Third ID Soldiers on Operation Double Steal - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

08/24/05

Third ID Soldiers on Operation Double Steal

Roadside bomb attacks are one of the greatest dangers facing our soldiers right now. Last week, four soldiers from the Third Infantry Division were killed when their Humvee was struck by an improvised explosive device in Samarra.

But soldiers are taking steps to reduce the danger. It's a very difficult job, but soldiers are hoping Operation Double Steal--a two-pronged attack to clear the streets and clear up attitudes about American soldiers in Iraq--can make a difference.

"We designed the operation to clear the entire route of trash and debris and guard rails," said Maj. Jay Sawyer of the Third Infantry Division. "It limits the enemy's capability to place roadside bombs or IEDs."

The second half of the plan works a lot like your neighborhood crime watch. Soldiers talk with local residents, encouraging them to report suspicious activity.

"Generally, what we're trying to do here is get them to call us when they see something going on," explained Maj. Criss Dizick. "They know we're trying to help them. They know what we're doing. They can see it. We're right at their front door. They see it and they've been very receptive today."

And there's a reason for it. Soldiers aren't the only ones hurt in roadside bombing attacks. Many times, the victims are Iraqis.

Soldiers, though shaken by this latest incident, vow not to back down.

"We're not going to let this slow us down," said Capt. David Ahl. "We're not going to let this intimidate the Iraqi people. We're going to come back tomorrow and the next day."

Soldiers say once the highway and surrounding neighborhoods are secure, it will be up to the Iraqi government to reconstruct the road.

Reported by: Liz Flynn, lflynn@wtoc.com

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