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Makeshift Bombs Continue To Plague U.S.
By Steve Liewer
Stars and Stripes
European Edition

March 18, 2004,

BALAD, Iraq ó Improvised explosive devices, or IEDs, hit two convoys in the Samarra area Monday, damaging a 1st Infantry Division tank and injuring two 4th Infantry Division soldiers.

In the first explosion Monday morning, a remotely detonated bomb struck an M1A1 Abrams tank from Company B of the 1st Battalion, 77th Armor, in the city of Samarra.

The M1A1, attached to Task Force 1-26, was traveling at the end of a five-vehicle convoy. Capt. Henry Delacruz, Company B commander, said none of the four-man crew was injured, but the blast knocked a track and two road wheels off the big tank.

He said the attack would have been much worse had it struck one of the other vehicles.

"It was a blast powerful enough to kill anyone in an armored Humvee," he said.

The second explosion occurred shortly before 4 p.m. along Highway 1, about two miles from Samarra. A small bomb planted in the median exploded next to a northbound 10-vehicle truck convoy from the 4th IDís 244th Engineer Battalion.

The attack came moments before a convoy of four Humvees from the Task Force 1-77 approached from the opposite direction. That convoy carried the battalionís commander, Lt. Col. David Hubner, and Command Sgt. Maj. John Fortune, who were returning from a memorial service in Tikrit for two 1st ID soldiers killed last week by a roadside bomb.

Hubner halted the convoy, and its soldiers helped secure the road while a combat lifesaver from the 244th Engineer treated two injured soldiers. The two soldiers suffered cuts to the face, Fortune said, and after about 45 minutes the truck convoy took them to an aid station at a nearby Army camp.

Steve Liewer is an embedded journalist with Task Force 1-77 in Balad, Iraq.

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This article is provided courtesy of Stars & Stripes, which got its start as a newspaper for Union troops during the Civil War, and has been published continuously since 1942 in Europe and 1945 in the Pacific. Stripes reporters have been in the field with American soldiers, sailors and airmen in World War II, Korea, the Cold War, Vietnam, the Gulf War, Bosnia and Kosovo, and are now on assignment in the Middle East.

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Copyright 2004 Stars & Stripes. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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