3rd HBCT Commander Checks in from Iraq

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Fort Carson's 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team has had a busy six months in Iraq.

Colonel Brian Jones says they have thousands of successful patrols under their belts and he says they are within days of taking a supporting role to their Iraqi Army counterparts.

"Let me begin by saying good morning to the members of the Mountain Post..." said COL Jones via satellite from an office in Baqubah, Iraq. He recently sat down with an update for a state-side audience.

First and foremost, the big news.

"We played a small but important role in the aftermath of the operation surrounding the death of terror leader Abu Musab al Zarqawi," Jones said.

The former leader of Al Qaeda in Iraq was found and killed where Jones' troops work every day. Following the bombing that killed Zarqawi, Ft. Carson troops secured the area, gathering useful information from the debris before enemy forces could use it for themselves.

"We bulldozed it, basically the whole house down, covered it up and buried it...out of concern somebody would come and make a shrine for nefarious purposes," he explained.

The target continues to be Al Qaeda operating in the area.

It's a space currently controlled by 3rd HBCT, but it's the Iraqis' backyard, and they'll soon have to watch it for themselves.

"We'll become an enabler in terms of providing them assets as they conduct their missions and really acting like a big brother as they conduct their missions through the battle-space," said Jones.

COL Jones says his soldiers and their Iraqi counterparts are getting closer to that goal. A mission he says they are accomplishing one day at a time.

"This is a tough mission, and our guys are performing very well."

COL Jones also spoke about an incident of friendly fire involving 3rd HBCT troops that killed some Iraqi civilians.

Jones says it was a breakdown in communication that led to terrible accident and commanders are trying to find a solution to prevent similar situations in the future.