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IN IRAQ: Platoon gets new mission

LSA ANACONDA, Iraq During their first three months in Iraq, Staff Sgt. Brad Lahti and his platoon from Company C, 2nd Battalion, 136th Combined Arms Battalion, manned an entry control point 24 hours a day, which meant the same routines day after day.

LSA ANACONDA, Iraq During their first three months in Iraq, Staff Sgt. Brad Lahti and his platoon from Company C, 2nd Battalion, 136th Combined Arms Battalion, manned an entry control point 24 hours a day, which meant the same routines day after day.

There has been much more variety in their missions over the past five months. The platoon, which includes some Company B soldiers from Crookston and Thief River Falls, now does anything from providing security for a civil military operations mission to patrolling for insurgents.

"There's no routine. The time frames are all different," said Lahti of Robbinsdale, Minn. "And it gets us out seeing things."

And a combat reconnaissance patrol definitely "sees things." They patrol the perimeter of the base searching for suspicious individuals and items at all hours of the day.

On a terrain denial patrol, the objective is for these soldiers to prevent rockets and mortars from being fired at the base. Lahti said his patrol tries to focus on areas where attacks are likely to occur.

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"We want to catch them in the act," he said.

A squad will spend the morning on a combat reconnaissance patrol, come back to the base for a while and then head out for another tour.

Lahti's company commander, Capt. Eduardo Suarez of Golden Valley, Minn., said this new mission has given his soldiers new purpose and a sense that they are really making a difference and contributing more to the fight.

"As a tank company with qualified tankers, the ability to shoot, move and communicate came naturally," he said.

And with no routine.

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