Prev | List | Random | Next
This is your last chance. After this, there is no turning back. You take the blue pill - the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill - you stay in Wonderland and I show you how deep the rabbit-hole goes.
This is The Red Pill.
My friend Grim, from somewhere very near Baghdad:
Back in September, I talked with Colonel Caraccilo, commander of the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne. His brigade had replaced 2/0 MTN when it came to Iraq. Later, 2/3 HBCT left, and 3/101 assumed their battlespace as well as what they held from 2/10. He told me that his brigade was leaving soon, and would be replaced only by a transition team of about 1,000 soldiers: a battalion-sized element, replacing what had been the territory of two brigades only a year before.I can decipher that a bit for you. The units mentioned above were all part of Multi-National Division-Central (MND-C), the U.S. Army Division that was in charge of an area south of Baghdad commonly called "the belts", and also containing what was once called "the triangle of death".
The Order of Battle is a little hard to discern from over there, but I can tell you that is just what happened. Now the real force in the area is the Iraqi Army, with the transition team advising and assisting. 3/101 AASLT did its RIP/TOA with the 17th Iraqi Army -- not a US unit.
MND-C was "the surge Division". The surge, some may recall, was initially announced as five additional Brigade Combat Teams for Iraq. Later, a Division Headquarters was added, a bit later still an Aviation Brigade. A few other bits and pieces were tacked on along the way. The Tenth Mountain Division's 2nd Brigade Combat Team (2/10) was in Iraq before the surge - but their tour was extended from 12 to 15 months. That's the reality of the surge, as all here should know - there were actually no additional Brigades sent to Iraq. The five "surge" Brigades were already scheduled to go. Some of their deployment dates were moved up. Their tour lengths were extended to 15 months, and all the Army units already in Iraq had their tours extended from 12 to 15 months. That is how the surge was accomplished - by tour extension, not by sending additional troops to Iraq. As explained to those who'd already taken the red pill at the time,
Some troops are going a couple months early, others will stay late. Stop the "surge" and the same troops will go to Iraq - just on their normal schedule and in time to hive-five the folks they will replace instead of reinforce.But in addition to the increase in troops numbers came a change in strategy. Instead of being concentrated on large Forward Operating Bases the members of the Brigade Combat Teams (BCTs) were moving into smaller outposts dotted throughout their areas of operations (AOs). No more commuting to work, as General Petraeus would say.
One of our most notable accomplishments is seizing the Yusufiya thermal power plant, a former Russian project to provide power to the Euphrates River Valley... And it really was a large concrete, almost Stalinistic, structure, a project between Saddam and the Russians. But really it was a moral rallying point for al Qaeda in this valley. It’s only 30 percent complete. Because of its massive size, and with there being no security there, it became sort of an al Qaeda way point for terrorists moving from the predominantly western part of the country into sanctuaries to attack Baghdad.Part two is here.
On 23 October, we seized it with a two-company assault from the Golden Dragons, and since then it’s been known as Patrol Base Dragon.