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March 25, 2005

More on the 617th MP Company

By now, most of you have heard of this fight - via the media, Blackfive, Greyhawk - the usual suspects. Due to the flow of my work and blogging, I don't usually jump on the 'breaking stories' because someone's already fed 'em to Matt and the 'Hawk - but yesterday I did get some pictures.

If you have no idea what I'm talking about - I'm talking about the firefight of the Richmond, Kentucky based 617th MP Company - you can read about it here.

The soldiers continued to take fire as they traveled up the main highway. Squad leader Nein wanted to make a right turn onto another road, but just as the Humvees were turning the corner, one was hit by a rocket-propelled grenade.

Spc. Casey Cooper, 20, was up in the gunner's turret when the vehicle was hit.

"The heat and the concussion knocked me," said Cooper. "I could feel it hit me in the chest and the face, and that was about it. I blacked out after that."

But he quickly rejoined the fight. By that time, the U.S. soldiers were out of their vehicles.

I'm gonna put another face with the story, and some gun pics. Perfect match for the Castle!

Let's meet Specialist Cooper, and see what sort of stuff this intrepid little Band of Brothers gathered up in as thier part in trying to further the cause of Iraqi sovereignty, free from tribal tyranny. Or at least something better than they had.


In this photo released by the U.S. Army Wednesday, March 23, 2005, U.S. Army 503rd MP Battalion, 18th MP Brigade gunner SPC Casey Cooper stands next to a his damaged Humvee near Baghdad, Iraq (news - web sites) recently, after it received a direct hit from a rocket-propelled grenade, knocking him unconscious. Cooper was revived and helped his fellow soldiers defeat an attack on a coalition supply convoy March 20, about 18 miles southeast of Baghdad, according to U.S. officials. (AP Photo/U.S. Army, Sgt. 1st Class Marshall P. Ware)

And let's see some of the captured haul - and what they were facing. Once again, training, discipline (instilled by pride and training, maintained by good leadership) and basic soldiering pays off... this is 12 troops fending off more than three times their number, killing 17 of the bad guys, in a fight that took place at a time and place of the bad guy's choosing. That's just professional-quality soldiering - and if there are any Regulars out there still bad-mouthing the Guard and Reserve in general (as vice specifics) - give it a rest, wouldja?


In this photo released by the U.S. Army Wednesday, March 23, 2005, U.S. Army U.S. Army 503rd MP Battalion, 18th MP Brigade Sgt. 1st Class Marshall P. Ware, of Lexington, KY, poses with a cache of insurgent weapons recovered after an insurgent attack on a supply convoy March 20, about 18 miles southeast of Baghdad. Seventeen insurgents were killed in the battle. (AP Photo/U.S. Army, SPC Casey Cooper)


In this image made available 23 March 2005,Sgt. Leigh Ann Hester, team leader, 4th Platoon, 617th Military Police Company, 503rd MP Battalion, 18th MP Brigade, stands in front of a captured weapons cache after her squad repelled an insurgent attack on a Coalition supply convoy March 20 about 18 miles southeast of Baghdad.(AFP/US Army-HO)

UPDATE: I *was* going to publish the AAR, but Matt at Blackfive already has. Just another reason he was the winner of "Best Milblog". I was waiting for permission (not implying anything about Matt - this has to do with my still having an active clearance and some of the rules associated with it. Matt got it from different sources than I did - it came to him clear to use.)

Small Guard Unit Fends Off Dozens of Iraqi Insurgents=(women in combat)
abc news ^ | March 22, 2005 | Martha Raddatz


Posted on 03/23/2005 6:29:09 PM PST by Flavius


BAGHDAD, Iraq, March 22, 2005 — National Guard soldiers from the Richmond, Ky.-based 617th Military Police Company were still reminiscing today about the extraordinary battle they fought on Sunday, when dozens of Iraqi insurgents ambushed a U.S. patrol — touching off one of the fiercest battles in Iraq since the fight for Fallujah last fall.

But what is more extraordinary is who the U.S. soldiers are — a shoe store manager, hotel worker, printing press operator and several students.

The firefight serves as a reminder of how citizen-soldiers are shouldering much of the burden in Iraq. Of the U.S. forces fighting in Iraq, 40 percent belong to the National Guard or Reserves.

Anatomy of the Fight

Ten U.S. soldiers in three armored Humvees were providing support to a truck convoy south of Baghdad when they were attacked by insurgents this weekend.

"When we first started taking fire, I just looked to the right and saw seven or eight guys shooting back at us — muzzle flashes," said Sgt. Leigh Ann Hester.

"You could hear a lot of booms from the [rocket-propelled grenades]. You could hear bullets hitting metal," said Spc. Jason Mike.

The insurgents came out of a grove of trees and started firing from a roadside canal. When the shooting started, the National Guard members drove their vehicles between the convoy and the insurgents.

"Basically, training kicks in, and you just maneuver and do what you have to do to stay alive," said Staff Sgt. Timothy Nein.

The soldiers continued to take fire as they traveled up the main highway. Squad leader Nein wanted to make a right turn onto another road, but just as the Humvees were turning the corner, one was hit by a rocket-propelled grenade.

Spc. Casey Cooper, 20, was up in the gunner's turret when the vehicle was hit.

"The heat and the concussion knocked me," said Cooper. "I could feel it hit me in the chest and the face, and that was about it. I blacked out after that."

But he quickly rejoined the fight. By that time, the U.S. soldiers were out of their vehicles.

"At first, I shot one guy," Hester said. "I saw him fall."

"I started firing with my M4 [light machine gun] with my left hand and the 249 [machine gun] with my right hand, trying to lay down fire on both sides," said Mike.

"I went through my full magazine and went to reload," said Spc. Ashley Pullen.

As the fighting progressed, insurgents started firing machine guns from a two-story house, wounding three U.S. soldiers.

Related Stories

* Insurgent Training Camp Found in N. Iraq

"I went inside the vehicle and grabbed the anti-tank rocket and took the house out," said Mike.

In the end, the unit killed 27 insurgents. The wounded U.S. soldiers are all expected to recover.

"After it was all said and done with," said Hester, "it was overwhelming what actually happened."

The soldiers of the 617th Military Police Company will be back out on patrol on Wednesday. They are not expected home — to the shoe store or the printing shop — until November.

ABC News' Martha Raddatz filed this report for "World News Tonight."


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