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Task Force 1-501st PIR, FOB Salerno, Afghanistan
December 19, 2003
Soldiers guarding Soldiers
ways an easy task due to the size of the load and many compartments. The Soldiers of Task Force 1-501st Under the seats of some trucks Pruitt PIR know they can sleep, eat and go has found compartments with wooden about their daily routines in relative planks covering it. So far all he has safety thanks to their brethren who are found in these spaces is hoses and standing guard 24/7. other vehicle spare parts. Companies within the task force “Some of those spaces could be take turns manning the gates and guard overlooked, and they are perfect towers that surround Forward Oper- places to hide weapons,” Pruitt said. ating Base Salerno. Company B is fin- “You have to look as good as you can, ishing up their 5-week tour of duty as and hope you don’t miss anything. I the first line of defense for the FOB. do not want it to be my fault that some“When the (delivery) trucks come thing made it on Salerno that was used to Salerno we are the only ones that to harm any of our Soldiers.” check them,” says Pfc. Justin Pruitt, Approximately 7 to 10 trucks arHeadquarters Platoon, who has been rive each day at the front gate with pulling duty at the main gate. “We have supplies and equipment for the task to ensure that nothing gets in that can force. As a precaution, the trucks do be used to harm our Soldiers.” not roll through the gate when they first The guards on the FOB’s gates con- arrive. Their information and papers fiscate items such as: knives, matches, are checked and then verified from signal mirrors and metal bars. When Bagram Air Field, where the trucks the Afghanis leave the camp their items originate from. are returned to them. To help deal with the drivers, who The search of the vehicles is not al- Pruitt said normally do not speak English, an interpreter is on hand at the gate. “We have learned some basic Pashto, so that we can tell the locals to turn around when we are searching them, or that they are OK and can go,” said Pruitt. “Anything more than that would be very hard without an interpreter.” Besides the Soldiers at Pfc. Ivan Inouye keeps a watchful eye out for unusual activity from the guard tower located next to north gate. the gates, several others
Story and photos by Staff Sgt. Jeff Troth
Cpl. Edgar Guzman uses a metal detector to determine that a truck driver is not carrying any contraband onto the FOB.
man guard towers that ring the perimeter of the compound. These guards are responsible for noticing anything out of the ordinary in their sector. For that reason the guards pull duty at the same tower and same time each day. “Once you have been here for a few days you get a feeling for the position,” said Pfc. Ivan Inouye, 1st Platoon. “You get to know what is supposed to be out there and what is supposed to be going on in front of your tower, so you know when something isn’t right.” The Soldiers know that their constant vigil serves a purpose and that when they are not on guard other Geronimos are providing that security for them. “When I am on Salerno and not on guard duty I feel safe,” said Inouye. “I know that there are Soldiers out here on guard and keeping a constant lookout.”
The Geronimo December 19, 2003
TF Falcon/FARP are hosting a volleyball tournament Dec. 27. The double-elimination contest begins at 0400 hours Zulu. Team sign-up ends Wednesday at 1200 hrs Zulu, a captain’s meeting will be held Friday at 1200 hrs.
Christmas Message from Geronimo 6
As I write this message, the GI Soldier has been chosen as the Time Magazine Person of the Year. I can think of no better individual to receive this recognition than all our Soldiers, Airmen, Marines, and Sailors as each sacrifice for the Global War on Terrorism. Each of you, as members of the Geronimo Task Force, are part of this historic crusade that our country has embarked upon. When your children and grand children are old enough to understand the historic significance, you will be able to explain what your contribution was to the fight. Today, our country has returned to Orange alert. Once again they are at the second highest terrorist warning of attack since 9/11. Remember, you stand in Afghanistan today to prevent any future attacks on our soil. Christmas and the Holidays hold special meaning for all of us. Family, friendship, and generosity to others are hallmarks for the Season. Although we spend our Christmas in Afghanistan, remember, you are neither the first nor the last Geronimo to spend Christmas away from family. Geronimos were laying in the snow of Bastogne on Christmas day, in the rice paddies of Vietnam on Christmas Eve, and now you patrol in the deserts and mountains of Afghanistan. You carry on the proud tradition of this Regiment. I conclude with this Holiday Cheer: CSM Turnbull and I are proud of each one of you and honored to lead this great team. Enjoy Christmas and remember why you sacrifice. Take care of each other. Merry Christmas and Kill the Enemy! Geronimo 6
Tomb of the Unknown
When Hurricane Isabelle threatened the east coast in September, Soldiers of the Old Guard assigned the duty of guarding the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier were given permission to suspend the assignment. They refused. “No way, Sir!” Soaked to the skin, marching in the pelting rain of a tropical storm, they said that guarding the Tomb was not just an assignment, it was the highest honor that can be afforded to a service member. A guard has always been on duty at the tomb since 1930.
Lee Boyd Malvo was found guilty Thursday of killing a woman during last fall's sniper shootings that terrorized Washington, D.C., and outlying areas of Virginia and Maryland in the fall of 2002. Malvo, who had claimed insanity, could face the death penalty.
Schwarzenegger Declares Emergency
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger declared California in a fiscal crisis Thursday and invoked emergency powers so he could impose $150 million in spending cuts without the legislature's approval. "I was elected by the people of this state to lead," said Schwarzenegger. "Since the legislative leadership refuses to act, I will act without them."
Ichiro Stays With Mariners
Ichiro Suzuki avoided salary arbitration by agreeing to a four-year, $44 million contract, keeping the All-Star right fielder and one-time AL MVP with the Seattle Mariners. He led the majors last season with 66 multi-hit games and also ranked among the AL leaders in hits, batting average, runs, triples and stolen bases.
Beauty Queen Kidnapped
After kidnapping and robbing Venezuelan model Veruska Ramirez, thieves asked the former Miss Universe finalist to sign her latest calendar as a momento.
This is an unofficial Army newsletter, authorized under the provisions of AR 360-1, and published by the 1/501st PIR Public Affairs Office. Editorial views and opinions expressed herein are not necessarily those of the Department of the Army or the 1/501st PIR. All submissions to The Geronimo are subject to editing.
The Geronimo can also be found at: www.usarak.army.mil/1501. Questions or comments should be directed to: 1/501st Public Affairs Office. DNVT 318-580-3067. Battalion Commander Lt. Col. Harry C. Glenn III Editor Staff Sgt. Jeff Troth
What is your fondest Christmas memory?
At my grandparents house on their farm in Hood River, Ore., when I was 5 years old. All my aunts, uncles and cousins were there. Lt. Col. Randy Espinosa 691st FST
The Geronimo December 19, 2003 Getting to see my family after years of separation. My father and brother are in the Army, I am in the Marines, and this keeps us away from home alot. Sgt. Anthony Glenn III MMLA-773/Reddogs, USMC
My Fondest memory was when I was 13 and when Christmas Eve came I had no presents waiting for me. My parents thought it was funny to have all my gifts over at my aunt's house, and her children were in my toys. Spec. James Johnson HQ Co., 10th Avn. Bde.
Visiting all of my relatives and spending so much time with them during the holidays. Pfc. Daniel Haller Det. D
Every Christmas before the age of 13, because I actually received presents. Spec. Jose Nino S-1, HQ Co.
Getting to go home during basic training and spending time with my family. Pfc. Fern Ramos Co. B
The first Christmas that my sister and her husband returned home after being away for six years. Pfc. David Potter Co. A
After 23 years I found out that I had a sister and a niece. Pfc. Donald Simmons FSC
The year I received a brand new car . The second fondest will be this Christmas spent in Salerno. Spec. Seth Boyles HQ Co., 1/130th Avn. Reg.
At AIT I went to the Riverwalk and fell in. Hey it wasn't the best, but it was surely the funniest! Spec. Corey White Bat. E, 319th FA
Going home my first Christmas in the Army and having my entire family to spend it with. Spec. Chris Cayard TF Commo
Going out to buy toys for my son, Cameron's first Christmas and watching him play with the paper and bows, while he opened them. Pfc. Joseph Roberson Co. C
Hanging out with the lawndarts from Echo Battery. Sgt. Timothy Vichko Co. B, 3.6 FA, 10t MTN DIV
The Geronimo December 19, 2003
Spirit of Christmas alive, well at FOB
Faith in the Word
and pout and try to downplay the holiday, I choose to celebrate, which I am certain that’s what our loved ones would want us to do as well. And rest assured, there should be no guilt in our celebration. After all, and especially for those of you that are men and women of faith, the true Spirit and meaning of Christmas is not determined by where we are or who we are with. Traveling back to FOB Salerno last week from the PAA, I was reminded that the shepherds that I saw tending their flock probably were not all that different from the ones to whom angels appeared some 2,000 years ago and announced, “Behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ, the Lord” (Luke 2:10-11). Whether at home by the fireplace with eggnog and mistletoe, or here at FOB Salerno, the Spirit and the joy of Christmas is very much alive if you will embrace it and celebrate it. God is with us here just as He is with our families back home, and that is why we can celebrate as we are bound together by the presence and love of God. So from my tent to yours, may your days be merry and bright… Merry Christmas! Grace & Peace, Chaplain Brad Lee
B, I highly suggest 1st Sgt. Powell, I’ve actually heard him singing Christmas carols in the shower! Unfortunately, Company C By Chaplain seems to be Holiday spirit (Capt.) Brad Lee challenged, but maybe if they 1/501st PIR Chaplain moved closer to the TOC, they too could benefit from Season’s Greetings my fellow Master Sgt. Nordstrom’s Geronimo’s! Now before anyone jovialness. Company D responds with “Ba-Humbug,” lives close enough to the consider for a moment that some of chapel that they experiyou simply need to hang around the ence the Holiday music right person to experience some and cheer emanating Yuletide cheer. For those of you in from the chapel. Headquarters Company, maybe you 1st Sgt. Levis gets should try spending some time with the vote for Battery E — Master Sgt. Nordstrom. He not you know he almost has elf-like only has a knack with words if you qualities. And for Forward Support read his column, but he also bubbles Company, Sgt. Carr is a fine exover with Holiday cheer. ample of Christmas cheer as he is If you’re in Company A, Staff Sgt one of the few that I have seen Ralston is quite the Holiday actually make Sgt. First Class Lesch Cheermeister there. For Company smile! As we are but a few days from Christmas, I notice that most of us fall into two groups. The first group approaches Christmas as just another day, which is an understandable way of coping with separation from family and loved ones. The second group however, chooses to embrace the spirit of Christmas and make the most of what we have. I, like most of you, would prefer to be at home with my wife, children, and dog, celebrating Christmas around our own tree and fireplace. Be that as it Photos by Staff Sgt. Jeff Troth may, I am here with you Sgt. Frist Class David Powell, first sergeant for Company B, opens the door prize he won at the this Christmas. Chapel Open House Thursday. But rather than mope
No War Trophies Allowed from Iraq, Afghanistan
By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service
The Geronimo December 19, 2003
WASHINGTON – Do not even think about bringing back to the United States war trophies from your service in Iraq and Afghanistan. With about 140,000 American service members due to rotate out of Iraq and Afghanistan, U.S. Central Command officials are very clear that service members cannot bring home weapons, ammunition and other prohibited items. A few soldiers of the 3rd Infantry Division understand how serious the command is. Some soldiers tried to smuggle weapons back from Baghdad, and they have gone through courts
martial. Others received Article 15 administrative punishments. “There is a whole spectrum of punishments, depending on the severity of the offense,” said Maj. Robert Resnick, an Army lawyer at Fort Stewart, Ga. Army Gen. John Abizaid, the commander of U.S. Central Command, has put out the policy. Basically, under no circumstances can individuals take as a souvenir an object that was formerly in the possession of the enemy. The taking of war trophies goes against the coalition mission in Iraq and Afghanistan, officials said. “We didn’t go into Iraq or Afghanistan to conquer them, but to liberate them,” said Marine Capt. Bruce
Frame, a Central Command spokesman. “Taking articles from those countries sends the wrong message.” Service members with questions should work through the chain of command, CENTCOM officials said, adding that service members will be given ample briefings on what is allowed and what is not. In the case of Iraq, unit commanders will brief service members on the policy before leaving for Kuwait. In Kuwait, military police will explain the policy and will permit an amnesty period before searching gear and vehicles. In the United States, U.S. Customs Service officials will examine individual gear. In Afghanistan, unit commanders will explain the policy, and MPs there also will explain it and ofPhotos by Staff Sgt. Jeff Troth
fer an amnesty period before the service members board the planes. Again, Customs will examine gear and baggage upon return to the United States. The same prohibitions pertain to American civilians serving in the Central Command area of operations. Other federal laws pertain to other items. For example, service members cannot bring back plants, animals or other organic materials. Some Marines returning from Afghanistan in April 2002, for example, tried to bring back the skulls of sheep attached to their guidons. The Customs agents met the Marines as they landed on the beach at Camp Lejeune, N.C., and confiscated the items. No one can bring back antiquities into the United States, and of course, no one can bring drugs or drug paraphernalia into the United States. The overall prohibition does not pertain to souvenirs that can be legally imported into the United States, officials said.
The Geronimo December 19, 2003
Ask MSG Nordstrom
If you have a question for MSG Nordstrom, drop it off at the ALOC.
Dear MSG Nordstrom, It is hard enough walking around here at night why do we have to litter the area with rocks and sand bags? I have almost busted my noggin open a few times. Yours Truly, Can’t see in dark Dear CSID, Well, well well, having trouble walking at night? I have the perfect solution, it is called the LOW CRAWL. You think those rocks are a pain now, just wait until you have crept across the length and breadth of this base on your belly, then you won’t be complaining about walking on them. As far as busting your head, I know our Uncle Sam issued you the proper protection. Wear your Kevlar, and that chin strap and better be on your chin, not under it. MSG N Dear MSG Nordstrom, I am a little frustrated with our logistical procedures during the recent operation. How many times do I have to call in an
Amber report in a day to get fuel? I mean, come on, you know I’m missing my XO. Sincerely, LID Dear Comanche, This is actually my fourth response to this question. Can you confirm 80 gallons – or is it 50 gallons – or is it 130 gallons? Better luck next time, Airborne! MSG N Dear MSG Nordstrom, Although prior to the deployment we were briefed that we would be getting mail every 7-10 days, I heard that mail is on every plane that lands at the FOB, but they just don't want to deliver it. Waiting hoping impatiently for news Dear WHIN, If they told you 7-10 days what makes you think they are holding your mail hostage? When mail comes in, it is sorted and given to your unit mail clerks. So stop bugging the S-3 air and ALOC everyday about mail – they don't know anything. MSG N
Dear MSG Nordstrom, What is up with our breakfast meal? We have only had biscuits and gravy a couple a of times since we have been here, and to me it is a morning ritual that I miss. Signed Chip Beefer Dear CB, You got one thing right son, it is good. But you need to call it what it is. When we weren’t on the front lines fighting the Germans in Bastogne we were filling our bellies with good ol’ SOS. And that is what most intelligent people still call it. So, until you can call it what it is, fill your trap with eggs and drive on. MSG N
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