Friday, November 18, 2005

Another Great Letter from Iraq

SGT Rausch and his buddies in 1st Platoon just crafted a masterpiece that needs to be seen by everyone you know. I've been trying to say this stuff for years now, but I couldn't quite figure out how to put it all into words. Well, these guys just cracked the code. Thanks to Becky C for bringing this to my attention:


I am passing this on from a dear friend of mine. Her son wrote her this email and asked her to get it out to everyone. So she told me to send it to you too. Here is his email he wrote to her today. God bless those 101st soldiers. We love em all. Hope you will share his email with your readers.

Becky C

I will gladly pass this on, Becky. Thanks for doing your part in helping to spread the good word...


SGT Rausch's email follows:


Be my voice. I want this message heard. It is mine and my platoon's to the country. A man I know lost his legs the other night. He is in another company in our batallion. I can no longer be silent after watching the sacrifices made by Iraqis and Americans everyday. Send it to a congressman if you have to. Send it to FOX news if you have to. Let this message be heard please.

My fellow Americans,

I have a task for those with the courage and fortitude to take it. I have a message that needs not fall on deaf ears. A vision the blind need to see. I am not a political man nor one with great wisdom. I am just a soldier who finds himself helping rebuild a country that he helped liberate a couple years ago.

I have watched on television how the American public questions why their mothers, fathers, brothers, and sisters are fighting and dying in a country 9000 miles away from their own soil. Take the word of a soldier, for that is all I am, that our cause is a noble one. The reason we are here is one worth fighting for. A cause that has been the most costly and sought after cause in our small span of existence on our little planet. Bought in blood and paid for by those brave enough to give the ultimate sacrifice to obtain it. A right that is given to every man, woman, and child I believe by God. I am talking of freedom.

Freedom. One word but yet countless words could never capture it's true meaning or power. "For those who have fought for it, freedom has a taste the protected will never know." I read that once and it couldn't be more true. It's not the average American's fault that he or she is "blind and deaf" to the taste of freedom. Most American's are born into their God given right so it is all they ever know. I was once one of them. I would even dare to say that it isn't surprising that they take for granted what they have had all their life. My experiences in the military however opened my eyes to the truth.

Ironically you will find the biggest outcries of opposition to our cause from those who have had no military experience and haven't had to fight for freedom. I challenge all of those who are daring enough to question such a noble cause to come here for just a month and see it first hand. I have a feeling that many voices would be silenced.

I watched Cindy Sheehan sit on the President's lawn and say that America isn't worth dying for. Later she corrected herself and said Iraq isn't worth dying for. She badmouthed all that her son had fought and died for. I bet he is rolling over in his grave.

Ladies and gentleman I ask you this. What if you lived in a country that wasn't free? What if someone told you when you could have heat, electricity, and water? What if you had no sewage systems so human waste flowed into the streets? What if someone would kill you for bad-mouthing your government? What if you weren't allowed to watch TV, connect to the internet, or have cell phones unless under extreme censorship? What if you couldn't put shoes on your child's feet? You need not to have a great understanding of the world but rather common sense to realize that it is our duty as HUMAN BEINGS to free the oppressed. If you lived that way would you not want someone to help you????

The Iraqi's pour into the streets to wave at us and when we liberated the cities during the war they gathered in the thousands to cheer, hug and kiss us. It was what the soldier's in WW2 experienced, yet no one questioned their cause!! Saddam was no better than Hitler! He tortured and killed thousands of innocent people. We are heroes over here, yet American's badmouth our President for having us here.

Every police station here has a dozen or more memorials for officers that were murdered trying to ensure that their people live free. These are husbands, fathers, and sons killed every day. What if it were your country? What would your choice be? Everything we fight for is worth the blood that may be shed. The media never reports the true HEROISM I witness everyday in the Iraqi's. Yes there are bad one's here, but I assure you they are a minuscule percent. Yet they are a number big enough to cause worry in this country's future.

I have watched brave souls give their all and lose thier lives and limbs for this cause. I will no longer stand silent and let the "deaf and blind" be the only voice shouting. Stonewall Jackson once said, "All that I have, all that I am is at the service of the country." For these brave souls who gave the ultimate sacrifice, including your son Cindy Sheehan, I will shout till I can no longer. These men and women are heroes. Their spirit lives on in their military and they will never be forgotten. They did not die in vain but rather for a cause that is larger than all of us.

My fellow countrymen and women, we are not overseas for our country alone but also another. We are here to spread democracy and freedom to those who KNOW the true taste of it because they fight for it everyday. You can see the desire in their eyes and I am honored to fight alongside them as an Infantryman in the 101st Airborne.

Freedom is not free, but yet it is everyone's right to have. Ironic isn't it? That is why we are here. Though you will always have the skeptics, I know that most of our military will agree with this message. PLease, at the request of this soldier spread this message to all you know. We are in Operation Iraqi Freedom and that is our goal. It is a cause that I and thousands of others stand ready to pay the ultimate sacrifice for because, Cindy Sheehan, freedom is worth dying for, no matter what country it is! And after the world is free only then can we hope to have peace.

SGT Walter J. Rausch and 1st Platoon
Charlie Co. 2/327 Infantry Regiment
101st Airborne Division (Air Assault)

Monday, November 14, 2005

101st Airborne Back in Action

The Screaming Eagles are back in the Land of the Awful Sand. I'll be posting periodic updates in an effort to document their progress. The following update comes from SFC David Abrams...

U.S. combat ops continue to defeat terrorists on street, BAGHDAD, Iraq, November 13, 2005 6:54

Operation National Unity, an on-going operation by Iraqi Security Forces and Coalition Forces to root out terrorists in the Baghdad area, continues to meet with great success, said Task Force Baghdad officials.

"Iraqi and U.S. Soldiers are bravely carrying out their mission to provide a safe and secure environment for the democratic process to grow in Iraq," said Lt. Col. Robert Whetstone, Task Force Baghdad spokesperson. "Terrorist activities continue to attempt to derail that process, while Iraqi Security Force and Coalition Force successes occur daily."

In one 96-hour period alone in November, Task Force Baghdad conducted more than 1,030 patrols, carried out 100 cordon-and-searches and raids, and set up more than 400 tactical checkpoints during aggressive combat operations throughout the capitol city.

While the threat of improvised explosive devices still lingers for Soldiers on patrol, Task Force Baghdad officials report the number of successes far outweigh the number of IEDs struck by humvees and other military vehicles.

During combat operations Nov. 6-11, Coalition Forces detained more than 250 terror suspects, found seven weapons caches, and discovered 37 IEDs before they could be detonated.

This is typical of the missions U.S. Soldiers in Baghdad engage in every week as they work to create an environment where a strong Iraqi Security Force can contain and eventually defeat the insurgency, Whetstone noted.

Task Force Baghdad officials cite operations on Nov. 11 as examples of how U.S. and Iraqi forces are "taking the fight to the terrorists."

For instance, Soldiers from 1st Battalion, 87th Infantry Regiment interrupted a suspected assassination attempt in progress in the Ghazaliyah district. Around 6:30 p.m., the U.S. patrol reported taking small-arms fire from three individuals running from a store where they were believed to be intimidating or attempting to assassinate civilians inside. The Soldiers returned fire on the fleeing terrorists, killing two of them. No civilians were harmed in the incident.

Earlier in the day, an Iraqi-U.S. patrol northwest of Baghdad turned an IED strike into an opportunity to nab a terror suspect. The patrol from 2nd Battalion, 70th Armored Regiment, and 2nd Mechanized Battalion, 1st Brigade, 9th Iraqi Army Division hit the roadside bomb around noon and immediately took small-arms fire from two nearby cars. U.S. Soldiers returned fire and chased the vehicles from the area. The Soldiers returned to the IED site and found a secondary device. An explosives ordnance disposal team was called in to destroy the 155-millimeter round. Meanwhile, the Iraqi Soldiers noticed an individual throw a possible trigger device into a nearby canal. The suspect was detained and processed into the Iraqi judicial system. There were no injuries to Iraqi or U.S. forces during the incident.

In another example of Coalition troops responding with a show of force to a terrorist attack, a patrol from 1st Squadron, 11th Armored Cavalry killed a terrorist who fired on them with an AK-47 assault rifle around 7 a.m. south of the Abu Ghraib Prison Facility.Iraqi forces with 1st Battalion, 4th Public Order Brigade operating in Doura reported a success of their own around 5:30 p.m. when they caught a terrorist emplacing an IED along a major highway. A U.S. EOD team recovered the 107-millimeter rocket and the Iraqi Army unit detained the terrorist for questioning.

Other potential IEDs were discovered by U.S. Soldiers from 2nd Brigade Combat Team working the streets of east Baghdad.

Around noon, Soldiers from 3rd Battalion, 7th Cavalry Regiment reported finding a 130-millimeter round in the median of a major road. They secured the area and called for an EOD team. The Soldiers also found a secondary device consisting of 120-millimeter and 100-millimeter rounds encased in concrete. EOD recovered both devices.

In another location, Iraqi civilians waved down a patrol from the 26th Forward Support Battalion and told them of a suspicious device at the intersection of two main roads in the area shortly after 3 p.m. The U.S. Soldiers cordoned off the site and called in an EOD team to recover what turned out to be a potentially deadly IED.

"We (U.S. Forces) are not the determining factor with respect to the ultimate defeat of the terrorists—the Iraqi people are," said Col. Joseph DiSalvo, 2nd BCT commander. "The terrorists have no chance as long as the Iraqi people stand up against them." Task Force Baghdad Soldiers also seized weapons and munitions during combat operations Nov. 11.While searching a house, Soldiers from 2nd Brigade, 101st Airborne Division found three cases of 20-millimeter anti-aircraft ammunition, about 7 million in dinar (equivalent to nearly $5,000), and two loaded AK-47 assault rifles. Two terror suspects were detained at the house and held for further questioning.

Another 2nd Bde., 101st Airborne Div. unit found a cache consisting of four 3-foot rockets at a site southwest of Baghdad.Task Force Baghdad officials said Nov. 11 is just one example of how Operation National Unity is succeeding on all levels to keep the city’s terrorists on the defensive.

By Sgt. 1st Class David Abrams
Task Force Baghdad PAO