Last night, the 3rd Infantry Division kicked off Operation Marne Huskey, a massive aviation-led operation aimed at suppressing and destroying Al Qaeda, Jaisch al Islam, and Jaisch al Mahdi extremists and terrorists in the area of operations south of Baghdad, on the east, west, and south sides of the Tigris River.
I had this information, along with a great deal more, several days ago, but, rather than running to press and breaking the story, I held it for reasons of Operational Security, or OPSEC. This belief that all of the information about military operations (and national security) does not need to be in the public domain at first possible opportunity -- especially if that release endangers lives -- clearly renders me unqualified for employment at any time in the future at the New York Times or the AP. Ah well.
The DOD issued a release about the Division-sized operation last night (http://www.defenselink.mil/news/newsarticle.aspx?id=47055 ), and with that, I can now tell you a few things about it (without compromising the involved units' OPSEC or endangering participants).
As I described in the article "Tankers on Two Legs" in the Weekly Standard Online this week ( http://weeklystandard.com/Check.asp?idArticle=13990&r=nituj ), south of the Tigris (and just north of the river's u-shaped bend east of Salman Pak, in an area called the "Deep Bowl") is a large sanctuary for AQI and JAI, who moved in when the coalition rolled through in 2003 but failed to leave a presence afterward, creating a vacuum for insurgents. Daily artillery missions have been fired into the area for a while, and sporadic air assaults have been accomplished, but with the kickoff of Marne Huskey yesterday, the tempo -- and scope -- has been markedly increased. Attack aviation is targeting AQI and JAI sites west and south of the Tigris, the 3-1 CAV, located just SE of Baghdad, is cranking up its 24-hr ops against JAM in the Narawahn area ESE of Baghdad, and the 3rd Brigade of the 3rd ID is spinning up for a large number of Air Assault operations in the Deep Bowl over the course of the next month.
The first is coming very soon. As soon as I walk away from this keyboard, I will be moving out to the helicopter landing zone to get on board with A Co. ("Hard Rock") 1-15's White Platoon to move out for the first of 3rd BN's massive offensive, supported by artillery and attack aviation, against al Qaeda and JAI.
Keep us all in your prayers.
- At 3:26 PM, Steve said...
You're doing a fantastic job keeping us updated with your dispatches. I'm not seeing a lot of comments from readers here yet, but rest assured, we're listening.
- At 5:31 PM, said...