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Iraqi Brigade Takes Control of Battlespace

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, March 25, 2006 – An Iraqi unit took control of battlespace north of Baghdad March 20, military officials in Iraq reported.

The 1st Mechanized Battalion, 1st Mechanized Brigade, 9th Iraqi Army Division, assumed control of battlespace north of Baghdad from 1st Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division's Special Troops Battalion, during a ceremony March 20. The battlespace assumption increases the area of responsibility for the Iraqi division by about 18-square kilometers.

"The Iraqi Army is getting better every day," said U.S. Army Col. James Pasquarette, 1st BCT commander. "They are a capable security force. They impress me because they can gather intelligence from the Iraqi citizen better than we can."

The Special Troops Battalion transitioned from land management to project management of infrastructure, reconstruction and essential services projects occurring in the brigade's area of operations.

"Since we are no longer responsible for the battlespace that we had, that's a company that does not have to return to Iraq and is freed up to do something else," said U.S. Army Maj. David Patton, the operations officer for 1st STB. "Now we manage 73 projects valued over $38 million throughout the Raider Brigade area. We will continue to be very busy."

In the U.S. team's area of operations, the Iraqi mechanized brigade is conducting independent operations.

The 2nd Tank Brigade, 9th Iraqi Army Division, is scheduled to assume its battlespace portion in a few months.

(Compiled from a Multinational Force Iraq news release.)

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