An excerpt from the 1st Cavalry Division,
1st Brigade, 20th Engineer Battalion's
news letter:
Barracuda News – July 2004
By CPT Dennis Pintor
The month of July has brought with it numerous changes for Team Barracuda as well
as the entire 1st Brigade Combat Team (1BCT). As everyone knows, the Iraqi
government assumed control from the Coalition Provincial Authority on 28 June 04.
This was a history making date, one in which the Barracudas will always be linked. We
were forward deployed, setting conditions for this to happen. Internally, the company
has undergone several personnel changes, most notably being the new operations
team of SSG Sherman England and SGT Jurgen Oberkirsch. These are the guys who
work with the XO and 1SG to make the day-to-day activities happen. The big change
in the company, however, has to be the change of command between CPT David
Woodruff and CPT Dennis Pintor. Dave and his family will always be part of the
Barracuda family
and we wish him luck in his new position on Division Staff. CPT P, Stacy, and Rhea are
excited to join the Barracudas and already eternally grateful for the welcome they
have been extended.

Our higher command in TF Charger and 1BCT have taken several measures to help
decrease the company’s operational tempo or in plain speak, “how much we work.”
One of these measures was to increase the use of the Iraqi National Guard (ING) in
our mission cycle. The ING made great strides in their training and have successfully
worked side by side with Team Barracuda. Another measure is to focus on priority
missions that help establish security in our zone. The results from these measures are
more time allotted for routine but important functions like administrative actions,
maintenance, and supply actions. Most importantly, this allows our great soldiers to
have more personal time and to enjoy some quality of life improvements on Camp
Eagle like the new internet café and the 64” TV with cable for our company dayroom
(just in time for football season!!!)

Even with our decrease in the mission load, the Barracudas have been busy this past
month. We conducted two very successful cordon and search operations that directly
impacted the success of TF Charger and the 1BCT. We detained several personnel
who were suspected of terrorist activity as well as collecting and processing evidence
to help convict those personnel. Some of the MANY heroes from these operations are:
SSG Michael Aalsburg and SSG James Kubena for their work as search team leaders,
SGT Michael Suttle and SGT James Faulkner who operated the Vapor Tracer system,
which identifies if a person or object has had contact with any explosive ordnance,
SPC Sarah Baker who searched all females during operations and helped calm the
families during search operations, and PFC Steve Joseph who from his gunner
position identified a person trying to flee our cordon.

Additionally we assumed the security mission at the UN compound. We continue to
improve living conditions there as well as maintain a security presence in our assigned
sector. During the potentially dangerous times associated with the Transitional of
Sovereignty, we assumed 24 hour guard of the Farabi Power Sub-station. Lastly the
team began to shift our mission focus to operations that more Civil Military operations
in order to improve the Iraqi quality of life. We recently delivered bulk quantities of
water when there was a shortage. We identified several civil engineer projects to be
discussed in the Neighborhood Advisory Council that CPT Pintor attends each week.
Lastly SGT Lyn Thomas and SPC Matt Miller utilized their M9 ACEs to help clear trash
and debris along roads in our sector. This not only helps cleans the areas, but helps
in our security situation as roadside bombs cannot be hidden in the trash alongside
our routes.

Thanks to Jess Stocker, Morgan Whisenant, and Stacy Pintor and the rest of the FRG
for their continual hard work back at Ft. Hood. Their efforts have really set the new
commander up for success. Less than 12 hours after the company change of
command we had our first VTC from Camp Eagle back to Ft. Hood. The VTC was a bit
stressful with some technical difficulties on both ends, but we had 18 soldiers have an
opportunity to see and talk to their loved ones, if only for a brief moment or two. We
will continue to coordinate for these events in the future in an effort to ease the stress
of our deployment.

Lastly, we continue to be able to send several soldiers home as part of the
Environmental Leave Program. We received our first group back into theater from
their leave. One soldier SGT Timothy Barksdale really made the most of his leave and
got married to his lovely fiancé Trisa. Additionally we welcome two brand new
Barracuda’s to the family, Dawson, born to SPC Bradley and Katherine Bailey, and
Dominique, born to SPC Lester and Yaeley Orellana. Lastly we welcome SSG Billy
Keen and his family back to the team after a tour in the 20 EN S-3 shop. Bless us all
and continue to keep us safe!
-Barracuda 6