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Published:April 18th, 2007 03:54 EST

Paratroopers intercept, detain insurgent mortar team near Baghdad

By SOP newswire

KALSU — Paratroopers intercepted an insurgent mortar team here south of Baghdad after receiving indirect fire Friday evening.

Artillerymen by trade, the Paratroopers of 2nd Battalion, 377th Parachute Field Artillery Regiment (PFAR), 4th Brigade Combat Team (Airborne), 25th Infantry Division were dispatched to respond to the insurgent mortar team, which consisted of eight insurgents.

“I was expecting just another quiet evening until I got the call over the radio explaining the situation,” said U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class Bobby Joe Williams, a gunnery sergeant.

The insurgent mortar team was observed returning to their mortar system and individual weapons cache site immediately following the indirect fire attack.

A platoon from the Battery B “Eagles” were conducting another mission in the area when they received the call to change their mission and detain the individuals seen leaving the cache site.  The Battery A “Falcons” then quickly assembled the battalion’s quick reaction force and moved to team up with their Eagle counterparts.

“My Paratroopers were ready and willing to capture the individuals behind the recent mortar attacks,” said Williams.

Members of Bravo Battery immediately detained nine individuals, while Alpha Battery retrieved weapons from the cache site and pursued a fleeing insurgent nearly three-quarters of a mile over rough terrain.

“After chasing him for over 45 minutes through six canals, we were very proud to show him he wasn’t getting away from this group of Paratroopers,” said U.S. Army Capt. Matthew Thompson, the Alpha Battery commander.

Ten individuals, six AK-47s with numerous magazines, and a mortar system were captured. The detainees are currently held for further questioning.

“You had better be in some excellent shape, if you want to try and outrun the Paratroopers of Falcon Battery,” said Thompson.

As the Iraqi and Coalition troop buildup continues throughout the spring; security plans in effect are expected to improve and rekindle hope within the Iraqi population.

(U.S. Army story by U.S. Army Capt. Steven Schmidt, 2nd Battalion, 377th Parachute Field Artillery Regiment Public Affairs Officer)