Thursday, March 15, 2007

Perspective: Bloody first day for crack Stryker Battalion in Diyala

Stryker Soldiers on their way from Baghdad to Diyala on Tuesday. On Wednesday, they were met with sophisticated and ferocious attacks, including mortars, grenades and IEDs. One soldier remarked, "They always say the next place we're going is the worst — the most violent — and it never turns out to be the case. They really meant it this time." By the end of the day, at least one soldier had died, 10 were wounded, and 2 Stryker vehicles were destroyed.

BAQOUBA, Iraq — Dozens of U.S. Stryker combat vehicles roared into Baqouba at sunrise. The enemy was ready. As the dawn call-to-prayer fell silent, the streets blazed with insurgent fire.

Within minutes of the start of their first mission in Diyala province Wednesday a voice crackled across the radio: "Catastrophic kill, with casualties."

Inside the rear of one Stryker, soldiers shushed one another and leaned closer to the radio. They all knew what it meant. A U.S. vehicle had been lost to hostile fire.

Nearly 100 Strykers, armored troop carriers with 50-caliber machine guns, were called north from Baghdad into the province and its capital to try — yet again — to rout Sunni insurgents, many who recently fled the month-old Baghdad security operation.

Read the rest at the Houston Chronicle