8 October 2004 – Offensive operations and joint patrols performed with the Iraqi National Guard continue daily within Northern Iraq. Task Force Olympia and its subordinate units maintain peace and stability by demonstrating commitment and obligation to the people of Northern Iraq, including the towns of Mosul, Tal Afar and parts of the Kurdish area. The main enforcers of the task force are a maneuver brigade combat team and its combat support units. The make up of Task Force Olympia also includes a dedicated Civil Affairs unit that concentrates on rebuilding and reconstruction efforts. These unsung heroes ensure critical infrastructure projects are planned and executed. These projects include the refurbishment of schools, hospitals and other immediate needs of the community. One particular project that I witnessed firsthand was the construction of a new housing area and school for displaced Arabs who were planted into the Kurdish area in the North by the former regime as part of the “Arabization” of traditional Kurdish areas. In addition, long-term projects are forecasted and resourced by a joint effort between the military and the U.S. Department of State.
The main combat force of Task Force Olympia is the 3rd Brigade Combat Team of the 2nd Infantry Division. This Stryker equipped unit uses the technological advantages of its Stryker Combat Vehicle in order to execute combat and various support missions throughout the area of operations. A “common operating picture” and navigation system allow the force to know the locations of all subordinate elements. Night vision devices and systems and targeting systems ensure a reduced fratricide environment for sophisticated raids and offensive attacks. The success of the task force is also complemented by the adaptability and flexibility of the American soldier as several attached U.S. National Guard units relinquished their traditional specialties of artillery and were transformed into military police. A detailed individual and collective training strategy ensured that the soldiers were trained to standard.
The achievement in the stability and security throughout the area is the result of a flexible and tailored organization that is able to neutralize the insurgents, focus its efforts on rebuilding the community and train and integrate the Iraqi Security Force. The common feeling from the soldiers is that they are being successful in their efforts and can see the momentum of progress. Soldiers wake up each day and demonstrate a sense of purpose and commitment to make the lives of the common Iraqi better than it was before.