Sunday, April 1, 2012

The Life of a Military Working Dog (+HD video)

Produced by TSgt Lisa Carlson, 379th AEW/Public Affairs, 379th Air Expeditionary Wing
Video by Tech. Sgt. Lisa Carlson

This video is from the perspective of a military working dog.  Kichi is a service member just like any other; he has a job to do, likes and dislikes, loyalty and a sense of pride and accomplishment.  Find out a little about what it’s like to see the world from the view of this canine companion – a 379th AEW Military Working Dog.

The 379th AEW produces video stories from the men and women in Southwest Asia. Here's the perspective from a 4-legged military member. Kichi- 379th AEW Military Working Dog. Voiced by SSgt Brandon Durham, 379th AEW, Dog handler. Produced by TSgt Lisa Carlson, 379th AEW/Public Affairs. Also available in High Definition.
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One confirmed dead, 26 injured in twin blasts in Kenya

An investigator searches the site of a grenade attack in Mombasa
(Xinhua/Cazeiya Mbuyu)
MOMBASA, Kenya, March 31 (Xinhua) -- Kenya's authorities confirmed that at least one person died while 26 others were injured in separate blasts in the coastal city of Mombasa on Saturday night.

Coast Provincial Commissioner Ernest Munyi said three people were seriously injured in the first blast which took place in Mtwapa, about 15 kilometers north of Mombasa while two people were seriously wounded in the second incident in Municipal stadium in Mombasa.

Munyi said a passenger in a vehicle hurled a grenade at a group of Christian faithful who were holding a crusade at Mtwapa while a grenade was also hurled a few minutes after the first incident at View Stadium bar in Mombasa.

Coast deputy police chief Jacinta Kinywa had earlier told Xinhua that the first attack took place at Chandara, Chania booking office in Mtwapa about 15 km north of Mombasa where a group of Christian faithful were holding prayers in an open area, injuring ten people.

Kinywa said a man hurled a grenade into the crusade and escaped during the confusion as several people were running into different directions.

"The crusade was at a place called Nyambura where the man threw the grenade into a crusade in Mtwapa. The injured have been rushed to the hospital and the place has been sealed off," Kinywa said by telephone on Saturday night.

The latest incident comes as several Christians prepare crusades countrywide to welcome Easter holidays which begin on Friday next week.

There was also conflicting reports on the second attack in an entertainment spot in the Municipal stadium with some residents saying there was a blast while others said it was fireworks.

"There was attack in a restaurant in View Stadium in the Mombasa Municipal Council in Tononoka grounds but patrons managed to escape unscathed," said one of the residents.

The anti-terrorism police officers and rescue teams have rushed to the scene.

According to an eye witness at Mtwapa, Dan Ndambuki, the prayer gathering was almost coming to an end when the blast occurred, forcing the faithful to scamper for safety.

"The blast occurred at around 6.40 p.m. It landed on a woman before touching the ground. The woman was in a group of several others who were also injured," Ndambuki said.

Another witness who did not want to be named said the grenade's impact cut off the woman's head.

"It was very hard to know whether it was a bomb or a grenade because what we heard was a loud blast and people started scampering for safety in different directions. There was total confusion," the witness said.

The police said emergency services including ambulances had been mobilized to undertake rescue efforts

On March 10, at least nine people were killed while more than 60 others were wounded following multiple explosions near a busy bus station in Kenyan capital.

The latest explosion comes after two explosions rocked in Nairobi in October last year near the scene of the latest incident which were blamed on Al-Shabaab sympathizers.

The latest blasts in Mombasa come amid intensified security checks in the country in an effort to flush out Al-Shabaab militia in the east African nation.

However, nobody has claimed responsibility for the Saturday blasts in Mombasa.

Al-Shabaab is a Somali-based militant group that at one time controlled large administrative areas of the lawless country. It has claimed links to the global al Qaida terrorist network.

However, the group's territorial control has come under attack in the last six months from the Kenya Defense Forces after a series of abductions targeting tourists and aid workers that were blamed on the group.

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Sub-leader of Abu Sayyaf killed in S. Philippines

Political Map of Basilan Province, Philippines...
Political Map of Basilan Province, Philippines (as of 2011) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
MANILA, April 1 (Xinhua) -- A sub-leader of the terrorist group Abu Sayyaf was killed in an ambush staged by lawless elements in Southern Philippine town of Al Barkah, Basilan Province, before noon Sunday, the military said.

Long Malat Sulayman, alias Long Malat, the sub-leader of Abu Sayyaf in Al Barkah and nearby Tipo-tipo, was attacked by a group of "local lawless elements" due to clan war around 11 a.m., said Col. Ricardo Visaya, commander of the 104th Brigade and Joint Task Force Basilan.

Visaya said Sulayman was hit in the leg and died of blood loss around 3 p.m. His body was later brought to Makalang village, also in Al Barkah town.

He added that Sulayman was the only Abu Sayyaf sub-leader who was hit in the ambush, which was followed by a firefight between the two sides.

Asked what will be the effect of Sulayman's death to the Abu Sayyaf, Visaya said: "Long Malat is a sub-leader of the Abu Sayyaf, so this will be a big loss to their leadership..They will be in disarray for the meantime that they have no leader."

As to the motive of the attack, the official said: "Those who staged the ambush have a land conflict with Malat. The rubber industry is booming here so what they need is space to plant. They have been fighting over land to plant rubber."

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Roadside bomb explosion kill 3 in Uruzgan

According to local officials in southern Uruzgan province, at least 3 people including an Afghan police officer were killed and another Afghan police officer was injured following a roadside bomb explosion in this province.

The officials further added, the incident took place at Gezab district on Saturday evening while a number of the solidarity council members were crossing the area.

Provincial governor media office officials said, at least 2 members of the soladarity council were killed along with an Afghan police officer and another Afghan police officer was injured duringthe incident.

The members of the solidarity council were transporting cash relating to a number of projects when their vehicle struck a roadside bomb, the officials added.

No group including the Taliban militants have so far claimed responsibility behind the incident. Taliban militants frequently use improvised explosive device to target Afghan and coalition security forces.

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35 Taliban fighters surrender in Herat (+video)

HERAT CITY (PAN): Thirty-five Taliban fighters, including a commander, joined the peace process in the western province of Herat, an official said on Sunday.

Led by Mullah Mir Ahmad, the militants surrendered late on Saturday as a result of efforts by border police, Deputy Governor Asiluddin Jami told Pajhwok Afghan News.

The men also turned in their weapons to the government, he said, adding the group had been operating in Kuhsan and Gulran districts of the province.

Regional head of High Peace Council Maulvi Ghulam Sarwar hoped the insurgents’ surrender would have a direct and positive impact on the security situation in the two districts.

Ahmad asked the central government to provide them with job opportunities.

The deputy governor said construction projects in the two districts were planned and job opportunities would be provided to residents in the near future.

On March 26, Taliban commander Obaidullah joined the peace process along with 11 associates in the Kushk-i-Kohna district of the province.

from Pajhwok

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Nigeria: Another Kogi Bomb Factory - 10 Killed in Boko Haram, Security Forces Gun Duel

Security forces, yesterday, clashed with gunmen suspected to be members of the Islamist group, Boko Haram.

By the time the booming of guns went down, 10 people lay dead.

The dead include nine suspected Islamists and one soldier. Two other security operatives sustained serious injuries.

Scene of gun battle was Ihima, in OkehiLocal Government Area of Kogi State.

The members of the security forces, comprising of the military and the Department of State Security, SSS,were said to be on their way to uncover a bomb factory allegedly operated by Boko Haram in Ihima when they came under attack by the Islamists

The security forces had acted on a tip-off barely one week after they uncovered another bomb factory in Kabba, the headquarters of Kabba LGA, Kogi State.

In the ensuing duel, nine Islamists and a soldier were killed while two members of the SSS were also injured.

In the course of the duel, the military deployed a helicopter for reconaissance and shelling of the Islamists bomb factory.

Bomb manufacturing materials discovered in Kogi State, yesterday.

Confirming the incident, the commandant, Nigeria Army Records, Lokoja, General Alphosus Chukwu, who led the operation, said the security forces, acting on a tip off, were on their way to Ihima to uncover another bomb factory, after the one in Kabba was unveiled, when they were engaged in gun duel by the hoodlums. He added: "We are already on top of the situation and the factory is now condoned off".

He advised law abiding citizens in the area to go about their lawful duties without any fear of molestation. Meanwhile, the governor of Kogi State, Captain Idris Wada, says his government would take care of the medical expenses of the injured security agents.

The governor, who stated this when he paid a visit to the injured security men at the Federal Medical Center, Lokoja, said government will continue to work with the security forces to rid the state of criminals. He called on the security agents not to be deterred in the onerous task of providing security for the citizenry.

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Afghan special forces kill 4 Taliban militants in Kunduz

At least 4 Taliban militants were killed and 2 others were detained alive following a night raid by Afghan special forces at Kolabi in northern Kunduz city.

An Afghan special forces officer speaking on the condition of anonymity said, the night raid was carried out by Afghan special forces along with the NATO elite troops and Afghan rapid reaction police forces.

A Toyota Surf vehicle and three motorcyles used by the Taliban militants were destroyed following the air raid and 4 Taliban militants were killed.

Afghan special forces officer said, the attack was carried out based on the intelligence report and the Taliban militants who were killed during the raid had recently returned to Kunduz province from neighboring Pakistan. There were no reports of civilians casualties during the night raid.

In the meantime Afghan interior ministry following a press release announced at least 12 armed insurgents were killed and injured and 13 others were detained by Afghan police forces.

The source further added, the militants were killed, injured and detained during 15 separate military operations conducted by Afghan police in conjunction with the Afghan army, Afghan intelligence and NATO-led international coalition security forces at Kabul, Kunduz, Kandahar, Helmand, Nimroz, Uruzgan, Maidan Wardak, Ghazni, Khost and Paktia province of Afghanitan.

At least 11 insurgents were killed, 1 insurgent was injured and 13 others were detained during the operations, Afghan interior ministry officials added.

According to Afghan interior ministry officials, Afghan security forces also seized 501 kilograms of drugs along with some weapons, ammunitions and explosives during the operations.

In separate military operations Afghan police forces seized at least 18 landmines from Kapisa, Kunduz, Balkh, Kandahar, Herat and Helmand provinces of Afghanistan.

Anti-government armed militant groups yet to comment regarding the reports.

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Marine receives Silver Star for actions in Afghanistan

MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP PENDLETON, Calif.  — The parade deck at San Mateo was filled with Marines March 29, as Sgt. Ryan T. Sotelo, a San Mateo, Calif. native, was awarded the Silver Star. He was honored for the actions he took as a squad leader with Company K, 3rd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment while deployed to Sangin District, Afghanistan, in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.
Sgt. Ryan T. Sotelo, Battalion Landing Team 3/5, 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit, shakes hands with Lt. Col. Christeon C. Griffin, battalion commander, 3rd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, after receiving the Silver Star at San Mateo, Calif., March 30. Sotelo received the United States’ third highest award for combat valor for actions he took as a squad leader with Kilo Company, 3rd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment while deployed to Sangin District, Afghanistan. -  photo by Lance Cpl. Timothy Childers,
Maj. Gen. Ronald L. Bailey, commanding general, 1st Marine Division, presented the medal to Sotelo, who is now a scout sniper with Battalion Landing Team 3/5, 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit. The Silver Star Medal is the United States’ third highest award for combat valor and is fifth in the precedence of military awards.

“It was humbling when the general pinned on the star,” said Sotelo. “When we perform out in country we don’t do it for metals, we do it for the Marine on the right and left of us.”

On Nov. 25, 2010, Sotelo’s squad was ambushed in an open field with machinegun and small arms fire, killing the platoon commander. Without hesitation, Sotelo took charge of the unit and moved them to a nearby canal. He then sprinted through heavy fire across open ground to retrieve the body of his fallen lieutenant.

With the defensive position now unreachable because of intense small arms fire, he called in supporting arms to cover the squad’s movement to a nearby compound. As insurgents began to assault the position, he fearlessly led his squad as they repelled the enemy.

When one enemy combatant began to fire on an exposed Marine, Sotelo closed in on the insurgent and killed him with a grenade.

 “As soon as we got across, we got lit up and engaged in every direction,” said Cpl. Jose Launder, Company K, 3rd Bn., 5th Marines. “Sotelo just ran over and threw a grenade.”

After a reinforcing Marine unit was pinned down by heavy fire from the insurgents, Sotelo again disregarded his own safety to engage the enemy machinegun with rifle, finally calling in an air strike that silenced the enemy fire.

“I think a lot of us are here because of his actions that day,” added Launder.
Realizing that his situation was dire, Sotelo lead a fighting withdrawal more than 600 meters through enemy fire to bring his squad back to friendly lines and safety.  

Sergeant Sotelo will continue serving his country as he prepares for the 15th MEU’s upcoming deployment scheduled for this summer.

3/31/2012  By Lance Cpl. Timothy Childers  , 15th MEU 
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R.I.P. - Cpl. Roberto Cazarez

DOD Identifies Marine Casualty

             The Department of Defense announced today the death of a Marine who was supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.

            Cpl. Roberto Cazarez, 24, of Harbor City, Calif., died Mar. 30, while conducting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan.  He was assigned to the 1st Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Pendleton, Calif.

            For additional background information on this marine, news media representatives may contact the 1st Marine Division public affairs office at 760-725-8766.

Cazarez enlisted in the Marine Corps on July 10, 2006. This was his first deployment to Afghanistan.
His decorations include the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, Sea Service Deployment Ribbon, Afghanistan Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, National Defense Service Medal, and the Navy Meritorious Unit Commendation.
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R.I.P. - Spc. David W. Taylor

DOD Identifies Army Casualty

            The Department of Defense announced today the death of a soldier who was supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.

            Spc. David W. Taylor, 20, of Dixon, Ky., died Mar. 29, in Kandahar province, Afghanistan.

            Taylor was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, Fort Bragg, N.C.

            For more information, the media may contact 82nd Airborne public affairs at 910-432-0661.

Spc. Taylor died from an accident at an ammunition supply point. The incident is under investigation.

He served as an Infantryman with Company D, 2nd Battalion, 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division. He was assisting in the movement of ammunition when some of the rounds he and other Soldiers were moving exploded.

Spc. Taylor joined the Army March 24, 2010 as an Infantryman. He attended One-Station Unit Training and Airborne School at Fort Benning, Ga. He joined 2-508th PIR on October 20, 2010. He is a graduate of the Warrior Leaders Course. This was his first deployment.
Governor Beshear Recognizes Sacrifice of Kentucky Soldier
Press Release Date:  Saturday, March 31, 2012  
Contact Information:  Kerri Richardson
Terry Sebastian

FRANKFORT, Ky.– Gov. Steve Beshear today recognized the sacrifice of a Kentucky soldier who died while supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.
According to the Department of Defense, Spc. David W. Taylor, 20, of Dixon, Ky., died Mar. 29, in Kandahar province, Afghanistan.  Taylor was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, Fort Bragg, N.C.
The Governor will order that flags at all state office buildings be lowered to half-staff from sunrise to sunset on the day of Spc. Taylor’s interment for which arrangements are still pending.
Flag status information is available at
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Taliban ambush NATO supply convoy in Baghlan province

According to local officials in northern Baghlan province, militants ambushed a supply convoy of the International Security Assistance Force at Sang-e-Sorakh area in Dushi district around 8 pm local time Friday, injuring 2 truck workers.

The officials further added, at least oil tankers transporting fuel for the foreign troops were torched by militants following the clashes.

Dushi district chief Shamsuddin Sarhadi confirming the report said, the supply convoy was ambushed by Taliban militants from a remote area where 2 truck were completely damaged and burnt and 2 workers of the trucks were injured following the incident.

In the meantime a spokesman for the Taliban group Zabiullah Mujahid claimed responsibility behind the incident and said at least 3 NATO oil tankers were damaged and burnt during the attack.

This is the first attack by Taliban militants targeting NATO supply convoy in northern Baghlan province since the beginning of the Afghan year.

Author: Ajmal Omeri, Baghlan province.
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AQAP kills 17 Yemeni troops in southern Yemen

Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula fighters overran a military checkpoint in southern Yemen, killing 17 soldiers during an intense battle that also resulted in the deaths of 13 AQAP fighters.

AQAP launched the attack against a checkpoint in the town of Al Milah in Lahj province earlier today. After overrunning the checkpoint and killing 17 soldiers, the AQAP fighters seized two tanks and other weapons systems, according to Reuters. The fighting was so intense that residents of Al Milah said the Yemeni Army "had begun distributing machineguns among them so they could help beat back the militants," the news agency reported.

Yemeni warplanes killed three AQAP fighters while attacking one of the tanks; it is unclear if the tank was destroyed. AQAP fighters fell back to the city of Ja'ar in neighboring Abyan province. Ja'ar is one of several cities under AQAP control.

Ansar al Sharia, or Partisans of Islamic Law, AQAP's political front in Yemen, claimed credit for the attack in text message, according to Reuters.

"The holy warriors of Ansar al-Sharia this morning carried out the raid of dignity on the al-Hurur military checkpoint in Abyan, resulting in the deaths of around 30 [soldiers]," the AQAP statement claimed.

Over the past month, AQAP, al Qaeda's affiliate in Yemen and Saudi Arabia, has been flexing its muscles in the south. On March 4, a large AQAP force attacked a Yemeni Army base in Al Koud in Abyan that housed a mechanized battalion. The AQAP fighters overran the base and decimated the battalion, killing 185 soldiers, wounding 150, and capturing at least 55 more. AQAP also seized heavy weapons, including tanks, during the assault.

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