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Official History




January - February 2004       Unit planning for deployment to Kosovo.


Early March 2004                  Kosovo planning meeting held in Albany, 69th is given a warning order for deployment to Iraq rather than Kosovo.


March 17, 2004                      Unit is planning for deployment to Iraq, Archbishop announces the plans for deployment of the 69th to Iraq during the Mass on St. Patrick's Day at St. Patrick's Cathedral before the start of the Parade.  

                                                HHC, A, B and companies are chosen to deploy, C & D Companies are transferred into A.

                                                Entire company is transferred from the 101 Cav. to make up the new D Company.

                                                101 Cav.'s Company marches in St Patrick's Day Parade carrying it own Gideon.


May 3, 2004                           Orders arrive for May 15th, 2004 activation.


May 15, 2004                         Unit is activated and proceeds to Camp Smith, the Advance Party, consisting of the Executive Officer, Adjutant, Logistics Officer and representatives from the Companies and Staff Sections, proceeds to Fort Hood to prepare for the arrival of the Unit at the Mobilization Station.


May 18, 2004                         Unit flies from Newberg into the Army Airfield at the Mobilization Station, Fort Hood, Texas which is between Killeen and Copperas Cove, Texas (approximately 60 miles north of the capital city of Austin, 50 miles south of Waco, 160 miles south of Dallas, and 150 miles north of San Antonio).


18 May - 20 August 2004      Unit trains at Fort Hood.          


August 20, 2004                     Unit moves to National Training Center at Fort Irwin for additional training. Fort Irwin is located approximately 37 miles northeast of Barstow, California in the High Mojave Desert midway between Las Vegas, Nevada and Los Angeles, California. The installation is surrounded by desert hills and mountains. Natural vegetation is sparse and consists of mesquite, creosote, yucca plants and other low growing plants. The NTC provides and excellent location for desert training. The NTC has the mission to: provide tough, realistic joint and combined arms training for units; focus at the battalion task force and brigade levels, assist commanders in developing trained, competent leaders and soldiers, identify unit training deficiencies, provide feedback to improve the force and prepare for success on the battlefield, and provide a venue for transformation.  NTC trains units by conducting force-on-force and live-fire training in a joint scenario across the spectrum of conflict, using a live-virtual-constructive training model, as portrayed by a highly lethal and capable Opposing Force and controlled by an expert and experienced Operations Group.  NTC has urban operations sites and portrays the complexity and human dimension of the modern battlefield. Training at Irwin introduces unit to Iraq culture and language. The Unit trains for two weeks at a simulated Iraqi village. Iraqi civilians and Army Instructors assume the role of an Iraqi village and unit is presented with problems and situations.


September 20, 2004               Unit leaves NTC travels to Alexandria Louisiana.


September 21, 2004               The 256th Infantry Brigade ( "Tiger" Brigade Combat Team; a Louisiana National Guard infantry brigade to which the 69th Infantry was assigned) makes an agreement with active unit to off load the 69th's equipment so unit personnel can go on a two week leave prior to deployment to Iraq.


October 6, 2004                      Unit deploys to Kuwait. Arrives at Camp Beuring, spends 3 weeks training, receiving equipment and acclimating. The 256th Infantry Brigade had been issued the new Army weapons systems but 69th was considered a legacy unit did not have latest equipment. Issue of updated equipment started at Fort Hood and continued until deployment to Iraq. Unit receives its first up-armored HUMVEEs while in Kuwait.


October 28, 2004                    Unit deploys to Iraq via motor march. Unit spends 3-4 nights traveling to Camp Victory in Bagdad. Unit assigned an area of operation approximately 50 kilometers northwest of Bagdad around Taji.


28 October - 6 November 2004 Unit assigned mission of seizing and holding a bridge over the Grand Canal.   After approximately 5 days it was decided there was no risk of enemy action at the bridge. The Commander of the 69th decides too much time would be wasted if unit has to travel to Taji from Camp Victory each day and recommends deployment to Taji. The request is granted.


November 6, 2004                  Unit conducts "Presence Patrols" around Taji (consisting of convoying through areas and "showing flag"). These are extremely dangerous operations since the Unit is a target during patrols. Unit sets up in Forward Operations Base (FOB) in Taji and continues to perform its mission.


November 29, 2004                Staff Sergeant Christian Engeldrum and Private First Class Wilfredo Urbina are mortally wounded when their HUMVEE is struck by an improvised explosive device (IED).


December 3, 2004                  Staff Sergeant Henry Irizarry is killed when the HUMVEE in which he was riding in struck a roadside explosive device.


January 5, 2005                      Unit redeploys to Camp Victory in Bagdad (whose name is now changed to Camp Liberty) and is assigned the missions of patrolling and securing "Route Irish" from the airport to Bagdad. Route Irish runs from Baghdad's International Airport to the International Zone. Unit also assigned missions of Cordon and Search,  Raids, Community Operations (e.g., building schools, etc.,) and training Iraqi Army personnel.


January 6, 2005                      The following soldiers who were assigned to Company C, 2nd Battalion 156th Infantry Battalion were killed in Taji, Iraq when their Bradley Fighting Vehicle was struck by a massive bomb placed under the surface of a dirt road: Sergeant First Class Kurt Comeaux, Staff Sergeant Christopher Babin, Sergeant Bradley Bergeron, Sergeant Huey Fassbender III, and Sergeant Warren Murphy. Sergeant Kenneth G. VonnRonn, who was attached to C Company 2nd Battalion 156th as a Medic from Headquarters Company, lst Battalion 69th Infantry (Mechanized) was also killed.


January 16, 2005                    Specialist Alain Kamolvathin and Private First Class Francis Obaji were fatally injured when their HUMVEE rolled down an embankment into a river near Bagdad.


March 15, 2005                                    Specialist Paul Heitzel (C/2/156th) was killed in Baghdad, Iraq while conducting a mounted patrol on the Irish road when a vehicle-borne IED detonated. 


May 24, 2005                         Sergeant Anthony N. Kalladeen and Private First Class Hernando Rios were killed when their HUMVEE was struck by two improvised explosive devices and they received small arms fire.


September 2005                     Unit returns to the U.S. turning the security of Route Irish over to the Iraqi Army.





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