March 3, 2008 —
Coalition Soldiers and Sons of Iraq lay out munitions from a large cache Feb. 25 west of Owesat, Iraq. (U.S. Army photo)
CAMP STRIKER, Iraq (Feb. 27, 2008) — Rakkasan Soldiers discovered a significant weapons cache, Feb. 25, a day after Iraqi army soldiers turned in three caches in Yusufiyah.
Soldiers of Company A, 3rd Battalion, 187th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), uncovered one of the largest caches found since the brigade’s arrival last October.
While establishing a checkpoint, Soldiers from 1st Platoon, Company A, conducted a security sweep. Staff Sgt. Jon Hood, from Kansas City, Mo., noticed a plastic bag on the ground. When he kicked the bag and heard a clink, he looked down and discovered several rounds uncovered by the rainy weather. Seeing the exposed rounds, Hood and his fellow Soldiers started digging up the cache to see what else was in there.
“There was a lot more to that little cache that we thought,” Hood said. In all, more than 300 live mortar rounds, between 56 mm and 155 mm, were intermixed with more than 8,000 mortar shells. With the help of local Sons of Iraq, the unit spent more than 26 hours digging up the cache.
This is the largest cache I’ve seen since I was a platoon leader with 3rd Infantry Division during Operation Iraqi Freedom I,” said Capt. Terry Hilderbrand, of Atlanta, Ga., commander of Company A. “This is definitely the largest cache we’ve pulled up since we’ve been here.”
The discovery of the massive munitions stash came one day after Soldiers from Company C, 3-187th Inf. Regt. received three big caches from their IA counterparts.
Iraqi troops from 4th Battalion, 4th Brigade, 6th Iraqi Army Division recovered three large caches from Qarghuli Village and Shubayshen and turned the munitions over to Iron Rakkasans at Patrol Base Yusufiyah.
In total, the three caches yielded one complete improvised explosive device, 190 pounds of unknown bulk explosive, 40 pounds of dynamite, 74 82 mm mortar rounds, 18 122 mm artillery rounds, 38 60 mm mortar rounds, 400 additional projectiles between 23 mm and 155 mm, hundreds of assorted munitions pieces, several radios and documents.