Via Central Command, two stories you may not have otherwise encountered. First, this: Recruitment Drive for Iraqi Army Draws Thousands:
An estimated 8,000 to 10,000 men arrived by foot, bus, and other vehicles by sun up Feb. 14, at an airfield outside an Iraqi Army base in an effort to join Iraq’s army, officials said.Then, some news about American Combat Engineers from down Tennessee way:
Of that, approximately 5,000 made it through a screening process that led them onto the base, which is home to several thousand Iraqi Soldiers and a contingent of U.S. service members, officials said. Most will be transferred to other bases in Iraq to supplement existing units.
The process was a result of the largest recruitment effort for the Iraqi Army to date, said U.S. Navy Lt. Cmdr. Anthony Woodley of the Multi-National Security Transition Command-Iraq.
During the screening process, potential recruits were given a literacy test, physical condition check and questioned about prior military service. Once inside the base, they went through a medical screening and received uniforms, boots and other military-related clothing.
Of those who were turned back, or did not make it through the screening, leaders told them to return for another recruitment drive.
In an effort to make Iraqi roads safer for fellow Soldiers, a U.S Army Reserve company of combat engineers patrol selected roads near Baqubah, searching for "trouble" in a mission called Operation Trailblazer.There's more, in both cases.
Soldiers from Company A, 467th Engineer Battalion, Memphis, Tenn., took over operations from the 141st Engineer Battalion, North Dakota National Guard, at Forward Operating Base Warhorse.
Their mission is focused on searching pre-determined supply routes in the Baqubah area for improvised explosive devices planted by terrorists.
"Our job is to go out and look for trouble in the form of IEDs planted near the sides of roads," said Sgt. 1st Class Dallas Bryan, combat engineer.
With teams of 18 Soldiers or more, the "Trailblazers" set out on convoys of several supporting vehicles and one "Buffalo," scouring the road-side for signs of terrorist activity.
The Buffalo, a ground mine detection system, uses a hydraulic arm to sift through trash piles or probe areas where IEDs are thought to have been hidden.