Morale High, 3rd ID Soldiers Proud of Work in Iraq

Dogfaced soldiers of the 3rd ID.
Dogfaced soldiers of the 3rd ID.

Two Task Force Marne soldiers are dead tonight, the result of an IED blast. Four others were injured during the attack just south of Baghdad.

So far the Army has not released any soldiers' names.

Maj. Gen. Rick Lynch, the division's commander, says despite events like those, morale among the 3rd Infantry Division is still high, and he is proud of his soldiers.

"When I go into areas where they are sleeping on cots, they don't have air conditioning, they don't have movies and televisions," Gen. Lynch told us today in a satellite interview. "They are out there every day, doing the work of the Lord to secure that environment, that's why you should be proud of the dogfaced soldiers.

"A young private first class shot through the shoulder on one of our operations," continued Lynch. "The hardest thing we had to do was get him off the battlefield. He said, 'I don't want to leave. I want to stay here with my buddies and continue this fight.' I got him off, promised I'd bring him back as soon as he healed."

Gen. Lynch says that fighting spirit is only enhanced when they get a care package from home. "I can pick out the soldiers that just got a care package from Savannah because they have a bright smile on their face that just won't go away, helping us with morale."

But when it comes to their mission, the 3rd ID soldiers are all business. Much of the task force is focused south of Baghdad and on the Iranian border, and stopping more weapons, more insurgents from causing problems in Iraq.

"We go on house-to-house searches looking for munitions, looking for certain targeted individuals," explained the general. "We take those folks away. Once you've done that clearance somebody's got to stay there in that environment to maintain that security. You can't just clear and leave because if you do that the bad guys come in and they start all over again."

Lynch isn't just commanding 3rd ID forces. He says Task Force Marne includes not only members of other divisions, but members of the multinational forces from countries such as Kasakhstan, El Salvador and the country of Georgia.

If there's any question about morale on the battlefield in Iraq, think again. In one day last week, on the Army's 232nd birthday, Gen. Lynch says he reenlisted 50 soldiers.

Reported by: Andrew Davis,