Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Combat Engineers Out Front

KALSU — Coalition and Iraqi Security Forces came together recently to help improve road conditions and make travel safer for citizens and Soldiers in North Babil.

Engineers from Company A, 425th Brigade Special Troops Battalion, 4th Brigade Combat Team (Airborne), 25th Infantry Division, along with personnel from 8th Iraqi Army Division and Babil police, conducted Operation Cotentin, a joint effort focused on improving the safety of the roadways near Iskandariyah and Haswah.

“Our mission for Operation Cotentin was to conduct route sanitization in order to make the roads safer,” said 1st Lt. Samuel Chamberlain, a platoon leader with Company A. “Route sanitation involves the clearing of trees, debris, or other thick vegetation that may be used to emplace roadside bombs targeted at the area’s security forces.”

The two-day operation covered about 14 kilometers of road.

During the operation, the engineers moved up the roads in RG-31s and other mine resistant vehicles, knocking down trees and cleaning up debris in their paths using armored graders, bulldozers and other earth moving equipment to make the area easier to view roadside bombs.

While roads were being cleared, Iraqi Security Forces managed traffic and shared security responsibilities with the engineers.

“Clearing the roads make it obvious for other security forces to see any threats that may have been placed to harm them,” Chamberlain said.

“The operation went very smoothly,” said Sgt. 1st Class Beau Shaw, a platoon sergeant and native of Coeur d ‘Alene, Idaho. “Our engineers knew what to do and executed proficiently.”

The engineers have been conducting route sanitation and route clearance since being deployed to the area in October 2006. Since then, 3rd Platoon has an average of at least two IED strikes per Soldier, some with three or more.

“All of our guys love what they do,” Shaw said. “They know they are helping not just their brigade but every single person who travels the roads in our area of operation.”


I'm sure they're almost as good as the 299th CE Btn was. Heh...