The Blog

In Mosul

11:22 AM, Mar 9, 2008 • By BILL ROGGIO
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As luck would have it, I didn't have to wait any longer than six hours to catch a flight from Baghdad to Mosul. I saw a Mosul flight on the board at the passenger terminal and signed up for Space A, or Space Availability seating. It turned out that the flight was empty: I shared a C-130 with an Army Master Sergeant. The flight crew outnumbered us by two to one. The Master Sergeant and I racked out on the web-netting seats. The flight to Mosul was two hours, which made total time traveled from Washington, D.C., to Mosul, Iraq, just under 24 hours. The Military Transition Team wasn't expecting me to get here until Monday--and neither was I.

I'm currently with the Military Transition Team for the 4th Brigade, 2nd Iraqi Army Division, commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Eric Price. The 4/2 Iraqi Army Brigade is based out of Forward Operating Base Lion in northeastern Mosul. The accommodations here are unlike anything I've experienced during embeds in Anbar and southern Baghdad Province, or in Baghdad itself. The Military Transition Team is based out of one of Saddam Hussein's palaces, but that isn't what is unusual. We have running water, real toilets, a shower, and a washer and dryer. I have a spacious room, with a bed that was made for me. They even bought me a new pillow. While the Military Transition Team lives among the Iraqis, their living conditions are far better than the U.S. Army has at any forward operating base or camp I have visited in either Iraq or Afghanistan.

The 4/2 Iraqi Army Brigade controls a large swath of northern and eastern Mosul, and its companies are being deployed into Combat Outposts throughout the city. Some of the outposts are jointly manned with U.S. troops, others are manned solely by Iraqis. Brigadier General Noor Aldeen, the 4/2 Iraqi Army Brigade commander, set up a new outpost in the city on his own initiative today, without the support of U.S. soldiers or engineers. More outposts are planned as the Iraqi Army and police use a similar counterinsurgency strategy that secured Ramadi, Falluja, and Baghdad last year.

More to come…