Forward Operating Base Paliwoda
FOB Paliwoda or Camp Paliwoda was a US forward operating base (FOB) in Balad, Iraq. The base was named for Captain Eric Paliwoda, an Engineer Officer and West Point Graduate from Farmington, Connecticut serving with the 4th infantry division, 3rd brigade combat team who was killed in an enemy mortar attack in Balad on 2 January 2004; it had formerly been called FOB Eagle.
During Operation Iraqi Freedom II (2004), the camp was occupied by elements of the U.S. Army's 1st Infantry Division (1-77 Armor Bn.). It was during OIF II (2005) that the Balad Joint Cooperation Center (B-JCC) was established by TF 1-77AR. OIF III saw 3rd U.S. Army Infantry Division elements (Task Force 5-7 Cavalry), under command of the 42nd I.D., occupy the post. The fall of 2005 also saw a coordinated insurgent bombing attack on the city of Balad that resulted in over 150 local civilian casualties, including the District Police Chief. In October 2006, as part of Task Force Lightning under the umbrella command of the 25th Infantry Division, elements of the U.S. 3rd Battalion 8th Cavalry Regiment (Warhorse), 1st Cavalry Division took control of FOB Paliwoda. In Oct. 2007, 3/8 Cav, 1CD turned over control to elements of 1/32 Cav 1st BCT 101st Airborne Division. In Oct 2008, the 101st conducted Relief in Place/Transfer of Authority (RIP/TOA) with 3-4 CAV (Nightraiders), 3BCT (Broncos), 25ID (Tropic Lightning). Early in 2009, Bravo and Charlie Troops, 3-4 CAV would leave the FOB and live on Joint Base Balad (JBB). The HHT elements of 3-4 CAV (including both the SCO and SCSM) and Apache Troop, would remain on FOB Paliwoda until OCT 2009, when they turned over control of the FOB to an Infantry Battalion from 4th ID.
Forward Operating Base Paliwoda is a former training base for Saddam Hussein's elite fighters. The base is shaped like a fat horseshoe; its perimeter is 1½ miles long. On the north side is a road and the entrance. On the south there's a canal, on the east a mosque, and on the west a school soccer field. In the middle, behind giant chain-link fences, is housing still occupied by the families of former Iraqi soldiers. One side of the horseshoe used to be a school, but it is now the battalion headquarters. The other side used to be a training camp for Saddam Hussein's guerrilla fighters. The F.O.B itself has numerous towers that outlines the edge of the base, and these towers were used as guard towers on 24/7 shifts. The FOB also contained makeshift motor pools, makeshift mechanic areas, and a concrete slab utilized as a landing pad for helicopters. On the NorthEast corner of the FOB is a compound used exclusively by a Special Forces ODA Team. Security on the FOB is provided by the Private Security company "Sabre", who primarily contract Ugandan citizens.
Forward Operating Base Paliwoda, like many bases in Iraq, has portable shower units for soldiers to use. But at Paliwoda, persistent problems with the makeshift electrical system installed by an Iraqi contractor mean the water often is cold if it is running at all. Despite improvements, there is an enormous contrast between this forward operating base, and camps such as LSA Anaconda, the air base 12 miles from Paliwoda. The MWR (Morale, Welfare and Relaxation) building at Paliwoda began with about 15 computers and 10 telephones for soldiers to communicate with family at home, a second-hand ping pong table, a television, and a few board games; it has since been reduced to the telephones and computers. Once a day a convoy delivers food from the Kellogg, Brown and Root chow hall at Anaconda, unless the unit in control of the FOB has cooks attached to them. Also there is a gym with weight lifting equipment.
On 15 June 2009, during a ceremony, U.S. soldiers lowered the American flag and Iraqi soldiers raised the Iraqi flag at the handover of Forward Operating Base Paliwoda to Iraq, as the Balad Joint Coordination Center.