23 Feb

U.S. Soliders Take to Water to Combat Terrorists

U.S. troops employ innovative tactics to thwart counterinsurgency operations



U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Jason Simmons and Spc. Daniel Meyer scan the banks of the Euphrates River looking for terrorist activity, Feb. 16, 2006. Simmons and Meyer are assigned as scouts with Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Battalion, 67th Armor Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division. U.S. Army photo by Cpl. Michael Molinaro
Written by U.S. Army Cpl. Michael Molinaro
2nd Brigade Combat Team
ISKANDARIYAH, Iraq, Feb. 22, 2006 — Some of them are tankers, some of them are infantryman. But now some of them are … sailors?

“It’s a nice change-of-pace to be on the river after patrolling the roads all of the time.
There are bad guys on the water, so we need to get them too.”
U.S. Army Spc. Michael Komaromy

U.S. soldiers assigned to the 1st Battalion, 67th Armor Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, are keeping the pressure on terrorists in the Babil province and have taken counterinsurgency operations to the least common of places for an armor unit: the water.
Insurgents will do whatever it takes to go undetected in this area, and using the river is one of the ways they transport and hide bomb-making materials, said U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Paul Jones, combat engineer with the battalion’s Company E.
The battalion has discovered numerous weapons caches since taking over its area of responsibility. During the past week alone, four caches were found over a 24-hour period. Last month, a substantial cache was discovered on one of many islands along the river.
Islands are a clever place for terrorists to hide improvised explosive devices and other weapons used against coalition and Iraqi security forces, said Jones.
Having a presence on the rivers to prevent terrorists from getting to those islands only makes sense. Soldiers probe the islands and search for weapons and other material terrorists use to do harm.

“It’s a nice change-of-pace to be on the river after patrolling the roads all of the time,”
said U.S. Army Spc. Michael Komaromy, also a Company E combat engineer.
“There are bad guys on the water, so we need to get them too.”

Soldiers from Company E never trained for water operations before deploying late last year, Jones said. Since arriving in Iraq, and the introduction of the mission, it has been on-the-job training for these medics, scouts and other soldiers tasked with keeping the water routes free from terrorists.

“We had two or three days of getting familiar with the boats:
knowing where everything is and going over man-overboard drills,”
said Komaromy, “but the reactions to contact are just about the same
as in a vehicle.”

The river operations have been effective, Jones said. Improvised explosive device emplacement was more prevalent in the area prior to 1st Battalion, 67th Armor Regiment’s operations. Now, with checkpoints set up and a presence on the water, terrorists are finding fewer places to hide.

“Locals may feel more comfortable and secure knowing that we are
providing security all around them,” said Jones. “They want to feel better
about the area they are living in, and this is one of the ways to make sure
that happens.”

Company E lost one of its own during the early days of this deployment, and the reminder drives these soldiers to make sure terrorists are taken off the streets – and the water.

“If cruising this river all day and all night is what it takes to take the bad
stuff out of the (terrorists’) hands, then that’s what I’ll do,” said Jones.

Rhod says:

If I recall, when the Army’s 9th Division arrived in Vietnam down in The Delta, I heard they had an MOS (Military Occupational Specialty) of “Bosun’s Mate”. Or that could have been rumor.
One thing is certain now. Mad Jack Kerry will come around to our side. He’ll be chewing on lit cannon fuses and screaming “Go Army!” Watch for it.

TomR says:

In WWII, the US Army conducted more amphibious landings than that other branch of the service, the uh, uh, oh yeah the Marines.
I was at the southern end of the mekong Delta, and our Army advisors used all kinds of boats from local sampans to converted landing craft

Jack says:

My friend Ernie served as a Riverine gunner in the delta, he wouldn’t ride in my truck nor would I ride in his boat. Ernie is one of the bravest men I knew and never got a scratch, but I saw him do 50 yards in nothing flat because he thought a Mongoose was after him, it was a practical joke but to him it was real.
It’s tough and dangerous duty in the boats, I wish them all the best for a safe tour.

Wild Thing says:

Hahaha Rhod I love it!

Wild Thing says:

Tom (giggle) oh my yes.
Thanks for sharing about various boats at the mekong Delta.

Wild Thing says:

Jack, oh my gosh what a GREAT story! I love it!
It sure is dangerous and my prayers are with and for them everyday.

Rhod says:

Jack and Tom:
Two Delta guys in one place? Flying over it was bad enough. You have my respect and admiration.