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    1st Infantry Division Soldiers conduct Cajun Mousetrap III in Samarra



    Courtesy Story

    DVIDS Hub       

    By Sgt. 1st Class Chuck Joseph

    PATROL BASE RAZOR, SAMARRA, Iraq -- Task Force Danger Soldiers, in an operation dubbed "Cajun Mousetrap III," conducted an overnight raid into the City of Samarra that started late, Aug. 13, and ended early the next morning.

    The mission objectives were to assess the capabilities of the Anti-Iraqi Forces in the city and clear roads, said Capt. William Rockefeller, commander of Bravo Company, 1st Battalion, 26th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team. He stressed that the operation was a "limited attack mission." His Soldiers were to clear roads blocked by AIF and fire at enemy positions if fired upon.

    Pfc. Ryan Howell, a Bradley Fighting Vehicle gunner from Bravo Company and a Toledo, Ohio, native, was literally pumped up for the mission. He emerged from the unit's weight room in a building on this patrol base sweating from a workout."I like to lift before a mission," Howell said. "It's been too long since we've been in the city. I'm ready to go."

    First Lt. Warren Wessling, a Naples, Florida native and platoon leader of Bravo Company's 2nd Platoon echoed those sentiments.

    "We're always ready to go," he said. Sgt. Nicholas J. Roha, a gunner on an M1A1 Abrams tank from 1st Battalion, 77th Armor Regiment, attached to Bravo Company, spent his down time before the mission relaxing.

    "I feel pretty good," Roha said. "All of us have already been through a lot of combat, so we know how we react."

    He and his counterparts double checked their weapons, night vision equipment and other battle gear, and filed out of the building into the dark and unto their vehicles. The unit was going into Samarra, where the troops hadn't been in a while.

    Patrol Base Razor sits on the banks of the Tigris River, directly across from Samarra. On the roof of the command post, radio traffic gave a play-by-play of the battle. Rockefeller's company maneuvered across a bridge from the west side of the Tigris using heavy machine gun fire and several vehicle-launched wire-guided missiles to clear roadways of obstacles, according to reports.

    Once in the city, the company received fire from enemy positions and met the fire with overwhelming force. Tracers converged on each other. Gunfights were in progress. As fire from one location ceased, radio traffic indicated that an Alpha or Bravo Company unit was past the objective and was moving to the next.

    Tracer rounds and explosions lit the city and reflected on the Tigris River during the early stages of the operation. Approximately one hour into the battle, the city lights went dark and the only light came from sporadic firefights on the city streets.

    The peak of the resistance came from an old former regime element headquarters building, said an unidentified voice monitoring the radio.

    Another voice over the radio told the listeners to take cover behind the rooftop bunkers. A white flash and orange fireball preceded the loudest explosion of the night. The thump of the report jarred the building situated more than 1,500 meters away. "A 500-pound bomb from an Air Force jet just finished off that enemy position," a voice over the radio announced.

    Apache gun ships from the 1st Battalion, 1st Aviation Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team aided the counter attacks with 30mm cannon fire, Rockefeller later said. Alpha Company completed the sweep from the north and exited the city by the route cleared by Bravo Company, said 1st Lt. Scott Gilman, executive officer from Alpha Company.

    Alpha met an equal amount of resistance and success. The unit fought its way through as Bravo Company pulled out. Like its sister company, the unit took no casualties, Capt. Michael Jurick, liaison officer from Task Force 1-26 said.

    Of significance, Jurick said, Alpha Company took out two Rocket Propelled Grenade teams. At least one was destroyed by an Abrams tank attached to the unit from the 1-77 Armor.

    "We met our objectives and everybody came back," Rockefeller said. "That's excellent."



    Date Taken: 08.16.2004
    Date Posted: 08.16.2004 11:11
    Story ID: 244
    Location: SAMARRA, IQ 

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