News: War Rakkasans Start Thanksgiving With Air Assault
BAYJI, Iraq -- Most Soldiers begin their Thanksgiving morning anticipating good food, family and football.
Then again, Rakkasans are not most Soldiers.
The War Rakkasans of 1st Squadron, 33rd Cavalry Regiment teamed with the Iraqi 20th Strategic Infrastructure Security Battalion in Operation Hue, an air assault cordon and search mission to capture a suspected enemy arms dealer in Talladhahad.
In the pre-dawn darkness, troops from Company D, 1st Battalion, 187th Infantry and the SIB isolated the village with blocking positions north and south of the village.
The dawn raid began with UH-60L Blackhawk helicopters sweeping over the Hamrin Mountains and Tigris River east of Bayji. Apache gunships patrolling overhead provided close air support as the Rakkasans landed and quickly moved to the target house and began their search.
After questioning several villagers, it was determined that the arms dealer was not in the area. However, two of his close associates were detained for further questioning by coalition forces.
Once the search was completed, the Rakkasans were extracted and returned to Forward Operating Base Summerall -- in plenty of time to enjoy a hearty Thanksgiving lunch.
According to Capt. Jamey Turner, commander of Troop B, 1-33 Cavalry, the mission was a success in more than one respect, particularly the integration of Iraqi security forces.
"This is their country, and we plan on leaving at some point," Turner said. "The more we get the opportunity to work with them and show them what right looks like, the better off they are going to be in the future."
Sgt. First Class Anthony Crisostomo, the squadron intelligence NCOIC, agreed with Turner's assessment.
"It's very important to let the people of Iraq know they have an Army and that they are working with us to make [Iraq] better," Crisostomo said.
When asked about the irony of beginning a traditional holiday in such a non-traditional manner, Turner replied, "It sure beats watching Dallas and Detroit on Thanksgiving Day."