Bayji Operations Round Up 'Black Jumpsuit' Cell
U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Andrew Centella, mortar section sergeant, Company C, 1st Battalion, 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division, observes an intersection while pulling security for his comrades searching a house in Bayji, Iraq.

BAYJI, Iraq, Nov. 27, 2006 - Eight armored vehicles crept through the narrow city street in Bayji searching for the objective. More than 20 Paratroopers would storm, secure and search the site for their target.

"That's it. Let's move," the platoon sergeant calmly said over the radio.

Immediately the element dismounted their vehicles and raced toward the target house.

Troops placed ladders and hurled themselves over the cement wall into the courtyard.

Once the courtyard was breached, the Paratroopers entered the house and found multiple small arms. They also detained one man linked to an insurgent cell.

"It was exciting," said Staff Sgt. Mica Snell, fire support sergeant, Company C, 1st Battalion, 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division. "You fight everyday, and when your spirits are getting low and you find (an insurgent), it brings them back up."

Since the beginning of November, scenarios like this have been an almost everyday occurrence for the Paratroopers of Company C.

"We have caught a lot of the major players from multiple insurgent cells, providing a lot of useful information leading to the capture of more insurgents and the discoveries of their hideouts and weapons caches," said 1st Sgt. Micheal Green, Company C.

One of the biggest cache sites discovered was found on Bayji Island. The site included hand grenades, rocket-propelled-grenade launchers with multiple rounds, small arms, mortar tubes, mortar rounds and bomb-making material.

The find came after a unit called for support while detaining 11 individuals linked to an anti-Iraqi forces cell. The Paratroopers of Company C searched it and found a cache site that stretched across Bayji Island, said Green.

There were so many weapons and so much ammunition that the ordnance disposal team ran out of explosives while destroying the contents of the cache site.

The remaining weapons were taken back to Forward Operating Base Summerall to be destroyed.

Green added that after finding the cache there were no insurgent attacks in the area for more than 36 hours.

Later in the week, coalition and Iraqi forces conducted a raid based off intelligence from the coalition intelligence informing the Paratroopers of a terrorist cell that trademarks themselves with black uniforms.

When they searched the house, they found multiple black jumpsuits neatly hanging on a wall. Surrounding the uniforms was a scattered assortment of small arms and ammunition.

The "black jumpsuit" insurgent cell was shut down and out of commission in Bayji.

While raiding houses, Green says that the people understand why the coalition forces are there. They are very cooperative with the troops and often thank them for what they are doing for their community.

"When you are raiding a house in the middle of the night and the children run up and give you a hug you know you are making a difference," said Green.

Because Company C has treated the Iraqis with dignity and respect, they have been able to get more information from the people of Bayji leading to the company's success, which has created a safer and more secure area for the Bayji citizens, said Green.

"As we have worked through this area the people have grown more confident that we are actually here to help them, not only to get the bad guys out of Bayji, but to also help them in the situations the country has found itself in," said Green.

Page last updated Wed November 29th, 2006 at 09:34