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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted on: Sunday, March 20, 2005

Two years of war

Advertiser Staff

OPERATION IRAQI FREEDOM (Dates in bold type indicate involvement of Hawai'i-based forces)


March 19: The first Tomahawk cruise missile launched in Operation Iraqi Freedom is fired by the Pearl Harbor-based submarine USS Cheyenne, targeting a bunker believed to be where Iraqi President Saddam Hussein is staying.

March 31: About 30 Schofield Barracks soldiers fight their way to Baghdad with the 3rd Infantry Division, as 80 others deploy to the war zone with other units as individual replacements.

April 9: Baghdad falls to coalition troops.

May 1: Aboard USS Abraham Lincoln, President Bush declares major combat operations over.

July 22: Odai and Qusai, Saddam Hussein's sons and his most feared lieutenants, are killed in a gunbattle at their hide-out in the northern Iraqi town of Mosul.

Aug. 19: A truck bomb destroys part of the United Nations' headquarters in Baghdad and kills at least 20 people, including the head of the U.N. mission. Aug. 23: Ali Hassan al-Majid, the former high-ranking Iraqi official known as "Chemical Ali," is captured.

Sept. 19: Sultan Hashim Ahmad, Saddam Hussein's former defense minister, surrenders to U.S. troops.

Oct. 26: Iraqi insurgents fire a rocket salvo at the Rashid hotel in Baghdad, narrowly missing Paul Wolfowitz, the U.S. deputy defense secretary. An American colonel is killed and 18 people wounded.

Nov. 4: U.S. Senate approves $87.5 billion to finance the war in Iraq.

Dec. 13: Saddam is captured in Tikrit.


Jan. 7: More than 200 soldiers with Charlie Company, 193rd Aviation of the Hawai'i National Guard, are mobilized and deploy in March to Balad, Iraq.

Jan. 13: The first wave of 5,200 Schofield Barracks soldiers leaves Hawai'i for a year of duty in northern Iraq, with headquarters in Kirkuk.

March 18: Pfc. Ernest Sutphin, 21, dies in Germany of injuries received in a vehicle accident the week before. He is the first of 13 Schofield Barracks soldiers to date to be killed in Iraq.

March 31: Four U.S. contractors are killed in Fallujah, their bodies mutilated and hung from a bridge over the Euphrates River.

April-May: Shiite militias loyal to cleric Moqtada al-Sadr attack coalition forces in southern Iraq. Photographic evidence of abuse of Iraqi prisoners by U.S. troops emerges.

June 28: U.S. civilian authorities in Iraq transfer sovereignty to Iraqi government headed by secular Shiite and interim Prime Minister Ayad Allawi.

August: U.S. forces assault al-Sadr's militias in Najaf.

September: Approximately 900 Marines with the 1st Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, from Kane'ohe Bay, arrive in Iraq as part of a buildup of U.S. forces for an expected all-out attack on the insurgent-held city of Fallujah.

Oct. 30: Seven Hawai'i-based Marines are killed in a suicide car bomb attack on a convoy near Fallujah.

November: U.S. troops lead a major assault on Fallujah.

Dec. 13: Lance Cpl. Blake A. Magaoay, 20, a Pearl City High graduate, is buried at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific. He is the first Hawai'i-born Marine to die in the Iraq war.

Dec. 29: The return of 113 Schofield Barracks soldiers with the 40th Quartermaster Company and 84th Engineer Battalion signals the start of the road home for Hawai'i-based soldiers deployed to Iraq.


Jan. 26: Twenty-six Marines and a Navy corpsman, based in Kane'ohe, die in the crash of a CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter in a sandstorm in western Iraq. Four California-based Marines aboard also die. Six more U.S. troops die in attacks that day, making it the worst single daily loss of life in the war.

Jan. 30: Iraqis vote in elections for a transitional National Assembly.

March 15: Thirty-three war-weary Marines from the 1st Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, who arrive at Honolulu International Airport, are among the first of approximately 900 Hawai'i Marines to return from seven months in Iraq. March 16: Members of Iraq's National Assembly are sworn in; Iraq's first freely elected parliament in 50 years holds its opening session.