left Seat Right Seat Ride process with 4-5 ADA. (Annexes 72C, 96C, 97C, 98C, 9G). It is clear that these BPs were not established as TCPs.

There is no clear guidance in these units on what equipment is required for establishing a blocking position (e.g., different road signs). (Annexes 1F, 2F, 3F).

Requiring the gunner in a blocking position to operate the hand-held spotlight as well as his crew-served weapon is an accepted practice in 1-69 IN. (Annexes 72C, 74C).

F. Recommendations
G.
Recommend that all Major Subordinate Commands (MSCs) review the inherent differences between the blocking mission and any other mission involving TCPs. Given the nature of the environment in Iraq, recommend that blocking positions be addressed separately in unit SOPs.
1 + Soldiers and leaders must understand that in a BP, the goal is to achieve standoff as far away and as quickly as possible, with no vehicle passage.

Recommend a comprehensive review of TCP and blocking position procedures, to include risk assessment, required equipment, considerations for site selection, and the establishment of clearly visible warnings or indicators, both day and night, for Soldier and civilian recognition. The Soldiers and leaders must look at the position holistically, i.e., from the perspective of Iraqi drivers and what they might see. Units must enforce a quality control program to maintain established standards.

As of this writing, MNC-I has already embarked on a comprehensive analysis of Entry Control Points (ECPs), TCPs, and BPs.
1 + This analysis will produce standard practices and guidelines for the selection and establishment of ECPs, TCPs, and BPs.

Recommend that permanent Coalition participation be included in the Force Protection Working Group to solicit lessons learned from other nations’ experiences in operating ECPs, TCPs, and BPs in an insurgency environment.

Recommend the development and publication of a written SOP for Rhino Bus Runs.

Continued in Part Two.

Comments

  1. to make a long story short (or try to). Italians get redacted Public PDF of the report. Smart Italian blogger looks closer and finds what we have now. (yay bloggers) Which is at a rough glance a lot of the nuts and bolts of what goes on in the roadblocking business. Apparantly justifiably secret stuff…nolonger. 🙁 But I guess that a determined terrorist would have gotten the same information in the same fashion anyway. Some U.S. document security beaurocrats need to be talked to.