Thursday, January 08, 2004

Last Friday, as enemy mortar shells rained down on Forward Operating Base Eagle, Capt. Eric Paliwoda rushed to his mobile trailer to don his gear.

One of nine shells that fell that afternoon sent shrapnel into Paliwoda, snuffing the life out of a company commander described by his troops as a gentle giant who took good care of them...

As troops were reeling from the loss, Iraqi insurgents struck again Monday. Thirteen mortar rounds fell on their camp. Working from a local informant, soldiers are holding six more Iraqis who are now being interrogated.

An Iraqi artillery officer is suspected of helping the enemy mortar crews fire effectively, said Lt. Col. Nate Sassaman, commander of 1st Battalion, 8th Infantry Regiment.

“The last two attacks have been fairly accurate,” Sassaman said, adding that he intends to take out the mortar cell.

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