Iraqi Army Takes Lead on Patrols With Help from the Field Artillery

Blackanthem Military News, TIKRIT, Iraq, June 04, 2006


An Iraqi Army Soldier attentively scans his area while pulling security for his fellow Soldiers. Iraqi Army Soldiers in the 1st Battalion, 1st Brigade, 4th Iraqi Army Division have become very motivated to begin taking control of the Tikrit, Iraq area. (U.S. Army photo by Spc. Cassandra Groce, 133rd Mobile Public Affairs Detachment)

In the streets once known as Saddam Hussein’s "Red Light" district, Iraqi Army Soldiers are leading patrols, ensuring no insurgents can utilize the now empty corridors for terrorist activities.

The 1st Battalion, 1st Brigade, 4th Iraqi Army Division Soldiers are shedding their dependency on Coalition Forces, becoming the forerunner on patrols and self-planned missions in Tikrit.

Skimming tree lines and clamoring over rubble strewn alleys may not always yield caches or insurgents, but for the 1st Battalion, it is a way to continually enhance their skills.

"Right now we are leading in our area of operation," said Capt. Ismael Salih Abdullah, commander of B Company in the Iraqi Army’s 1st Battalion. "I am sure that we are better than before because of the cooperation between the Coalition Forces and my men."

Each Iraqi Army company in the battalion has been paired with a Coalition Forces counterpart from the 3rd Battalion, 320th Field Artillery Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division for evaluation purposes. The commanders from both sides meet weekly to evaluate the IA Battalion’s performance and to exchange ideas on how to make the Battalion better.

"My company is lucky because we work with a good leader that has one purpose - to accomplish things for the Iraqi benefit," said Abdullah referring to his counterpart, Bandit Battery Commander Capt. John J. Montgomery.

While in the past, Iraqi civilians may have been wary of the newly-formed Iraqi Army, this image is changing with the time and effort Iraqi Soldiers have put in building ties with the community.

"The picture that the Iraqi people have of us is being changed," said Lt. Col. Musab Josif, the Iraqi Army 1st Battalion’s Executive Officer. "They now cooperate with us and give us the information we need to catch the bad guys."

Overall, Coalition Forces have been impressed with the progress of the Iraqi Army Soldiers, with only minor suggestions offered for perfection.

"We are getting to the level that we can operate by ourselves," said Josef. "We are now on the level where the whole battalion is trained. We have control of all our patrols."


By Spc. Cassandra Groce
133rd Mobile Public Affairs Detachment




Iraqi Army Soldiers exit a building just cleared, but continue to check the open areas around their sector. (U.S. Army photo by Spc. Cassandra Groce, 133rd Mobile Public Affairs Detachment)
An Iraqi Army Soldier hangs a poster on one of the businesses in Tikrit, Iraq. The poster has a list of the most wanted insurgents in the area. (U.S. Army photo by Spc. Cassandra Groce, 133rd Mobile Public Affairs Detachment)




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