Utah Guard Members

Conduct Iraq Night Operations

 

Written by 1st Lt. Jacob Allen

Published July 14, 2005

   

Sgt. Drew Scown, foreground, and Staff Sgt. Scott Grant keep a watchful eye on a village.

Photo by 1st Lt. Jacob Allen

Sgt. Drew Scown, foreground, and Staff Sgt. Scott Grant,

Det. 3, Headquarters and Headquarters Battery,

1-148thField Artillery, keep a watchful eye on a village.

 

NORTHERN IRAQ The advanced party for Alpha Company climbs aboard helicopters in the middle of the night on their way to a small village in northern Iraq. Coalition forces have received intelligence that possible AIF (Anti-Iraqi Forces) are in the village.

After a short ride, the aircraft touch down near the village, and U.S. Soldiers file out quickly into the surrounding fields.

These Soldiers are part of a containing force, which keeps bad guys from escaping the village.

The night is filled with the rumble of diesel engines as the helicopters depart and members of the containing force keep a careful eye on the village.

The search element arrives in their armored humvees, take positions alongside the containing force and provide security with their weapons.

Search teams dismount and move into the village, their NVGs (Night Vision Goggles) sweeping every corner...

Staff Sgt. Ables, Alpha Company, 3-116th Cavalry, Oregon National Guard, pulls security on top of his armored humvee.

Photo by 1st Lt. Jacob Allen

Staff Sgt. Lenny "Pappy" Ables, Alpha Company,

3-116th Cavalry, Oregon National Guard,

pulls security on top of his armored humvee.

This mission and many like it are what members of Detachment 3, Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 1-148th Field Artillery, Draper, and Bravo Battery, 1-148th, Brigham City, conduct on a regular basis.

These Soldiers’ traditional job is to provide artillery support on a conventional battlefield, but the Global War on Terror is anything but conventional.  Their unit has been reorganized with an infantry structure, and Soldiers conduct missions and patrols just like any infantry unit would. 

Sgt. Drew Scown is one of these. He is a forward observer; a member of a team that sets up observation posts and calls artillery fire onto the enemy.

Today Scown  is an Air Assault Infantryman, one who drops in suddenly around a village to cordon off the area.  If the village turns hostile, Scown will let the rest of the unit know immediately.

Operations last the entire night, and the sun is a welcome sight in Northern Iraq.

Photo by 1st Lt. Jacob Allen

Operations last the entire night, and the sun

 is a welcome sight in Northern Iraq.

It is in these first few moments after he puts his boots on the ground that the tempo of the evening will be decided.  Will the villagers cooperate?  Will a suspected insurgent decide he will not go down without a fight?

Thankfully, villagers know to stay inside their homes during these kinds of operations, and insurgents know that they do not stand a chance in a direct conflict with our forces.

The evening goes well, and suspected insurgents handcuffed with zip-ties are loaded onto a truck.  No shots were fired, and the mission is a success. 

In come the helicopters to pick up the containing force, and they all return to their FOB (Forward Operating Base) to prepare for another day.