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Chilcote: 101st moves into Iraq

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CNN's Ryan Chilcote

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SOUTHERN IRAQ (CNN) -- CNN correspondent Ryan Chilcote is embedded with the 101st Airborne Division, which moved into Iraq on Friday. Chilcote spoke with Wolf Blitzer about the move.

BLITZER: Ryan, tell our viewers, first of all, where you are, right now, and what your seeing from your vantage point?

CHILCOTE: Wolf, I don't know if you can hear me. I'm under pretty strict guidelines here, in terms of operational security, as to what I can report. But what I can tell you is that the 101st Airborne Division Air Assault now has a brigade sized element inside Iraq. I'm with them. It is the 101st Airborne's 3rd Brigade, and they are now inside Iraq. That is new.

Unfortunately, there are a lot of things I can't tell you. For example, how they got here or where exactly we are inside Iraq.

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At this point, I can only report that 101st Airborne has a brigade-sized element in an undisclosed location inside Iraq -- Wolf.

BLITZER: The 3rd Brigade now inside Iraq. This is a new development, as you report and, obviously, we don't want to do anything that's going to undermine operational security or the requirements or the restrictions under which you can report.

But this movement, as it's taking place, Ryan, are the U.S. troops coming under any enemy fire? Is there resistance, as they move along?

CHILCOTE: No, there is no fire. Very quiet. As you know, it's night here. Very quiet. No fire. Very, actually, friendly situation on the ground.

BLITZER: Has word filtered down to the troops of the 101st Airborne Division, you're covering them, of what has happened, tonight in Baghdad, the start of so-called A-Day, the "shock and awe bombardment"?

CHILCOTE: You know, absolutely not, to be frank. The troops don't get a whole lot of information about what's happening in other places on the battlefield. Field commanders, ground commanders say from the lieutenant colonel and colonel level do. They have all kinds of devices and radios that allow them to really keep in touch with almost everything that's going on inside Iraq.

But your average 101st infantryman, your average grunt infantryman, does not know. He's too busy moving. He's too busy, you know, checking his pack, digging fox holes to really follow the news. And it is very quickly changing news here in Iraq.

EDITOR'S NOTE: This report was written in accordance with Pentagon ground rules allowing so-called embedded reporting, in which journalists join deployed troops. Among the rules accepted by all participating news organizations is an agreement not to disclose sensitive operational details.


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