Tuesday, November 07, 2006

MND-B's Senior NCO visits Yusufiyah power plant

Staff Sgt. Angela McKinzie
2nd BCT PAO, 10th Mtn. Div.

YUSUFIYAH, Iraq – With his body propped up against his defensive position, he peers diligently through his scope, looking for terrorists and anyone else who would do his unit harm. He looks through the scope for several hours each day, knowing that the Soldier to his left and right are counting on him. He has not had a shower or a hot meal in six days, and yet he remains focused – ready to defend his comrades.
Spc. Jon Born, a marksman for 2nd Battalion, 14th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division, and other members of his unit sit for days at their battle positions anticipating the enemy, but what they do not anticipate is a friendly face showing up to see how they are doing.
Command Sgt. Maj. Ronald Riling, Multi-National Division – Baghdad, did just that when he visited the Soldiers Wednesday at the Yusufiyah power plant. The plant is located on the Euphrates River, near Sadr al Yusufiyah, approximately 25 miles southwest of Baghdad.
“I like to get out and visit with our Soldiers as often as I can. I think the Soldiers appreciate when their senior leaders take the time to talk to them and stand side-by-side with them during a mission,” Riling said. “As a leader, I think it is important to encourage them and recognize Soldiers for outstanding performance.”
Having only been in Iraq a couple of months, the Soldiers of 2-14 Inf. Regt., also known as the “Golden Dragons,” have been manning the Yusufiyah power plant since Oct. 23. They originally foot marched to a battle position on nearby highway and provided overwatch on the power plant, took perimeter security and then secured the power plant.
“The Soldiers of 2nd BCT, 10th Mtn. Div., have recently been attached to Multi-National Division – Baghdad, and like their predecessors from 10th Mtn. Div.’s 1st BCT, have shown outstanding dedication, performance and leadership,” said Riling. “They have quickly and seamlessly transitioned into their role and have added to MND-B’s strength and capabilities. This is a testament to the Army’s doctrine of modularity.”
Securing the power plant was important to the 2nd BCT because it (the power plant) was believed that terrorists used the area as a safe haven to stage attacks against the Government of Iraq and MND-B Forces.
Since the power plant was secured, the “Golden Dragons” have been manning the site every day, non-stop. They are looking for possible terrorist activity in or around the area and often do not have interaction with anyone besides their battle buddies – so the MND-B leader’s visit was a morale booster for them.
“It was good to see Command Sgt. Maj. Riling out here,” said Spc. Michael Wahlers, 2-14 Inf. Regt. “We have worked hard to secure the power plant, and it’s great to be recognized for it.”
A fellow Soldier said he thought the visit was important as well.
“It is good to see that other higher-ranking officials are seeing the valuable importance of the thermal power plant, now known as Camp Dragon, and to see how the Soldiers of 2-14 Inf. Regt. are putting in long hours to build up proper security and to keep clearing the site while continuing combat patrols and local route security,” said Staff Sgt. Mike Godlewski, personal security detachment noncommissioned officer, 2-14 Inf. Regt.
During Riling’s visit with the Soldiers, he thanked the Soldiers for the job they were doing and presented his coins to them for their hard work.
“The Soldiers of 2nd BCT, 10th Mtn. Div., are operating in one of the most dangerous sections within MND-B’s area of operations,” Riling said. “Through their diligence and professionalism, they have battled terrorists and recently gained control and strengthened the security of a strategically located power plant. They are dedicated to their mission and working with the Iraqi Security Forces toward a brighter future for the people of Iraq.”
Like Born, the Soldiers of the “Golden Dragons” will continue to operate out of the power plant until it can be safely returned to the Iraqi people.


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