At the behest of my father, I wrote down some notes to be included in a little situation report (SITREP) on Iraq. I decided to address this letter to everyone because by now, you all have probably heard every news station popping off about this and that. So here's to give you an update and clear up some stuff.
First off, in the last six months, 1-9 Infantry has pushed itself into limelight and set the example for victory in Iraq. When we got here six months ago, lesser units that came before us held very little ground in East Ramadi. We pushed in and slowly began taking ground in the northern districts, which were definitely safer. We made nice with some sheiks up there, got them on our team and pushed them into near autonomy in their regions. All this was done for the task of securing those areas and pushing the insurgents there into the fortified and deadly southern district of our sector. Going back was deja vu, as this same area is where I cut my teeth as a private.
So off we went; raid after raid. Plenty of bombs, rockets, IEDs, machine guns and everything else you hear about in Iraq, all within an area roughly the size of six to eight football fields. It was hard, and a good bit of American blood had to get spilled in order to accomplish our mission. My company footed a good bit of that bill and our numbers reflect our actions. The enemy got it worse though.
Within three to four days we racked up 69 confirmed (key word is confirmed) enemy killed-in-action. Countless more severely injured and even more detained. Some serious whackin' and stackin' by some pissed off infantry boys. We broke the infrastructure of their insurgency by seizing roughly fifteen to twenty caches, each one containing enough guns, mines and explosives to equip a small army. We called in airstrike after airstrike, catching them in their homes and safehouses. Through the magic of the Air Force and Guided Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (GMLRS), we brought down destruction worthy of the Old Testament. Over the course of the deployment so far, we have had sixteen KIAs across the task force and over 100 seriously wounded. No small price, but a lot better than the enemy.
So now, the war has changed on us. Transitioning into a new role, we strapped on the guise of military advisors, security guards and bringers of goodies to the Iraqi people. After the push we established a Joint Security Station and reintroduced the Iraqi Army and the Iraqi Police back into the area. They've been doing patrols and keeping the peace and doing a damn fine job of it. We go out with them here and there but we leave it mostly to them.
We've been recruiting more police and outfitting them with better vehicles and equipment. We've been going around, getting the citizens to take a little charge and fix their city up. We've tossed around a little money and hired day laborers so to speak. The people have grown to trust us. They make citizen's arrests of insurgents and turn them over to us. We received little to no contact since the push and we have implemented a system that is working now.
All across Iraq, units are taking note. Everyone from the media to General Petraeus himself has come out here to see what we've done. We're winning the war and setting a good example of how to do it. Although my boys are bored because there aren't any doors to kick in or insurgents to shoot, they realize that this is the ticket out of this country in the right way. Overall, things are going good.
Anyone who has watched the news in the past few days has probably seen it, so I will clear up any rumors now. Due to a leak in the Pentagon, the secretary of Defense had to make a very abrupt announcement or risk the New York Times or someone else spilling the story.
The Army is going to fifteen month deployments to assist the surge in Iraq. Does that affect me? Yes it does. What does this mean? Expect me home around January. Every active Army unit will serve 15 months, including the ones over here now. It may change, as is the Army's way, but we will have to see. In the meantime, expect January 2008 to be my return time.
-Sergeant Eddie Jeffers is a US Army Infantryman serving in Ramadi, Iraq