Our fine men in uniform, along with hundreds of Iraqi soldiers, have gone on the offensive against the insurgency in what is being called the largest air assault since the 2003 invasion:
BAGHDAD, Iraq – U.S. forces and Iraqi troops launched what the military described as the largest air assault since the 2003 U.S.-led invasion Thursday, targeting insurgent strongholds north of the capital.
The U.S. military said the raid, dubbed Operation Swarmer, was aimed at clearing “a suspected insurgent operating area” northeast of Samarra and was expected to last several days. The Pentagon said 41 people were arrested but it was not clear if suspected insurgents put up any resistance.
Residents in the targeted area said there was a heavy U.S. and Iraqi troop presence and large explosions could be heard in the distance. The U.S. military said there was no firing or bombing from the air and the source of the blasts was not known.
“More than 1,500 Iraqi and coalition troops, over 200 tactical vehicles, and more than 50 aircraft participated in the operation,” the military statement said.
The U.S. command in Baghdad said it was the largest number of aircraft used to insert troops and the largest number of troops inserted by air, although larger numbers of troops overall have been involved in previous operations.
Pentagon spokesman Lt. Col. Barry Venable said no bombs, missiles or other ordnance were fired from the helicopters. He said more than 650 U.S. troops and more than 800 Iraqi soldiers took part in the operation.
Get ’em, gents!