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    • Third Infantry Division Prepares for Operation Crimson Sand

      Advance elements from Spartans Brigade arrive in Turkey to begin operations.

      Third Infantry Division’s 2nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team has received its marching orders. Effective 16 April 2023, Alpha Company will begin Operation Crimson Sand, a seven-plus month combat deployment to Turkey’s southeastern frontier.

      Home to critical US and NATO installations and personnel, the region has recently been plagued by insurgent attacks from Syria.

      Terrorists from Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and al Qaeda-affiliated Hurras al-Din (HAD) have conducted a total of 27 cross-border raids and attacks since 1 January 2023. By targeting Turkish security forces and NATO bases, including Incirlik Air Base and Kürecik early warning radar station, insurgents threaten to disrupt or potentially destroy key components of the NATO missile defense system.

      The missile defense system is part of a European safeguard against ballistic missile attacks from nations like Russia and Iran.

      Alpha Company is set to deploy to Çukurca, Turkey. The district is marked by rugged terrain with numerous mountains, ridges, and valleys. The Turkish Army maintains a FOB located in the city of Musul, but has called for additional security forces in the area.

      Most of the local population is Kurdish, and outside of the semi-urbanized Musul Valley, sheep herding is the primary occupation.

      Across the region, enemy forces have employed IED/VBIED, mortar, and rocket artillery in complex attacks against Turkish and NATO sites.


      Yesterday, ISIS regional commander Ibrahim Abu al-Shami livestreamed a video of three Turkish soldiers he claimed his forces captured after shooting down a Turkish helicopter. Al-Shami threatened to kill the men unless Turkey and the US ceased military operations in Syria immediately.

      Later in the day, Chief of the Turkish General Staff General Yaşar Güler admitted to reporters that the army had lost contact with a CH-47 helicopter conducting operations near the Syrian border.

      NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg later spoke with General Güler and reaffirmed the organization’s commitment to its mission in Turkey.

      Speaking to reporters in Brussels this morning, he said, “We are grateful for each partner’s dedication to the alliance. Standing together, we will continue to ensure lasting mutual security across the world.

      To prepare for the work ahead, Alpha Company is gearing up for phase three of FTX, which will take place at Ft. Irwin National Training Center, California. Home to the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment’s OPFOR contingent, this final stage of training will prepare Dogface Soldiers for the challenges of fighting in desert terrain.

      During the March Ceremony formation, Alpha Company Commander Major LaFlash spoke about the mission ahead. Concluding his briefing to the Company, Major stated, “Basically, we will need to meet them head on, and we will need to prevail.”

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