20 Apr 2004 Page One Washington Post Coverage for Joe’s Unit
The Washington Post has a page one story on Joe Roche’s battalion by Tom Ricks today.
Joe also was able to get in touch with us by e-mail. Turns out Joe was, in his words “the one who got to show him around. Very nice man, Tom Ricks.”
The article discusses the soldiers’ personal reactions to the unexpected extension of their deployments and describes their current home base, nicknamed “Baghdad Island.”
Of the latter, Joe says:
We have only 4 days left on the Island. It is going to be hard to leave here for the last time. I’m very glad that though it was too short and didn’t say much, Tom Ricks wrote about the Island in today’s WashPost. This really is an amazing place. Emotions around here are at their highest. Yes, Baghdad Island is being shut down.
The Post also described the unit’s new mission…
….as part of a big, brigade-size quick reaction force that the U.S. Army is creating here to rush to hot spots.
The idea behind that force is to prevent the embarrassing recurrence of loss of control of cities, as occurred recently in Fallujah, Najaf and Kut in central Iraq. The new force also promises to give commanders an extra bit of combat flexibility as the planned turnover of sovereignty on June 30 nears — an event that authorities here widely expect will be preceded by outbursts of violence.
Of the new mission, Joe says:
[We have] been doing a lot of recon runs. Our mission tasking has been changed so that now we aren’t going to be a stationary force here or elsewhere, but instead we are forming up as one massive QRF-like force (quick reaction force).
This is cool, and kind of scary too. Let me try to explain. On the cool side, we are going to be forming up at BIAP, w/ all the comforts BIAP has for us. This is like one massive huge US military base/city. Many of the guys are happy because there are girls there. We’ll have PX, ‘net and phone access. We should also have decent 3-to-6 man bays to live in.
HOWEVER!, and this is the kicker — if anywhere anything goes down that is bad, our QRF force is the one that will immediately deploy out to deal w/ it. That includes Fallujah, Najaf, here in Baghdad, everything and everywhere. We will be going wherever the fight is. Further, if and when it happens, we could be gone doing that for days or weeks. Further!, we could go from one to another as long as it takes w/out returning to BIAP.
It is all kind of cool because now we’re not going to have the constant street missions… none of the stress each hour and constantly 24/7, all night and all day, …you get the idea. We’re relieved of that. Two other units are taking over the missions and patrols we have done all year. We’re off of Task Force Baghdad. Wow.