Friday, February 26, 2010

Pentagon Identifies Army Casualty (OIF)

News in Balance

News in Balance:

WASHINGTON, Feb. 26, 2010 -- The following news release made available Friday by the U.S. Department of Defense is the text of a statement identifying a casualty:
The Department of Defense announced today the death of a soldier who was supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Sgt. William C. Spencer, 40, of Tacoma, Wash., died Feb. 25 at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Landstuhl, Germany, of wounds sustained Feb. 20 while supporting combat operations at Combat Outpost Marez, Iraq. He was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 146th Field Artillery Regiment, Olympia, Wash.
(Report from a U.S. Defense Department news release.)

NOTE: Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) will be renamed to Operation New Dawn (OND) effective September 1, 2010.

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Pentagon Discuses New Internet, Social Media Policy

News in Balance

News in Balance:

WASHINGTON, Feb. 26, 2010 -- A new Defense Department policy released today authorizes servicemembers to access Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and other Web 2.0 platforms from nonclassified government computers, as long as it doesn't compromise operational security or involve prohibited activities or Web sites.

Defense Department officials issued the long-awaited policy today, establishing consistent rules for all military members and employers.

Deputy Defense Secretary William J. Lynn III, who signed the policy, said it strikes a critical balance between the benefits and potential vulnerabilities of these applications. "This directive recognizes the importance of balancing appropriate security measures while maximizing the capabilities afforded by 21st-century Internet tools," he said.

While authorizing access to these tools, the new policy also recognizes the importance of protecting military networks and operations, explained David M. Wennergren, deputy assistant secretary of defense for information management and technology.

For example, the new policy allows commanders to temporarily limit that access as required to maintain operations security or address bandwidth constraints. It also prohibits malicious activity on military information networks and denies access to sites promoting prohibited activity such as gambling, pornography and hate crimes.

While information sharing may seem the polar opposite of security to some people, Wennergren said the Defense Department can no longer afford to consider just one or the other.

"If you look at either one individually, you will fail," he said. "You will have great security, but no ability to access information sharing. [Or], if you think only about sharing, you will run into issues of operational security and letting bad things into your system. So you can no longer think of them as two separate subjects."

The new policy promotes what Wennergren calls "secure information sharing," providing the balance needed to tap into the capabilities social media networking provides without compromising security.

He emphasized the importance of personal responsibility in using unclassified military networks to access these tools, and said the department will continue to evaluate the policy after it takes effect.

"There's a huge imperative for security," Wennergren said. "It is everyone's responsibility in the department to make sure they are doing all that they can to protect our information and our information systems."

Ultimately, he called responsible, security-conscious use of social media networks a win-win proposition for the Defense Department and its members, enabling them to take full advantage of the power of social media networking.

"The world of Web 2.0 and the Internet provides these amazing opportunities to collaborate," Wennergren said. It not only promotes information sharing across organizational boundaries and with mission partners, but also enables deployed troops to maintain contact with their loved ones at home.

"So if you work on those two pieces" -- access and security -- "this really is giving people this avenue to do amazing things in terms of getting the information shared and making decisions happen much more rapidly," Wennergren said.

Until now, most servicemembers have been able to access social media platforms from their government computers, but policies have not been consistent across the department. The Marine Corps instituted a policy in early 2007 blocking Marines from accessing these sites through the Marine networks. Marines have, however, been permitted to access the sites from personal computers.

(From a report by Donna Miles, American Forces Press Service.)

Download: Responsible and Effective Use of Internet-Based Capabilities (pdf)

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Pentagon Identifies Army Casualty (OIF)

News in Balance

News in Balance:

WASHINGTON, Feb. 26, 2010 -- The following news release made available Friday by the U.S. Department of Defense is the text of a statement identifying a casualty:
The Department of Defense announced today the death of a soldier who was supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Cpl. Daniel T. O'Leary, 23, of Youngsville, N.C., died Feb. 23 in Fallujah, Iraq, of injuries sustained during a vehicle roll-over. He was assigned to the 307th Brigade Support Battalion, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, Fort Bragg, N.C.
(Report from a U.S. Defense Department news release.)

NOTE: Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) will be renamed to Operation New Dawn (OND) effective September 1, 2010.

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Pentagon Discuses First Female Submariners

News in Balance

News in Balance:

WASHINGTON, Feb. 26, 2010 -- Female sailors will begin serving on submarines by the end of next year, with Naval Academy graduates leading the way, Navy leaders told a Senate committee yesterday.

Navy Secretary Ray Mabus told the Senate Armed Services Committee that the Navy is in a good position to move forward with integrating women onto submarines.

“We think we learned a lot about integrating women in the services years ago, and those lessons are relevant today,” Mabus said. Those lessons, he said, include having a “critical mass” of female candidates, having senior women to serve as mentors, and having submarines that don’t require modifications: the SSBN ballistic missile and SSGN guided-missile subs.

Finally, Mabus said, “We have the lesson learned to make sure any questions are answered, … and we’re very open and transparent on how we’ll do this. We think this is a great idea that will enhance our warfighting capabilities.”

Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates notified Congress on Feb. 19 of the intended change to Navy policy. Mabus had pushed for the change since taking office in May. Adm. Gary Roughead, chief of naval operations, endorsed the change, saying in a statement released in September that his experience commanding a mixed-gender surface-combatant ship makes him “very comfortable” integrating women into the submarine force. The Navy changed its policy to allow women to serve on combatant ships in 1993.

“We have a great plan, and we’re ready to go for the first women to come aboard in late 2011,” Roughead told the Senate committee yesterday. In a prepared statement to the committee, he said the change would enable the submarine force “to leverage the tremendous talent and potential of our female officers and enlisted personnel.”

Besides the incoming officers from the academy, the first women submariners will include female supply corps officers at the department head level, Roughead said. The change will be phased in over time to include enlisted female sailors on the SSBN and SSGNs, he said. Women will be added to the Navy’s SSN fast-attack submarines after necessary modifications can be determined, he said.

“This initiative has my personal attention, and I will continue to keep you informed as we integrate these highly motivated and capable officers into our submarine force,” Roughead told the committee.

(Report by Lisa Daniel, American Forces Press Service.)

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OEF Summary, Feb. 26, 2010: Forces in Afghanistan Find Drugs, Weapons

Dispatches from the Front

Dispatches from the Front:

WASHINGTON, Feb. 26, 2010 -- Afghan and international patrols found three weapons caches in Afghanistan’s Helmand province yesterday.

One cache, found in the Reg-e Khan Neshin district, contained eight rifle rounds, eight assault rifles, ammunition and an ammunition-filled vest.

Two caches were found in the Nad-e Ali district, containing seven illumination rounds, six high-explosive rounds, 80 pounds of ammonium nitrate, 51 pounds of homemade explosives, 100 pounds of shrapnel, and four large home-made bombs. One bomb contained 75 pounds of homemade explosives, the second contained five mortar rounds, and two others contained 10 mortar rounds each.

In operations yesterday:
  • A combined force found several caches of weapons and drugs in Daykundi province. The caches contained 1,100 pounds of ammonium nitrate, more than 100 pounds of opium, 2 pounds of pure heroin, a small bag of opium seeds, a rocket-propelled grenade launcher, a shotgun, two assault rifles, a bolt-action rifle and a substantial amount of ammunition. The security force arrested one suspected insurgent in the operation.

  • In Helmand province, a patrol found a substantial amount of ammonium nitrate in a compound. The patrol was involved in clearing the city in support of Operation Moshtarak when they found 5,500 pounds of the material along with bomb-making components.

(Compiled from International Security Assistance Force Joint Command news releases.)

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Pentagon Releases New Internet, Social Networking Policy

Focus on Defense

Focus on Defense:

WASHINGTON, Feb. 26, 2010 -- The following news release made available Friday by the U.S. Department of Defense is the text of a statement announcing the release of a policy memorandum regarding the use of Internet-based capabilities:
Today the Department of Defense released a policy memorandum regarding the safe and effective use of Internet-based capabilities, including social networking services (SNS) and other interactive Web 2.0 applications.

The memorandum makes it policy that the DoD non-classified network be configured to provide access to Internet-based capabilities across all DoD components. Commanders at all levels and heads of DoD components will continue to defend against malicious activity on military information networks, deny access to prohibited content sites (e.g., gambling, pornography, hate-crime related activities), and take immediate and commensurate actions, as required, to safeguard missions (e.g., temporarily limiting access to the Internet to preserve operations security or to address bandwidth constraints).

The directive is consistent with the increased security measures that the Department has taken to secure its networks and reinforces existing regulations related to ethics, operations security, and privacy.

"This directive recognizes the importance of balancing appropriate security measures while maximizing the capabilities afforded by 21st Century Internet tools," said Deputy Secretary of Defense William J. Lynn III.

Use of Internet-based capabilities, including SNS, have become integral tools for operating and collaborating across the DoD and with the general public. Establishing a DoD-wide policy ensures consistency and allows for full integration of these tools and capabilities.
Download: Responsible and Effective Use of Internet-Based Capabilities (pdf)

(Report from a U.S. Defense Department news release.)

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Combat Camera Video: Patrol in Marjah, Afghanistan (B-Roll)

video

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Dispatches from the Front:

WASHINGTON, Feb. 26, 2010 -- Embedded above is a b-roll video of a patrol through a shopping bazaar in the city of Marjah, Afghanistan which only days earlier, was a kinetic combat zone. Scenes include Marines paying battle damage claims to business owners and service members interacting with the local populace showing them the newly established security in the region. (Produced by Cpl. Jennifer Calloway, Regimental Combat Team-7, 1st Marine Division Public Affairs. Length: 00:13:09. Exceeds YouTube length limits.)

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Pentagon Discuses Operations in Marja, Afghanistan

News in Balance

News in Balance:

WASHINGTON, Feb. 26, 2010 -- Operations in Marja, Afghanistan, are transitioning from the clearing to the holding phase, as yesterday's turnover of the government center there marks a symbol of progress, Pentagon Press Secretary Geoff Morrell said yesterday.

Twelve days into Operation Moshtarak, the offensive in the former Taliban stronghold is "trending in a very positive direction," Morrell said, on both the military and governance fronts.

The new Afghan government raised its flag over Marja yesterday, with Abdul Zahir Aryan installed as its administrator. Morrell called the transfer of the government center "symbolic of where we are in this operation."

Much of the city is now under Afghan and coalition control, and many of its citizens are returning to their homes, Morrell reported. Bazaars have reopened, and they're full of goods that demonstrate the freedom of movement needed to promote commerce.

Meanwhile, the Afghan government is extending its reach to ensure the clearing and subsequent holding phases of the counterinsurgency strategy successfully lead to building good governance and quality-of-life improvements.

"Yesterday, there were more shuras taking place in Marja than there were troops in contact," Morrell said yesterday, referring to government-sponsored citizens' meetings. "That's the kind of progress ... that we've been looking for and that we are heartened to see."

Morrell took care not to sugarcoat the operation. "Although signs point to progress, it is still clearly a very dangerous situation," he said. "We're still losing troops," with improvised explosive devices remaining the biggest threat.

"So we have to be very careful about how we progress into those areas that are not under Afghan and coalition control," he said. "We're doing so in a very thorough, methodical way so as to alleviate any potential for civilian or coalition force casualties."

The United States has suffered more casualties than Afghan security forces in the operation only because they tend to conduct high-risk missions such as route-clearing operations, and because enemy forces see them as more prized targets, Morrell said.

Morrell conceded that the Afghan security forces will need help "for some time," particularly in the intelligence and logistics arenas. But he dispelled reports that Afghan security forces aren't carrying their load in the fight.

"No one has ever questioned their willingness or their ability to fight," he said. "These guys are every bit in the midst of this operation. ... They match us one for one on the ground."

Meanwhile, across the border, the Pakistani government continues to show leadership in its own offensive on Taliban and al-Qaida leaders. Morrell said it's too soon to tell if these activities will prove to be game-changers. But he said there's hope among the Pakistanis that the dynamics are beginning to change in their country, as in Afghanistan, to favor the people rather than the Taliban.

"We are hopeful that our combined efforts on both sides of the border will undermine the confidence and the capability of the Afghan Taliban and of the Pakistan Taliban," Morrell said, with more of their members laying down their weapons and reintegrating into society.

The key, he said, is to reverse the downward slide that had become apparent in both countries to put the momentum with their governments and pressure the enemy to want to rejoin society.

While not addressing specific reports of high-value targets the Pakistanis have captured or killed, Morrell praised the ongoing effort and reiterated U.S. support to help as needed.

"We are here to help them in any way they are comfortable as they continue to pursue this enemy that's a threat not just to us and/or efforts in Afghanistan, but obviously to the Pakistani people as well," he said.

(From a report by Donna Miles, American Forces Press Service.)

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Pentagon Identifies Army Casualty (OEF)

News in Balance

News in Balance:

WASHINGTON, Feb. 26, 2010 -- The following news release made available Thursday by the U.S. Department of Defense is the text of a statement identifying a casualty:
The Department of Defense announced today the death of a soldier who was supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.

Sgt. Marcos Gorra, 22, of North Bergen, N.J., died Feb. 21 at Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan, of wounds sustained while supporting combat operations. He was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 82nd Combat Aviation Brigade, 82nd Airborne Division, Fort Bragg, N.C.
(Report from a U.S. Defense Department news release.)

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Thursday, February 25, 2010

Combat Camera: Sandstorm MRAP Patrol Near Tikrit, Iraq

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U.S. Army soldiers of the 573rd Clearance Company, 1st Engineer Battalion, 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, climbs into his mine resistant ambush-protected vehicle before departing on a convoy route clearing mission near Tikrit, Iraq, Feb. 22. (Photo by Chief Petty Officer Michael Heckman, Joint Combat Camera Center Iraq.)

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U.S. soldiers of the 573rd Clearance Company, 1st Engineer Battalion, 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division. listen to a weather update as they wait for the go command while staging up to depart on a convoy route clearing mission near Tikrit, Iraq, Feb. 22. (Photo by Chief Petty Officer Michael Heckman, Joint Combat Camera Center Iraq.)

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U.S. Army Pfc. Jovan Nikolic of Dawsonville, Ga., and Sgt. Kevin Baker of Jamestown, Ind., assigned to the 573rd Clearance Company, and attached to the 1st Engineer Battalion, 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division discuss mission details as they wait to depart on a convoy route clearing operation near Tikrit, Iraq, Feb. 22. The amber glow in the air is caused by the filtered light of a sandstorm and is accented by the search lights of Nikolic and Baker's mine resistant ambush-protected vehicle. (Photo by Chief Petty Officer Michael Heckman, Joint Combat Camera Center Iraq.)

CLICK TO ENLARGE IMAGE
U.S. Army Pfc. Jovan Nikolic of Dawsonville, Ga., and Sgt. Kevin Baker of Jamestown, Ind., assigned to the 573rd Clearance Company, attached to the 1st Engineer Battalion, 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division. discuss mission details before departing on a convoy route clearing operation near Tikrit, Iraq, Feb. 22. (Photo by Chief Petty Officer Michael Heckman, Joint Combat Camera Center Iraq.)

CLICK TO ENLARGE IMAGE
An amber luminous glow caused by the filtered light of a sandstorm is accented by the search lights of mine resistant ambush protected, or MRAP vehicles utilized by the U.S. Army 573rd Clearance Company, 1st Engineer Battalion, 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division. The vehicles where staging up before departing on a convoy route clearing mission near Tikrit, Iraq., Feb. 22. (Photo by Chief Petty Officer Michael Heckman, Joint Combat Camera Center Iraq.)

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OIF Summary, Feb. 25, 2010: Forces in Iraq Nab 9 in Separate Operations

Dispatches from the Front

Dispatches from the Front:

WASHINGTON, Feb. 25, 2010 -- Iraqi police arrested nine terrorism suspects in combined operations with U.S. advisors in recent days, military officials reported.

Police arrested three suspected terrorists yesterday in a rural area northeast of Baghdad during an operation conducted to capture a regional leader of Jaysh al-Mahdi, an Iranian-backed terrorist group.

Acting on a warrant issued by an Iraqi judge, the 3rd Emergency Response Unit and U.S. advisors searched two buildings for the suspected leader of several cells responsible for committing crimes such as kidnappings for ransom to raise money for weapons and supplies used in attacks against security forces operating in the area.

After preliminary questioning and assessment of the evidence at the scene, police arrested three suspected criminal associates of the wanted man.

In operations Feb. 23 and yesterday in Baghdad and Abu Ghraib, police arrested a suspected al-Qaida in Iraq assassination-cell leader and five suspected criminal accomplices.

Police and U.S. advisors stopped a vehicle on a public road and searched two buildings based on intelligence reports indicating that assassination cells were posturing for pre-election attacks in hopes of disrupting campaign efforts and deterring voters from participating in national elections.

In western Baghdad on Feb. 23, Iraqi police and U.S. advisors stopped a vehicle in which a suspected al-Qaida in Iraq assassination-cell leader was believed to be traveling. Information gathered at the scene led police to identify and arrest the wanted cell leader and two suspected criminal associates.

Following the arrests, the security team proceeded yesterday to search the wanted man's home in Abu Ghraib and a suspected weapons-cache site in western Baghdad belonging to the arrested man. In the Abu Ghraib building, police arrested two suspected criminal associates of the cell leader. Although no weapons or explosives were found during the search in western Baghdad, police identified and arrested an additional suspected criminal associate of the captured suspected cell leader.

(Compiled from U.S. Forces Iraq news releases.)

NOTE: Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) will be renamed to Operation New Dawn (OND) effective September 1, 2010.

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Combat Camera: Operation Moshtarak Outside Badula Qulp

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U.S. Army 2nd Lt. Jesse Underwood engages enemy forces during Operation Moshtarak in Badula Qulp, Afghanistan, Feb. 19, 2010. The International Security Assistance Force operation is an offensive mission being conducted in areas of Afghanistan prevalent in drug-trafficking and Taliban insurgency. Underwood is from Alpha Company, 1st Battalion, 17th Infantry Regiment. (Photo by Tech. Sgt. Efren Lopez, U.S. Air Force.)

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U.S. Army Soldiers engage enemy forces during Operation Moshtarak in Badula Qulp, Afghanistan, Feb. 19, 2010. The International Security Assistance Force operation is an offensive mission being conducted in areas of Afghanistan prevalent in drug-trafficking and Taliban insurgency. The soldiers are from Alpha Company, 1st Battalion, 17th Infantry Regiment. (Photo by Tech. Sgt. Efren Lopez, U.S. Air Force.)

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Combat Camera Video: 8-1 CAV Cloak Troop Operate in Afghanistan, Part 1


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Dispatches from the Front:

WASHINGTON, Feb. 25, 2010 -- Embedded above is a b-roll video of U.S. soldiers with Cloak Blue Troop, 8th Squadron, 1st Cavalry Regiment registering Afghanistan Border Police (ABP) into the Handheld Interagency Identity Detection Equipment System (HIIDES) at checkpoint 6, in preparation for an upcoming specialized training course, Afghanistan, Jan. 19, 2010. (Produced by Master Sgt. Juan Valdes, Defense Imagery Management Operations Center. Part 1 of 3. Length: 00:01:26.)

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Video: USS Carl Vinson Flight Operations


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Focus on Defense:

WASHINGTON, Feb. 25, 2010 -- Embedded above is a b-roll video of sailors aboard USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) conducting flight operations on the flight deck of the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier. (Produced by Spc. Seaman Aaron Shelley, Defense Imagery Management Operations Center. Length: 00:02:20.)

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OEF Update, Feb. 25, 2010: Operation Moshtarak

Dispatches from the Front

Dispatches from the Front:

KABUL, Afghanistan, Feb. 25, 2010 -- Shuras outnumbered military engagements the last few days. At the invitation of Helmand governor Gulab Mangal, Nad-e Ali deputy district governor Haji Zahir held a shura in Marjah attended by 200 residents.

The deputy district governor spoke about improving security conditions and said that more Afghan National Police would be posted in Marjah. He promised to ensure the opening of shops and clinics, and personally oversaw the distribution of rice, beans, cooking oil and sugar to the gathering.

New shops have opened at bazaars in Marjah, with new products such as telephones, computers and other electronics being offered alongside fresh fruits and vegetables.

There has been a significant increase in the number of local residents returning to the area. This is accompanied by a decrease in the number of residents registering as internally displaced persons. Yesterday only 144 families registered, down from 165 the day before.

Occasional small-arms engagements are still being reported. Improvised Explosive Device (IED) attacks remain the greatest threat to civilians and security forces. There has been a nearly 50-percent increase in the number of IED tips by residents. This is in addition to a greater number of IED turn-ins in central Helmand. Both of these trends are contributing to greater safety and security for civilians and combined forces in the area.

(From a NATO International Security Assistance Force news release.)

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Wednesday, February 24, 2010

OEF Summary, Feb. 24, 2010: Forces in Afghanistan Nab Bomb Maker

Dispatches from the Front

Dispatches from the Front:

KABUL, Feb. 24, 2010 -- A combined Afghan and international security force arrested a suspected bomb maker after discovering an explosives cache in Afghanistan's Helmand province yesterday as part of Operation Moshtarak.

The cache consisted of more than 100 pounds of explosive, 220 pounds of ammonium nitrate, an 8 2mm mortar fuse, three ammunition-filled vests, and various explosive components such as anti-tamper switches.

The bomb maker was found with blasting caps on his person. The explosives were destroyed on site.

In other operations yesterday:
  • A combined Afghan and international security force searched a vehicle in Helmand province after intelligence reports indicated militant activity. A search of the vehicle indicated a Taliban commander was possibly in a nearby village, which the combined force searched with the assistance of local elders. The security force detained several men for further questioning.

  • A combined patrol discovered a weapons cache consisting of 22 mortar rounds in Khost province. The ordnance was destroyed on site.

  • In Helmand province, a patrol discovered 15 bags of marijuana totaling more than 200 pounds. The drugs were destroyed.

  • A separate patrol discovered a weapons cache while searching an insurgent bunker in Helmand province as part of Operation Moshtarak. The cache consisted of three 107 mm rockets, five rocket-propelled grenades, two anti-personnel charges, an artillery fuse and a hand grenade. The ordnance was destroyed.

  • Afghan National Police defused four mines and discovered 110 pounds of explosive materials in Helmand, Kandahar, Uruzgan and Kunduz provinces yesterday.

  • In an operation conducted in Herat province, Afghan police discovered a machine gun, three mines, three hand grenades, five rocket rounds and 1,150 rounds of rifle ammunition.

  • A patrol discovered an explosives cache in Kandahar province. The cache contained nearly 90 pounds of ammonium nitrate, eight 155 mm shell casings, two radios, a dismantled radio, a circuit board and a large spool of wire. The materials were destroyed on site.

(From an International Security Assistance Force Joint Command news release.)

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US Airpower Summary, Feb. 24, 2010

Dispatches from the Front

Dispatches from the Front:

SOUTHWEST ASIA, Feb. 24, 2010 -- Coalition airpower integrated with ground forces in Iraq and the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan in the following operations, Feb. 23, according to Combined Air and Space Operations Center officials.

Air Operations in Afghanistan:

Close Air Support

Konduz, Regional Command-North
U.S. Air Force F-16C Fighting Falcon pilots and F-15E Strike Eagle aircrews provided armed overwatch for friendly ground forces and several friendly convoys. Friendly ground forces reported taking enemy small-arms fire and requested shows of force to prevent further enemy aggression. The shows of force, with flares launched, were performed over enemy positions and deemed successful when desired effects were achieved.

Asadabad, RC-E
U.S. Air Force F-15E aircrews conducted shows of force in support of a friendly-forces ground operation. The shows of force were declared successful.

Karbala, RC-S
U.S. Navy F/A-18E Super Hornet aircrews conducted a show of force, with flares, to support a friendly-forces ground operation. The show of force was deemed successful.

Chahar Bagh, RC-S
U.S. Navy F/A-18F Super Hornet aircrews conducted a show of force. The show of force was declared successful.

A U.S. Air Force B-1B Lancer aircrew provided reconnaissance support over several convoy routes and later conducted an armed overwatch mission for a friendly-forces convoy. A show of force was conducted to deter potential enemy activity in the area of the convoy routes and was declared successful when no enemy action was noted.

U.S. Navy F/A-18E Super Hornet aircrews conducted a show of force, launching a flare. The show of force was deemed successful.

Qalat, RC-S
A B-1B aircrew provided reconnaissance support for friendly forces and conducted a show of force to deter potential enemy activity in the area. The show of force was declared successful when no enemy action was noted.

U.S. Navy F/A-18C Hornet pilots provided armed overwatch for friendly forces. Pilots conducted a show of force, with flares launched, which was declared successful.

Coalition pilots provided armed overwatch for a friendly-forces convoy. The pilots conducted a show of force, with flares launched, over the convoy to deter potential enemy action in the vicinity of the convoy. The show of force was successful as no enemy action was noted.

Surkhabad, RC-S
A B-1B aircrew provided reconnaissance support and conducted shows of force to deter a possible enemy attack against friendly ground forces in the area. The shows of force, with flares launched, were declared successful when no enemy action was noted. The aircrew later provided armed overwatch for a friendly-forces infiltration and extraction operation.

Airlift Action

Paktika province, RC-E
A U.S. Air Force C-17 Globemaster III aircrew flew a combat-resupply mission in Paktika Province, Afghanistan, airdropping approximately 70,000 pounds of supplies to friendly forces to sustain ground operations.

Badghis Province, RC-W
A U.S. Air Force C-130 Hercules aircrew flew a combat-resupply mission in Badghis Province, Afghanistan, airdropping approximately 18,000 pounds of supplies.

Konar Province, RC-E
U.S. Air Force C-130 Hercules aircrews flew a combat-resupply mission in Konar Province, Afghanistan, airdropping approximately 30,000 pounds of supplies to friendly forces.

Air Operations in Iraq:

There was no significant action to report today.

Air Power Statistics:

Close Air Support:
Sorties flown to support ISAF & Afghan security forces: 80
Sorties flown to support Operation IRAQI FREEDOM: 16

Surveillance & Reconnaissance:
Sorties flown in Afghanistan: 36
Sorties flown in Iraq: 29

On Feb. 22
Air Mobility:
U.S. Air Force airlift sorties: 145
Short tons of delivered cargo: 788
Passengers: nearly 3,200
Airdropped cargo: approximately 120,000 pounds

Aerial Refueling:
Sorties flown: 44
Fuel delivered: approximately 2.6 million pounds
Aircraft refueled: 200

Medical Evacuation:
Air Force HH-60 aircrews and Pararescue Airmen transported 9 patients
Sorties flown to support OEF: 8
Sorties flown to support OIF: 1
Personnel Recovery/Hero Flight: None

(Report from a U.S. Air Force news release.)

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Wire: 1/3 of All US Casualties in 8-Year Afghan War Have Occurred Since Obama Ordered Escalation

Off the Wire

Off the Wire:

WASHINGTON, Feb. 24, 2010 -- Newswire services this morning carried few if any reports of the rising American death toll in Afghanistan. However, the CNS news service reported that more than 300 U.S. soldiers have died in the region since May 15, 2009, the day when the first major wave of new troops ordered by President Barack Obama arrived in the country.
The 308 U.S. casualties in Afghanistan since then account for about a third of the total of 920 U.S. casualties in the eight-year war.

Of the 308 soldiers who have died since mid-May 2009, 287 were killed by enemy action, according to a CNSNews.com database of all casualties in the Afghanistan theatre of war.

The southern provinces of Helmand and Kandahar located along the Afghan border with Pakistan have been the deadliest regions for U.S. soldiers since President Obama's escalation in U.S. forces in the region began.

Approximately 81 U.S. soldiers have died in combat in Helmand and 58 in Kandahar, for a total of 139 in those two provinces. That is about 45 percent of the U.S. casualties in Afghanistan since May 15 of last year.

On Feb. 17, 2009, President Obama ordered the deployment of 17,000 additional troops to Afghanistan. The main body of those troops arrived in Kandahar on May 15, 2009.

In December 2009, Obama stepped up his surge with 30,000 more troops, bringing the U.S. military presence in Afghanistan to more than 100,000.

Last year was the deadliest for American soldiers since the U.S.-led military effort in Afghanistan began in October 2001.
The CNS database of Afghanistan war casualties is derived from official U.S. Defense Department casualty reports, but also includes information from reports in the news media.

CNS is parented by the Media Research Center, a media watchdog organization.

(Report from newswire sources.)

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Pentagon Identifies 2 Army Casualties (OEF)

News in Balance

News in Balance:

WASHINGTON, Feb. 24, 2010 -- The following news release made available Tuesday by the U.S. Department of Defense is the text of a statement identifying casualties:
The Department of Defense announced today the deaths of two soldiers who were supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom. They died Feb. 21 in Qayyarah, Iraq, of wounds suffered when their OH-58D Kiowa Warrior helicopter had a hard landing. The soldiers were assigned to the 1st Squadron, 230th Cavalry Regiment, Louisville, Tenn.

Killed were:
  • Capt. Marcus R. Alford, 28, of Knoxville, Tenn.

  • Chief Warrant Officer Billie J. Grinder, 25, of Gallatin, Tenn.

(Report from a U.S. Defense Department news release.)

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OEF Update, Feb. 24, 2010: Operations in Afghanistan

Dispatches from the Front

Dispatches from the Front:

KABUL, Afghanistan, Feb. 24, 2010 -- An Afghan-international security force searched a vehicle yesterday just outside Marjah in Helmand's Nad Ali District after intelligence information indicated militant activity.

A search of the vehicle indicated a Taliban commander was possibly in a nearby village, which the joint force searched with the assistance of local elders. During the operation the security force detained several men for further questioning.

In other operations, an ANSF-ISAF patrol discovered a weapons cache consisting of 22 mortar rounds of various sizes in Manduzai District, Khost province yesterday. The ordnance was destroyed on site.

In the Reg-e-Khan District of Helmand province yesterday, an Afghan-ISAF patrol discovered 15 bags of marijuana totalling 100 kilograms. The drugs were destroyed.

A separate Afghan-ISAF patrol discovered a weapons cache while searching an insurgent bunker in Nad Ali District, Helmand province yesterday as part of Operation Moshtarak.

The cache consisted of three 107mm rockets, five rocket-propelled grenades, two anti-personnel charges, an artillery fuse and a hand grenade. The ordnance was destroyed.

Yesterday, Afghan national police defused four mines and discovered 50 kg of explosive materials in Helmand, Kandahar, Uruzgan and Kunduz provinces.

In an operation conducted by the ANP in Injeel District of Herat province yesterday, they discovered a machine gun, three mines, three hand grenades, five rocket rounds and 1,150 rounds of ammunition for a Kalashnikov rifle.

In the Zharay District of Kandahar province yesterday, an ANSF-ISAF patrol discovered an IED cache. The cache contained 40 kg of ammonium nitrate, eight 155mm shell casings, two radios, a dismantled radio, a circuit board and a large spool of wire. The materials were destroyed on site.

No Afghan civilians were harmed in these operations.

(From an International Security Assistance Force Joint Command news release.)

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Pentagon Identifies Army Casualty (OEF)

News in Balance

News in Balance:

WASHINGTON, Feb. 24, 2010 -- The following news release made available Tuesday by the U.S. Department of Defense is the text of a statement identifying a casualty:
The Department of Defense announced today the death of a soldier who was supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.

Pfc. JR Salvacion, 27, of Ewa Beach, Hawaii, died Feb. 21 at Senjaray, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when insurgents attacked his unit with an improvised explosive device. He was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 12th Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, Fort Carson, Colo.
(Report from a U.S. Defense Department news release.)

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Tuesday, February 23, 2010

OEF Summary, Feb. 23, 2010: Forces in Afghanistan Nab Taliban Leader

Dispatches from the Front

Dispatches from the Front:

KABUL, Feb. 23, 2010 -- Afghan soldiers, assisted by coalition forces, captured a Taliban leader and known weapons facilitator in the Bala Balouk district of Afghanistan’s Farah province Feb. 21, military officials reported today.

After the mission, Afghan and coalition leaders met with village elders to assess security and distribute food and medical supplies. No civilian casualties or property damage were reported.

In other recent operations:
  • In Helmand province today, an International Security Assistance Force patrol in Nad-e Ali in found four mortar rounds, pressure plates and bomb-making materials. They later found an improvised explosive device made of a 55 mm illumination round packed with homemade explosives and another IED consisting of a pressure plate and six mortar rounds. An explosive ordnance disposal team destroyed the munitions.

  • An Afghan-international security force captured a Taliban sub-commander with links to several militant networks last night in the village of Zhawrah in the Chak-e Wardak district of Wardak province. He’s believed to be responsible for planning attacks on coalition forces. During the operation, a militant was killed when he confronted the assault force with an imminent threat. Another insurgent also was detained.

  • A combined Afghan-international patrol found a weapons cache containing a rocket, grenades and ammunition in the Arghandab district of Kandahar province yesterday.

(From an International Security Assistance Force Joint Command news release.)

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Pentagon Identifies Marine Casualty (OEF)

News in Balance

News in Balance:

WASHINGTON, Feb. 23, 2010 -- The following news release made available Tuesday by the U.S. Department of Defense is the text of a statement identifying a casualty:
The Department of Defense announced today the death of a Marine who was supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.

Lance Cpl. Eric L. Ward, 19, of Redmond, Wash., died Feb. 21 while supporting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan. He was assigned to 2nd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Lejeune, N.C.
(Report from a U.S. Defense Department news release.)

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Pentagon Identifies Marine Casualty (OEF)

News in Balance

News in Balance:

WASHINGTON, Feb. 23, 2010 -- The following news release made available Tuesday by the U.S. Department of Defense is the text of a statement identifying a casualty:
The Department of Defense announced today the death of a Marine who was supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.

Lance Cpl. Matthias N. Hanson, 20, of Buffalo, Ky., died Feb. 21 while supporting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan. He was assigned to 3rd Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Lejeune, N.C.
(Report from a U.S. Defense Department news release.)

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Wire: 1 Dead in Shooting at Luke Air Force Base

Off the Wire

Off the Wire:

WASHINGTON, Feb. 23, 2010 -- Newswire services this morning reported that a shooting and fatal car crash on Luke Air Force Base in Litchfield, Ariz., have left one person dead and another injured.

FOX News said that a security forces officer reportedly tried to talk to two men inside a car, previously reported stolen and then driven through a gate at the base, according to Officer Karen Gerardo, the public information officer at the Glendale Police Department.
When the officer got out of his car to try to make contact with the two men, the car drove directly at him. The officer shot at the car, which then crashed, said Gerardo.

One of the occupants of the vehicle was killed. His cause of death has not been determined.

The other person in the car was injured and transported to a hospital.

Investigators do not suspect terrorism, said Gerardo.
(Report from newswire sources.)

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Pentagon Identifies Marine Casualty (OEF)

News in Balance

News in Balance:

WASHINGTON, Feb. 23, 2010 -- The following news release made available Monday by the U.S. Department of Defense is the text of a statement identifying a casualty:
The Department of Defense announced today the death of a Marine who was supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.

Lance Cpl. Adam D. Peak, 25, of Florence, Ky., died Feb. 21 while supporting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan. He was assigned to 2nd Battalion, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Lejeune, N.C.
(Report from a U.S. Defense Department news release.)

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OEF Update, Feb. 23, 2010: Operation Moshtarak

Dispatches from the Front

Dispatches from the Front:

KABUL, Afghanistan, Feb. 23, 2010 -- Signs of steady progress in development and governance are being seen in central Helmand province. Bridges, roads and culverts are being repaired, bazaars are re-opening and attracting customers, and a variety of initiatives are being planned or implemented.

Six projects are ongoing and 18 are planned in Northern Nad-e Ali under the Afghanistan Vouchers for Increased Production in Agriculture Plus program. Educators and school officials are also discussing an ambitious training program that will promote reading, writing and arithmetic skills among young people who are addicted to drugs or have previous affiliations with the insurgency.

Afghan and combined forces continue to encounter small, but determined pockets of resistance, often from bunkers or other fortified positions. IEDs remain the greatest threat to security forces, but the combined force continues to make headway in clearing operations to enable improved governance and development. New patrol bases are being established as Afghan forces assert greater authority in Marjah and Nad-e Ali. A new patrol base is operational at 5 Ways Junction and a new police base is being built in southeast Marjah.

Clearing operations are on track and enabling greater freedom of movement for civilians and security forces alike. Task Force Helmand's engineers continue to upgrade roads in their area of operations, enabling more effective delivery of stabilization supplies.

(From a NATO International Security Assistance Force news release.)

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Pentagon Identifies Marine Casualty (OEF)

News in Balance

News in Balance:

WASHINGTON, Feb. 23, 2010 -- The following news release made available Monday by the U.S. Department of Defense is the text of a statement identifying a casualty:
The Department of Defense announced today the death of a Marine who was supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.

Staff Sgt. Christopher W. Eckard, 30, of Hickory, N.C., died Feb. 20 while supporting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan. He was assigned to 8th Engineer Support Battalion, 2nd Marine Logistics Group, II Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Lejeune, N.C.
(Report from a U.S. Defense Department news release.)

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Monday, February 22, 2010

Pentagon: Helmand Start of Broader Offensive

News in Balance

News in Balance:

WASHINGTON, Feb. 22, 2010 -- The coalition’s operations in Helmand province are the first stage of a broader offensive to change the course of the fight in Afghanistan, Defense Department leaders told the Senate Armed Services Committee today.

Operation Moshtarak, as the offensive launched Feb. 13 is known, is “going well so far,” Michele Flournoy, undersecretary of defense for policy, said in a briefing to the committee. “This really is the first large-scale effort to change how we’re doing business.”

Flournoy and Marine Corps Lt. Gen. John M. Paxton Jr., director of operations for the Joint Staff, said Moshtarak is a joint operation with Afghan security forces to secure and hold control of the Helmand River Valley, to stamp out the Taliban insurgency and to allow the legitimate government, on the national and local level, to take hold.

Asked by senators why the campaign began in Helmand instead of Kandahar, the birthplace of the Taliban, Paxton replied that Army Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, commander of U.S. and international forces in Afghanistan, concluded in his assessment in September that Helmand was at the heart of the coalition’s four-point mission to protect the Afghan people, enable Afghan security forces, neutralize the insurgency and allow for governance.

“General McChrystal’s plan was for Kandahar to be a place we would go, but central Helmand is where the insurgency had the most-safe haven,” Paxton said. “I think you’ll see Kandahar will closely follow, but central Helmand had to come first.”

In Helmand, Flournoy said, “are the seeds for transforming a very tough environment for developing Afghanistan more broadly.” The Afghan government, she said, has made improvements in increasing pay and benefits to its forces, and it is improving much-needed infrastructure.

Flournoy noted that even the Soviets during their 10-year occupation avoided the southern region known as “the heart of darkness.” Taliban in the area have proven to be “cunning, tenacious and adaptable,” she said.

Still, Flournoy added, she is cautiously optimistic. “There will be challenges,” she said, “but we will continue to adjust and make progress.”

The coalition’s major challenges include the recruitment, training and retention of Afghan troops, she said.

“Inevitably, we will face some setbacks even as we make progress,” the undersecretary said. “And, we need to be prepared for the possibility that things will get harder before better.”

The Helmand operation is the first fully joint offensive campaign with the Afghans, who are integrated at all levels and include civilian government workers as well as security forces, Paxton said. It includes a thousand Afghan national police, and another thousand are in training to join the effort, he said, adding that Afghans have more forces on the ground in the offensive than the coalition.

And the Afghan forces are willing to engage the enemy, Paxton said. “All indications are that they are every bit as engaged as U.S. and coalition forces,” he said, although he acknowledged they are not as well trained. Still, he added, it’s important to keep the Afghan national security forces forward in the fight “to convince local people that this is not just the coalition.”

Citing “extensive interaction” with local tribal leaders in Helmand, Paxton said more than 60 percent of uncovered roadside bombs have been found due to reports from residents.

“The population is broadly on our side,” he said, “and it will continue to be so long as we prove we can provide them long-term security.”

Paxton said “isolated incidents of regrettable human casualties” have taken place, but he added that the Taliban sometimes use civilians as shields.

“In spite of recent successes, we know this is going to be a hard fight,” Paxton said. “But we’re committed to the process and the work that lies ahead.”

(Report by Lisa Daniel, American Forces Press Service.)

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Video: F-18 Super Hornet Launch, USS Carl Vinson at Sea


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Focus on Defense:

WASHINGTON, Feb. 22, 2010 -- Embedded above is a b-roll video of an F-18 Super Hornet fighter jet launching off the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson as the USS Bunker Hill pulls alongside for a re-fueling at sea. (Produced by Petty Officer 2nd Class Ashley Van Dien, Defense Imagery Management Operations Center. Length: 00:01:54.)

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Pentagon Identifies Marine Casualty (OEF)

News in Balance

News in Balance:

WASHINGTON, Feb. 22, 2010 -- The following news release made available Monday by the U.S. Department of Defense is the text of a statement identifying a casualty:
The Department of Defense announced today the death of a Marine who was supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.

Cpl. Gregory S. Stultz, 22, of Brazil, Ind., died Feb. 19 while supporting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan. He was assigned to 3rd Reconnaissance Battalion, 3rd Marine Division, III Marine Expeditionary Force, Okinawa, Japan.
(Report from a U.S. Defense Department news release.)

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OEF Summary, Feb. 22, 2010: Forces in Afghanistan Kill, Detain Militants

Dispatches from the Front

Dispatches from the Front:

WASHINGTON, Feb. 22, 2010 -- Combined Afghan and international forces in Afghanistan killed or detained militants and seized enemy weapons in recent operations, military officials reported.

In Logar province yesterday, a combined force detained a militant while pursuing a Taliban facilitator.

In operations Feb. 20:
  • During the search of a compound in Nangarhar province, a combined force captured a Taliban facilitator associated with several rocket attacks on Afghan and coalition forces. When confronted, he identified himself. Several weapons, including automatic rifles and ammunition, and a quantity of drugs were found.

  • A combined force detained several suspected militants while pursuing a facilitator in eastern Kandahar city.

  • A combined force killed several militants while pursuing a Taliban commander in Kandahar province. The force targeted a pair of vehicles after reports of militant activity. Militants in the vehicle attempted to fire at the combined force. The force returned fire, killing them. A search of the vehicles revealed assault rifles and pistols.

  • A patrol detained several suspected insurgents and discovered a weapons cache in Helmand province. The cache consisted of four hand grenades, two assault rifles, six magazines of ammunition, one carbine rifle, 300 large-caliber machine-gun rounds and bomb components. The weapons were buried in what is believed to be an insurgent staging area. The suspects all tested positive for explosive residue and are being held for questioning by Afghan forces.

  • A patrol detained a suspected insurgent after seeing him digging in a ditch in Uruzgan province. After investigating, the force discovered five mortar rounds and a rocket where the man was digging.

  • A combined force detained a man after the search of a compound in Nuristan province revealed weapons and Afghan military uniforms. The weapons consisted of a 107 mm rocket, three hand grenades, assorted explosive components and 100 small-arms rounds.

  • A force searched a vehicle and compound in Helmand province after intelligence information indicated militant activity. Several weapons were seen in the vehicle as the force approached. One of the occupants pointed a weapon at the force. The force engaged, killing several militants. A search of the car revealed multiple assault rifles, a machine gun and a rocket-propelled grenade launcher. A nearby compound also was searched, resulting in the discovery of several more rocket-propelled grenade rounds, grenades, chest racks and a handheld radio of a type often used by insurgents for communications. Several suspected militants in the compound were also detained.

  • In another Helmand operation, a security force searched a compound after intelligence information indicated militant activity. The force detained several suspected insurgents during the search.

  • In Kandahar province, a force searched a compound after reports of militant activity. During the search, the force captured a Taliban facilitator responsible for weapons and ammunition buys and arranging suicide-bombing attacks. A few other insurgents also were detained. The force recovered multiple weapons, including two grenades and a large amount of U.S. dollars.

In operations Feb. 19:
  • Afghan police discovered 440 pounds of explosive material in Kandahar province and discovered and defused four homemade bombs in Uruzgan province.

  • Afghan police attacked a group of insurgents who attempted to place a roadside mine in Kandahar province. One insurgent was killed, and two were arrested. A rifle and a homemade bomb were found on them.

  • Combined forces searched a compound in Paktika province and found a cache of ammunition including five machine guns, a mortar round, a rocket-propelled grenade, 50 boxes of machine-gun rounds, 17 homemade bombs and 15 rocket rounds.

  • Afghan police confiscated 255,000 afghanis in Afghan currency, five mobile phones, 10 rocket rounds, five magazines, four rifles and nine military uniforms in Takhar province.

  • A combined force captured two Taliban insurgents in Helmand province. One of the captured men is suspected of being a Taliban commander involved with the facilitation of explosive components and the planning of Taliban attacks.

(Compiled from International Security Assistance Force Joint Command news releases.)

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Pentagon Identifies Marine Casualty (OEF)

News in Balance

News in Balance:

WASHINGTON, Feb. 22, 2010 -- The following news release made available Monday by the U.S. Department of Defense is the text of a statement identifying a casualty:
The Department of Defense announced today the death of a Marine who was supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.

Lance Cpl. Joshua H. Birchfield, 24, of Westville, Ind., died Feb. 19 while supporting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan. He was assigned to 3rd Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force, Twentynine Palms, Calif.
(Report from a U.S. Defense Department news release.)

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US Airpower Summary, Feb. 22, 2010

Dispatches from the Front

Dispatches from the Front:

SOUTHWEST ASIA, Feb. 22, 2010 -- Coalition airpower integrated with ground forces in Iraq and the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan in the following operations Feb. 21 according to Combined Air and Space Operations Center officials here.

Air Operations in Afghanistan:

Close Air Support

Asmar, Regional Command-East
U.S. Air Force F-16C Fighting Falcon pilots provided armed overwatch and area reconnaissance for a dismounted patrol and convoy. The pilots received orders to destroy two enemy fighting positions in an adjacent area. The pilots destroyed the positions with precision-guided munitions.

Asadabad, RC-E
U.S. Air Force F-16C pilots provided armed overwatch to friendly forces and received orders to deny a fighting position to enemy forces. The pilots received coordinates and released precision-guided munitions, destroying the enemy fighting position while eliminating a threat to friendly forces.

U.S. Air Force F-16C pilots provided armed overwatch for dismounted patrols. The pilots conducted a show of force to prevent hostile activity in the vicinity of patrols. The show of force was considered successful. No enemy action occurred.

Oruzgan, RC-S
A U.S. Air Force B-1B Lancer aircrew provided armed overwatch of a friendly forces extraction operation, an enemy fighting position for suspicious activity and the site of a recent improvised explosive device explosion. They also conducted a show of presence to reassure friendly forces airpower was in the area.

Moqor, RC-E
U.S. Air Force F-15E pilots provided armed overwatch for friendly forces. Pilots conducted a show of presence to reassure ground troops that airpower was overhead.

Airlift Action

Helmand province, RC-S
A U.S. Air Force C-130 Hercules aircrew flew a combat-supply mission in Helmand province, Afghanistan, airdropping approximately 28,000 pounds of supplies to friendly forces.

Badghis Helmand province, RC-W
A U.S. Air Force C-130 Hercules aircrew flew a combat-resupply mission in Badghis province, Afghanistan, airdropping approximately 20,000 pounds of supplies to friendly forces.

Helmand province, RC-S
A U.S. Air Force C-17 Globemaster III aircrew flew a combat-resupply mission in Helmand province, Afghanistan, airdropping approximately 60,000 pounds of supplies to friendly forces.

Farah province, RC-W
A U.S. Air Force C-130 Hercules aircrew flew a combat-resupply mission in Farah province, Afghanistan, airdropping approximately 30,000 pounds of supplies to friendly forces.

Afghanistan
An Air Force C-130 aircrew distributed informational leaflets via airdrop to locations across Afghanistan.

Nimroz province, RC-S
A U.S. Air Force C-130 Hercules aircrew flew a combat-resupply mission in Nimroz province, Afghanistan, airdropping combat-sustainment supplies to friendly forces. The aircrew dropped approximately 30,000 pounds of supplies.

Air Operations in Iraq:

There was no significant action to report today.

Air Power Statistics:

Close Air Support:
Sorties flown to support ISAF and Afghan security forces: 63
Sorties flown to support Operation Iraqi Freedom: 18

Surveillance and Reconnaissance:
Sorties flown in Afghanistan: 21
Sorties flown in Iraq: 34

On Feb. 20
Medical Evacuation:
Air Force HH-60 aircrews and Pararescue Airmen transported 9 patients

Aerial Refueling:
Sorties flown: 40
Fuel delivered: approximately 2.3 million pounds
Aircraft refueled: 190

Air Mobility:
U.S. Air Force airlift sorties: 178
Short tons of delivered cargo: 1,021
Passengers: nearly 3,800
Airdropped cargo: approximately 170,000 pounds

(Report from a U.S. Air Force news release.)

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Combat Camera Video: MV-22 Osprey Operations in Afghanistan, Part 2


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WASHINGTON, Feb. 22, 2010 -- Embedded above is a b-roll video of the MV-22 Osprey aircraft being using in operations in Afghanistan. Scenes include Marines inside the MV-22 Osprey while it is flying in the air, Marines getting off the back off the aircraft, Marines inspecting the area around the aircraft, the MV-22 Osprey taking off and the MV-22 landing on a runway. (Produced by Cpl. Jennifer Calaway, 2nd Marine Expeditionary Brigade. Length: 00:08:51.)

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Combat Camera Video: MV-22 Osprey Operations in Afghanistan, Part 1


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Dispatches from the Front:

WASHINGTON, Feb. 22, 2010 -- Embedded above is a b-roll video of the MV-22 Osprey aircraft being using in operations in Afghanistan. Scenes include the MV-22 Osprey landing on a runway, the MV-22 Osprey taxing down the runway, Marines inspecting the aircraft and Marines boarding the aircraft. (Produced by Cpl. Jennifer Calaway, 2nd Marine Expeditionary Brigade. Length: 00:10:17.)

Click here for Part 2.

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OEF Update, Feb. 22, 2010: Operation Moshtarak

Dispatches from the Front

Dispatches from the Front:

KABUL, Afghanistan, Feb. 22, 2010 -- Clearance operations continue to make progress and the operation is firmly on track. In Nad-e Ali, the combined force encountered limited small arms engagements throughout the area. On the west side of the city, shuras continue to determine which compounds can be used as patrol bases. Engineers continue upgrading roads in order to enable the effective delivery of stabilization supplies. Patrols in the eastern portion of the operating area continue to enable freedom of movement on local roads.

Cautious optimism is growing in Nad-e Ali as early signs indicate a return to normality. The 2,000 people that have registered for the cash for work program are working on initiatives including bazaar clean-up, canal repairs and community refurbishment projects.

Determined resistance from small pockets of insurgents continues in Marjah. The combined force's main effort continues to be clearing IEDs and bunkers throughout the area. These clearing operations have enabled the opening of several roads in Marjah.

The development situation in Marjah is progressing slowly due to ongoing resistance by the insurgents. There has been an increase in displaced persons with 542 families registering yesterday. The local government has provided assistance and relief to approximately 1,430 people. Out of all those registered, five families have requested shelter since the clearing operation began. RC-S is looking at ways to facilitate the delivery of aid to address UN concerns of a lack of food and water in Marjah. The Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, Helmand Provincial Reconstruction Team, Manoeuvre Enhancement Brigade and others are working together to establish how further assistance can be delivered within Marjah.

(From a NATO International Security Assistance Force news release.)

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Sunday, February 21, 2010

Combat Camera Video: US Marines AV-8B Harrier, Operation Moshtarak (OEF)


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Dispatches from the Front:

WASHINGTON, Feb. 21, 2010 -- Embedded above is a b-roll video of the AV-8B Harrier and Marine operators using the Harrier's unique contribution to support warfighters on the ground as part of Operation Moshtarak in the city of Marjah, Helmand Province, Afghanistan. (Courtesy Video, 2nd Marine Expeditionary Brigade. Length: 00:05:36.)

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Combat Camera: Teufelhunden Battalion Continues Marjah Operation

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Cpl. Jason Ducote, a fireteam leader with 3rd Platoon, India Company, 3rd Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment uses the scope of his rifle to check out suspicious activity while Pfc. Jacob Cooper, an assaultman also with 3rd Platoon, provides security on the outskirts of Marjah, Helmand province, Afghanistan, Feb. 14. Marines and Afghan National Army soldiers have been conducting Operation Moshtarak to rid Marjah of Taliban presence and intimidation. (Photo by Lance Cpl. Tommy Bellegarde, Regimental Combat Team-7, 1st Marine Division Public Affairs.)

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Seaman Beau Chandler, a hospitalman and Petty Officer 3rd Class Bradley Erickson, a corpsman, both with India Company, 3rd Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment relax after a patrol in Marjah, Helmand province, Afghanistan, Feb. 14. Marines and Afghan National Army soldiers have been conducting Operation Moshtarak to rid Marjah of Taliban presence and intimidation. (Photo by Lance Cpl. Tommy Bellegarde, Regimental Combat Team-7, 1st Marine Division Public Affairs.)

CLICK TO ENLARGE IMAGE
Cpl. Jason Ducote, a fireteam leader with 3rd Platoon, India Company, 3rd Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, points out suspicious activity while Pfc. Jacob Cooper, an assaultman also with 3rd Platoon, checks it out with the scope of his rifle on the outskirts of Marjah, Helmand province, Afghanistan, Feb. 14. The Marines and Afghan national army soldiers have been conducting Operation Moshtarak to rid Marjah of Taliban presence and intimidation. (Photo by Lance Cpl. Tommy Bellegarde, Regimental Combat Team-7, 1st Marine Division Public Affairs.)

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Marines from 3rd Platoon, India Company, 3rd Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, share a light-hearted moment before entering Marjah, Helmand province, Afghanistan, Feb. 15. The Marines and Afghan national army soldiers have been conducting Operation Moshtarak to rid Marjah of Taliban presence and intimidation. (Photo by Lance Cpl. Tommy Bellegarde, Regimental Combat Team-7, 1st Marine Division Public Affairs.)

CLICK TO ENLARGE IMAGE
Marines from 3rd Platoon, India Company, 3rd Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, patrol in Marjah, Helmand province, Afghanistan, Feb. 16. During the patrol, the Marines found a large cache of improvised explosive device-making materials, which were later destroyed during a controlled detonation. Marines and Afghan National Army soldiers have been conducting Operation Moshtarak to rid Marjah of Taliban presence and intimidation. (Photo by Lance Cpl. Tommy Bellegarde, Regimental Combat Team-7, 1st Marine Division Public Affairs.)

CLICK TO ENLARGE IMAGE
Sgt. Rick Keller, a scout sniper with 3rd Platoon, India Company, 3rd Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, provides security from a compound in Marjah, Helmand province, Afghanistan, Feb. 16. The Marines took shelter inside the compound after clearing it of insurgents and improvised explosive devices. Marines and Afghan National Army soldiers have been conducting Operation Moshtarak to rid Marjah of Taliban presence and intimidation. (Photo by Lance Cpl. Tommy Bellegarde, Regimental Combat Team-7, 1st Marine Division Public Affairs.)

CLICK TO ENLARGE IMAGE
Marines from 3rd Platoon, India Company, 3rd Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, set up security inside a compound in Marjah, Helmand province, Afghanistan, Feb. 16. The Marines took shelter inside the compound after clearing it of insurgents and improvised explosive devices. Marines and Afghan National Army soldiers have been conducting Operation Moshtarak to rid Marjah of Taliban presence and intimidation. (Photo by Lance Cpl. Tommy Bellegarde, Regimental Combat Team-7, 1st Marine Division Public Affairs.)

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