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CENTCOM: Republican Guard division 'destroyed'

WASHINGTON -- With divisions divided and divisions destroyed, April is off to a bad start for Iraq's famed Republican Guard.

An official from U.S. Central Command confirmed in an April 2 press briefing at the unit's forward headquarters in Qatar that the Baghdad division of the guard "has been destroyed" in fighting south of the capital city that bears its name. Army Brig. Gen. Vincent Brooks, CENTCOM deputy operations officer, said that recent coalition air strikes, along with artillery barrages, had decimated the division.

As the remaining divisions of the guard deal with a constant onslaught from coalition ground and air forces, they are being augmented by forces from locations north of Baghdad, Brooks said.

"Because of the effectiveness of our air attacks and precision targeting over the last several days, (the guard) is relocating to positions where they want to hold certain terrain," he said. "There have been some units who have moved in from the north to reinforce. That is why we have a mixture of the Nebuchadnezzar and Medina divisions."

Regardless of where they fight and what division of the Republican Guard they fight for, members of the Iraqi army are experiencing extreme difficulty, he said.

"They're in trouble," he said. "They are under serious attack, and those attacks will continue until we finish with the task at hand."

Air Force pilots have flown more than 12,000 sorties during the first 13 days of Operation Iraqi Freedom, including some 5,000 "strike and counter-air" missions, according to Pentagon officials.

In addition, Air Force pilots have logged 4,000 airlift missions, moving almost 27,000 short tons of cargo and 32,000 passengers, and 2,500 refueling flights, offloading 107 million pounds of fuel to aircraft of "every coalition member."

Other flights include 200 combat search and rescue missions, along with another 500 intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance sorties.


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