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.
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Sunday, September 02, 2007

Concerned citizens root out terrorists

Friday, 31 August 2007
ISKANDARIYAH — The citizens of Iraq are fighting back against terrorists in one Sunni dominated area south of Baghdad.
Paratroopers from Company A, 1st Battalion, 501st Airborne, 4th Brigade Combat Team (Airborne), 25th Infantry Division, are now fighting the enemy with information from hundreds of citizens who have pledged responsibility for the security of their neighborhoods.

The Concerned Citizens Program is similar to an all-volunteer Neighborhood Watch. During a recent operation in Jurf as Sakhr, concerned citizens led Iraqi soldiers and U.S. paratroopers to a stronghold where five al-Qaeda members were killed after paratroopers called in precision air strikes from helicopter gunships and U.S. Air Force fighter jets to destroy the building.

This has been the first attempted attack by al-Qaeda and other extremists since the Concerned Citizens Program began almost two months ago.

"This is a resounding victory for the concerned citizens and for the Coalition Forces. The few remaining extremists have nowhere to hide because the population will no longer harbor them" said Capt. Henry Moltz, commander, Company A. "There are 160 paratroopers in Company A, but with the Concerned Citizens there are now thousands of eyes and ears working toward the same security goals."

There are now more than 500 registered members of the Concerned Citizens Program who have volunteered to protect their villages and roads while they await training for the Iraqi Army and Iraqi Police forces.

At least 300 concerned citizens have already been accepted into the Iraqi army. Moltz estimates another 300 people will register for the Concerned Citizens Program in the next few weeks, and that the Iraqi police will begin to accept the concerned citizens into their ranks within the next month.

Jurf as Sahkr has long been one of the most hostile and dangerous areas of Iraq.

"In the past three weeks these brave volunteers have helped clear their villages of terrorists who are no longer welcome here," Moltz said. "Together with the local population, almost all of Jurf as Sahkr has been reclaimed from al-Qaeda and other extremist fighters. The streets are finally quiet."

Video: Apache Company and Blackfoot Company, 1st Battalion, 501st Airborne
B-roll of U.S. Soldiers patrolling Jurf as Sukr and conducting an air assault. Scenes include Soldiers experiencing a nearby explosion during their patrol, being airlifted into their assault area, and discovering weapons caches. Two Soldiers are interviewed at the end; Capt. Kevin McDaniel (4th Platoon Leader) and Sgt. Steven Caldwell (2nd Squad Team Leader).

video
Source: http://www.dvidshub.net/vjump.php?vid=28243

Video: 1st Lt. Harrington, Platoon Leader, 2nd Platoon, Blackfoot Co.
Talks to a military reporter about facilitating local nationals with their checkpoints, discovering a weapons cache at a nearby hot spot, and his pride in his unit. Also see "Concerned Citizens Program/Blackfoot Co. 1/501 Air Assault and Patrol" in the B-roll section and "Capt. Moltz" and "Sgt. Coyle" in the Interviews section.

video
Source: http://www.dvidshub.net/vjump.php?vid=28245

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