Screaming Eagles Through Time

Updates on the 101st Airborne from Operation IRAQI FREEDOM

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Click here to read a very special tribute to the soldiers of the 101st Airborne, from the May 19th issue
of National Review magazine, written by Jim Lacey.

Iraqi Destiny Magazine
Click on the links below to the most recent and past issues of Iraqi Destiny magazine, an Army funded news page, an authorized publication for members of the U.S. Army overseas.

Click on the above link for a letter written by a Screaming Eagle now serving in Iraq, Spc. Kenneth McBean, in the 187th Infantry, the "Rakkasans". This letter was sent to Kenneth's home town newspaper and appears here through the generosity of his mother.  I am very grateful to her for sharing this with all of us.



Please click on the date in the timeline to view pictures released by the news services that day.

20 November 2003
  • The 101st Airborne Division Wednesday conducted numerous offensive operations throughout Northern Iraq against potential enemy locations, resulting in the detention of 161 individuals suspected of anti-coalition activities. In Northern Iraq, the division conducted a brigade combat team air assault, with nearly 500 soldiers simultaneously attacking six objectives 100 kilometers from their operating base. Shortly after dawn, 43 helicopters carried the soldiers to their objective areas in a remote southwestern region of the division's area of operations. The operation, conducted by two battalions from the 327th Infantry Regiment, included raids and searches, traffic control points and blocking positions designed to deny passageways used by anti-coalition forces to infiltrate secure areas. The operation yielded the apprehension of 86 individuals, and the seizure of 49 AK-47s, 4 machine guns, 1 heavy machine gun, 2 sniper rifles, 3 complete rocket propelled grenade systems, 200 detonation devices, 2 pistols, 35,000 .50-caliber rounds, an unknown amount of 7.62 mm rounds, an unknown amount of C4 and identification papers and passports. In Mosul, the 3rd battalion, 502nd Infantry Regiment executed a series of cordon and knock searches in the Eastern portion of the city. The operation targeted Ansar Al Islam suspects and former regime loyalists and resulted in the apprehension of 65 individuals. Included in the capture was a primary target and main Ansar Al Islam facilitator in Mosul. All detained personnel are currently being held in the 2nd Brigade Combat Team holding facility. Additionally, soldiers from 2nd Battalion 502nd Infantry Regiment captured three former regime loyalists at a traffic control point in Northwest Mosul. They recognized the vehicle being driven from a target list and were able to apprehend and transport the suspects to the 2nd Brigade combat team holding facility. Seven other Iraqis were also taken into custody for various anti-coalition activities. A coalition informant, suspected of passing information to subversive elements was detained. One individual who was discovered with an RPG sight and Baath Party propaganda during a cordon-and-knock in central Mosul was apprehended. Five additional people in a vehicle were stopped and detained after they had thrown out weapons while passing U.S. soldiers. Compiled by Leaf-Chronicle staff military reporter Chantal Escoto. Sources: 101st Airborne Division Public Affairs Office and

17 November 2003
101st Airborne Commander Issues Statement on Blackhawk Crash

This is a transcript of the statement issued today from the commander of the 101st Airborne Division in Iraq, Major Geneeral David Petraeus, who is in Mosul, Iraq.

First, let me express the condolences of all the soldiers of the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) to those who lost a loved one in the tragic crashes on Nov. 15.  Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of the 17 soldiers who were killed when two UH-60 Blackhawk helicopters went down in Mosul, Iraq.

The losses we suffered are almost beyond comprehension.  Our fallen comrades were friends and fellow soldiers with whom we have served and sacrificed, fought a tough enemy, and helped a nation rebuild.

The losses will not, however, cause us to falter or fail.  To the contrary, these losses will lead us to redouble our efforts and drive on.

If we are to continue making progress-- and we have indeed made great progress -- we must continue to move forward.  We are resolved to do just that.

The 101st suffered a terrible loss the night of the 15th, and it may be that we will suffer more losses before we all return to Fort Campbell; however, every loss serves as a grim reminder of the need to remain determined, resolute, and courageous in the fight in which we are engaged.

Once again, we ask the members of the Fort Campbell community -- and of the tremendously supportive communities around Fort Campbell -- to embrace the wives and husbands, and the sons and daughters of our soldiers who are serving in Iraq.  We ask, in particular, that you embrace those who have lost loved ones in this fight to bring freedom and democracy to a long-oppressed nation.

Four units of the 101st Airborne Division lost soldiers on the 15th.  In Iraq in the days ahead, we will hold memorial services to honor our dead.  We ask that you honor them as well by continuing your wonderful support of the Screaming Eagles here in Iraq.

God bless you all, and Air Assault.

15 November 2003
  • Two U.S. Army UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters collided in midair Saturday and crashed into a neighborhood in the northern city of Mosul, killing at least 17 soldiers and injuring five others, the U.S. military said. Military officials said one otehr soldier was unaccounted for. All of those on board were of the 101st Airborne Division.
  • Troops from the 101st Airborne Division arrested eight people suspected of conducting attacks against coalition forces and of belonging to the Fedayeen Saddam paramilitary group, the military said Saturday. One more Iraqi wanted for attacks on U.S. forces turned himself in, the military said.

14 November 2003
  • Three US soldiers were wounded in an attack in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul where the American military made a series of arrests, a US military spokesman said Friday. "Yesterday (Thursday) evening, three soldiers were wounded in an improvised explosive device attack on their convoy in the centre of Mosul," 360 kilometres (224 miles) north of Baghdad, said major Hugh Cate of the 101st airborne division. He said that over three days, US troops had arrested 78 "loyalists of the former regime" in a campaign against insurgents loyal to ousted leader Saddam Hussein. "Yesterday evening, we captured 14 loyalists of the former regime, 44 the day before and 20 others the day before that (Tuesday)" in the province of Mosul, Cate said. He said the campaign was not linked to operation Iron Hammerbeing carried out in Baghdad against Saddam loyalists and insurgents.

  • Soldiers from the 101st Airborne Division have captured 20 people suspected of attacks against U.S. forces in northern Iraq, the U.S. military announced Thursday. The arrests took place in a series of raids starting Tuesday night, the division said. Among those captured were four suspected in the Nov. 1 deaths of two 101st soldiers working with the Mosul mayor, the statement said. The military said Iraqi civilians provided information which led soldiers to the suspects
  • U.S. troops detained two people suspected of taking part in last week's shooting down of a Black Hawk helicopter near ousted leader Saddam Hussein's hometown of Tikrit, a U.S. officer said Thursday. Colonel James Hickey, commander of the First Brigade of the 4th Infantry Division, told MSNBC television the men were among 36 people detained during overnight raids near Tikrit. "We captured two people we believe were responsible for shooting down our aircraft last week," he said, referring to a Black Hawk military helicopter brought down on November 7, killing all six U.S. personnel on board.
  • A series of recent nighttime cordons and knocks resulted in the detainment of seven people in the 101st Airborne Division area of operations. Those detained were suspected in previous attacks on coalition forces and of harboring weapons caches. A variety of weapons were also confiscated. In a separate incident, an Iraqi citizen turned in a significant cache of weapons to the 101st Division. The cache consisted of 333 grenades, 92 rocket propelled grenade rounds and two launchers. In a separate incident, the 101st recovered seven surface-to-air missiles. Six SA-7s were turned in to 101st soldiers in Dahuk by an Iraqi citizen. A seventh SA-7 was discovered during a routine patrol by soldiers of the 1st Brigade Combat Team near Qyarrah Airfield. The round was found concealed in high grass, and was secured by the soldiers. Chantal Escoto, Leaf-Chronicle

12 November 2003
  • Iraqi children led soldiers of the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) to two improvised explosive devices Nov. 11, and a third device was discovered by soldiers before it exploded. In the first incident, two children led members of the 1st Brigade Combat Team to two IEDs near the Qayyarah Civil Military Operations Center at about 7 p.m. Nov. 11. In the second incident, a patrol from the 2nd Brigade Combat Team found an unexploded IED in Mosul near one of the five major bridges at about 8:15 p.m. In an unrelated incident, a civilian turned in 68 rocket propelled grenades, 96 anti-tank RPG warheads, 16 anti-personnel RPG warheads, and 107 RPG propellant charges to the Division Headquarters in Mosul. The continued efforts of the citizens of Mosul to turn in weapons and identify hostile areas to coalition forces helps maintain stability and security in the area.

11 November 2003
  • Three suspected terrorists were captured in raids conducted by the 101st Airborne Division in Mosul Saturday and Sunday. Based on intelligence gathered from local Iraqi citizens, the division's second Brigade Combat Team sent joint security forces to three different locations in Mosul and detained the suspects for questioning. One person suspected of planning attacks on coalition forces was found at a hospital in Mosul Saturday. Another thought responsible for several bombings was found Sunday morning in a Mosul home. The home of a third suspect was targeted, but the suspect was not there. The suspect's driver was detained, however, and terrorist paraphernalia, including photos of Osama Bin Laden, were confiscated. Despite recent attacks by former regime loyalists and foreign terrorists, civilians increasingly cooperate with coalition and Iraqi security forces. Joint patrols, checkpoints and raids by these forces daily target threats to peace and stability in northern Iraq. In a separate mission, two weapons caches and 13 people were grabbed during routine patrols conducted by 101st and Iraqi security forces Saturday in northern Iraq. The new Sinjar Police arrested eight people conducting an illegal checkpoint this weekend, and turned them over to coalition forces as the detainees claimed affiliation with the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan. About the same time, a U.S. patrol discovered a cache of 30 60-mm mortar rounds south of Mosul. In a separate incident, the Coalition for Iraqi National Unity turned in 42 rocket-propelled grenade launchers, two RPG boosters, six RPG rounds and four heavy machine guns to U.S. forces northwest of Mosul. Saturday night, three people were detained at a checkpoint in Mosul for illegal weapons possession and were taken to a Mosul police station. In addition, the Iraqi Border Patrol apprehended two smugglers on the Iraq-Syria border for attempting to move 15 barrels of benzene across the border on nine donkeys. The Iraqi border guards and the Mosul and Sinjar police forces, trained by the 101st Airborne Division, continue to demonstrate the ability to conduct security operations in their areas with little to no supervision from coalition forces. Chantal Escoto, Leaf-Chronicle
  • With many soldiers being injured or killed by Improvised Explosive Devices, coalition forces are preparing troops with awareness training. "There is approximately 600,000 tons of ordinance out on the ground throughout the country, and the enemy is getting smarter every single day on how to use it," said Maj. Adam Boyd, 1138th Mine, Explosive and Ordinance Information Coordination Center. Soldiers may encounter a number of different forms of IEDs, such as disguised IEDs that are mobile or stationary, improvised grenades and IEDs placed in, on or under the target. Officials say the enemy is targeting vehicles at intersections and round-abouts, on and under bridges and overpasses, on verges and breaks in the median strips, when passing through defiles and on the open highways. Some of the ways military personnel are trained to avoid these IEDs is by altering routes, times and procedures because it makes it more difficult for the enemy to pick a target. Soldiers are also always on the look out for suspicious activity and indicators of possible IEDs. Chantal Escoto, Leaf-Chronicle

10 November 2003
  • Two officials of the Army's Judge Advocate General corps from the Pentagon were among six soldiers killed in the crash of a Black Hawk helicopter in Iraq on Friday, the Defense Department announced. Army officials said Monday they still had not determined whether the helicopter that crashed near Saddam Hussein's hometown of Tikrit was downed by a mechanical problem or by a rocket-propelled grenade. All six soldiers aboard the helicopter were killed. They included two officials of the Army's JAG corps, which provides judges and lawyers for the Army's military courts. They were identified as Command Sgt. Maj. Cornell W. Gilmore I, 45, of Baltimore; and Chief Warrant Officer 5 Sharon T. Swartworth, 43, of Virginia. The helicopter's four-member crew from the 101st Airborne Division also was killed: Capt. Benedict J. Smith, 29, of Monroe City, Mo.; Chief Warrant Officer 3 Kyran E. Kennedy, 43, of Boston; Staff Sgt. Paul M. Neff II, 30, of Fort Mill, S.C.; and Sgt. Scott C. Rose, 30, of Fayetteville, N.C.
  • Complacency is a constant battle for crew and crew chiefs of the 4th Battalion, 101st Aviation Regiment. Every day, often seven days a week, 12 to 14 hours a day, the flight crew checks every nut and bolt on to make sure the battalion's UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters are safe to keep in the sky. Despite the recent downings of Black Hawks by hostile fire, the crews continue their job with dedication, although every day has become eerily similar. For every 10 hours of flight time, the flight crew must complete a 90-minute maintenance check of the aircraft. For the 30 and 100 flight-hour intervals, the maintenance checks are more thorough, sometimes lasting more than two days. After 500 flight hours, the helicopters go through what is called "phase maintenance," which often lasts up to 45 days. After months of deployment, the fight against complacency is one the flight crews cannot afford to lose. Without the proper checks and repairs, the Black Hawks are grounded. "The battalion is only as strong as the aircraft we have up," said Spc. Brian Quick, of Rockingham, N.C. "There's nobody who works harder than those guys do, in my opinion, from light until dark," said Capt. Randy Bell of Jackson, Miss., Company B, 4-101 Aviation commander. "Everything my company does is on the backs of those soldiers." Their jobs aren't low-risk either. Aside from the lives of the pilots, crew and passengers, a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter costs Uncle Sam around $8 million. Chantal Escoto, Leaf-Chronicle.

9 November 2003
  • The 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) soldiers and Iraqi security forces confiscated two weapons caches and detained 13 individuals during routine patrols conducted Nov. 8 in northern Iraq. The new Sinjar Police arrested eight people who were conducting an illegal checkpoint yesterday afternoon, and turned them over to Coalition forces as the detainees claimed affiliation with the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan. During the same time period, a U.S. patrol discovered a cache of 30 rounds of 60 mm mortar south of Mosul. In a separate incident the Coalition for Iraqi National Unity turned in 42 rocket-propelled grenade launchers, two RPG boosters, six RPG rounds and four heavy machine guns to U.S. forces northwest of Mosul. Three individuals were detained at a checkpoint in Mosul last night for illegal weapons possession and were taken to a Mosul police station. Additionally, the Iraqi Border Patrol apprehended two smugglers on the Iraq-Syria border for attempting to move 15 barrels of gasoline across the border on nine donkeys. The Iraqi border guards and the Mosul and Sinjar police forces, trained by the 101st Airborne Division, continue to demonstrate the ability to conduct successful security operations in their areas.

7 November 2003
  • Seven soldiers were killed in two separate incidents Friday, marking the single deadliest day in Iraq for the post. Post spokesman George Heath confirmed one soldier was killed and six wounded three "very seriously" when a convoy was hit at 7 a.m. Friday. Less than three hours later, a Black Hawk helicopter carrying six Fort Campbell soldiers crashed, killing all of them. Additionally, A soldier attached to the 101st Airborne Division was killed at 10 a.m. Thursday when a convoy was attacked. Two soldiers were wounded in that incident. Names of those killed Thursday and Friday were not released, pending notficication of next of kin. Heath said it may be 48 to 72 hours before names are released. Thomya Hogan, Leaf-Chronicle.

5 November 2003
  • After five months of constant use, the two military constructed bridges over the Khazir River, 30 minutes east of Mosul, were ready to be repaired or replaced by mid-October. The two bridges span Highway 2 and connect Mosul to Erbil, the two largest cities in Northern Iraq. Engineers from the 326th Engineer Battalion, 101st Airborne Division, 299th Engineer Company and the 74th Multi Role Bridge Company installed the bridges in April to take the place of two two-lane bridges that were destroyed by Iraqi forces during the war. The southern bridge is a medium-girder bridge, an old design that takes more personnel and time to build and isn't meant to hold the weight of tractor-trailers, said Maj. Christopher Lestochi, operations officer, 326th Engineer Battalion. But the months of people driving too fast in large vehicles caused cracks to appear in all of the 82 deck filler panels that run perpendicular to the two long beams that span the banks. The northern bridge is a more modern dry support bridge that can support heavier loads. Its simple design originally required only eight soldiers to assemble it. Cracks also started to form on some of the 16 filler panels that made up its 112-feet length. A team of civilian structural engineers, soldiers from the 326th and from the Army Corps of Engineers were unable to determine the cause of the cracks in the northern bridge, so they placed a video teleconferencing phone call seeking help. The construction made it possible for people to continue to use the bridges to get to and from work and home, and for truckers to get shipments of goods to their destinations on time. The two coalition bridges will serve the needs of the community until contractors can be brought in to rebuild the original bridges sometime in the future, said Lt. Col. Allen Ware, forward support team leader, Northwest Division, Army Corps of Engineers. Chantel Escoto, Leaf-Chronicle.


Soldiers from the 326th Engineer Battalion, 101st Airborne Division, 52nd Engineer Battalion and the 957th Multi-Role Bridge Co. replace the deck filler panels on the south Khazir River bridge. The operation took fewer than five hours.

4 November 2003
  • Soldiers of the 716th Military Police Battalion, "Peacekeepers," 101st Airborne Division Monday watched 101st commander Maj. Gen. David Petraeus pass their unit's colors to a new commander after a skirmish in Karbala left their former leader, Lt. Col. Kim Orlando, and two other soldiers, dead. Lt. Col. Ashton Hayes took command of the battalion in the assumption of command ceremony amid the arid, ancient Iraqi city of Babylon. "As many of you know, there is a formula for change of command ceremonies," Petraeus said. "Today's ceremony, however, is not a normal change of command. If it were, we would be standing on the freshly-cut grass of the Division Parade Field (at Fort Campbell). Our families would be in the bleachers, and, of course, the outgoing commander would be sitting next to the incoming commander. "We all know what's missing today -- our families, Lt. Col. Orlando and several of your other comrades," Petraeus continued. "And those absences, especially that of (Lt.) Col. Orlando, who would have played such a key role in this ceremony, weigh heavily on us ... so though all changes of command are emotional occasions, this one is unquestionably more so." Orlando led the Peacekeepers, the most decorated military police battalion in the U.S. Army, throughout Operation Iraqi Freedom, in support of the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force, directing the establishment of seven Iraqi police academies where more than 6,000 Iraqi policemen were trained, Petraeus said. Much of Hayes' experience comes from his time at Fort Bragg, N.C. He was deputy provost marshal of the 82nd Airborne Division, operations officer and later executive officer for the 503rd MP Battalion and executive officer for the 16th MP Brigade while at Fort Bragg. Following Orlando's death, Hayes was quick to respond to the void with which the 101st was left, Petraeus said. Chantel Escoto, Leaf-Chronicle.


Maj. Gen. David H. Petraeus, commander, 101st Airborne Division, passes the 716th Military Police Battalion flag to Lt. Col. Ashton L. Hayes, signifying the battalion's change of command. Hayes took over after the death of  former commander Lt. Col. Kim S. Orlando Oct. 16 in Karbala.

  • Soldiers from across the nation have answered the call to serve their country in the latest war in Iraq. At OU, more than 100 students in the last year have given up books and pencils in exchange for guns and helmets. Eric Hartmann, political science sophomore, said he received the call suddenly one day in February while studying for a Spanish test. Hartmann's biggest claims to fame have a lot to do with being an Oklahoma Sooner and a family member. "I was the first Sooner in Baghdad," Hartmann said. His unit, the 45th Infantry Brigade, entered Baghdad delivering supplies for the 101st Airborne Division. He also proudly claims to be the first Hartmann in Baghdad. His father--Robert Hartmann, who served in the 101st Airborne during the Gulf War--never entered Baghdad. Robert Hartmann retired after 21 years in the 101st Airborne.

Eric Hartmann, soldier and Sooner.