Paratroopers secured their positions as they waited on the side of the road in the Mansour District, Baghdad, to link up with Soldiers from 4th Battalion, 24th Brigade of the 6th Iraqi Army Division. It didn't take long before the 6th IA linked up with A Troop, 1st Squadron 73rd Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Brigade of the 82nd Airborne Division. There had been recent activity in the area; on Oct. 21 Soldiers from the 6th IA fired on a man trying to hide an improvised explosive device, the device exploded killing him.
"There have only been five IEDs in the last 60 days in this area," said Capt. Andrew Brown commander of A Troop, 1-73rd, 2/82.
The intent for the 1-73 CAV Paratroopers was to provide security for the IA Soldiers as they searched local residential homes for weapons and bomb-making materials, and search the fields in the area for any explosives. This patrol was intended to disrupt the enemy and make the route safe for the convoys travelling through the area.
"We had good coordination [with 6th IA], they had a quick response within 24 hours," said Brown a native of Clyde, Ohio.
The heat had given way to a cool breeze on Oct. 24, a perfect day for a stroll if you weren't sporting full kit that consists of a kevlar vest with front back and side plates, a helmet, ammunition, a weapon, two liters of water, and possibly a radio making a normal load 30 to 60 pounds more than a Paratroopers body weight.
As the day progressed, Iraqi Soldiers found and confiscated three unauthorized weapons. No bomb making materials were found.
After patrolling for six hours, the sun set on the sweat-soaked Troopers as they mounted their vehicles.
Paratroopers with 1-73rd are tasked with disrupting the enemy by patrolling with ISF in and around Baghdad.
On a dark full night, B Troop, 1-73rd, 2/82 continued the mission by patrolling the "mixing bowl," a cross roads of two major highways, with commandos from the 17th Iraqi Army Division. The "mixing bowl" has a history of IEDs and the Iraqi and U.S. forces combined their efforts to upset the enemy and clear the road of any possible explosives.
Paratroopers and Iraqi Soldiers walked slowly along the road using lights attached to their weapons to scan and check out anything that could be a road side bomb.
"We didn't find anything and no one got hurt, so a successful night," said 1st Sgt Jeff Lucky the senior noncommissioned officer in charge of B Troop.
Numerous convoys come through Baghdad each day to retrograde equipment from Iraq, together with Iraqi Security Forces, 1-73 CAV is working to keep U.S. convoys safe and the ISF are showing the Iraqi people that they can keep them safe.
"Working with the Iraqis to secure their roads lets the Iraqi people know the standard of a safer life style will be held," said 2Lt Cory Thomas platoon leader for 2nd platoon.
The withdrawal from Iraq has been underway for more than two years and now enters its final phase as the most mission essential equipment is finally retrograded out of Iraq.
Each passing day signals the drawdown is one step closer, 2/82 will work with ISF to enable the safe withdrawal of thousands of Soldiers and pieces of equipment.