Updated 18-Sep: Welcome to the Schriefer Blog, my name is Tavis Schriefer. Recently, my wife Jill and I raised money to supply driFIRE shirts to every soldier in Apache Company of the 1-501st Parachute Infantry Regiment. We were successful in raising over $6500 and we would like to thank everyone for all their support to make this happen.
Please read our entire message here...

Monday, January 29, 2007

Voicemail from Nick

I received a VM from Nick. He said he was OK and that he would be coming home for R&R mid-month.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Story from Chaplain Dan Hardin of the 501st

Here is a story I read from Chaplain Dan Hardin about Christmas 2006. He is one of the Chaplains for the 1-501st, Nick's unit.

Additional Casualties

Our thoughts and prayers go out to the soldiers from the 4th Brigade who have lost their lives.

The Department of Defense announced today the death of four soldiers who were supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom. They died Jan 20 in Karma, Iraq, of wounds sustained when an improvised explosive device detonated near their Humvee. The soldiers were assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 509th Infantry (Airborne), 4th Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, Fort Richardson, Alaska. link

Sgt. Sean P. Fennerty, 25, of Corvallis, Ore.
Sgt. Phillip D. McNeill, 22, of Sunrise, Fla.

Spc. Jeffrey D. Bisson, 22, of Vista, Calif.

Spc. Toby R. Olsen, 28, of Manchester, N.H.

One additional soldier was injured.

The Department of Defense announced today the death of four soldiers who were supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom. They died Jan 20 in Karbala, Iraq, from wounds sustained when their patrol was ambushed while conducting dismounted operations. The soldiers were assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 377th Parachute Field Artillery Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, Fort Richardson, Alaska.

1st Lt. Jacob N. Fritz, 25, of Verdon, Neb.
Spc. Johnathan B. Chism, 22, of Gonzales, La.

Pfc. Shawn P. Falter, 25, of Cortland, N.Y.

Pvt. Johnathon M. Millican, 20, of Trafford, Ala.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Paratrooper Casualty

A military spokesman announced Sunday that a paratrooper from Fort Richardson was killed in Iraq on Monday (January 15th).

The Pentagon identifies him as 23-year-old Specialist Jason Corbett of Casper, Wyoming. Specialist Corbett was assigned to the First Battalion, 501st Parachute Infantry Brigade Combat Team (airborne), 25th Infantry Division at Fort Richardson.

His mounted patrol was in Karmah battling enemy forces that were using small arms fire. Corbett's family has been notified of his death.


Saturday, January 20, 2007

Rumors of Nick's extension are false

I received an email this evening with the following message from Lt. Yaw:

After President Bush’s speech on Iraq last week, you may have heard rumors circulating about our brigade’s combat tour being extended. I want you to know that there is no truth to these rumors. I’m not promising that in the future our unit will not get extended. After spending more than 15 years in the Army, and being in countless rapid deployment units, I can tell you that any unit is susceptible to an extension. However, our brigade has not received any notice to date that our deployment will be affected by President Bush’s planned troop increases.

There is a website that you can access to check on the extensions that are taking place in the Army. The website is as follows:

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Spoke with Nick this morning

Nick called this morning (3:45 PM Baghdad) and we spoke for about 10 minutes. He received his laptop today, but hasn't had a chance to open it yet. (FYI - It took 18 days for him to get it, but he could have been out on a mission that delayed his final receipt)

He said that they have a new Commander and that when they returned to FOB Iskan from their mission last night, they had to clean all their equipment and prepare for an inspection the next morning. They spent all night preparing for the inspection. In the morning, while some of the Sgts were doing some pre-inspections, the Post at Jurf As Sahkr came under attack. Everyone had to load up the equipment and gear to leave for the Post. A few soldiers stayed behind and Nick was one of them, so he had an opportunity to call me for a few minutes.

He has heard that a lot of troops have arrived in Kuwait, on their way to Iraq (probably Baghdad). There is now word that his unit will be relocated to Baghdad. There are rumors that he may be extended until February 2008. He has said that he is really tired and hasn't been able to get much sleep last few days. They are short handed due to casualties, injuries and soldiers on R&R.

That's all I have for the moment.

Jurf As Sahkr


Alternate View

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Recent articles mentioning Nick's Regiment and City

Jan. 15, 2007
MND-B Soldiers receive small arms fire, detain three suspects
KALSU, Iraq – Multi-National Division – Baghdad Soldiers detained three suspected insurgents while on patrol in a town, 35 miles southwest of Baghdad Jan. 14.

Soldiers from Company A, 1st Battalion, 501st Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division received small arms fire from a squad-size insurgent team while on patrol of the Jurf As Sahkr water treatment plant.

The patrol witnessed insurgents stripping a vehicle suspected for use as a potential vehicle-borne explosive device. As the insurgents flee, dispersing in different directions, the patrol received small arms fire from two nearby houses.

Three insurgents were detained and the two houses were searched. Nothing was found.

There were no injuries sustained from the incident. The detainees are being held for further questioning.

Kalsu conference: Focused on provincial transition to Iraqi control
"...Lt. Col. Bo Balcavage, commander of the 1st Battalion, 501st Parachute Infantry Regiment, 4th BCT (ABN), 25th Inf. Div., praised the effectiveness of the Iraqi soldiers that his unit has fought alongside near Jurf as Sakhr, a town approximately 35 miles southwest of Baghdad..."

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Recent Articles on the Web

Iraqi Police and Paratroopers arrest two
KALSU, Iraq – Iraqi Police along with Coalition force members worked together and executed arrest warrants near Hay Al Askeri Jan. 9.

After serving the warrants on the two suspects, paratroopers of Company A, 1st Battalion, 501st Parachute Infantry Regiment and the police conducted a cordon and search of the area.

Joint operation finds, secures improvised explosive device south of Baghdad

KALSU, Iraq – A joint operation south of the Iraqi capital uncovered an improvised explosive device near Iskandariyah, Iraq Jan. 7.

Iraqi troops working with a military transition team and paratroopers from the 1st Battalion, 501st Parachute Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team (Airborne), 25th Infantry Division, were patrolling the Fish Farm area west of Iskandariyah when they discovered the device.

Iraqi troops were contacted and recovered the IED. An explosive ordnance disposal team performed a controlled detonation at the site.

Paratroopers find, disable multiple-round roadside bomb south of Baghdad
Paratroopers from Company A, 1st Battalion, 501st Parachute Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team (Airborne), 25th Infantry Division, discovered an improvised explosive device Dec. 24 near Jurf as Sakhr, south of the Iraqi capital.

An explosive ordnance disposal detachment was notified immediately and investigated the find. The detachment secured the rounds for controlled detonation.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Spoke with Nick

Just a quick note to say that I spoke with Nick for a while late Sunday / early Monday. He is back from a long mission and is doing fine. They are still looking at mid-Feb for R&R. They may be getting wireless internet soon, so maybe when he gets his new laptop in the mail, he will be able to communicate more often. He told me a few stories, but I will have to talk about them later - I'm at CES in Vegas right now and time is pretty short.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Jon and Family - Quick Pics

On my way to Vegas, I was lucky to be able to stop by and visit Jon and family in Colorado. They are all doing great and I was able to snap a couple pictures.

(click to launch)

Friday, January 05, 2007

News from another Company in Nick's Regiment

"Paratroopers from Company C, 1st Battalion, 501st Parachute Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team (Airborne), 25th Infantry Division found a large amount of rounds and propellant Jan. 2 while on patrol near Bahbahani, Iraq, approximately 30 miles south of Baghdad.

The cache consisted of 33 propellant sticks, 20 40mm mortar rounds, and three mortar training rounds.

An explosive ordnance detachment arrived and conducted a controlled detonation, destroying the munitions. "

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

More info from Dec 20 incident

I haven't spoken to Nick since Dec 24, but I hope to hear from him sometime this week. I read a news article today on the web that has a few more details about the Dec 20 incident which resulted in one death and several injuries. The article is from the hometown newspaper of one of the soldiers injured. Below is an exerpt and a link to the article.

"Spc. Drew Ashby, a member of 1st Battalion, 501st Parachute Infantry Regiment, was wounded in action [Dec 20] in Jurf Assukhr, Iraq.

Ashby’s squad was investigating an explosion when a mortar round blew up three feet behind him. Shrapnel penetrated his bulletproof vest, leaving Ashby with several wounds, including a chipped bone in his arm.

Drew was sent to Elmendorf 3rd Medical Group Hospital near Anchorage, Alaska, Dec. 28. He currently is recuperating at home at Fort Richardson, also in Anchorage."

"Another soldier in Drew’s squad was severely wounded and was in a coma in intensive care, while another soldier send to check on Ashby’s squad was killed about an hour after Drew was injured."


Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Finally 2007 is Here!!

I have a Google Alert setup to send me emails with any news on the web containing "1-501", "501st" and other key words in its text. This has been very useful for me to keep track of news in Iraq related to Nick and the area he is in. However, the past month has been filled with "501st" news that had nothing to do with our 501st Brigade in Iraq. Instead, it seems there is another group called Vader's First 501st Legion (www.501st.com). These Storm Troopers were featured in this year's Tournament of Roses Parade. So for the past 30 days, I have received over 200 emails of news articles pertaining to them.

Finally, 2007 is here and the parade has come and gone.

Now if we could only get these Storm Troopers to join our 501st in Iraq - they need all the help they can get.