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Tuesday, October 19, 2004

IRAQ: Combined Operation Nets Massive Cache

IRAQ: Combined Operation Nets Massive Cache

American Forces Press Service

TAJI, Iraq, Oct. 18, 2004 -- More than 400 57 mm rockets, 7,275 rounds of 14.5 mm anti-aircraft ammunition, and one U.S. tube-launched optically tracked wire- guided missile were just the tip of the iceberg during a recent weapons cache discovery north of Iraq.

"We would begin digging in a new area, and we just kept finding stuff," said the 2nd Battalion, 7th Calvary Regiment senior Iraqi National Guard advisor Capt. Mark Leslie, of the 39th Brigade Combat Team.

The discovery began with a tip from a reluctant informant. Rumors had circulated within the ING camp of a citizen who knew where a very large cache of weapons was located, but fear for his life kept him from speaking with multinational forces.

"Once word got back to us, we began trying to get soldiers with the ING to bring this guy to talk to us. But the gentleman just wasn't having any of it," said ING advisor Staff Sgt. Ronald Denton, of the battalion's Headquarters Company.

Known locally as a fair and honest person, the commander of Company D, 307th ING Battalion finally convinced the man to speak with him and to ultimately work with multinational forces to recover the cache. "Had it not been for the reputation of Lieutenant Colonel Waleed within the community, I really don't think we would have ever found the cache," Denton said.

The information obtained, Company D, 307th ING Battalion supported by troopers from 2nd Bn., 7th Cav., gathered up detection equipment and headed to the location. "The location of the first site put us in the far northern region of 2-7 Cav.'s (area of operation)," explained ING advisor Sgt. 1st Class Robert Haney of Company A. "The initial cache discovery was exactly where the informant said it would be. But as we started spreading out, we kept finding more cache sites."


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