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, July 30, 2007

Spoke with Nick

Spoke with Nick this morning. He is doing well and was happy to receive a couple packages. One had his new boots - which is very good, since his old ones had a large enough hole in the toe that you could stick your hand through! He had other boots, but those were is comfortable "walking" boots. He also received a box of instant cold packs that I shipped several weeks ago. He is going to give some to his medic and take some out to Jurf to try them out. I shipped about 120 total, so he has several more boxes coming with them.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

CNN - Rebuilding Iraq's Police in Jurf Al-Sakhr

Here is an interview with CPT Moltz, Nick's Commander, regarding the police station in Jurf.

Article: Enemies Unseen (Time Magazine)

Picture Caption: Staff Sgt. Billy Wallace, a survivor of the Karbala attack Jan. 20, stands at Forward Operating Base Iskan, a U.S. outpost sprawled around a power plant outside of Iskandariyah, Iraq.

The five sport-utility vehicles sat abandoned in the darkness. A faint beeping sound signaled that their doors were open. Some of the Iraqi police who arrived at the scene initially feared going near the cars, thinking the sound meant they were rigged to explode. Finally a few ventured closer. In the back of two of the vehicles were the four Americans. One of them was alive, though barely. Handcuffed, he had been shot in the back of the head, but he was breathing. The other soldiers were already dead. One had taken bullets in both legs and his right hand, and at some point the kidnappers had torn open his body armor and fired bullets into his chest and torso. Two others were handcuffed together, with one's right hand joined to the other's left. Two shots in the face and neck had killed one. Four bullets in the chest had killed the other...

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

driFIRE Shirts - UPDATE

Here is another update on the contributions for the driFIRE shirts.

116 driFIRE shirts shipped to the 3rd Platoon of Apache Company, 1-501st PIR yesterday.

With the latest count of soldiers in the 3rd Platoon, we were 20 shirts ($360) from completing our first goal. As of today, we have received enough contributions to order the remaining 20 shirts and supply every soldier of the third platoon with four driFIRE shirts each!!

Our success with this effort has pushed us to move to our next goal. We would like to supply driFIRE shirts to every soldier in Apache Company of the 1-501st Parachute Infantry Regiment.

We believe that everyones contributions will make a difference in these sholdiers lives, but this is just 32 soldiers of the 120 in Apache Company. All of these guys are fighting together and we can't, in good conscience, stop after just being able to help my son's Platoon.

All contributions, no matter how small, are most appreciated. I invite everyone to read through this blog and get to know what these soldiers are facing and achieving on a daily basis. Please click here for additional details regarding the driFIRE shirts.

We are able to accept your contributions by mail at the following address or online by credit card (click button below).

501st Soldier Fund
PO Box 116955
Carrollton, TX 75011

All questions or comments can be emailed at 501stSoldierFund@gmail.com.

Tavis Schriefer

Proud father of SPC Nicholas Schriefer, 1-501st PIR, FOB Iskan, Iraq
Proud father of SPC Jonathan Schriefer, 576 Eng Co, Fort Carson, Co.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Article: Iraq Is Lovely -- from the Air

Here is a good article from the blog of ABC News' Terry McCarthy.

July 11, 2007 10:06 PM

Today we flew down south in Blackhawk helicopters along the Tigris River over the musical-sounding towns of Mahmudiyah, Iskandariyah. We passed over green fields and huge groves of palm trees watered by the network of irrigation canals coming off the Tigris.

We saw farm houses with cows and sheep outside, and men out in the fields working, not bothering to look up at the metal birds that are now so familiar to them after four years of war. Idyllic as it seemed from the air, on the ground it is a different story. This is the infamous Triangle of Death, an area of land south of Baghdad controlled by al Qaeda extremists who have kidnapped U.S. soldiers, terrorized the local population, and sewn the roads with deadly bombs. Helicopters are the only safe way to travel across this part of Iraq with its invisible threats underground.

Our destination was a couple of U.S. bases -- Forward Operating Base Kalsu and Patrol Base Murray (somehow they lack the musicality of the Iraqi place names). The soldiers here are part of the surge -- the last troops to arrive, in fact, as part of the increase in U.S. troops that began back in February.

Many of the soldiers we met today had only been in their base for three weeks, and were still adjusting to the heat -- over 120 today. One commander had to ship 23 men out to recover from heat exhaustion. Iraqi summers.

The soldiers are moving into areas that had not been intensively patrolled before, but somehow al Qaeda knew they were coming, and put in so many roadside bombs -- IEDs in military speak, for improvised explosive devices -- that a number of roads were regarded as simply impassable.

Rather than risk soldiers' lives in an attempt to clear IEDs from some of these roads, they came up with a typically American solution -- they called in powerful B1 bombers to drop sticks of bombs all along the most dangerous parts of the roads, which blew up and set off a series of secondary explosions wherever the IEDs had been planted. Simple, effective, nobody gets hurt -- and the engineering corps is left with the huge job of building a new road…

The soldiers' primary mission here is to find the factories where car bombs are made for use in Baghdad. In the past three weeks they have found three, which were disguised. As one colonel explained, "They know we have Predator drones and helicopters in the air, so they put the car bomb factories in garages or car washes, which have a reason to have cars inside and so don't look suspicious." From the air, Iraq looks fine and peaceful. It is only when you get on the ground that you see the scars of war.


Thursday, July 19, 2007

driFIRE Shirts - UPDATE

Here is a quick update on the contributions for the driFIRE shirts.

I have just placed an order for 56 shirts to be shipped ASAP. Thank you to everyone who has contributed so far.

Also a special thanks to Jay and Valerie Chamberlain who placed an order yesterday for 60 shirts for the 3rd Platoon.

This brings our total so far to 116 shirts. With the latest count of soldiers in the 3rd Platoon, we still need about 20 more shirts ($360) to make our goal of 4 shirts per soldier. All contributions, no matter how small, are most appreciated. Please click on the link below for additional details.

Here is a perfect example of the current temperature in Iraq. My son, Nick, loves Top Ramen. He told be recently that they no longer have to heat water to make the soup. He simply cuts the top off a water bottle and pours the ramen noodles in. The water is hot enough to cook them on its own.

Tavis Schriefer

Proud father of SPC Nicholas Schriefer, 1-501st PIR, FOB Iskan, Iraq
Proud father of SPC Jonathan Schriefer, 576 Eng Co, Fort Carson, Co.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

(Jurf al-Sakhr ) Thousands of US, Iraqi troops strike Al-Qaeda strongholds

American and Iraqi troops south of Baghdad have launched another large-scale operation to try to keep weapons and militants out of the capital, the U.S. military said Monday.

Operation Marne Avalanche is focused on “enemy sanctuaries” in Jurf as Sakhir and an area known as the Fish Farms, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Army’s 3rd Infantry Division — which is in charge of the area south of Baghdad — said Monday.

Both areas are near Iskandariyah, about 35 miles south of Baghdad, and the operation is being led by the 4th Brigade, 25th Infantry Division.

In all, some 5,000 U.S. and 3,500 Iraqi troops are involved in Marne Avalanche...

Read entire article at: http://www.estripes.com/article.asp?section=104&article=47407

Other coverage:

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Paratroopers Capture Cell Leader

KALSU, Iraq – Task Force Geronimo paratroopers captured a cell leader responsible for conducting rocket and improvised explosive device attacks in Iskandariyah, July 9, near Mussayyib.

Paratroopers from 1st Battalion, 501st Airborne, 4th Brigade Combat Team (Airborne), 25th Infantry Division, conducted a raid on the man’s house and arrested him without incident. The man was responsible for conducting attacks against the residents and security forces of Iskandariyah.

The cell leader is being held for further questioning.


Monday, July 16, 2007

driFIRE Shirts - UPDATE

Here is a quick update on the contributions for the driFIRE shirts. So far we have received $683 towards our goal of $2784. I also hear that additional contributions are on the way. Thank you so much for everyone's help on this and we hope to achieve our goal soon.

Details about the driFIRE Shirt Contributions

Article: Troops’ Focus, Motivation Remains Rock-Solid, Says Senior Enlisted Advisor

While the buzz at home centers on benchmarks measuring progress in Iraq, troops on the ground are focusing on their mission and what they’re accomplishing, a senior enlisted advisor said today.
Army Command Sgt. Maj. Bernie Knight said via conference call from Iraq he seldom hears his soldiers of the 25th Infantry Division’s 4th Brigade Combat Team talk on a big scale about whether “we are going to win this thing or not win this thing.”

Rather, he said, they’re looking at their own slice of the action – in their case, security operations in Iskandariyah – and focusing on the changes they’re making there.

“North Babil (province) has changed quite a bit in the past eight months we have been here. It’s a tribute to what the men are doing,” Knight said of his Fort Richardson, Alaska-based troops. “I think they are motivated to try to see the difference here, and get (the Iraqis) to do it on their own.” ...

Read the entire article

Saturday, July 14, 2007

UPDATED: Two Al-Qaeda Militants Captured in Jurf al-Sakhr

2 Captured During Operation Geronimo Strike III
4th Brigade Combat Team (Airborne), 25th Infantry Division

KALSU, Iraq – Paratroopers from Strike Force Geronimo detained two suspected al-Qaida insurgents during an air assault and raid, July 10, northwest of Iskandariyah.

Paratroopers from Company A, 3rd Battalion, 509th Airborne, 4th Brigade Combat Team (Airborne), 25th Infantry Division conducted Operation Geronimo Strike III in order to capture members of an al-Qaida cell wanted in connection with the kidnapping of three American Soldiers and other attacks against Iraqi and coalition forces.

“Tonight, we conducted an air assault into the Jurf As Sukr area looking for two high level targets - some of the guys involved in the missing Soldiers incident,” said Capt. Matthew Gregory, commander of Company A and a Charlotte, N.C., native. “This is an area that coalition forces had not been to in a little while. This shows them we have the ability to get in places they thought they were safe and get them where they live.”

In addition to capturing the cell members, the operation netted two AK-47 assault rifles, eight fully loaded magazines, two hand grenades and a ski mask.

“Going after the worst of the worst is what Operation Geronimo Strike was designed to do,” said 1st Lt. John Lafferty, a platoon leader with Company A, from Valdese, N.C. “There are guys who are on the fence, and when they hear we’re capturing their leadership, we have a better chance of stabilizing the government and legitimizing the security forces here.”

The insurgents are being held for further questioning.

The weapons and ammunition were confiscated for use in the investigation.

Picture Caption: 1st Lt. John Lafferty, a platoon leader with Company A, 3rd Battalion, 509th Airborne, 4th Brigade Combat Team (Airborne), 25th Infantry Division searches the inside of a target house during Operation Geronimo Strike III.


Friday, July 13, 2007

Contribution request for Nick's Platoon - driFIRE Shirts




People have been great at sending care packages to Nick's unit, and they really appreciate it. I don't like asking people for money, but I think this is worth it and I can't do it alone.

I am asking for contributions to send driFIRE shirts to Nick's platoon in Iraq. The 3rd Platoon, Alpha Company, 1-501st PIR can benefit substantially from our help. Right now, temperatures in Iraq are reaching 120 degrees and more, and it isn't the hottest part of the year yet.

While some of the soldiers already have moisture wicking undershirts like Under Armor and others, these shirts can be harmful in case of an incident. If exposed to fire or extreme heat, these shirts can melt to the skin and increase the injury to the soldier.

driFIRE shirts are fire retardant. Additionally, they are reported to perform better and cooling soldiers down than the other brands. I was introduced to driFIRE shirts thanks to Jay C., a father of another soldier in Iraq. Jay was succesful in pulling contributions together to provide 180 shirts to his son's Company in the 425th. He was fortunate to get coverage in their local newspaper. Please read their story:

More info about driFIRE shirts are available here:

We are able to get these shirts for $24 each including shipping. My goal is to receive $2784 in contributions ASAP to cover shirts for all the soldiers in Nick's platoon (4 shirts each for 29 soldiers).

Please help by contributing some money towards this cause. 100% of the money received will be used for these shirts. If you have any questions, please contact me at 501stSoldierFund@gmail.com.

If you would like to send a check, please make it payable to:
501st Soldier Fund
PO Box 116955
Carrollton, TX 75011

You can also make your contribution by credit card securely through PayPal by clicking on the "donate" button below:


Thursday, July 05, 2007

Article: OP Geronimo Strike Finds AL Qaeda Safe Houses


A paratrooper with Company B, 1st Battalion, 501st Parachute Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team (Airborne), 25th Infantry Division, searches the area outside one of the al-Qaida safe houses discovered during Operation Geronimo Strike.

KALSU, Iraq - Paratroopers discovered, then destroyed, three al Qaeda safe houses during an early-morning raid near Jurf As Sukhr July 3.

Operation Geronimo Strike, conducted to prevent anti-Iraqi operations and attacks, was an air assault raid on Kalsu's Fish Farms area.

Company B, 1st Battalion, 501st Airborne, 4th Brigade Combat Team (Airborne), 25th Infantry Division Paratroopers discovered several houses used by al Qaeda to meet, train and hide weapons.

"Tonight we did an air assault raid into an area used by the insurgency. Basically, we did a search on what we thought were safe houses for terrorists," said Capt. Charles Canon, Company B commander.

While the Paratroopers were searching the area, they discovered two houses filled with weapons and explosives. A third house was booby trapped.

"In one of the buildings, we found an IED in the process of being made, we found a terrorist safe house, and in a third building, we found a bunch of propaganda and materials, CDs, and some cameras and things like that," continued the Orlando, Fla., native. "It definitely seemed like a propaganda publishing house, or something of that sort."

Because one of the houses was also booby trapped, the commander called in AH-64 Apache helicopters to destroy the three buildings. Paratroopers found two anti-aircraft rounds in a fourth house, which was not destroyed.

With the area searched and the safe houses destroyed, the Paratroopers returned to Forward Operating Base Kalsu.

"This was our first company air assault in this sector. I think we did a very good job," Canon said. "The aviation, the (tactical operations center) and the men of Blackfoot did a great job and the mission went very well."


Information about Jurf as Sakhr

This morning, I read an interesting article that describes Jurf, the area and the polotics. Keep in mind that the article is one year old and refers to the the First Battalion, 67th Armor, based at Fort Hood, TX. These are the soldiers that Nick's unit, 1-501st PIR, replaced late last year. I wonder just how different a follow-up article would be if the same reporter went back now.


"...Jurf as-Sakhr, also known as Jurf, is 40 miles south of Baghdad. It is a community of crumbly dirt farms and dilapidated weapons factories and boys selling fluffy white chickens alongside the road. It sits right on a sectarian fault line that in the past few months has cracked wide open..."

"...The battalion returned to Iraq in December 2005 and is now thinly spread over 2,700 square miles between Iskandariya to the north and Karbala to the south. Because of all the insurgent activity, the military includes this area in what it refers to as the Triangle of Death.

One of the hottest spots is Jurf, once home to lush date plantations, a Scud missile testing site and the Medina Division of Saddam Hussein's Republican Guard. After the invasion, Jurf, with its concentration of former officers, Baathists, weapons experts and leaders of the powerful Janabi tribe, predictably festered, becoming a terrorist sanctuary.

Just south of Jurf is Hamiya, a mostly Shiite farming town that never enjoyed Jurf's whiff of privilege. While Jurf farmers drove tractors, Hamiya farmers swung hoes, and in an atmosphere of rising sectarian tensions, these deep-seated class rivalries eventually exploded. South of Hamiya are the almost purely Shiite towns of Musayyib and Sedda..."

Full Article

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Joint raid captures insurgents in Jurf As Sakhr

Iraqi Army and Coalition Soldiers conducted a joint raid and captured two insurgents in Jurf As Sakhr, Saturday night.

Iraqi Army soldiers with the 2nd Battalion, 4th Brigade, 8th Iraqi army division conducted the raid, while Paratroopers with the 1st Battalion, 501st Airborne Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team (Airborne), 25th Infantry Division provided a cordon and security for the soldiers.

The men were wanted in connection with attacks against the local Iraqi Security Forces in the area.

After the arrests were made, the Iraqi army turned over the detainees to the Iraqi Police for further questioning and to await trial.


Monday, July 02, 2007

Pro Ballers Hoop It Up At FOB Iskan

Three men, averaging 7 feet in height, stood out among the Solders at Forward Operating Base Iskandariyah June 15.

Shawn Bradley from the Dallas Mavericks, Thurl Bailey from the Utah Jazz, and Greg Minor from the Boston Celtics, visited the Geronimos of 1st Battalion, 501st Parachute Infantry Regiment, during their “Hoops for Troops” tour of Iraq
“We came out to here to have some fun with everyone and to let you know that we support everything you all are doing, and that everyone we talk to supports you as well,” Thurl Bailey said, addressing Soldiers in the Morale, Welfare and Recreation facility.

Full Article