Iraqi army assumes battle space

Blackanthem Military News, CAMP KHAMEES, Iraq, April 01, 2006 11:23

 

General Saman Al Talabani, commander, 2nd Brigade, 5th Iraqi Army Division speaks at the transfer of authority ceremony April 1 at Camp Khamees, Iraq. The 3rd Battalion, 2nd Brigade, 5th Iraqi Army Division received it first battle space from 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, Task Force Band of Brothers. (U.S. Army photo by Pfc. Paul J. Harris, 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division Public Affairs Office)

The 3rd Battalion, 2nd Brigade, 5th Iraqi Army Division received its first battle space from Coalition Forces in a transfer of authority ceremony at Camp Khamees, Iraq, April 1.

The battalion will be solely responsible for security of the southern half of Diyala Province. They can still call on elements of 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, Task Force Band of Brothers, for help if needed.

"The ceremony is to give the Iraqi people as well as the army a visual representation that it is their battle space and they are taking control, it is not like someone made a stroke on a piece of paper, it is a formality," said Maj. Mark Arrington, executive officer of the Military in Transition Team, 3rd HBCT, 4th ID.

It will be the first time the 3rd Bn., 2nd Brigade, 5th IAD will have responsibility for a battle space. The battalion was formed in December 2003 and fought in Fallujah, Al-Meshada and Al-Tarmiah to free those cities from insurgents. With Iraqi army units controlling their own battle spaces the closer they become to taking over security for their country.

"With pride and loftiness, we are assuming battle space from our friends. It is a great day for our battalion," said Col. Hadi Jamal, commander, 3rd Bn., 2nd Brigade, 5th IAD. "It has been assigned to us, as a combat battalion, to conduct planning and coordinate assaults on terrorist nests, chase them and paralyze their movements at day and night."

Jamal and his Soldiers have been working closely with Soldiers from 3rd HBCT MiTT to prepare for this day when the battalion could function on its own. The MiTT took over training the battalion shortly after arriving in Iraq in late 2005. 1st Lt. Tony Wells, MiTT, 3rd HBCT works with the 3rd Bn., 2nd Brigade, 5th IAD on a daily basis. He believes the ceremony will be a great morale booster for the local townspeople and the Iraqi army. Wells said it will give them a sense of validity and the confidence to lead their own fight.

All the progress that has been made has not come without a price. There was a white board behind the podium with names of the Iraqi Soldiers from the 3rd Bn., 2nd Brigade, 5th IAD who died in combat.

"The people of Iraq demand freedom and security, the people of Diyala demand freedom and security, and the names on the board demand it as well," said Col. Brian Jones, commander, 3rd HBCT, referring to the white board in his speech at the ceremony.

Though a great price has been paid for the battalion’s venture into security and stability, Jamal was confident about his Soldiers role in this turning point in Iraqi history.

"We are the sons of the Iraqi people, the two rivers valley, the homeland of the prophets and the resting place of the pure Imams," Jamal said. "So our history increases our determination and insists we bear the responsibility of raising the Iraqi flag high … with God willing we will be good Soldiers and serve our country and people."

 

Story and photo by Pfc. Paul J. Harris
3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division Public Affairs Office
 

 

 

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