News / Middle East

    US Troops Clear Highway for Pullout from Iraq

    Arash Arabasadi

    All U.S. combat troops will be out of Iraq by the end of the month.  The road south to Kuwait has been a hotbed of anti-American violence, roadside bombs and assaults by insurgents.  Teams like Minnesota's 1st Platoon A-Company 2-135 Infantry are clearing the last stretch of highway from Iraq to Kuwait of threats to exiting convoys.  

    It’s just another day for the men assigned to protect American convoys leaving Iraq.  Troops, trucks and cargo travel the Main Supply Route into Kuwait… mostly without incident… because of soldiers like these.

    "Our task is to do a patrol," said Team Leader, Lieutenant Derek Malner. "The purpose is to not only clear the route… but also to deter threats, if there were enemy activity on that route for convoys moving north and south."

    They are called CSTs… or, convoy security teams, and it’s units like this one that ride in the military’s heavily armored, IED-defeating Caiman truck.   They travel north from Kuwait to the Iraq border - the K-Crossing - where they receive their mission briefing, assemble their .50 caliber turret-mounted machine guns, and head out into the desert.

    It’s not long before the security team experiences radio troubles.

    So they stop.  All of them.  Out here, in the desert, groups like this must work together to survive in the vast emptiness of southern Iraq… because usually, nothing good waits for them.

    "There was a vehicle trailing us with their lights on, when we started slowing down, they turned their lights off and did a U-turn," said Malner.

    And A-Company followed….

    "For every situation, we have the correct, practiced reaction," said Lieutenant Malner.

    The vehicle is not a threat…and the team rendezvouses with one of the last convoys passing through Iraq to provide safe passage to Kuwait.

    "It’s our duty," said Malner. "We’re infantrymen.  Tonight was easy.  Tonight was a 10-hour event.  Quick: get in; get out.  Support the convoys that are moving north and south."

    "This is my job; this is what I signed-up to do," said gunner, Sergeant Ryan Appleby. "And whether I like it or not I’m going to do it… I’m going to do it right."

    Specialist Sean Raleigh was here in 2003, at the onset of the U.S. invasion… and now he’s here in its final days.  

    "A lot happened between the beginning and no, but coming in and closing the door.  It’s definitely  the biggest reality check was: I swore that I’d never come back here.  And here I am again," said Raleigh.

    And here they’ll be until the last convoy passes into Kuwait.  For the men of the 2-135… it’s just another day at the office.  For the thousands of Americans heading south into Kuwait… it’s their ticket to safe passage across the desert of southern Iraq.  

    You May Like

    Video Democrats Clinton, Kaine Offer 'Very Different Vision' Than Trump

    In a jab at Trump, Clinton says her team wants to 'build bridges, not walls'; Obama Hails Kaine's record; Trump calls Kaine a 'job-killer'

    Turkey Wants Pakistan to Close Down institutions, Businesses Linked to Gulen

    Thousands of Pakistani students are enrolled in Gulen's commercial network of around two dozen institutions operating in Pakistan for over two decades

    AU Passport A Work in Progress

    Who will get the passport and what the benefits are still need to be worked out

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movementi
    X
    July 22, 2016 11:49 AM
    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Poor Residents in Cleveland Not Feeling High Hopes of Republican Convention

    With the Republican Party's National Convention underway in Cleveland, Ohio, delegates and visitors are gathered in the host city's downtown - waiting to hear from the party's presidential candidate, Donald Trump. But a few kilometers from the convention's venue, Cleveland's poorest residents are not convinced Trump or his policies will make a difference in their lives. VOA's Ramon Taylor spoke with some of these residents as well as some of the Republican delegates and filed this report.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video With Yosemite as Backdrop, Obama Praises National Parks

    Last month, President Barack Obama and his family visited some of the most beautiful national parks in the U.S. Using the majestic backdrop of a towering waterfall in California's Yosemite National Park, Obama praised the national park system which celebrates its 100th anniversary this year. He talked about the importance of America’s “national treasures” and the need to protect them from climate change and other threats. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Counter-Islamic State Coalition Plots Next Steps

    As momentum shifts against Islamic State in Iraq, discussions are taking place about the next steps for driving the terrorist group from its final strongholds. Secretary of State John Kerry is hosting a counter-IS meeting at the State Department, a day after defense ministers from more than 30 countries reviewed and agreed upon a course of action. VOA Pentagon correspondent Carla Babb reports.
    Video

    Video Russia's Participation at Brazil Olympic Games Still In Question

    The International Olympic Committee has delayed a decision on whether to ban all Russian teams from competing in next month's Olympic Games in Brazil over allegations of an elaborate doping scheme. The World Anti-Doping Agency recently released an independent report alleging widespread doping by Russian athletes at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. So far, only Russian track and field athletes have been barred from the Summer Games in Brazil. VOA's Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.
    Video

    Video Millennials Could Determine Who Wins Race to White House

    With only four months to go until Americans elect a new president, one group of voters is getting a lot more attention these days: those ages 18 to 35, a generation known as millennials. It’s a demographic that some analysts say could have the power to decide the 2016 election. But a lot depends on whether they actually turn out to vote. VOA’s Alexa Lamanna reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora