By Sgt. 1st Class Christina BhattiApril 8, 2008
BAGHDAD (Army News Service, April 8, 2008) - Days after intense fighting and the call to peace from Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr March 30, Multi-National Division-Baghdad Soldiers patrol the outskirts of Baghdad's Sadr City, ensuring the safety of the city's residents.
The poorest of Bagdad's districts, Sadr City has historically been a safe haven for terrorists and the backdrop of many conflicts for coalition forces since the beginning of Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003.
A company and a platoon of Soldiers from the 2nd Stryker Cavalry Regiment, attached to 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, MND-B are tired, dirty, and work 24 hours a day with only cat naps to sustain them, but they relentlessly take to the filth-ridden streets in their mission to drive terrorists out of the area.
What began as a 96-hour tasking on March 26, turned into an open-ended mission and for now, the Gimlets' focus is to support the Iraqi Security Forces and rid the area of terrorists.
Capt. Scott Bailey, a company commander, said the mission in support of combat operations was a success.
"We had some significant contact when we first arrived," he said, "but we planned good company attacks and now it is pretty quiet here."
Bailey attributes the quiet to a show of force from the Gimlets and other coalition forces and said he is confident that the Gimlets have helped the residents of Sadr City.
Soldiers like Staff Sgt. James Dean, a platoon sergeant, are not so sure.
"We definitely helped stop the shooting, but only time will tell if we help the people improve their future," he said.
When fighting broke out in Sadr City, the Iraqi Army checkpoints were targeted by the terrorists. They were consistently mortared and the Iraqi soldiers eventually left the checkpoint.
To help restore their confidence, the Gimlets provided a constant presence and supplies, such as water, to the Iraqi soldiers.
"It is important that we help them get on their feet," Bailey said. "We need to support them and put them out front, so the Iraqi people can gain confidence in their army."
Bailey said he doesn't know when his Soldiers will leave Joint Security Station Ur and head back to their area of operations, but added his Soldiers are working hard to accomplish the mission around Sadr City.
(Sgt. 1st Class Christina Bhatti serves with the 2nd Sryker BCT Public Affairs Office, 25th Inf. Div., MND-B.)