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The Hounds of Husaybah

HUSAYBAH, IRAQ: The evening kicked off with a ride in the darkness from Camp Qaim, which is situated at the railroad station South of Al Qaim, to Camp Gannon, the outpost that sits directly between the city of Husaybah and the Syrian border. The ride was uneventful, and the convoy of up-armored Hummers passed through the desert and into Karabilah, then Husaybah. It was difficult to see in the dark, making the most notable feature the alternating pockets of light and darkness along the road.

Upon arrival at Camp Gannon, I met with Captain Richard Pitchford, the commander of Lima Company, 3rd Battalion, 6th Marines. Capt Pitchford detailed Lima Company’s role in Operation Steel Curtain, and explained the company’s disposition in the city of Husaybah. Along with Camp Gannon, there are two Battle Positions within the city; Beirut, which sits in the South at the train station, and Hue City, which is in a community center in the East.

After battling the insurgency in Operation Steel Curtain, Lima Company’s current mission is to maintain a presence in the city, restore order and facilitate reconstruction and local governance. Lima Company, in conjunction with Iraqi Army units stationed at Camp Gannon, Beirut and Hue City, actively patrol the city at all hours.

I joined up with the 4th Mobile Assault Platoon, call sign Jackal 4, for a zero-dark-thirty patrol. The platoon is led by 1st Lieutenant Carey. Staff Sergeant Strong commanded the vehicle I rode in; Corporal Witzell was the driver; “Doc” Pruett the convoy medic; and Lance Corporal Ramage manned the gun in the cold night’s air. Capt Pitchford loaned me a pair of night vision goggles and we were on our way.

The patrol sped off in full blackout, piloted by drivers with night vision goggles. The Jackals escorted a Civil Affairs Group (CAG) to and from Hue City. The “440 District”, named after the number of buildings in the neighborhood, was paid a visit, as were neighborhoods in the north and south of the city, and a remote desert region with buildings and walls scattered about.

At night the streets of Husaybah often appear as series of mazes quite mean by American standards. The houses are surrounded by ramshackle walls; rubble, trash, abandoned cars and fifty gallon drums are strewn along the roadways. All are potential hiding places for IEDs. Since Steel Curtain, four IEDs have been uncovered, but its unknown if these are bombs missed in previous sweeps, or ones newly deployed. Staff Sergeant Strong believes insurgents are attempting to reenter the city and resume attacks on the Coalition.

No IEDs or insurgents were encountered during the early morning’s patrol. The only takers were the myriad of Husaybah’s dogs, who howl loudly and seem ever present. The jihadis ceded the night to the hounds of Husaybah and the Jackals of 4th Platoon.

Reference

Listed below are links that reference The Hounds of Husaybah:

» Bill Roggio Reports from the Front from By Dawn's Early Light
Bill Roggio reports directly from Iraq. Read about "Operation Steel Curtain Unmasked" [Read More]

» Bill Roggio on the Iraq-Syria Border from BLACKFIVE
Thanks to many of you, Army veteran Bill Roggio (a good friend of Blackfive.net) was able to make the trek to Iraq to embed blog with the Marines. First, he has the story behind the fight known at Operation Steel [Read More]

» Murdoc's been remiss from Murdoc Online
The Hounds of Husaybah I haven't been pointing out Bill Roggio's posts at Threatswatch.org. His boots are on the ground in Iraq with Uncle Sam's Misguided Children: At night the streets of Husaybah often appear as series of mazes quite... [Read More]

Feedback

Thanks for the info, keep it coming!

Is anyone living Husaybah or did everyone clear out before the combat? Has anyone moved back in yet?

I think it was mentioned that they cleared out in an earlier post but I've forgotten.

The relief that washes over me when I see your new posting, is tempered by the dangerous situation that you describe. You are doing a great service to the families of our military men and women who are eager for real news. However, they also, must have mixed emotions. I'm assuming you have read and re-read the rules and regulations and are not telling us more than we should know.

Hey Bill, glad to see you and the Marines had an "uneventful" evening.

We search daily for posts from you as they tell us you are safe. There are many here praying for your safe return to your family. We are very proud of what you are doing and the service you render the troops. Met several Marines in church last week and they tell us you are providing a service that is much needed. Troops are grateful. Stay safe.

Thanks for the direct reporting and the sacrifice you are making to bring the war live and with truth to us here at home.

Please let the men and women who serve our flag and the cause of freedom out there to know they are supported and respected by us back home.

Godspeed to you and the Marines.

Kind regards,

Bill Rice

This tripe could have been written from home; why bother to go over there and report? Nothing new, very boring. This would have been much more compelling if you had spent a few days in an Iraqi town talking to their citizens and getting their opinions on what we're doing over there vs. riding inside a Marine vehicle and hoping you don't get attacked. Get out of the hummer and go talk to the average Iraqi and report back on that. I'm sure it would be very interesting. No, I'm not pansy anti-war protester; I'm just curious as to why a reporter would bother redoing what CNN, Fox and every other mainstream media outlet does.

Mark, the writing and analysis provided by Mr. Roggio is nothing like that offered by CNN et al. Bill offers perspective and analysis, not just a rendition of the numerber of IED's or car bombs that went off. I'm sure that he will interface with the locals as the possibility presents itself. He is in the middle of the hot zone right now, so temper your expectations accordingly.

Great report Bill.

When you find the time and opportunity to interact with the townsfolk can you report on how the 12/15 polling is going to work out in Husaybâ & Karabilâ. The elections are regional and seats have been assigned to regions. Therefore, technically it does not matter if Sunnis as a group vote or not. They will get same number of seats. But it is important to guage the level of participation or fear or ambivalence among the Sunnis, and also the distribution of the seats among various Sunni groups does depend on voters turning out.

Mark should read tonight's post and get back to me. Plus, how many locals are out at 3 AM????

Mark, you got your wish.

Walking Husaybah

I'm sure Bill would be receptive of an apology for your immediate and unreasonable criticism.

Mark,
We don't need more interviews with Iraqis, as interesting as those are. What we need is accurate reporting of the tactical situation, which Bill is exceptional at providing. At this point he is doing at least as much for the war effort as the troops are.

Bill,
Good to see your hanging in there, had a chance to use the pocket camera yet? [Edited per Terms of Use] The reason Bill,Yon and a few others are over there is our friends@ Fox,CNN and the rest lounge Lizzard MSM reporters have done a very crappy job on this war...You read the mil-blogs and Roggio and Yon it sounds like a different ball game So open your mind and read and then you make the call as to who is telling it like it is... Remember THE TRUTH SHALL SET YOU FREE...

Great report. Keep safe. I am always excited to learn something new. Is there much rail traffic? Is it local or a national system? How safe is it? Did you ever get turkey last week? Love you. Mom

Mark, as you know the neo-Baathists and the Islamists are predisposed to kidnapping, ransoming and killing non-Arabs and those they hate. Are you suggesting that Bill should expose himself to great danger, and make interview with so-called guerillas and their supporters whose big cause is to bring down the democratic government and install an Islamic or fascist dictatorship with themselves as rulers? Please search Islamist websites and Al-Jazeera, and you will see loads of such interviews, rhetoric and deranged worldviews.

I cannot fathom why else anyone would criticize a man who has the courage and conviction to go over there under these circumstances. "Get out of the hummer" and talk to the people? (sigh) We all know most people won't even get out of their lazy-boy chair. Honestly, as much as I value having Bill there, I hope he doesn't have to get out of the hummer too much. He's in enough danger as it is.

In the meantime there are those of us who have loved ones that we are unable to communicate with for weeks at a time. All we receive is CNN blasting drama and death counts on a daily basis. To have ANY idea what is actually going on over there on a ground level like this is a blessing that cannot be understated. Having pieces of the puzzle analyzed and put into context rather than sensationalized in piecemeal fashion is the missing component of far too many news agencies. How can we even agree or disagree with actions taken by the government and military if we do not first evaluate it in context? In addition, Bill has the military background and knowledge to give deeper insight into these matters, in comparison to many of the emotionally-effusive spokesmodel types that organizations like CNN tend to favor. I think we are fortunate to have a good balance with Bill.

Oh, and Bill if you catch this by chance, - give my love to my man in 1st CEB charlie if you are in Qaim. He's been going between Gannon and Qaim with 3/6 India usually, and I've been real anxious. Your reports have always been good, but it certainly is an extra bonus to those of us with loved ones in the thick of it. I am thankful to both you and your wife. She has helped so many other stressed out wives and girlfriends and family members out there more than she may realize by supporting this.

Dear Bill,
First I have to say Thank-you for going over to Iraq to tell the real deal of whats going on. I'd also like to put your family and friends mind at ease. I see your with the 3/6 so your as safe as rain,my son-in-law is Staff Sgt Strong.

I know that Chuck and the Marines he serves with are the best. They are a very dedicated bunch of men who would rather fight the enemy over there than on the home land, which many people don't seem to understand.I would trust Chuck with my life and so should you,your in good hands.He is a very respected Marine by his peers,family and friends.When you run into him again tell him his little girl,wife and family love him very much and we are very proud of the job they are doing over there. Thank you again, Bill for your reports we feel alittle bit closer to our loved ones. charthestar