Knees in the Breeze

The Largest jump since World War II into Bashur Airfield Iraq. Over 1100 jumpers + pallets in 19 C-17s put knees in the breeze in the dark of the night. Jumpers landed between 2 kilometers short of, and 3.5 kilometers long of the Drop zone. With the mud and the muck, it took over 12 hours to assemble the unit.
The following TACP’s jumped in to Iraq with the 173rd Airborne:

Blaine Anderson
Conan Higgins
Matthew Foote
Ryan Knight
Juan Valentin
Alejandro Castillo
Faustino Martinez
Mitchell Yang
Leo Ortiz
Todd Brooks, Col Vicenza TACP CC
Brad O’Neil (AMLO)
Bryan Shelton (BDE ALO)
James Maunz (BN ALO)
Photos of pre-jump are available inside the secure area of the site.

TACP Combat Loss

TACP Combat Loss A disgruntled Army soldier tosses grenades into the 101st TOC and unloads his weapon through the tent killing two. One, was Major Gregory L. Stone. Major Gregory �Linus� Stone died of wounds received during a grenade attack on the 22nd of March, 1st Brigade, 101st Airborne Division, which he was assigned to as an Air Liaison Officer (ALO) at Camp Pennsylvania, Kuwait, Monday March 24th, 2003. Major Stone was a member of the 124th Air Support Operations Squadron (ASOS), 124th Wing, Idaho Air National Guard, located at Gowen Field. Maj Stone was mobilized and deployed in support of 19 ASOS. He was a true professional, who lead from the front, volunteered for this assignment and died preparing to support and defend the constitution of the United States, as he had vowed to do over 20 years ago. Maj Stone leaves behind family members, loved ones and many friends. Maj. Stone was born February 6, 1963 , in Weiser, Idaho.

TACP Combat Loss

TACP Combat Loss FOX News, API: BAGRAM, Afghanistan � Rebel fighters fired more than a dozen rockets and mortars at U.S. military positions in eastern Afghanistan, prompting an air strike that left at least two attackers dead, an Army spokesman said Monday. The mortar and rocket fire missed their marks, and no U.S. soldiers were injured, Col. Roger King told reporters at Bagram Air Base, the headquarters of the U.S.-led coalition north of Kabul. The attacks Sunday came a day after an ambush in southern Helmand province killed two U.S. servicemen, the first American combat deaths in Afghanistan since December and a sign rebel activity is increasing after the start of the war in Iraq. A U.S base near the town of Shkin, in the eastern Paktika province, came under fire by about a dozen 82 mm mortar rounds, King said. Soldiers spotted three vehicles leaving the area and called in air support from a Marine AV-8 Harrier jet and two Apache helicopter gunships. The Harrier dropped a 1,000-pound, laser-guided bomb into the cluster of vehicles, King said. The Apaches did not fire any weapons. “The initial battle damage assessment was that we killed two individuals associated with these vehicles,” King said. Separately, assailants fired two rockets at a U.S. post in the eastern town of Gardez, in neighboring Paktia province. No one was injured. In addition, a rocket was fired at the Kabul Military Training Center late Sunday in the capital, King said. The attack came about the same time as a rocket hit the headquarters of the international peacekeeping force that patrols Kabul. No injuries were reported. “It was a busy night,” King said. Afghan authorities say Taliban, their Al Qaeda allies and forces loyal to a renegade rebel commander are behind the attacks. Saturday’s attack in the southern province of Helmand was the first fatal encounter for U.S. forces in Afghanistan since December. A Special Forces soldier and an airman were killed and another Special Forces trooper wounded when their four-vehicle convoy was ambushed on a reconnaissance patrol. Three Afghan soldiers also were wounded. The Americans killed were identified by U.S. authorities and family members as Army Special Forces Sgt. Orlando Morales, 33, of Manati, Puerto Rico and Staff Sgt. Jacob L. Frazier, 24, a member of the Illinois Air National Guard from St. Charles, Ill. The ambush took place two days after an international Red Cross worker was killed in neighboring Kandahar province. The region is the birthplace of the hardline Taliban regime driven from power by U.S.-led forces in late 2001. U.S. forces and Afghan militia have been conducting sweeps in Kandahar province — and such offensives often spur more rebel activity. Hundreds of coalition forces swept into the Helmand Valley last month for Operation Viper, and patrols of the perilous area continue. The ambush was part of an “uptick” in rebel activity following the start of the Iraq war about 10 days ago, he said. Posters supposedly written by the Taliban’s elusive leader Mullah Mohammed Omar have recently appeared in eastern Afghanistan renewing his call for a holy war against U.S. troops and Afghans who work with them. “Whenever the non-Muslims attack a Muslim land it is the duty of everyone to raise against the aggressor,” said the posters, which carried the signatures of 600 Islamic clerics. “We were blamed for Usama bin Laden because they said he was a terrorist and he was taking shelter with us. But what is the fault of Iraq? Iraq has no Usama bin Laden in his country,” it said

Jacob Frazier was killed in action 03-21-2003

Jacob was killed in action in Afghanistan.

FOX News, API: BAGRAM, Afghanistan — Rebel fighters fired more than a dozen rockets and mortars at U.S. military positions in eastern Afghanistan, prompting an air strike that left at least two attackers dead, an Army spokesman said Monday. The mortar and rocket fire missed their marks, and no U.S. soldiers were injured, Col. Roger King told reporters at Bagram Air Base, the headquarters of the U.S.-led coalition north of Kabul. The attacks Sunday came a day after an ambush in southern Helmand province killed two U.S. servicemen, the first American combat deaths in Afghanistan since December and a sign rebel activity is increasing after the start of the war in Iraq. A U.S base near the town of Shkin, in the eastern Paktika province, came under fire by about a dozen 82 mm mortar rounds, King said. Soldiers spotted three vehicles leaving the area and called in air support from a Marine AV-8 Harrier jet and two Apache helicopter gunships. The Harrier dropped a 1,000-pound, laser-guided bomb into the cluster of vehicles, King said. The Apaches did not fire any weapons. "The initial battle damage assessment was that we killed two individuals associated with these vehicles," King said. Separately, assailants fired two rockets at a U.S. post in the eastern town of Gardez, in neighboring Paktia province. No one was injured. In addition, a rocket was fired at the Kabul Military Training Center late Sunday in the capital, King said. The attack came about the same time as a rocket hit the headquarters of the international peacekeeping force that patrols Kabul. No injuries were reported. "It was a busy night," King said. Afghan authorities say Taliban, their Al Qaeda allies and forces loyal to a renegade rebel commander are behind the attacks. Saturday's attack in the southern province of Helmand was the first fatal encounter for U.S. forces in Afghanistan since December. A Special Forces soldier and an airman were killed and another Special Forces trooper wounded when their four-vehicle convoy was ambushed on a reconnaissance patrol. Three Afghan soldiers also were wounded. The Americans killed were identified by U.S. authorities and family members as Army Special Forces Sgt. Orlando Morales, 33, of Manati, Puerto Rico and Staff Sgt. Jacob L. Frazier, 24, a member of the Illinois Air National Guard from St. Charles, Ill. The ambush took place two days after an international Red Cross worker was killed in neighboring Kandahar province. The region is the birthplace of the hardline Taliban regime driven from power by U.S.-led forces in late 2001. U.S. forces and Afghan militia have been conducting sweeps in Kandahar province -- and such offensives often spur more rebel activity. Hundreds of coalition forces swept into the Helmand Valley last month for Operation Viper, and patrols of the perilous area continue. The ambush was part of an "uptick" in rebel activity following the start of the Iraq war about 10 days ago, he said. Posters supposedly written by the Taliban's elusive leader Mullah Mohammed Omar have recently appeared in eastern Afghanistan renewing his call for a holy war against U.S. troops and Afghans who work with them. "Whenever the non-Muslims attack a Muslim land it is the duty of everyone to raise against the aggressor," said the posters, which carried the signatures of 600 Islamic clerics. "We were blamed for Usama bin Laden because they said he was a terrorist and he was taking shelter with us. But what is the fault of Iraq? Iraq has no Usama bin Laden in his country," it said

Air National Guard Staff Sgt. Frazier was assigned to the 169th Air Support Operations Squadron, 182nd Airlift Wing, Peoria, Illinois. Frazier was in charge of calling in air support for troops on the ground. He and a Special Forces soldier were shot to death when four gunmen ambushed their convoy on motorcycles, 29 Mar 2003. Jacob was a tenacious football player at Burlington Central High School so no one was surprised when he entered the military the year after his graduation. In 1997, he enlisted in the Illinois Air National Guard and was determined to excel. He was sent to Afghanistan in January to work with U.S. Army Special Forces. In just two months, he had participated in three reconnaissance missions to uncover information on people believed to be planning attacks on Americans. The missions led to the discovery of numerous documents and personnel and earned him a Purple Heart, Bronze Star and the Illinois Military Medal for Valor.

Comments by Charlie Heidal

I had deployed from Langley AFB with a dozen tons of gps, laser range finders, pointers and other bits of gear to back fill equipment shortfalls. Essentially there to make sure that everything got to those that needed it. I have been helping out the ASOC, JSOTF and other elements in the US and coalition to make sure that kit is ready to rock. Near Midnight of the 20th I was standing on the Iraq/Kuwait border with the CSM of the Corps Jump TAC and a few other Army studs. As far as the eye could see to the south under Nods was chem sticks attached to vehicle bumpers. Vast columns of combat power stretching to the southern horizon. They were at least 10 miles across spaced by 50 or so yards each. To the North was completely black. If anyone was there, they were keeping a very low profile…who could blame them. Crews mostly asleep, minor maintenance going on….and tom brokaw with a powerful spotlight on him providing a bit of voice over to his “…The war has started…” news report. 2 hours later, that report was published as 24th Mech jumped the border. M1 Abrams doing “track stands” as they applied max power and launched across the border (quite literally actually....more than 1/2 of the tank drive train in the air as they launched). My comment to the SGM was “…Someone is about to have their ass handed to them…” he gave a sage nodd and we got back into his truck and headed back to the ASOC. 2 hours of driving later we were still passing the outbound convoy. Someone was indeed about to have a bad time of it.