Screaming Eagles Through Time
May 2003


29 May 2003

  • Military officials have dropped some of the charges against a soldier accused of a grenade attack on his comrades in Kuwait during the war in Iraq. The charges against Sgt. Hasan K. Akbar had included two counts of premeditated murder and 17 counts of attempted murder. The Army said Wednesday Akbar now faces just three counts of attempted murder along with the premeditated murder counts. Two soldiers were killed and 14 injured in the March 23 attack on members of the 101st Airborne Division. Military authorities have not outlined a motive. Officials said some of the minor charges were eliminated so that prosecutors could focus on the major charges. "It is fairly common ... for some of the lesser charges to be dropped," said Master Sgt. Kelly A. Tyler, a spokeswoman at Fort Campbell, which is home to the 101st. Akbar, 32, will face an Article 32 hearing, similar to a grand jury proceeding in a civilian court, sometime in June, Tyler said. The Army has assigned a team of attorneys to assist Akbar, though he has the right to hire his own civilian attorney.
  • In Fort Campbell, Ky., soldiers from the 101st Airborne Division killed fighting in Iraq and in past wars were hailed as heroes. "They cannot, they must not be forgotten for in their death they gave life to America," retired Command Sgt. Maj. Harvey Appleman said during a Memorial Day ceremony. Veterans from World War II, the Vietnam War, the 1991 Persian Gulf War and latest Iraq war - each war in which the division has participated - placed a wreath at the base of a black marble monument built in remembrance of the thousands of soldiers killed while wearing the division patch.
26 May 2003

  • In Al Biaj, an unknown assailant fired a rocket-propelled grenade at 101st Airborne Division soldiers on patrol, but the round failed to explode.
15 May 2003
  • Soldiers from the 101st Airborne Division shot and wounded a looter in Mosul after being fired upon, U.S. military officials said. The shooting, which came a day after military officials denied issuing a shoot-on-sight policy against looters, was in accordance with the rules of engagement because the soldiers had come under fire, the Army said. No American casualties were reported.
14 May 2003
  • After fighting its way across about 1,200 kilometers from where it entered Iraq two months ago, the 101st Air Assault Division (Screaming Eagles) has shifted operations to providing a safe and secure environment for Iraqis and hunting for weapons of mass destruction in northern Iraq, said 101st commanding general Gen. Dave Petraeus. Petraeus gave the Pentagon Press Corps an update on what his troops are doing via a video teleconference May 13. "Now more than 18,000 Screaming Eagles are on duty in the northern sector of Iraq helping maintain a safe and secure environment in Nineveh Province," Petraeus said. "Our soldiers have deployed throughout our area of operation -- securing cities and key infrastructure facilities; helping the new interim city and province government get established; conducting joint patrols with Iraqi policemen and manning police stations in the city; helping organize and secure the delivery of fuel and propane; assisting with the organization of the recently begun grain harvest. "We also are working very hard to collect and secure munitions and weapons that could harm the citizens of Mosul in the area and that typically can be found in caches all over the region -- some 400 that have already been identified, including ones in schools, fields and former military facilities." In a recent incident of potential unrest, a Mosul television station aired statements from local political agitators and one from "the Saddam letter" calling for Iraqis to riot and rise up against American occupiers. While it is within the coalition's mandate of providing a safe and secure mandate to either close that station down or install an officer with the mission of censoring what is broadcast, Petraeus said he chose not to. Instead, he had his staff open a dialogue with the station manager which clarified what and what could not be aired. In those talks, 101st staff learned that station workers had been threatened with reprisals once U.S. troops pulled out of the area if the questionable segments were not aired. Petraeus said he talked to those responsible for making the threats and they agreed to stop. The general said he retained the right to install a censor officer if it became necessary. On the issue of finding weapons of mass destruction, Petraeus said that the 101st has experienced many false starts. "There were various Stations of the Cross of evaluating the various items that we would find all the way from the soldier himself with his test kit, then to the chemical NCO, then the battalion and on up to the division experts, and then we'd bring in the Fox recon vehicle," Petraeus said. "And as you know, we went all the way with positives all the way through the Fox and even beyond once or twice, and then the real experts got it and said, yeah, it was chemicals, but not necessarily precursors or chemical weapon-type items." The 101st did find a suspected mobile biological agent production lab buried at the Al-Kindi Rocket and Missile Research and Development Center May 9. A data plate on the trailer showed that it was built in 2003. As operations have shifted from combat operations, Petraeus said his soldiers are just as intent on winning the peace in Iraq as they were in winning the war. (Army News Service, May 14, 2003)
  • Soldiers from the Army's 101st Airborne Division found another trailer in northern Iraq that experts believe was a mobile biological weapons laboratory, the division's commander said Tuesday. The troops found the trailer Friday at al-Kindi, the largest former missile research facility in Iraq, said Maj. Gen. David Petraeus, commander of the 101st. The trailer is "close to identical" to another found last month in the same area that U.S. officials believe was a mobile germ weapons workshop, Petraeus told Pentagon reporters in a two-way video link from his headquarters in Mosul.
  • American forces helped reopen on Tuesday a border crossing between northern Iraq and Syria, a country Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld accused of letting military supplies into Iraq during the recent war, officials said. Maj. Gen. David Petraeus, commander of the 101st Airborne Division, told reporters: "Today we helped re-open the Iraqi border with Syria to trade in accordance with the U.N. Security Council resolutions that govern such trade." This includes bans on commerce in such items as weapons.
  • Almost 20 soldiers from a military support unit from Fort Campbell returned to Fort Campbell yesterday morning after serving in the war against Iraq. Master Sgt. Kelly Tyler, a spokeswoman at Fort Campbell, said members of the 102nd Quartermaster Company, 101st Corps Support Group, provided logistic support to vehicles and aircraft in various locations throughout the region. Their specific location, and unit they supported, is classified. About 110 more members of the 102nd remain overseas with the 101st Airborne Division. Tyler said the unit's return does not mean that there is a large redeployment of the 101st Airborne Division.
  • An assembly of more than 200 Iraqis meeting under US auspices elected a mayor and council for the northern capital of Mosul Monday that reflects the complex ethnic makeup that has sparked intercommunal fighting. "I congratulate you on your achievement today," Major General David Petraeus, commanding officer of 101st Airborne Division told delegates after the election. "You have taken a major step forward for Mosul and Iraq. I want to thank the many citizens who worked with us to organise this meeting," he said.

01 May 2003

  • Remarks by the President from the USS Abraham Lincoln. At Sea Off the Coast of San Diego, California: "Major combat operations in Iraq have ended. In the battle of Iraq, the United States and our allies have prevailed. And now our coalition is engaged in securing and reconstructing that country. In this battle, we have fought for the cause of liberty, and for the peace of the world. Our nation and our coalition are proud of this accomplishment. Yet, it is you, the members of the United States military, who achieved it. Your courage, your willingness to face danger for your country and for each other, made this day possible. Because of you, our nation is more secure. Because of you, the tyrant has fallen, and Iraq is free."