Third ID Commander Comments on Deadly Weekend in Iraq - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

01/22/07

Third ID Commander Comments on Deadly Weekend in Iraq

Maj. Gen. Rick Lynch Maj. Gen. Rick Lynch

Soldiers from Fort Stewart's Third Infantry Division recently redeployed to Iraq. For many, it's their third tour of duty in Iraq.

The commander of the division, Maj. Gen. Rick Lynch, had to send his troops over there at a time when there's an increase in violence in Iraq.

Monday morning, two bombs exploded just seconds apart in a busy business district in downtown Baghdad. At least 70 people died in the explosions and more than 150 were wounded.

Over the weekend, insurgents killed 27 American troops. None of them are from the Coastal Empire and Low County. However, 1,100 soldiers from Fort Stewart are on their way right now to Iraq to help curb the escalating violence in the country.

Most left from Savannah last week.

"No one hates to see soldiers being killed more than the soldiers' leaders and the soldiers' families," Lynch said. "We mourn the loss every day and we mourn the loss of the soldiers killed this past weekend, but that is indeed what we do, we are indeed a profession that goes into harm's way so we can have the freedoms we enjoy today."

Lynch says his soldiers will be in Iraq any day now. They'll be working hand in hand with coalition forces and Iraqi soldiers.

"We are continuing to fight this global war on terror," Lynch said. "We are tying to establish Iraq as a country that is safe and secure for the people of Iraq so they are going back, the First Brigade Combat Team is going into the Al Anbar province in western Iraq and they will be responsible for the rest of the coalition and Iraqi security force soldiers to establish a safe environment there so the government can flourish."

The general says more of his soldiers will be leaving here in March to help the security efforts in Baghdad. These deployments had been in the works for a while now and are not part of the president's plan to send 20,000 more troops to Iraq.

Lynch agrees with the plan and believes it is necessary to keep us safe at home. "Nobody wants to have terrorists on our soil, so we have to fight the terrorists in Iraq and Afghanistan so we don't have to fight them here."

This was the third-deadliest weekend for US troops in Iraq since the war began.

Reported by: Michelle Paynter, mpaynter@wtoc.com

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