Friday, September 7, 2007

Ramadan, Up-Ticks, and Stage Left Exits

Ramadan, the holiest month of Islam, is upon us. Following a lunar calendar that varies slightly from year to year, Ramadan, the ninth lunar cycle month, will begin around September 12th. Consistently over the past few years, the preceeding period and Ramadan have been markers of significant insurgent activity and concentrated attacks on Coalition units.
Ramadan and it's implications for our current benchmarks of success are so intertwined, General Odierno has been quoted in the past few days stating this year's Ramadan will forecast our ability to begin troop reductions, currently at 155,000 troops with the surge forces.

In Ramadi, we have seen a slight up-tick in activity in and around the city. Combat engineers running multiple missions have found an increase in IED activity yet again. Running four missions simultaneously, three came into significant contact with IED emplacements.
Ramadan is not the only explaination. Historically since OIF2 (we are currently in OIF5), unit turnover leads to insurgents taking full advantage of the confusion and inexperience of newly placed units. The combat engineers along with a few Marine units are either turning over control to replacements or are making preparations to draw down certain sectors of Anbar. New guys go in with the eagerness and aggresiveness of freshmen on the first day of class, often leading to early mistakes. With veterans coming out on second or third tours, we are hoping for a shorter learning curve this time.

As for the surgical team, our replacements arrived four days ago. Heralded by a SVBIED that morning, the new team arrived via convoy in the afternoon soaked in sweat and caked with dirt and the pent-up exhaustion of travelling for four days straight. After a few hours of sleep and dinner, they dug right in and were eager to start taking over the mission. We were more than happy to accomodate em'.
Yesterday evening we turned over operations to the new team. Preceeding transfer of authority was three solid days reviewing procedures, flight equipment, mass casualty walk-throughs, walking blood bank, logistical reports, ect. With the new team in place, filled with the corporate knowledge of seven months experience of the old team, Ramadi surgical has officially left the building. It took half the night sitting on the flight line, but we finally caught an H-53 to Taquaddum and collapsed into a bunkbed somewhere in TQ around 2 AM.


Bag Blog said...

I am glad you are heading home and all is well. It has been following your blog and hope you continue to write some. Be blessed.

karin in tx said...

One step closer to being home---YEAH!!!!!! Praying for traveling mercies:)

David M said...

Trackbacked by The Thunder Run - Web Reconnaissance for 09/07/2007
A short recon of what’s out there that might draw your attention, updated throughout the check back often.

PJH said...

Thank you and your colleagues for all that you have done. Bless you and best wishes for the the future.

Missy said...

So that was your last time to hang out on the flight line and you are one step closer to home!

Best wishes for a safe and uneventful trip home - well, that is - uneventful until you arrive home and then here's hoping it's an eventful homecoming full of everything you hope for and deserve! Thank you.

Vanessa said...

hurry home

Teflon Don said...

So I guess that was you I saw at the bus stop. Heh.

At least you got to fly...

I spent 8 hours on the flight line, and then 4 more on a ground convoy to TQ with the newbies replacing us.

LT GO said...

Thank you everyone. I have a few more entries up my sleeve, still.

TD, I'll watch for you in TQ. It's a big place. Good luck to you beyond further points unknown...may see you at a milblog conference back in the world.