• BAGHDAD - 1st Sgt. Harry Buchanan (left), of Altoona, Pa., the first sergeant of Company B, 2nd Battalion, 112th Infantry Regiment, 56th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, looks over a courtyard in Abu Ghraib, May 19, as Iraqi Army Soldiers prepare to use a metal detector.

    BAGHDAD - 1st Sgt. Harry Buchanan (left), of...

    BAGHDAD - 1st Sgt. Harry Buchanan (left), of Altoona, Pa., the first sergeant of Company B, 2nd Battalion, 112th Infantry Regiment, 56th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, looks over a courtyard in Abu Ghraib, May 19, as Iraqi Army Soldiers prepare to use a...

  • BAGHDAD - Spc. John Hill (front), of Eighty Four, Pa., and Spc. Matthew Strittmater, of Cresson, Pa., both with Company B, 2nd Battalion, 112th Infantry Regiment, 56th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, move along a building in Abu Ghraib during a search for vehicle-borne IED-making materials May 19.

    BAGHDAD - Spc. John Hill (front), of Eighty...

    BAGHDAD - Spc. John Hill (front), of Eighty Four, Pa., and Spc. Matthew Strittmater, of Cresson, Pa., both with Company B, 2nd Battalion, 112th Infantry Regiment, 56th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, move along a building in Abu Ghraib during a search for...

  • BAGHDAD - A U.S. military working dog and handler move through a courtyard in Abu Ghraib, May 19, with Pennsylvania National Guard Soldiers from Company B, 2nd Battalion, 112th Infantry Regiment, 56th Stryker Brigade Combat Team. The 2-112th, headquartered in Lewistown, Pa., is attached to the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division.

    BAGHDAD - A U.S. military working dog and...

    BAGHDAD - A U.S. military working dog and handler move through a courtyard in Abu Ghraib, May 19, with Pennsylvania National Guard Soldiers from Company B, 2nd Battalion, 112th Infantry Regiment, 56th Stryker Brigade Combat Team. The 2-112th...

  • BAGHDAD - Lt. Michael Keckler (left), of Bel Air, Md., and 1st Sgt. Harry Buchanan of Altoona, both with Company B, 2nd Battalion, 112th Infantry Regiment, 56th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, discuss an ongoing search for explosives, May 19. The Soldiers were hunting for vehicle-borne IED-making materials in an area where VBIEDS have posed a threat to Soldiers and civilians alike in the past.

    BAGHDAD - Lt. Michael Keckler (left), of Bel...

    BAGHDAD - Lt. Michael Keckler (left), of Bel Air, Md., and 1st Sgt. Harry Buchanan of Altoona, both with Company B, 2nd Battalion, 112th Infantry Regiment, 56th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, discuss an ongoing search for explosives, May 19. The Soldiers...

  • BAGHDAD - Lt. Michael Keckler, of Bel Air, Md., a platoon commander with Company B, 2nd Battalion, 112th Infantry Regiment, 56th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, photographs a room of a building formerly used as a school during a May 19 search for explosives.

    BAGHDAD - Lt. Michael Keckler, of Bel Air, Md...

    BAGHDAD - Lt. Michael Keckler, of Bel Air, Md., a platoon commander with Company B, 2nd Battalion, 112th Infantry Regiment, 56th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, photographs a room of a building formerly used as a school during a May 19 search for...

  • BAGHDAD - Using an interpreter (left), 1st Lt. Joshua Shearn (center), of Mount Union, Pa., with Company B, 2nd Battalion, 112th Infantry Regiment, 56th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, talks with an Iraqi Army battalion commander, May 19, during a search for explosives in Abu Ghraib, near Baghdad.

    BAGHDAD - Using an interpreter (left), 1st Lt...

    BAGHDAD - Using an interpreter (left), 1st Lt. Joshua Shearn (center), of Mount Union, Pa., with Company B, 2nd Battalion, 112th Infantry Regiment, 56th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, talks with an Iraqi Army battalion commander, May 19, during a search...

  • BAGHDAD - Sgt. Sergio Carmona, of Altoona, Pa., with Company B, 2nd Battalion, 112th Infantry Regiment, 56th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, pulls security at the corner of a building, May 19, during a search for explosives in Abu Ghraib.

    BAGHDAD - Sgt. Sergio Carmona, of Altoona, Pa...

    BAGHDAD - Sgt. Sergio Carmona, of Altoona, Pa., with Company B, 2nd Battalion, 112th Infantry Regiment, 56th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, pulls security at the corner of a building, May 19, during a search for explosives in Abu Ghraib.

  • BAGHDAD - An interpreter and Soldiers of Company B, 2nd Battalion, 112th Infantry Regiment, 56th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, move through an Abu Ghraib neighborhood, May 19, during a search for explosives in Abu Ghraib. Pennsylvania Army National Guard Soldiers partnered with Iraqi Army Soldiers to search the building and the surrounding grounds in an ongoing effort to lessen the threat of vehicle borne IED's in Abu Ghraib.

    BAGHDAD - An interpreter and Soldiers of...

    BAGHDAD - An interpreter and Soldiers of Company B, 2nd Battalion, 112th Infantry Regiment, 56th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, move through an Abu Ghraib neighborhood, May 19, during a search for explosives in Abu Ghraib. Pennsylvania Army National...

BAGHDAD - Pennsylvania Army National Guard Soldiers from 2nd Battalion, 112th Infantry Regiment, 56th Stryker Brigade Combat Team partnered with Iraqi Army Soldiers, May 19, to search several locations in the Abu Ghraib area for explosives. The joint patrol was part of an ongoing joint effort to lessen the threat of vehicle borne IED's in Abu Ghraib by searching for components used in making car bombs.

Soldiers from Company B, 2-112th said the continued patrols with the Iraqis serve as a deterrent to would-be insurgents.

"The VBIED is one of the greatest threats. We were actively patrolling to mitigate that threat," said Capt. Jason Hoffman, commander of Co. B. "We maintain a near constant presence."

Hoffman said Soldiers of the 2-112th face "a big challenge" in Abu Ghraib, at one time one of the more volatile areas of Iraq, but said he is proud of the way his Soldiers have met that challenge and have represented both the Pennsylvania Army National Guard and the U.S. Army. Hoffman said the civilian experience teachers, corrections officers and emergency medical technicians bring to Iraq as Soldiers is invaluable. He said his Soldiers are involved in "full spectrum operations" that range from combat patrols to assisting with civil affairs missions.

"We've done a lot of great things here," said 1st Lt. Michael Keckler, of Bel Air, Md., a platoon leader with Co. B.

Keckler's platoon was in charge of securing a landing zone during the operation, in the event that medical evacuation by air was needed. He echoed Hoffman, saying, his platoon maintains a near constant presence in sector. He said that level of activity pays off with locals providing more tips on insurgent activity.

"The civilians are stepping up. They're a little less scared, because we're out there all the time," he said. "They're less scared to come and talk to us."

Page last updated Thu May 28th, 2009 at 16:51