Iraq-Deployed Louisiana Guard Troops See Gains

WASHINGTON, Nov. 24, 2010 — Mem­bers of the Louisiana Nation­al Guard’s 256th Infantry Brigade Com­bat Team have at least two things to be thank­ful for this Thanks­giv­ing.
First, their deploy­ment to Iraq has been less vio­lent than their pre­vi­ous 2001–2005 tour in the war-torn coun­try.

“The vio­lence has real­ly been get­ting low­er and it gets low­er every day,” Army Lt. Col. David Gooch, com­man­der of 3rd Bat­tal­ion, 156th Infantry Reg­i­ment, told reporters Nov. 23. “We’re real­ly thank­ful for that. There are still ene­my ele­ments out there but for the most part they’ve calmed down quite a bit. And the Iraqi secu­ri­ty forces are get­ting stronger every day so, we’ve been very fortunate.” 

Sec­ond­ly, ele­ments of the brigade are sched­uled to return home before Christ­mas. “It may be the day before Christ­mas, but we [should] be home before Christ­mas,” Gooch said. The unit arrived in Iraq in March and it has per­formed a vari­ety of secu­ri­ty-relat­ed missions. 

“Our pri­ma­ry mis­sion is con­voy secu­ri­ty, but we do also have some fixed-site secu­ri­ty mis­sions and some per­son­al secu­ri­ty mis­sions that we con­duct in the coun­try,” Gooch said. Being on the road con­duct­ing con­voy secu­ri­ty often means fac­ing off against a vari­ety of threats, espe­cial­ly impro­vised explo­sive devices, the lieu­tenant colonel said. “IEDs are, obvi­ous­ly, the num­ber one threat to us dur­ing con­voy secu­ri­ty,” said Gooch, adding that over­all the threat lev­el in Iraq has decreased dur­ing the unit’s deploy­ment and has dropped off con­sid­er­ably since the unit’s pre­vi­ous Iraq tour. 

Dur­ing this deploy­ment, he said, the unit suf­fered no casu­al­ties or oth­er seri­ous incidents. 

“Thus far we’ve been here [about] a year, and we’ve had 1,400 con­voys with about a mil­lion miles dri­ven by our sol­diers and, to date, not one seri­ous injury as a result of ene­my activ­i­ty,” said Gooch, adding that there still is spo­radic small arms and IED activity. 

Gooch attrib­uted this suc­cess to the expe­ri­ence lev­el of the sol­diers in the bat­tal­ion, many of whom had pre­vi­ous ser­vice in Iraq. 

“This is my sec­ond deploy­ment to Iraq,” Gooch said. “And, I guess for about 60 per­cent of the sol­diers this is their sec­ond deploy­ment as well.” Also dur­ing this deploy­ment, as in 2004, there is a tremen­dous amount of sup­port from those at home, he said. 

“We have ter­rif­ic fam­i­ly sup­port groups back in Louisiana at all of our armories through­out the state,” Gooch said. “The fam­i­lies have been incred­i­bly sup­port­ive and we get box­es of things every day in the mail. We just could­n’t do this with­out them.” 

He said sup­port comes from oth­er sources as well. 

“Vet­er­ans groups and vet­er­ans’ affairs groups through­out the state have also helped and even city coun­cils from the var­i­ous cities have helped us,” Gooch said. How­ev­er, he said, there is one thing that those groups could not pro­vide for the Iraq-deployed Louisiana Guardsmen. 

“Most of the sol­diers here are used to Cajun food,” Gooch said. “We can’t wait to get back and get some good food.” 

As he looks back, Gooch said, it could­n’t have been a smoother deployment. 

“The sol­diers have done a ter­rif­ic job,” he said. “They’ve been very pro­fes­sion­al and have han­dled this mis­sion incred­i­bly. I could not have asked for a bet­ter group of sol­diers to have come with to Iraq and now they’re just all ready to get back to their families.” 

U.S. Depart­ment of Defense
Office of the Assis­tant Sec­re­tary of Defense (Pub­lic Affairs) 

Face­book and/or on Twit­ter

Team GlobDef

Seit 2001 ist im Internet unterwegs, um mit eigenen Analysen, interessanten Kooperationen und umfassenden Informationen für einen spannenden Überblick der Weltlage zu sorgen. war dabei die erste deutschsprachige Internetseite, die mit dem Schwerpunkt Sicherheitspolitik außerhalb von Hochschulen oder Instituten aufgetreten ist.

Alle Beiträge ansehen von Team GlobDef →