By Sgt. 1st Class Christina Bhatti
2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division
BAGHDAD – Days after intense fighting, and the call to peace from Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr March 30, Multi-National Division – Baghdad Soldiers patrol the outskirts of Sadr City, a district of Baghdad, ensuring the safety of the city's residents.
Sadr City has been the backdrop of many conflicts for coalition forces since the beginning of Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003. The city is the poorest of all the Baghdad districts and has historically been a safe haven for terrorists.
The Soldiers from Company A and a platoon from Company B, 1st Battalion, 21st Infantry Regiment, 2nd Stryker Cavalry Regiment, attached to 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, MND-B are tired, dirty, and work 24-hours a day with only cat naps to sustain them, but they relentlessly take to the filth-ridden streets in their mission to drive terrorists out of the area.
What began as a 96-hour tasking on March 26 turned into an open ended mission.
Capt. Scott Bailey, Company A commander, said the mission in support of combat operations was a success.
"We had some significant contact when we first arrived," said Bailey, a Running Springs, Calif., native, "but we planned good company attacks and now it is pretty quiet here."
Bailey attributes the quiet to a show of force from the Gimlets and other coalition forces and said he is confident that the Gimlets have helped the residents of Sadr City.
The Soldiers are not so sure.
"We definitely helped stop the shooting, but only time will tell if we help the people improve their future," said Staff Sgt. James Dean, a native of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and platoon sergeant from 4th Platoon, Company B, 1st Bn., 21st Inf. Regt.
For now, the focus for the Gimlets is to support the Iraqi security forces and rid the area of terrorists.
When fighting broke out in Sadr City, the Iraqi army checkpoints were targeted by the terrorists. They were consistently mortared and the Iraqi soldiers eventually left the checkpoint.
To help restore their confidence, the Gimlets provided peace of mind with a constant presence and supplies, such as water, to the Iraqi soldiers.
"It is important that we help them get on their feet," Bailey said. "We need to support them and put them out front, so the Iraqi people can gain confidence in their army."
The Gimlet commander said he doesn't know when his Soldiers will leave Joint Security Station Ur and head back to their area of operations, but he said he does know his Soldiers are working hard to accomplish the mission around Sadr City.
This work, Gimlets work to flush terror out of Sadr City, by MSG Christina Bhatti, identified by DVIDS, is free of known copyright restrictions under U.S. copyright law.