World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search

 


Tankers Learn Lessons of Peacekeeping

Tankers Learn Lessons of Peacekeeping

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

BAGHDAD, Iraq, May 5, 2003 – "If someone is running away from the gas station, don't shoot," Sgt. 1st Class Jeffrey Lujan told his men. "Remember, this is peacekeeping. We're not in combat."

In a nutshell, that's the problem facing combat units in Iraq: the transition from war to peace.

Lujan and his patrol are members of the Company C, 4th Battalion, 64th Armor, 3rd Infantry Division. They fought all the way from the berm separating Kuwait and Iraq to Baghdad. Now, the tankers were doing a nighttime patrol to check out a hospital and a gas station once reserved for privileged members of Saddam Hussein's society.

Their battalion had engaged and defeated the Iraqi Republican Guard's armored units during Operation Iraqi Freedom. Now they have different rules of engagement.

The patrol didn't have its Abrams tank. Instead, it was a dismounted patrol with a Humvee that had a roof-mounted .50-caliber machine gun for fire support.

Lujan didn't expect trouble at the hospital. "The doctors and staff here have organized to protect the hospital," he said. "We're just going to ensure any looters or criminal elements understand this place is under our eye."

The gas station was a different story. The patrol carried plastic handcuffs for looters they might encounter.

Lujan began the patrol with two men up front and he walking behind them. The Humvee followed with lights out.

It's a measure of the security in Baghdad that there was no trouble at either place. People were in the streets – it was before the 11 p.m. curfew – but they were peaceful. A group of young men played soccer under a street lamp. Families sat outside their houses. Lujan greeted each family group, and each replied.

Lujan has some experience with peacekeeping, having served earlier in his career in the Balkans. He understood the difference between combat and peacekeeping, and he made sure his men did.

"We've got to provide security for these people to get their lives back on track," he said. "It's like the Balkans or anyplace else: People won't go back to work if they are worried about their families' safety, and businesses won't run if they think they will be looted."

That didn't seem to be a problem in Lujan's sector, although across the 14th of July Bridge, he and his men could hear gunfire and the occasional pop of a flare. "I don't think that's ours," he said.

At the end of the patrol, he met up with the second part of his platoon. They were on an Abrams tank blocking the 14th of July Bridge. Young and old stopped by the razor-wire barricade and tried to bridge the communications gap by speaking with the soldiers. "That's one thing we need in peacekeeping: translators," he said.

Like the rest of the division, Lujan is ready to get back to Forts Stewart and Benning in Georgia. "I feel we've done a good job of switching from combat ops to peacekeeping," he said.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
World Headlines

 

At The UN: Paris Climate Agreement Moves Closer To Entry Into Force

The Paris Agreement on climate change moved closer toward entering into force in 2016 as 31 more countries joined the agreement today at a special event hosted by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The End Game In Spain (And Other World News)

The coverage of international news seems almost entirely dependent on a random selection of whatever some overseas news agency happens to be carrying overnight... Here are a few interesting international stories that have largely flown beneath the radar this past week. More>>

Amnesty/Human Rights Watch: Appalling Abuse, Neglect Of Refugees On Nauru

Refugees and asylum seekers on Nauru, most of whom have been held there for three years, routinely face neglect by health workers and other service providers who have been hired by the Australian government, as well as frequent unpunished assaults by local Nauruans. More>>

ALSO:

Other Australian Detention

Gordon Campbell: On The Censorship Havoc In South Africa’s State Broadcaster

Demands have included an order to staff that there should be no further negative news about the country’s President Jacob Zuma, and SABC camera operators responsible for choosing camera angles that have allegedly made the President ‘look shorter’ were to be retrained... More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On A Bad Week For Malcolm Turnbull, And The Queen

Malcolm Turnbull’s immediate goal – mere survival – is still within his grasp... In every other respect though, this election has been a total disaster for the Liberals. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On Bidding Bye Bye To Boris

Boris Johnson’s exit from the contest for Conservative Party leadership supports the conspiracy theory that he never really expected the “Leave” option to win the referendum – and he has no intention now of picking up the poisoned chalice that managing the outcome will entail... More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
World
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news