The war on terror

The war on terror

Heike Hasenauer

BY September 2002 American and coalition forces had forced al Qaeda and the Taliban out of Afghanistan and had begun assisting the Afghan people in rebuilding the country’s infrastructure, creating a new government and training an Afghan national army.

Even as U.S. and coalition forces continued to eliminate the remnants of the Taliban and the al Qaeda terror network, changes were being made in America to boost homeland defense. The number of federal marshals traveling aboard commercial airliners grew. Security was beefed up at power plants, ports and border crossings. And tens of thousands of National Guard and Reserve troops from the joint services were on active duty.

President George W. Bush ordered small-pox vaccinations to begin for military personnel and some of America’s first-responders. He also called for a stockpile of small-pox vaccine as a defense against the threat of terrorists unleashing the virus in densely populated areas of the country.

Bush established the Department of Homeland Security, which boasts some 170,000 people and includes all or parts of 22 federal agencies, including the Customs Service, Coast Guard and Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Additionally, reorganization of America’s Unified Command Plan for homeland defense resulted in establishment of U.S. Northern Command and realignment of U.S. Joint Forces Command and U.S. Strategic Command.

The changes will allow USJFC to better focus on its mission as joint-forces provider and contributor of new ideas related to Army transformation, said Peter Varga, the special assistant to the secretary of defense for homeland security. The changes will also allow USSTRATCOM to focus on its mission to provide early warning of a missile attack.

In October a terrorist attack in Bali claimed the lives of dozens of tourists. In the past year terrorists also struck in Pakistan, Russia and Saudi Arabia, reminding nations around the world that “opposing and fighting terrorism, wherever it exists, is imperative,” said Secretary of State Colin Powell.

Reminders of the terrorist attacks that first rocked the nation on Sept. 11, 2001, were ever present. At the site where United Airlines Flight 77 crashed into the Pentagon, clergymen from all the military services dedicated a chapel to those killed in the attack. The Pentagon’s fourth corridor, which was partially destroyed in the attack and was rebuilt, was also dedicated to those who died. And military officials selected the design for an outdoor memorial that will be built near the site of the attack.

As 2002 was drawing to an end, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and other senior U.S. officials reported that Iraq had ties to al Qaeda and was continuing to develop weapons of mass destruction.

Suddenly the war on terrorism focused not on Afghanistan but on Iraq and president Saddam Hussein’s brutal, long-standing regime.

Iraq became the daily topic of conversation as politicians and military leaders in the United States and abroad debated the potential long-term benefits and repercussions of a U.S.-led invasion to eliminate the threat of these weapons.

For months Saddam ignored America’s demands to produce evidence that his chemical and biological weapons programs had been eliminated as promised more than a decade earlier, after the first Gulf war.

As months-long diplomatic efforts to avert war continued, Saddam finally allowed United Nations weapons inspectors to enter the country in December 2002–for the first time since 1998.

The inspectors scoured as much of Iraq as possible over prescribed periods, even searching underground bunkers and tunnels throughout the country, including under Saddam’s lavish, highly guarded palaces.

While Saddam appeared to be cooperating to implement U.N. Security Council resolutions, his actions indicated he couldn’t be trusted; his aircraft were firing at U.S. and coalition aircraft in the northern and southern no-fly-zones–nearly 70 times over a two-week period, Rumsfeld reported.

Bush said of Saddam’s painstakingly slow efforts to adhere to the U.N. resolutions: “He either gets rid of his weapons … or the United States will lead a coalition to disarm this man…. We must make sure this madman never has the capacity to hurt us with a nuclear weapon or to use the stockpile of [biological or chemical weapons] he possesses.”

On March 19 Bush authorized the first preemptive strike against Iraq, a “decapitation attack” against top Iraqi leaders, after Saddam failed to respond to Bush’s ultimatum–“48 hours to leave Iraq or face the consequences.”

American ships in the Red Sea and Persian Gulf fired cruise missiles, and F-117 fighters dropped 2,000-lb. bombs on a Baghdad compound where Saddam and his sons were believed to be hiding.

During the next few days the U.S. 7th Cavalry Regiment led the advance move north from Kuwait across the Iraqi desert.

On March 20 additional coalition ground units crossed into Iraq. And over the next few weeks the 3rd Infantry Division, along with soldiers of the 101st and 82nd Airborne divisions, pushed north toward Baghdad, seizing Saddam’s presidential palaces. At the same time, U.S. Marines fought their way into southeastern Baghdad and seized Rasheed military air base, while British troops took Iraq’s second largest city, Basra.

By the end of April U.S. paratroopers of the 173rd Abn. Brigade had jumped onto Bashur airfield and were reinforced by soldiers of the 1st Inf. Div. Follow-on forces included the 1st Armored Div., 4th Inf. Div. and elements of the 2nd Armd. Cav. Regt.

For America, what became known as “the second Gulf war” had been the most visible war in U.S. military history. Through daily on-site reports from journalists embedded with the front-line units, viewers experienced some of the fear, danger and tragedy of combat, albeit from the safety of their own living rooms.

They also shared in the joy of victory, witnessing as they happened, such events as the toppling of a giant statue of Saddam Hussein from a public square in Baghdad, and the smiles and cheers of Iraqi citizens who welcomed the coalition forces.

By the time of Bush’s May announcement that major combat operations were over, the world had witnessed the many facets of war, from the capture of U.S. soldiers, whose anguished faces had been shown on Iraqi TV, to the heroic rescue by joint special forces troops of PFC Jessica Lynch from an enemy hospital in Nasiriyah.

As the story about Lynch’s rescue and details about the injuries she’d sustained flooded the media, so did the stories of U.S. and coalition troops who’d been killed.

The special forces personnel who helped rescue Lynch also searched for other 507th Maintenance Company soldiers who had been taken prisoner. They uncovered 11 shallow graves, nine of which contained the remains of 507th soldiers, among them a female soldier who had been Lynch’s friend.

Days later, marines rescued seven Army POWs in an area southeast of Tikrit. Five of those were also from the 507th.

Across America, yellow ribbons tied around trees in countless neighborhoods spoke volumes about Americans’ support of their troops–in Iraq, Afghanistan, and wherever terror groups operate.

Two years after the Sept. 11 attacks, America and its coalition partners have toppled the brutal regimes of the Taliban and Saddam Hussein.

Terrorists still plague many areas of the world, but Iraq and Afghanistan are emerging from the blight. And for untold thousands of their citizens, wonderful possibilities lay ahead.

[For a timeline of events that took place from September 2001 to September 2002, refer to Soldiers’ September 2002 issue.]

August 2002

August 12 82nd Airborne Division soldiers from the 3rd Battalion, 505th Infantry Regiment participate in Operation Mountain Sweep, the first operation for the 82nd since its arrival in Afghanistan.

August 12 U.S. troops detain three al Qaeda fighters near Khowst, Afghanistan, during a cordon-and-search operation.

August 14 The 2nd Bn. of the Afghan National Army, consisting of approximately 300 soldiers, graduates. International support continues for the 10-week training program developed by U.S. special forces troops.

August 21 Restoration of the Pentagon’s damaged outer west wall is completed and employees begin moving back into E-ring offices months earlier than anticipated.

August 22 After nearly a year of protecting the Pentagon, the 200th and 290th Military Police companies of the Maryland National Guard redeploy home and are replaced by units from Fort Polk, La.

August 22 Soldiers from the 82nd Abn. Div.’s 3rd Bn., 505th Inf. Regt., unload a Humvee filled with confiscated mortars, rocket-propelled grenades and other weapons collected during Operation Mountain Sweep.

August 23 President George W. Bush proposes the creation of the Homeland Security Department. The department will handle federal emergency response efforts by working with other federal agencies.

August 24 Soldiers from the 3rd Bn., 505th Inf. Regt., find a stack of more than 200 82mm recoilless-rifle rounds during Operation Mountain Sweep.

August 24 SGT Chris Baker and SPC Abe Severino of the 9th Psychological Operations Bn, move out from a landing zone during the ongoing Operation Mountain Sweep.

August 26 Nearly 50 soldiers from the 96th Civil Affairs Bn. at Fort Bragg, N.C., receive awards in recognition of their roles in combating terrorism in Afghanistan and the Philippines.

September 2002

September 5 Afghan President Hamid Karzai survives an apparent assassination attempt in Kandahar, Afghanistan. A U.S. soldier on the security team receives minor injuries during the attack.

September 9 An Afghan resident of Khwost sits in the water-pump facility being constructed near the town. The facility will provide water to local residents and to a joint task force forward-observation base near the village.

September 9 Soldiers from the 82nd Abn. Div. set up a defense perimeter immediately after fighting breaks out between local Afghan warlords in Khowst.

September 10 U.S. officials raise the nation’s threat level to orange after receiving information about possible terrorist attacks to coincide with Sept. 11 commemorative events.

September 11 The Army remembrance ceremony “Service of Hope and Honor” is held in the Pentagon courtyard to honor the 75 Army members who died in the attack on the Pentagon. President Bush attends a memorial service outside the rebuilt section of the Pentagon to honor all who died in the attacks in New York, Pennsylvania and at the Pentagon.

September 11 Service members supporting Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan take time from the war on terror to remember and commemorate those who paid the ultimate price on Sept. 11, 2001.

September 11 A soldier at Kandahar Army Airfield, Afghanistan, holds one of four torches representing the hijacked aircraft of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks during a memorial ceremony Dubbed “Patriot Day.”

September 12 The last five victims of the 2001 terrorist attack on the Pentagon are buried at Arlington National Cemetery, bringing the number of victims laid to rest there to 64.

September 12 The Army helps open three new schools in Afghanistan. The schools are among seven education projects of Bagram’s Coalition Humanitarian Liaison Cell.

September 15 Soldiers from the Fort Carson, Colo.-based 764th Explosive Ordinance Disposal Company and the 63rd EOD Co. from Fort Dix, N.J., destroy a large quantity of captured enemy munitions and unserviceable riot-control agents at the East River Range near Bagram Air Base, Afghanistan.

September 17 The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers receive nearly 2,500 individual and team registrations for the competition to select an artistic concept for the Pentagon Memorial.

September 18 Unexploded ordnance litters an area outside of Kandahar Army Airfield, waiting for members of the 756th EOD Co. from Fort Indiantown Gap, Pa., to dispose of it.

September 18 A new chapel opens in the newly rebuilt portion of the Pentagon in memory of the 184 people–including Pentagon workers and passengers on Flight 77–who died in the attack.

September 19 Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld tells the Senate Armed Services Committee that the threat posed by Iraq is not separate from the global war on terror but is a part of it.

September 24 SPC Adam Volchok and PFC Joseph Willie, both from the 82nd Abn. Div. add antibiotic ointment to an Afghan child’s eyes. The soldiers are members of Psychological-operation teams that go on daily patrols to local villages and provide humanitarian aid.

September 26 Soldiers from the 82nd Abn. Div. provide medical treatment to residents of a village near Camp Salerno, Afghanistan. The medical care is part of the many humanitarian-assistance programs set up to help rebuild the country’s social and political infrastructure.

September 26 2LT Amy E. Walters of the 261st Medical Bn. gives ringworm medication to an Afghan child. Army medical specialists examine and treat 800 villagers in the region Of Kohi Sofi.

September 27-29 Tents are still being constructed at Afghanistan’s Bagram Air Base. The tents, part of ongoing projects to improve living conditions, will house soldiers who are currently working and living in the compound area.

October 2002

October 1 Northern Command–a joint military command responsible for the defense of the 48 contiguous states. Alaska, Canada, Mexico and waters up to 500 miles off the North American coastlines–opens at Peterson AFB., Colo. The command will work to prevent attacks from land, sea and air, and by computer networks.

October 3 The 3rd Bn. of the Afghan National Army graduates after completing 10 weeks of training with U.S. special-forces soldiers.

October 11 Soldiers of the 505th Inf. Regt. move 35 truckloads of ammunition found in the Khowst region of Afghanistan. It is the largest weapons cache found to date.

October 14 SGT Chundra Brown from the Fort McClellan, Ala.-based 310th Chemical Company treats Afghan children for intestinal parasites. Coalition forces continued providing medical care as part of the Humanitarian Assistance Program.

October 14 soldiers from a variety of units distribute medical supplies in the town of Koshi-Sofi, Afghanistan, as part of a medical capability mission.

October 16 President Bush signs House Joint-Resolution 114 authorizing the use of U.S. military power to force Iraq to comply with U.N. resolutions signed in 1991 after the Persian Gulf War.

October 18 Headquarters elements of the Army’s V Corps and the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force prepare to deploy to the U.S. Central Command area of operations in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. The two headquarters elements will take Part in CENTCOM’s Exercise Internal Look.

October 18 Hollywood celebrity Robin Williams visits operation Enduring Freedom troops at Kandahar Army Airfield, Afghanistan.

October 20 Civilian contractors and members of Fort Bragg’s 96th Civil Affairs Bn. Begin repair work on A school in Afghanistan’s Orgun Valley.

October 24 Coalition forces begin receiving information from local Afghans leading to the discovery of more weapons caches. To date, 475 weapons caches have been found.

October 24 As another battalion of Afghan National Army soldiers begins training, a U.S. camp in Kandahar comes under fire. A quick-reaction force is dispatched to the site where rockets were reportedly fired. No casualties are reported.

October 26 Soldiers from Tennessee’s 489th Civil Affairs Bn. deliver a humanitarian-aid package to the village of Nejhab, Afghanistan. The package includes 10 medium-sized tents, 250 blankets, and three medical kits.

October 29 Doctors from the aid group Aga Khan Development Network are flown into the Darwaz area of Afghanistan by U.S. special-operations aircraft, to treat victims of a suspected whooping-cough epidemic. The World Health Organization asked for military assistance because of the severe nature of the disease and the remoteness of the region.

October 29 SPC Joseph Willie and SPC Rob Barton of the 82nd Abn. Div. pass out blankets to Afghans near Kandahar. Both soldiers are part of a joint U.S. and Romanian force providing medical and humanitarian assistance to Afghans before the onset of winter.

October 30 One project of the Coalition Humanitarian Liaison Cell in Konduz, Afghanistan, results in an opening ceremony of the Konduz Women’s Organization, which will support women’s rights in Afghanistan.

November 2002

November 2 AH-64 Apache helicopters continue supporting ground troops searching for Taliban and al Qaeda fighters in Afghanistan during Operation Enduring Freedom.

November 3 A coalition forces medical team consisting of U.S., Korean and Australian personnel provides medical care to Afghans, as part of continuing humanitarian-aid efforts.

November 4 Operation Uplink provides 500,000 phone cards for U.S. troops stationed overseas. Through a partnership with Veterans of Foreign Wars and various retailers, soldiers can keep in touch with family members through the holidays.

November 5 An American quilt is displayed at Fort Benning, Ga. The quilt is a memorial to the victims of Sept. 11 and allows friends and family members to design a panel in honor of a victim of the tragedy.

November 7 Coalition aircraft of Operation Southern Watch respond to Iraqi fire in the northern no-fly zone for the second consecutive day. Precision-guided munitions are dropped on an Iraqi air-defense facility near Al Kut, about 95 miles southeast of Baghdad.

November 7 82nd Abn. Div. soldiers inventory a cache of weapons, munitions, and documents found during a cordon-and-search operation in the village of Tekay, Afghanistan.

November 8 The U.N. Security Council unanimously passes a resolution intended to force Saddam Hussein to disarm his weapons of mass destruction and obey previous Security Council resolutions.

November 9 82nd Abn. Div. soldiers from the 1st Bn., 505th Inf. Regt., set up security at a landing zone during Operation Kofi Sofi.

November 9 Soldiers from Tennessee’s 489th Civil Affairs Bn. pass out leaflets, newspapers and School supplies to Afghan villagers during Operation Kofi Sofi, a mission to rid the town of live ordnance that could pose a threat to the town and to coalition forces at Bagram Air Base.

November 9 Fort Polk’s 705th EOD Co. destroys weapons and munitions found during Operation Kofi Sofi.

November 12 Fort Polk engineers and Fort Bragg EOD specialists prepare to destroy a weapon’s cache found in Afghanistan’s Kofi Sofi Mountains.

November 12 Soldiers from the 82nd Abn. Div. move toward the village of Naray during a cordon-and-search mission conducted as part of Operation Kofi Sofi.

November 13 Morale, Welfare and Recreation specialists deploy to Qatar, Afghanistan and Djibouti to provide MWR programs for deployed soldiers. Each MWR site receives kits providing recreational activities and fitness equipment.

November 13 More than 400 Afghan soldiers graduate as part of the Afghan National Army’s 4th Bn. U.S. forces oversee the 10-week training program that has produced nearly 1,400 Afghan soldiers since May.

November 13 Troops of the 82nd Abn. Div. continue to clear and search Afghan villages during Operation Kofi Sofi.

November 16 A soldier from Maryland’s 405th Civil Affairs Bn. deliver pens, crayons and other school supplies donated by U.S. elementary school students to Afghanistan’s Bagram Girls School.

November 17 Coalition aircraft drop 120,000 leaflets near Ar Rumaythah, Iraq. The leaflets urge Iraqi military forces not to engage coalition aircrews. The 3-by-6-inch Arabic-language flyers are dropped inside fiberglass containers that explode over an area and allow the leaflets to scatter and drift to the ground.

November 20 Iraq again aims air-defense weapons at coalition aircraft in the southern no-fly zone. Since Nov. 8 Iraq has fired at least nine times on coalition aircraft.

November 21 Two soldiers attacked and injured while traveling from Camp Doha to Arifjan, Kuwait, are evacuated from the country. Meanwhile, coalition aircrews strike Iraqi air-defense sites in the southern no-fly zone after Iraq repositions target-acquisition radars south of the 33rd parallel.

November 24 Three U.S. camps in Afghanistan come under fire from Taliban and al Qaeda forces. The U.S. outpost at Gardez comes under machine-gun and rocket attack, while the camp at Lwara takes rocket fire. Another rocket lands at a military base near Khowst. No coalition injuries are reported.

November 25 President Bush signs The Homeland Security Bill.

November 27 Medics with the 102nd Forward Surgical Team examine Afghan children from the village of Qadzi Kariz. The FST provides medical support as part of a humanitarian-aid plan for the war-torn country.

November 28 Officers of Task Force 82 at Afghanistan’s Bagram Air Base serve Thanksgiving dinner to the troops.

December 2002

December 2 President Bush signs the 2003 National Defense Authorization Act giving military members higher pay, improved facilities and better housing. The act also authorized the purchase of state-of-the-art weapons and equipment.

December 6 The 6th Bn. of the Afghan National Army begins training with more than 700 members, making it the largest battalion to be trained so far.

December 7 Afghan villagers lead American soldiers to a weapons cache near a U.S. firebase at Lwara, in eastern Afghanistan.

December 13 President Bush orders smallpox vaccinations to begin for military personnel. Civilian medical personnel and fist responders will received the vaccine on a voluntary basis.

December 14 82nd Abn. Div. soldiers search a local vendor’s shop for illegal weapons and suspected Taliban in Afghanistan’s Qalat City during Operation Panther Climax. The operation prevents the re-emergence of terrorist activities in Zabol Province.

December 16 Journalist from around the world participate in training to enhance their effectiveness and keep them safer in combat zones. Soldiers at Fort Benning, Ga., conduct training in combat survival, first aid, land navigation, mine awareness and chemical warfare.

December 17 A soldier from the 1st Company, 3rd Battalion, of the Afghan National Army passes out leaflets to residents of the village of Rabat. The leaflets contain information about the newly formed national army, such as its mission to solidify and unite the country.

December 19 During Operation Panther Climax, soldiers of the 82nd Abn. Div. advance on a former Taliban compound to search for illegal weapons and suspected in the Afghan village of Shinkay.

December 19 Secretary of State Colin Powell says Iraq’s declaration that it has no weapons of mass destruction fails to meet the terms of U.N. Security Council Resolution 1441.

December 20 While visiting Kuwait SMA Jack L. Tilley serves food to soldiers deployed to Southwest Asia, in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

December 21 U.S. forces come under fire near Shkin, Afghanistan, by unknown assailants. Rockets are also fired toward a U.S. base. Similar incidents continue throughout the country.

December 23 An American Predator unmanned aerial vehicle is reported missing after being fired upon by Iraqi aircraft over southern Iraq. This is the first known incident in which an Iraqi plane has shot down a coalition aircraft in either no-fly zone.

January 2003

January 3 The bulk of the 3rd Inf. Div. receives deployment orders for Kuwait, and will join its 2nd Bde. and command elements already in the country. Units will depart Fort Stewart, Fort Benning and Hunter Army Airfield, Ga.

January 5 As U.S. forces recover weapons near Spin Bolduk, Afghanistan, other soldiers deliver school supplies to a girls school in Jabul Saraj, and civil affairs soldiers deliver food and clothing to the village of Charchi.

January 7 More than 400 new graduates of the 5th Bn. of the Afghan National Army March in ceremonies. Since September 2002, More than 1,750 Afghan Soldiers have completed Training.

January 16 During a visit to Afghanistan, Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz stresses that the United States will continue to help the people of Afghanistan build their national army and will assist with humanitarian projects.

January 16 CPT Jerrod Long, a dentist with the 82nd Abn. Div., treats an Afghan man from the village of Haji Lalay Kalacha during a humanitarian civilian-assistance mission. The Fort Bragg soldiers have been providing medical a dental assistance, food, clothing and school supplies to local people.

January 16 An Afghan boy uses a wheelbarrow to transport boxes of humanitarian daily rations that were among those distributed to the children and families of the Afghan village of Haji Lalay Kalacha during a humanitarian civilian-assistance mission.

January 17 During a visit to Walter Reed Army Medical Center, President and Mrs. Bush visit soldiers wounded in Afghanistan and thank them for their service to America.

January 21 A third attack on Americans takes place in Kuwait when two U.S. employees are shot dead outside Camp Doha.

January 24 Former Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge is sworn in as the first secretary of home and security. The Department of Homeland Security now becomes the 15th executive department.

January 24 82nd Abn. Div. soldiers search for suspected Taliban and hidden weapons in the Afghan city of Naray during Operation Devil Shock. The operation’s intended to prevent the re-emergence of terrorist activities in Afgnanistan.

January 27 The Intelligence Support to Counter Terrorism course begins at Fort Huachuca, Ariz., to train soldiers how to extract intelligence from al Qaeda detainees.

January 28 Several soldiers returning from Afghanistan are invited guests during President Bush’s State of the Union address.

January 29 Members of the Coalition Joint Civil-Military Operation Task Force help local Afghans unload boxes clothing sent from Kuwait to the Afghan Red Cresent.

January 30 SGT Victor Zavalza of the 82nd Abn. Div. is assisted by PFC Jimmy Hill and PV2 David Wier as he places C4 explosives in key areas of a cave they are about to destroy during a patrol in the mountains near Adi Ghar, Afghanistan. The mission, called Operation Mongoose, is a search of various caves throughout the mountain ranges for suspected Taliban members and weapons caches.

February 2003

February 3 Members of the FBI’s Washington Field Office Evidence Response Team at the Pentagon Memorial Fund. The money was raised during a charity hockey game.

February 4 the first operational unit in the Afghan National Army, the 3rd Bn., begins patrols and villages and towns in Paktiki Province.

February 6 The U.S. military buildup Central Command area of operations continues, with more than 100,000 troops serving from Kazakhstan to Kenya. This includes personnel operating in Afghanistan.

February 7 An increased threat of terror attacks in the United States prompts officials to raise the homeland-security threat condition “yellow” to “orange.”

February 9 CPT Monica Reilly from Task Force 44 treats an Afghan child during a medical civilian-assistance visit to the village of Polycharky. U.S. Soldiers continue providing medical attention to Afghans as part of the humanitarian-assistance program.

February 12 Washington National Guard soldiers learn the correct use of handcuffs during force-protection training. Thousands of Guard and Reserve soldiers around the country have been mobilized as part of the memorandum of agreement between the Army and the Air Force to provide security at designated Air Force installations.

February 12 Thousands of cards bearing messages of support fashioned by fourth- and fifth-grade students from across the nation are distributed to service members serving overseas in support of the war on global terrorism.

February 19 A Moroccan man is sentenced to 15 years in a German prison for his part in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in the United States, Mounir el Motassadeq is found guilty by a German court of being an accessory to murder in the deaths of 3,045 men, women and children.

February 19 Soldiers from Fort Gordon, Ga.; Fort Carson, Colo.; and Fort Riley, Kan., receive deployment orders to the Central Command area of operations.

February 19 The 82nd Abn. Div., begins Operation Viper, an intense town-by-town search for Taliban fighters and hidden weapons caches. The mission results in the capture of eight known or suspected Taliban members in Afghanistan’s Baghran Valley.

February 19 Members of the U.S. Senate visit Afghanistan’s Kabul Military Training Compound. The senators are in the country to get a closer look at the effects of the war on terror.

February 19 American aircraft, have so far dropped more than 38,000 gallons of fuel in support of Operation Eagle Fury in Afghanistan’s Baghran Valley. This is the largest amount of fuel air-dropped since the Vietnam War.

February 20 Gas-mask distribution begins for all Pentagon employees and those at any of the 50 buildings operated by Washington Headquarters Services. Training on the use of the masks is conducted by the Pentagon Force Protection Agency’s Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Directorate.

February 21 After discussing the situation for several months, U.S. and Philippine forces agree to conduct combined operations against the Abu Sayyaf terrorist group in the southern Philippines. However, the combat operation is later postponed indefinitely.

February 24 The first advanced HH60L Black Hawk medical-evacuation helicopter arrives in Afghanistan.

February 25 Tent cities spring up in Kuwait to house more than 15,000 U.S. troops. Dining facilities are expanded to accommodate the thousand of new arrivals.

February 27 The national threat level is reduced to “an elevated risk,” or “yellow.” Protective measures instituted by the government and private sector are reduced.

February 27 The American Red Cross creates an online homeland-security guide as a way to answer questions concerning security measures, personal awareness and risk levels.

March 2003

March 1 The United Arab Emirates call for Iraqi president Saddam Hussein to step down to avoid war. Kuwait soon after also calls for Saddam to leave Iraq.

March 1 The Coast Guard welcomes Homeland Security Department Secretary Tom Ridge as its new chief civilian. The maritime service, formerly part of the Department of Transportation, is one of 22 federal agencies officially merged into Ridge’s Department of Homeland Security.

March 2 At an undisclosed seaport, soldiers from Fort Hood’s 180th Transportation Bn. begin loading Marine amphibious assault vehicles aboard ships bound for Southwest Asia.

March 2 Operation Viper results in the capture of eight known or suspected Taliban members during a sweep of the Baghran Valley n Afghanistan.

March 3 U.S. soldiers from Germany, Fort Hood, Texas and Fort Riley, Kan., and National Guard members from Florida, receive deployment orders for Southwest Asia.

March 3 The design is selected for the Pentagon Memorial that will be built on land near the spot where the Sept. 11 attack took place.

March 6. U.N. members China, France, Russia and Germany officially oppose a U.S.-led war on Iraq.

March 19 President Bush announces that operations to disarm the Iraqi regime have begun.

March 20 Coalition forces invade Iraq, American, British, Australian and Polish forces enter Iraq primarily from staging areas in Kuwait. Coalition units also support Kurdish militia troops opposing Saddam Hussein’s regime.

March 22 U.S. and coalition forces conduct simultaneous military operations in northern, southern and western Iraq. Airstrikes on Baghdad, begun on March 20, continue with attacks now concentrated on the city’s outskirts.

March 23 A convoy from the 507th Maintenance Co., Fort Bliss, Texas, is ambushed near Nasiriyah by Iraqi irregulars, who capture six of the U.S. soldiers and kill others.

March 23 3rd Inf. Div. soldiers seize the Tallil Airfield from Iraqi forces. The air base is used to route supplies north for U.S. and coalition forces.

March 24 While flying a combat mission over southern Iraq, a 1st Cav. Div. Apache helicopter is damaged by ground fire and forces to land. The pilots are captured by Iraqi forces.

March 25 Less than a week after ground combat began, coalition forces have moved more than 200 miles into Iraq and prepare to take on forces defending Baghdad. Approximately 3,500 Iraqi soldiers have surrendered to coalition forces.

March 25 U.S. and international relief workers prepare to enter the port of Umm Qasr to address humanitarian issues in southern Iraq.

March 26 U.S. forces advancing on Baghdad are hampered by extreme dust storms.

March 26 Some 141,000 Army and Air National Guard members have so far been mobilized, placed on alert or identified for possible mobilization. This number is nearly twice that of Guard personnel called up during the 1991 Persian Gulf war.

March 26 The world gains access to the battlefield as embedded reporters broadcast from the front lines in Iraq. More than 500 reporters are traveling with military units as they move through the country.

March 26 Marines from Camp Pendleton’s 1st Marine Division stand ready to fire their howitzers against possible enemy targets in Iraq. U.S. Army and Marine units, with British forces, had moved north into Iraq from Kuwait during the first phase of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

March 26 While fighting in Nasiriyah, coalition forces discover and confiscate weapons caches and chemical-protection gear hidden in a local hospital.

March 27 The Pentagon’s 4th corridor, which was destroyed in the Sept. 11 terrorist attack and has been rebuilt, is dedicated as a memorial to the victims.

March 28 Kuwaiti firefighters, who are part of the coalition effort during Operation Iraqi Freedom, attempt to extinguish an oil fire at Iraq’s Rumaila Oil Field.

March 28 Operation Valiant Strike winds down in Afghanistan. Coalition forces have captured nine Afghans with suspected Taliban ties, and confiscated Taliban recruiting documents and weapons.

March 29 Attacks against coalition forces in Afghanistan increase as Operation Iraqi Freedom continues.

March 29 An Iraqi suicide bomber driving a taxi kills four U.S. soldiers.

March 31 3rd Inf. Div. soldier destroy a massive Iraqi Fedayeen weapons cache hidden in a school in Khairat, Iraq.

April 2003

April 1 Fort Hood’s 4th Inf. Div. arrives at Kuwait’s Port Shuaiba in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. The unit is the Army’s only digitized division.

April 1 With the assistance of a local Iraqi man, American forces rescue PFC Jessica Lynch near Nasiriyah. Lynch was taken prisoner after her 507th Maint. Co. convoy was ambushed by Iraqi regular and militia forces on March 23.

April 1 U.S. Soldiers attack Iraqi Republican Guard units near Karbala, capturing an Iraqi general, an airfield and a training camp.

April 2 U.S. forces reach the outskirts of Baghdad.

April 5 Soldiers of the 3rd Inf. Div. enter Baghdad, just over two weeks after Operation Iraqi Freedom began. Baghdad International Airport is under American control.

April 6 Surface-to-air missiles are found near Baghdad.

April 6 The Army and Air Force Exchange Service sets up shop at Tallil Airfield, providing necessary quality-of-life items to soldiers in the area.

April 7 Soldiers from the 101st Abn. Div. destroy more than 3,000 rifles seized from a military compound in the city of An Najaf, Iraq.

April 7 British troops find the body of Ali Hassan al-Majid, also known as “Chemical Ali,” after an air raid in Basra. He is the “king of spades” in the “Iraq’s Most Wanted deck.

April 8 Coalition forces discover a Suspected chemical weapons Factory in Ar Rustamiyah, Iraq.

April 9 Baghdad falls to U.S. forces. The streets fill with cheering Iraqis as soldiers pull down a statue of Saddam Hussein and occupy Ba’ath Party buildings, effectively ending Saddam’s 24-year reign.

April 9 Iraqi citizens swarm through Baghdad, looting public buildings and defacing statues and images of Saddam Hussein.

April 10 Kurdish troops occupy the city of Kirkuk, Iraq.

April 11 The 422nd Civil Affairs Bn., from North Carolina, begins repairing water wells and providing food and medical supplies to Iraqi civilians.

April 11 Central Command spokesman BG Vincent Brooks first mentions the “Iraq’s Most Wanted” deck of 55 cards during a news briefing discussing the hunt for Saddam Hussein and his top officers. The cards are essentially pocket-sized “wanted” Posters to help coalition forces identify the senior members of the Ba’ath Party.

April 12 Amir Hamudi Hasan, Saddam Hussein’s adviser on scientific and technical affairs and the “seven of diamonds” in the Iraq’s Most Wanted’ deck, surrenders to coalitions troops.

April 13 Watban Ibrahim Hasan al-Tikriti, Saddam Hussein’s adviser and half-brother, is taken into custody. He is the “five of spades” in the “Iraq’s Most Wanted” deck.

April 13 Five members of the 507th Maint. Co. and two Apache pilots who were taken prisoners are founds in northern Iraq and returned to U.S. control.

April 13 CENTCOM commander GEN Tommy Franks announces that no Iraqi towns remain under Iraqi regime control.

April 13 A weapons cache is found hidden in an elementary school in Baghdad. Suicide vests are also found.

April 14 Coalition forces in Iraq capture Palestinian terrorist Abu Abbas. He planned the 1985 hijacking of the Italian cruise liner Achille Lauro in which one American was killed.

April 15 U.S. explosive ordinance disposal technicians in Afghanistan destroy two major weapon caches in “Ammo Alley.” Destruction of the site was delayed a year after a previous attempt took the lives of four EOD soldiers.

April 15 U.S. diplomatic envoy Zalmay Khalilzad and U.S. retired LTG Jay Garner, head of the Pentagon’s Office of Reconstruction and Humanitarian Assistance, meet with Iraqi leaders to discuss plans for an interim government.

April 16 The “digitized” 4th Inf. Div. battles Iraqi paramilitary fighters at al Taji Airfield, north of Baghdad. The division became the Army’s experimental force in 1995 with tactical Internet and high-tech systems placed in each vehicle.

April 16 The Defense Department receives $62.6 billion from Congress. The new funding increases combat pay and family separation allowances for eligible personnel.

April 16 U.S. Central Command commander GEN Tommy Franks tours one of Saddam Hussein’s palaces in Baghdad.

April 16 A bunker full of weapons and ammunition is discovered near the Iraqi town of Jaman Al Juburi.

April 17 Soldiers from the 82nd Abn. Div. conduct Operation Crackdown, a mission to find and destroy weapons hidden in the town of Khar Bolaq, Afghanistan.

April 17 Iraq’s house of cards continues to fall as more of the Ba’ath Party members on the coalition’s “most-wanted” list are identified and captured. By month’s end another 12 of Saddam Hussein’s advisers or members of his government are in U.S. custody.

April 17 Soldiers of the 101st Abn. Div. Deliver several truckloads of medicine and other supplies and other supplies to four Baghdad medicinal clinics.

April 18 A bomb-production factory is discovered in Baghdad.

April 23 Soldiers from the 101st Abn. Div. arrive at northern Iraq’s Mosul Airport to provide security and stability to that part of the country.

April 23 More than 2,000 members of the Fort Bliss, Texas, community welcome home seven former POWs from the 507th Maintenance Co. and aviators from Fort Hood, Texas.

April 24 Members of the Air Force’s Tanker Airlift Control Element off-load medical supplies from the first civilian aircraft to land on the commercial runway at Baghdad International Airport.

April 25 SFC Scott Bartolo from the 96th Civil Affairs Bn. examines a young Iraqi patient in An Najaf. Medical aid is one of the many humanitarian-assistance programs established in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

April 27 Coalition forces detain the self-proclaimed “mayor” of Baghdad, Mohammed Muslim a Zubaidi, after he obstructs coalition efforts to get Iraqis back to work and exercises authority he was not given.

April 27 Soldiers from the Fort Hood’s 4th Inf. Div. calm a crowd of demonstrators protesting U.S. presence in the region.

April 27 Soldiers from the 75th Sensitive Site Exploitation Team survey a truck in Baghdad suspected of being a mobile bio-weapon lab.

April 28 Iraqi lawyer Mohammed Odeh al Rehaief, who assisted marines in the rescue of PFC Jessica Lynch, is granted asylum in the U.S. with his family.

April 29 The U.S. government announces that it will remove all its military aircraft from the Prince Sultan Air Base, Saudi Arabia, by August.

May 2003

May 1 Defense Secretary Rumsfeld says the situation in Afghanistan has moved from combat activity to a period of stabilization.

May 1 President Bush announces from the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln that major combat operations in Iraq are over and that America and her allies have prevailed.

May 2 Engineers from the 4th Inf. Div. begin assessing water treatment plants in Ba’Qubah, Iraq, in an effort provide water quality improvements.

May 2 Taha Muhyi al-Din Maruf, a member of Saddam Hussein’s Revolutionary Command Council, is taken into custody by coalition forces. He is the “nine of diamonds” in the “Iraq’s Most Wanted” deck.

Also taken into custory is abd al-Tawab abdullah Mullah al-Huwaysh, deputy prime minister of Iraq. He is shown as the “10 of hearts.”

May 4 Soldiers from the 10th Mtn. Div. arrive in Djibouti, in the Horn of Africa, to assist the joint task force there in combating terrorism in the region.

May 5 As looting and criminal activities in Iraq increase, soldiers go on patrol and conduct operations to curb lawless activity.

May 5 The first local democratic elections are held in Northern Iraq through the Mosul Interim Government Convention and with the assistance of the 101st Abn. Div.

May 6 President Bush appoints L. Paul Bremer III, a State Department counterterrorism expert, as civil administrator of post-war Iraq.

May 7 President Bush lifts U.S. trade and economic sanctions against Iraq.

May 7 Approximately 250 soldiers from the 82nd Abn. Div. return to Fort Bragg from Operation Iraqi Freedom. The soldiers are required to go through reintegration training before returning home.

May 8 Mobile bioweapons labs are discovered at various locations in Iraq. Tests Will be conducted to determine exactly what the labs were used for.

May 9 Abdelghani Mzoudi, from Morocco, is charged in Germany as an accessory to the murder of 3,066 people in the Sep. 11 attacks, and of membership in the Germany-based al Qaeda cell that helped plan the attacks.

May 9 Huda Salih Mehdi Ammash, a major player in Saddam Hussein’s biotech and genetic programs, is taken into custody by coalition forces.

May 9 U.S. corporations donate $1 million to pay for scholarships for spouses and children of American service members killed during Operation Iraqi Freedom.

May 12 Army Reserve soldiers of the 349th Chem. Co. provide assistance in Seattle, Wash., during a national counterterrorism exercise.

May 12 Puerto Rico National Guard soldiers embark as guards aboard ships moving equipment from the United States to Kuwait.

May 13 Terrorists attack a housing complex for westerners in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, killing 25, 10 of them Americans.

May 14 The Force Protection Equipment Demonstration kicks off at Marine Corps Base Quantico, Va. The demonstration started after the 1997 attack at Khobar Towers, Saudi Arabia, exhibits the latest in commercially developed force-protection equipment.

May 15 Several key members of the Ba’ath Party are captured. Among them is Ibrahim Ahmand Abd al-Sattar Muhammad al-Tikriti, chief of staff of Iraq’s armed forces.

May 15 Jamal Mohammaed Al-Badawi and Fahd Mohammed Ahmed Al-Quso, of Yemen, are indicted for plotting the attack on the USS Cole in the Gulf of Aden in 2000.

May 17 Kamal Mustafa Abdallah Sultan al-Tikriti, secretary of the Republican Guard, is taken into custody by coalition forces.

May 19 U.S. forces capture a group of suspected al Qaeda members during operations in the Horn of Africa.

May 20 The national terror alert level is raised to high, “orange” on the color scale, based on intelligence reports that al Qaeda terrorists may attempt to again strike the U.S.

May 22 Aziz Salih al-Numan, regional command chairman for the Ba’ath Party in Baghdad, is taken into custody by coalition forces.

May 22 The U.N. lifts sanctions against Iraq under Resolution 1483. The U.S. and the United Kingdom will have authority to control the country until an elected government is in place.

May 23 GEN Tommy Franks, commander of U.S. Central Command, announces plans to retire.

May 30 The Joint Iraqi Security Company becomes the first self-sufficient local military force.

May 31 Members of Task Force Ironhorse Seize illegal weapons during a raid in the town of Tarmiyah, Iraq. The task force consists of soldiers of the Oklahoma National Guard; the 1st Bn., 44th Air Defense Artillery; and artillery units of the 4th Inf. Div.

June 2003

June 1 The National Weapons Policy takes effect in Iraq. Through June 14 all Iraqi citizens can turn in unauthorized weapons to coalition forces through an amnesty program. The intent is to reduce the threat to coalition forces and increase security for Iraqi citizens.

June 2 At the World Economic Summit in Evian, France, news agencies report signs of improved relations between the United States and France, after French proposals for a summit theme emphasizing solidarity and partnership in the global war on terror.

June 2 Soldiers of the Fire Support Element, 2nd Bde., 101st Abn. Div., hand Out propane tanks to villagers in Mosul, Iraq, in an effort to reduce corruption among propane-station owners who have been overcharging customers.

June 2 Operation Dragon Fury is launched in the Shah Kowt section of Afghanistan’s Paktia province. U.S. and Italian forces capture 21 men during the action.

June 3 President Bush meets with Arab leaders in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, where they reaffirm their commitment to peace.

June 3 Four U.S. soldiers and a government employee are released to coalition forces after being detained by Iranian border guards while traveling on the Shatt Al Arab waterway.

June 3 The 1st Bn., 39th Field Artillery, and the 3rd Inf. Div. band return to Fort Stewart, Ga., where they are greeted by some 1,200 family members and friends.

June 5 Coalition forces announce they will assist the International Atomic Energy Agency in inspecting an Iraqi nuclear storage facility near Baghdad, The facility has been controlled by U.S. Marines since April.

June 5 President Bush visits U.S. troops at Camp As Sayliyah, Qatar, to thank them for their service during Operation Iraqi Freedom and for their role as protectors of the United States in the global war on terror.

June 9 Soldiers of the 230th Finance Bn. at Fort Hood, Texas, begin work to stabilize the economy in Iraq’s Salah Ad Din province. Soldiers will work with local commerce leaders and assist banks to return commerce to prewar levels.

June 9 Operation Peninsula Strike–intended to eliminate Saddam-regime loyalists through raids against subversive elements–begins in Iraq.

June 11 Soldiers injured during Operation Iraqi Freedom assist acting Secretary of the Army Les Brownlee with cutting the Army birthday cake at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, Md.

June 12 Operation Peninsula Strike locates nearly 400 suspects loyal to Saddam Hussein.

June 12 Coalition forces and local Afghans celebrate the opening of a water well built by soldiers in the Afghanistan town of Botkha.

June 12 In Iraq, Operation Peninsula Strike leads to the capture of Maj. Gen. Abul Ali Jasmin, the secretary of Saddam Hussein’s defenses ministry, and Brig. Gen. Abdullah Ali Jasmin, head of the regime’s Military academy, and to the seizure of Numerous weapons and ammunition.

June 16 Coalition civil-affairs specialists and engineers visit the Kajaki Dam hydroelectric plant near Kandahar, Afghanistan, to determine maintenance Needs in order to supply more power to The southern part of the country.

June 17 Soldiers of the 10th and 890th Engr. battalions begin destroying weapons and unexploded ordinance left behind in the town of al Fallujah, Iraq.

June 17 Soldiers from the 101st Abn. Div. Volunteer to spend time with children of the Alquosh Orphanage in Mosul, Iraq.

June 18 Coalition and Afghan militia forces launch Operation Unified Resolve around Jalalabad in an effort to root out anti-coalition Forces and eliminate their sanctuaries.

June 23 U.S. soldiers build a helicopter pad at the Civil Military Operations Center in Mosul, Iraq.

June 25 With Army Help, Afghanistan’s Ariana Airlines reopens its route between Kandahar Army Airfield and Kabul.

June 26 Soldiers from the 3rd Inf. Div. Destroy Iraqi missiles Discovered near the town of Fallujah.

July 2003

July 2 Iraq’s TV Mosul reopens, with help from the Army’s 22nd Mobile Public Affairs Detachment. marking the first step on the road to a free press in northern Iraq.

July 4 More than 1,000 hometowns across the U.S. join the Department of defense in Operation tribute to Freedom to recognize the men and women serving in the global war on terror.

July 7 GEN John P. Abizaid assumes command Of U.S. Central Command from GEN Tommy R. Franks during a ceremony in Tampa, Fla. Franks, who commanded Operations against terror on Afghanistan and Iraq, retires After 38 years of service.

July 10 One-hundred five Afghan National Army soldiers graduate from the Noncommissioned Officers Course at the Kabul Military Training Center. The soldiers are from 11 battalions.

July 14 Operation Ivy Serpent, which began July 12, results in the capture of 300 Iraqis, including several former members of Saddam Hussein’s regime.

July 16 Ninety-six Iraqi police officers graduate from a three-week retraining course that focused on human rights and modern techniques. Much of the curriculum and training was presented by soldiers of the San Diego-based 382nd Military Police Detachment.

July 17 An opening ceremony is held for the Gulbahar Bridge in Afghanistan’s Parwan Province. The bridge crosses the Panjir River and will be a conduit between Parwan and Kapisa provinces.

July 19 Baghdad’s Zawra Zoo reopens with help from Army engineers. The zoo was found in a derelict state and had been closed for four months while repairs were made and the animals were being cared for.

July 20 L. Paul Bremer III, the senior U.S. administrator in Iraq, announces that an Iraqi militia is being formed to assist U.S. and coalition forces in rooting out and destroying Saddam loyalists. The militia will fall under American military command and will help with the armed part of the work being done in establishing security in Iraq.

July 21 Soldiers of the 20th Special Forces Group, along with soldiers of the Afghan National Army’s 3rd Bn. 1st Bde., participate in Operation Warrior Sweep, the ANA’s first major combat operation.

July 22 Saddam Hussein’s sons Uday and Qusay are killed by coalition forces during a gun battle in Mosul, Iraq. They represent the “ace of clubs” and the “ace of hearts” in the “Iraq’s Most Wanted” deck.

July 23 As a show of support for those who lost their lives in the Sept. 11 2001, attacks, hundreds of quilts from around the country line the walls of the Women in Military Service for America Memorial at Arlington National Cemetery, Va. The display is part of a temporary exhibit donated by the Pentagon.

July 23 Barzan abd al-Ghafur Sulayman Majid al-Tikriti, commander of Saddam Hussein’s Special Republican Guard, is captured by coalition forces.

July 24, Some, 3,700 soldiers from the 3rd Bde., 3rd Inf. Div., are greeted by family and friends during their return to Fort Stewart from Iraq.

July 25 Exercise Gallant Fox tests the Pentagon Force Protection Agency’s ability to respond to a large-scale chemical threat.

July 26 As part of Operation Warrior Sweep in southern Afghanistan, soldiers of the 82nd Abn. Div. uncover weapons and take six local nationals into custody for further questioning.

July 27 DOD announces that two National Guard brigades will deploy in 2004 as part of the Army’s plan to replace units currently involved in Operation Iraqi Freedom.

July 30 Six enemy combatants now being detained by DOD will be evaluated to determine if any should be charged and tried for war crimes under military commissions. President Bush determined on July 3 that there is reason to believe the six are members of al Qaeda or were involved in the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks.

August 2003

August 1 GEN Pete Schoomaker is sworn in at the Pentagon as the Army’s 35th chief of staff by Les Brownlee, acting secretary of the Army.

The campaign continues …

* Approximately 172,000 active-duty, National Guard and Army Reserve soldiers are currently deployed in some 70 countries worldwide in direct support of the war on terror.

* Federal officials continue to search for clues to determine who instigated the October 2001 anthrax-by-mail attacks that killed five people and sickened 17 others.

* The Department of Defense has begun the transfer of detainees being held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Taken prisoner during U.S. attacks on Taliban and al Qaeda forces in Afghanistan, the detainees are being returned to their countries of origin, as intelligence indicates they do not pose a threat to the U.S.

* A new DOD force and installation security project intended to deter terrorist threats is scheduled to debut Oct. 1. The project is known as “Guardian” and will integrate new capabilities with current force-protection measures.

* Coalition forces are making great strides in improving the quality of life for the Iraqi people. Along with what is in-country, 2.2 million metric tons of food are expected to arrive by October 2003. The Iraqi Ministry of Health has approved a budget that will fund supplies, equipment and basic health-care services. Future electrical, water and sewer improvements are budgeted through the end of the year.

* U.S. and coalition forces continue to help the people of Afghanistan rebuild their nation.

* The search continues for al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden and members of former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein’s inner circle.

COPYRIGHT 2003 Soldiers Magazine

COPYRIGHT 2003 Gale Group