Bastogne Soldiers foil rocket attack

ARNEWS
Army News Service

Bastogne Soldiers foil rocket attack
March 3, 2006

KIRKUK, Iraq (Army News Service, March 3, 2006) – Soldiers from the Bastogne Brigade of the 101st Airborne Division foiled an attempted rocket attack March 1 on their forward operating base near the village of Hawijah, Iraq, after they spotted insurgents setting up rockets.

Soldiers from the 1st Battalion, 327th Infantry Regiment observed a white pick-up truck parked at a known enemy firing position north of their FOB. Three insurgents were setting up a rocket system when the Soldiers notified the battalion’s operations center.

On hearing the news, Battalion Commander Lt. Col. Marc Hutson ordered an artillery strike on the position. When the terrorists heard the artillery guns firing, they immediately ran from the area, toward a nearby village.

Bastogne Soldiers already in the vicinity followed the terrorists into the village and immediately sealed off the area.

With assistance from the local Iraqi police, the Soldiers searched the village and detained five men involved in the attempted attack.

Hutson dispatched explosive ordnance Soldiers attached to the Bastogne Brigade to the rocket-firing point where they discovered a 57mm rocket, firing tube, battery and 30 feet of wire used to launch rockets. The Soldiers confiscated the rocket system and blew up the white pick-up truck in place.

Hutson said, “Many of the captured insurgents have confessed and are providing information leading to other terrorists in the area.” He added that the combined U.S. and Iraqi operation visibly demonstrates to the local population the positive impact that cooperation between Coalition and Iraqi security forces has in the fight against terrorists.

Earlier that day, in an unrelated operation, pilots from the 2-17th Cavalry Squadron flying in 1st Battalion’s area discovered a weapon cache site. Hutson dispatched a team of Soldiers to the location and uncovered a supply that included a rifle, two machine guns, an anti-aircraft gun, ammunition and multiple manuals describing how to build roadside bombs.

Hutson said, “The success of this mission is two-fold; not only did we uncover IED (improvised explosive device) parts, but denying an IED manufacturer those parts disrupts his activity. The boys did well.”

Bombs similar to those described in the manual have killed eight Soldiers from Hutson’s battalion this year.

(Editor’s note: Information provided by 1st BCT Public Affairs, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault).