Saturday, August 18, 2012

R.I.P. - Pfc. Michael R. Demarsico II

DOD Identifies Army Casualty

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

            Pfc. Michael R. Demarsico II, of North Adams, Mass., died Aug. 16 in Panjwa’l, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when he encountered an enemy improvised device.  Demarsico was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 23rd Infantry Regiment, 3rd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash.

            For more information, media may contact I Corps public affairs office at 253-477-3048 or 253-370-9861.


JBLM Stryker Soldier Pfc. Michael R. Demarisco II Dies in Afghanistan
The 20-year-old was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 23rd Infantry Regiment, 3rd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division.

By Brent Champaco
(Editor's note: This is from Joint Base Lewis-McChord)

According to the Dept. of Defense, Pfc. Michael R. Demarsico,II, 20, of North Adams, Mass. died Aug. 16, near Panjwa’I, Afghanistan, of wounds sustained when he encountered an enemy improvised explosive device. He was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 23rd Infantry Regiment, 3rd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash.

According to unit records, Pfc. Demarsico entered the U.S the U.S. Army in February 2011 and reported to Fort Benning, Ga. for Army Basic Training and Advanced Individual Training in MOS 11B (Infantryman). Upon completion of training he arrived at Joint Base Lewis-McChord in July 2011 and was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 23rd Infantry Regiment, 3rd Stryker Brigade Combat Team. He deployed to Afghanistan with his brigade in December 2011. This was his first deployment.

Pfc. Demarsico’s civilian and military education includes High School Diploma, Combatives Level One (2011), Military Occupational Specialty 11B: Infantryman (2011).

His awards and decorations include the National Defense Service Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal with campaign star, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Ribbon, NATO Medal, Combat Infantryman Badge.

On behalf of the entire Joint Base Lewis-McChord military and civilian community, we extend our sincere condolences to the family and friends of Pfc. Demarsico.
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Drone attack kills six in North Waziristan

MIRAMSHAH: A US drone attack Saturday killed at least six militants in the North Waziristan tribal region as local people celebrated Eidul Fitr, security officials said.

The drone fired two missiles on a compound in Shuwedar village in Shawal district of the troubled North Waziristan region, considered a stronghold of Taliban and Al Qaeda linked militants.

“US drones fired two missiles into a militant compound. Six bodies have been recovered from the compound so far,” a security official told AFP.

Residents and local intelligence officials confirmed the attack and the casualties. The missiles also destroyed a car parked at the compound, they said.

The attack came as people were celebrating the festival of Eidul Fitr, they said.

It was not immediately clear if the missiles targeted any senior militant leader.

Attacks by unmanned American aircraft are deeply unpopular in Pakistan, which says they violate its sovereignty and fan anti-US sentiment, but US officials are said to believe the attacks are too important to give up.

Washington regards Pakistan’s northwestern tribal belt as the main hub of Taliban and Al Qaeda militants plotting attacks on the West and in Afghanistan.

from DAWN
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Egyptian police, soldier injured in Sinai attack

ISMAILIA, Egypt (Reuters) - Three Egyptian policemen and a soldier were injured near the Sinai town of Sheikh Zuwaid on Saturday when armed men fired a rocket-propelled grenade at their convoy during an operation against militants following the killing of 16 border guards.

The attack took place while the police were on their way back to the city of al-Arish after arresting two suspects at the border town of Rafah, a security source said.

"The forces were entrapped by extremists when they were returning from a raid in Rafah ... one armoured vehicle was targeted by a rocket," the source said. They could not identify or pursue the attackers, he added.

Disorder has been spreading in turbulent North Sinai, a region awash with guns that has felt neglected by the central government since the overthrow of President Hosni Mubarak last year in a popular uprising. Mubarak's government had worked closely with Israel to keep the border region under control.

Egypt blamed the August 5 border attack on "Islamic militants" and has launched a joint army-police operation that has raided militant hideouts, arrested their members and seized weapons.

A Sinai-based Islamist militant organisation, the Salafi Jihadi Group, warned the Egyptian army last week that the crackdown on jihadists in the area would force it to fight back.

There have been frequent reports of attacks on police and army checkpoints since the crackdown began, but often without casualties.

Sat Aug 18, 2012 12:06pm GMT

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Coast Guard Pot Bust

The crew of San Francisco-based Coast Guard Cutter Aspen and federal agents offload approximately 8,500 pounds of marijuana at Coast Guard Base Los Angeles-Long Beach. (Photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Cory Mendenhall)
San Francisco-based Coast Guard Cutter Aspen seized approximately 8,500 pounds of marijuana from a vessel Wednesday some 160 miles west of Los Angeles.

The event marks a 50-ton milestone for waterborne marijuana seizures in Southern California and the Pacific Southwest border region this fiscal year.

Fifty tons of pot has an estimated value of $90.7 million. Contraband seized in Wednesday’s bust, more than 340 bales, is worth about $7.7 million.

Law enforcement authorities have seen an increase in waterborne smuggling of illicit drugs, as well as illegal immigrants, from the U.S.-Mexico border as far north as Santa Barbara County.  Small boats — known as “pangas” — are popular among smugglers for moving multi-ton loads of marijuana and illegal immigrants from Baja California.

“Stopping these drugs from reaching our streets is a great accomplishment, but it’s just the tip of the iceberg with respect to the impact on the drug trafficking organizations,” said Capt. James Jenkins, commander of the Coast Guard’s Los Angeles/Long Beach Sector. “The money from marijuana trafficking fuels a wider cycle of drug smuggling, crime and violence. We need to do everything possible to stop these destructive, deadly organizations. The more loads we interdict, the less money is available to feed further criminal activity.”

The Coast Guard coordinates counter-narcotics patrols and interdiction operations in the region with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Immigrations and Customs Enforcement and a number of other federal, state and local agencies. Multi-agency planning, operations, and intelligence groups have been created to get the most out of each available patrol unit. As the flow increases, it becomes more difficult for officials to detect and intercept northbound loads.

U.S. officials also coordinate counter-drug efforts in the region with their counterparts in Mexico.

“I’m very proud of the work being done by the Aspen, other interdiction crews from the Coast Guard and all the agencies involved,” said Rear Adm. Karl Schultz, 11th Coast Guard District commander. “The public expects the best security and law enforcement effort we can put forth and our people on the front lines deserve the best possible tools to do their jobs.”

The 50-ton quantity is the total of 56 seizures of marijuana-laden boats or abandoned loads of drugs since October 1, 2011, and is four times the amount seized in the same area during the entire previous fiscal year.

The Aspen, a 225-foot buoy tender homeported at Yerba Buena Island in San Francisco, services aids-to-navigation from the Oregon-California border down south to San Diego. The ship also handles other Coast Guard missions including pollution response, search and rescue and law enforcement.

Story by Petty Officer 3rd Class Cory Mendenhall
U.S. Coast Guard District 11 PADET Los Angeles
Written on August 18, 2012 at 7:46 am by jtozer

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ISAF commander recognizes Afghan Independence Day

KABUL, Afghanistan – The following is a message from Gen. John R. Allen, International Security Assistance Force Commander:

“To the noble and honorable people of Afghanistan, Salam-u-Alaikum!

On behalf of all the members of the International Security Assistance Force, I offer my congratulations as you commemorate your independence.
English: General John R. Allen, USMC Commander...
English: General John R. Allen, USMC Commander, International Security Assistance Force and Commander, U.S. Forces Afghanistan (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It is indeed a day of great national pride, a recognition of Afghanistan’s emergence as an independent nation 93 years ago. It is also an opportunity to celebrate your more recent but no less significant success in seizing control of your sovereign destiny.

For people who have suffered so much for so long, it may once have been difficult to envision a future normalized by stability, peace and prosperity. Today there is reason for hope.

Even as you have shed your blood and buried your martyrs, you have demonstrated your courage and resilience. You have done so in the faith that Afghanistan will one day be peaceful, prosperous and free.

The Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan continues to assume greater responsibility across the land. The process of transition will place you firmly in charge of your own future, with Afghan freedom secured by the Afghan government.

All Afghans can look forward to brighter days ahead, knowing that the International Community and ISAF will remain with you in unity as you seek peace and the blessings of liberty.

On behalf of everyone in this unprecedented 50-nation coalition that stands beside you, shona ba shona, I wish you all the best on this special day. We look forward to many years of continued friendship and cooperation.”

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NATO drone strike kills up to 50 militants in eastern Afghanistan

ASADABAD, Afghanistan, Aug. 18 (Xinhua) -- About 50 militants were killed on Saturday afternoon when a NATO pilotless plane carried out an attack in Afghanistan's eastern province of Kunar, the police said.

"The drone targeted four suspected vehicles in Shinallai area of Chapa Dara district at around 1 p.m. local time Saturday, killing 50 militants, including 13 insurgent's local commanders," police chief of the district, Najibullah Khan, told Xinhua.

Khan said a Taliban shadowy police chief for the district named Hattiqullah and another Taliban leader named Turabi were among the killed.

The Taliban insurgent group, which launched in May this year's spring offensive against Afghan and NATO forces, has yet to make comments.

Districts of Kunar.
Districts of Kunar. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The Kunar province bordering Pakistan, has seen increasing militancy despite continued military operations there.

Separately, a soldier with the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) lost his life in an insurgent attack in southern Afghanistan on Friday, the ISAF confirmed Saturday.

Currently over 130,000 NATO-led ISAF troops have been serving in Afghanistan since the Taliban regime was toppled in late 2001.

In another development, militants killed the head of a district prison in the country's southern province of Helmand Saturday afternoon.

"Head of Gereshk district's prison, Ismail Khan, was killed when a sticky bomb attached to his vehicle went off near the prison compound at around 1 p.m. local time shortly after he get in his car," police chief of the district, Guli Khan, told Xinhua.

Earlier, Saturday a bomb explosion hit the vehicle of a local elder named Mohammad Ali, killing his driver and injuring four anthers including Ali in Nahrin district of northern Baghlan province.

2012-08-18 18:52:13

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Four Killed In Afghanistan Market Bombing

Shindand District (in south) on Herat province map
Shindand District (in south) on Herat province map (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Police in Afghanistan's western Herat Province say four people have been killed and 12 injured in a bomb blast at a busy marketplace.

Spokesman Abdul Raouf Ahmadi said the blast was organized by "enemies of the people," and took place as residents in Shindand district had flooded the local bazaar to buy food and other supplies on August 18 for the Eid al-Fitr celebrations that mark the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

Three policemen were among those injured.

The bombing follows multiple suicide bombings and a market bomb earlier this week that left 35 civilians dead.

from RFE/RL
Saturday, August 18, 2012

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Car bomb hits intelligence compound in Yemen's Aden, 4 soldiers killed

ADEN, Yemen, Aug. 18 (Xinhua) -- A car bomb tore through a military intelligence compound in Yemen's southern port city of Aden on Saturday, killing at least four soldiers and injuring five others, a police officer and medics told Xinhua.

A booby-trapped car went off in a street in the Tawahi district of Aden where a military intelligence headquarters and a local state television building are located, killing at least four soldiers and injuring five others at the scene, the local police officer said on condition of anonymity.

The powerful blast rocked the military intelligence office and was followed by heavy gunfire from unknown attackers suspected of belonging to al-Qaida group, he said.

A local government official said that "It seems like a well- planned attack. The explosion hit the least-guarded rear gate of the military intelligence complex."

Medics at a nearby military hospital confirmed to Xinhua the death toll, saying that "most victims are soldiers... no civilians at all."

Local residents said unidentified attackers targeted the military intelligence base with three rocket-propelled grenades and fled later in pick-up trucks.

No one claimed responsibility for the bomb attack.

Saturday's bomb blast came just five days after local officials said security authorities foiled an attempt to blow up a car rigged with explosives in the port city of Aden.

Over the past few months, several army bases and police centers have been hit by gun and bomb attacks attributed to the Yemen- based al-Qaida wing, locally known as the Partisans of Sharia ( Islamic Law).

The al-Qaida militants have claimed responsibility for assassinating several army commanders and intelligence officers in the southern regions months after they were driven out of their bastions in cities of Abyan and Shabwa provinces in a U.S.-backed offensive.

2012-08-18 17:55:37

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Aug. 18., 2012. - ISAF Joint Command Morning Operational Update

KABUL, Afghanistan (August 18) – Afghan and coalition officials confirmed today one of the insurgents arrested during an operation yesterday is a senior Taliban leader in Chahar Bolak district, Balkh province.

The arrested Taliban leader acquired weapons, explosives and funds for insurgents in the area and directed and led attacks against Afghan and coalition forces. He was also responsible for using extortion and other forms of intimidation against Afghan civilians.

In other International Security Assistance Force news throughout Afghanistan:


An Afghan and coalition security force detained several suspected insurgents in an operation to arrest a Taliban weapons dealer in Kandahar district, Kandahar province, today. The Taliban weapons dealer purchases weapons and other military equipment for Taliban fighters in that area.

An Afghan and coalition security force discovered a cache containing narcotics and improvised explosive devices during an operation in Now Zad district, Helmand province, today. At the cache site, the Afghan and collation force seized 2,200 kilograms (4,850 pounds) of wet opium, 38 improvised explosive devices, and 25 kilograms (55 pounds) of explosives. The IEDs, explosives and drugs were destroyed on site.

In Marjah/Nad ‘ali district, Helmand province, an Afghan and coalition security force found a cache of weapons while conducting a dismounted patrol yesterday. The cache included weapons, grenades, and ammunition. During the operation, the Afghan and coalition security force also detained one suspected insurgent.


An Afghan and coalition security force arrested multiple suspected insurgents, and killed one insurgent, after he threatened to attack them, during an operation to arrest Haqqani-affiliated insurgent leaders in Baraki Barak district, Logar province, today. The Haqqani-affiliated leaders are responsible for directing attacks against Afghan and coalition forces in the province. During the operation, the security force also discovered a weapons cache that included multiple heavy weapons, ammunition, improvised explosive device components, and a large amount of homemade explosive. The security force seized the weapons and destroyed the homemade explosives and IED components on site.

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R.I.P. - Staff Sgt. Eric S. Holman

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

             Staff Sgt. Eric S. Holman, 39, of Evans City, Penn., died Aug. 15, in Ghazni province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when he encountered an enemy improvised explosive device.

             Holman was assigned to 192nd Ordnance Battalion, 52nd Ordnance Group, 20th Support Command, Fort Bragg, N.C.

             For more information pertaining to this release, media may contact the 20th Support Command, public affairs office at 410-652-3292.

from triblive:

By Michael Hasch
Published: Friday, August 17, 2012, 10:20 p.m.

Eric Holman loved being in the Army and was always willing, those who know him say, to tackle the most dangerous of jobs for his country and fellow soldiers.

Staff Sgt. Eric S. Holman, 39, who was raised in the Mt. Nebo area of Ohio Township, was killed on Wednesday by an enemy improvised explosive device in Ghazni province in Afghanistan, the Department of Defense announced.

Holman, a 1990 graduate of Avonworth High School, was a member of the Golden Knights parachute team before becoming an explosive ordnance disposal specialist. He deployed to Afghanistan in January and was scheduled to return home next month.

“He loved the Army. That’s what he wanted to do. He wanted to retire as a soldier,” said his stepmother, Jan Holman, as she and other family members waited Friday night at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware. “He loved his job. He wanted to be deployed. He had looked forward to being deployed.”

She said the family has not been told much about Holman’s death and don’t know if he was trying to defuse a device that exploded or if he possibly stepped on one.

But the family does know that Holman died “doing what he loved to do,” Jan Holman said.

Holman was the son of David L. Holman of Evans City, a Vietnam veteran, and Carol S. Holman of Franklin Park.

“My husband and he were best buddies,” Jan Holman said. “My husband and he talked every week. The last time they talked was over the weekend.”

Eric Holman was a 1995 Penn State graduate with a degree in criminal justice. He went to work for his father’s trucking company and started his own limousine service. He also spent time as a construction worker.

“He thoroughly enjoyed parachuting and taught others how to parachute,” Jan Holman said. “He joined the military about nine years ago because he wanted to learn how to fly.”

Holman, originally a member of the 82nd Airborne Division, was assigned to the 192nd Ordnance Battalion, 52nd Ordnance Group, 20th Support Command and stationed in Fort Bragg, N.C.

Holman and his wife, Terri Holman, adopted a Russian boy five years ago. Misha Holman, 7, lives with his mother in Beaver County,

“Eric was a great guy. He was a very intelligent person, very methodical. He loved his son and was a great father to Misha,” Holman said.

Holman also is survived by his sister, Lisa Long of Evans City, and a brother, Kevin Holman of Edinboro in Erie County.
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