News: 4-9 Manchus 'Stryke' Enemy with 101st's Bastogne Brigade
Story by Maj. Johnpaul Arnold
By Maj. Johnpaul Arnold
Public Affairs Officer
1st Brigade Combat Team
101st Airborne Division (Air Assault)
BAYJI, Iraq – Sand, dust and enemy scatter as the lethal, wheeled vehicles of 4-9 Infantry Battalion "Manchus" maneuver through the fluid terrain of northern Salah ad Din province in February with a few months left before their redeployment.
After serving with their parent brigade, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, the Manchus are now fighting extremists with the 1st Brigade Combat Team "Bastogne", 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault).
As part of Operation Iron Harvest, the Stryker vehicle battalion conducted a search of the vast desert areas of Salah ad Din province, using their futuristic Land Warrior System to maintain situational awareness.
Manchu Commander Ltc. William Prior said this about his battalion's current open-desert operation against al-Qaida: "Taking care of some of that business outside the population centers will ultimately have an impact inside the population centers."
"The amount of manpower we have to accomplish our mission is going to be enough to disrupt insurgent activities. Hopefully we can find caches so they do not reach any other units," said 1st Lt. Gerald Winn of C Company.
Since early January, the Bastogne Brigade has found 20 car bombs, large caches and extremists' camps throughout Salah ad Din province.
During its operation, 4-9 found 40 bags of ammonium nitrate and 4 suspicious abandoned vehicles in the desert. The Manchus also tactically questioned and detained some suspect military aged males.
The combat power added to the 1st BCT creates unique offensive capability. "4-9 Infantry Battalion provides us the opportunity to attack the enemy in new areas and in different ways. The Manchu Battalion provides us greater mobility, protection and firepower," said 1st Brigade Combat Team Battle Major, Maj. Jason Tussey.
The Manchus of the "2nd to None" division directly working with a Screaming Eagle "Air Assault" brigade is historic and rare. Both Manchus and Bastogne have legacies of valor and honorable service going back to World War I and World War II respectively.
Sgt. Christian Garcia of C Co., 4-9 Infantry Battalion said, "101st has a great sense of history. I think it is good that we are working together."