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The Ghost Battalion

Our hearts so stout have brought us fame

For soon ‘tis known from whence we came

Where e’er we go they dread the name

of Garryowen and glory.

- the last verse of Garry Owen

Every unit in the US Army has a history worth remembering.  Most continue their traditions.  Many go through phases of effectiveness - reputations made or lost based on personnel (commanders) and other factors.

Then, you have the units which ALWAYS have maintained their reputation.  One such unit is 2-7 Cavalry (of the 1st Cavalry Division).  The 7th Cavalry is know as Garry Owen.

During the Korean War, the 2-7 Cavalry was one of the first units to fight the North Koreans.  Against impossible odds and huge losses, they continued to fight throughout the war.  The North Koreans, who couldn't understand how a unit could continue with so few personnel, dubbed them "The Ghost Battalion" out of respect and fear.

The Ghost Battalion has been busy in Iraq - from the battle for Najaf against Sadr's murdering muj to Fallujah.

Here's the latest about the Ghost Battalion as they worked with the Marines to take Fallujah:

Ghost Battalion Leads Fight in Fallujah

By Spc. Erik LeDrew, 122nd MPAD

FALLUJAH, Iraq— The Ghost Battalion’s mission: pave the way into Fallujah and secure the last insurgent stronghold in Iraq. On the night of Nov. 8, Soldiers from 2nd Battalion, 7th Cavalry Regiment of the 1st Cavalry Division descended in droves and pushed their way into Fallujah securing the city, and spearheading the mission for the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force.

“Our mission was to penetrate the enemy defenses in Fallujah to allow for two Marine [regimental combat teams] to enter the city,” said Maj. Scott Jackson, executive officer, 2-7 Cav.

The famous Ghost Battalion cemented its place in the history of the war in Iraq, and has been central to success in Baghdad and Najaf prior to becoming the main effort in Fallujah. Based on its prior track record, it is apparent the Ghost Battalion was the Marine’s battalion of choice.

“The 1st Marine Division specifically asked for us because of our reputation,” said 1st Sgt. Larry Hudnall, first sergeant for Company C, 2-7 Cav. “And Marines never specifically ask for a unit’s help.”

As the Air Force was busy bombarding the city and weakening the insurgent defenses, 2-7 Cav. started staging their Bradley Armored Fighting Vehicles, Abrams tanks and armored personnel carriers ready to take the fight to the streets.

The Ghost Battalion began their assault on Fallujah just after 7 p.m.

Under the cover of darkness, three companies from 2-7 Cav. breached insurgent defenses by plowing through a railway station on the outskirts of Fallujah’s Joulwan district.

The Soldiers secured the railway station and pushed into the city, continuing their fight while artillery, mortars and air assets continued pounding other parts of the city.

According to Jackson, after the Ghost troopers completed their initial mission by successfully securing a major thoroughfare into Fallujah, the 2-7 Cav. Soldiers continued to push further into the city, conducting operations to destroy the insurgents.

“We’ve been doing screening missions along [a main thoroughfare], patrolling it in order to allow the battalion access to its objectives in the city,” Hudnall, a Killeen, Texas native, said. “We’ve also been doing mounted combat patrols in our sector, or what we call ‘gun runs,’ which allow us to get assessments of enemy positions in our sector.”

In addition to the damage that was done by the battalion’s Bradleys and tanks, the 2-7 infantry troops had to dismount to search and clear buildings and houses, as well as to engage the enemy on foot.

“Our guys are doing a great job in the fight,” Jackson said. “They’ve certainly handed-out more than they were given.”

By Nov. 12, insurgents were surrendering in droves, waving improvised white flags. Elements of the new Iraqi military were escorted into the city to clear all of the houses and buildings and were also tasked to apprehend the countless insurgent detainees.

“It’s a good thing that we’re getting all of these [insurgents] out of here,” said Spc. Michael Haggerty, Comanche Co., 2-7 Cav., and a Cape May, N.J. native. “This is the last insurgent stronghold in Iraq, so the country will be much better off after this city is secured.”

By the end of the first week of the fight, the majority of the city had been overtaken by either 2-7 Cav. or the Marine regiments that entered Fallujah in the Ghost Battalion’s wake.

Hudnall said it is still too early to determine if the overall operation was a complete success.

"This is the last great battle in Iraq," Hudnall said. “I really think our level of success here in Fallujah will be determined in the future, when they hold their own elections.”

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