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Iraqi Army Takes Control of More Battlespace in Ceremony

American Forces Press Service

BALAD, Iraq, April 16, 2006 – Iraqi soldiers assumed control of part of Iraq's Salah al Din Province from the U.S. Army's 1-8 Combined Arms Battalion in a transfer of authority ceremony yesterday at an Iraqi Army outpost near here.

The 3rd Battalion, 1st Brigade, 4th Iraqi Army Division, is assuming control of an area of responsibility that encompasses Balad, Duluyah and Yethrib, as well as the smaller villages surrounding these cities.

"We're not pulling out of here right away; we're out here to be by their sides," said Army Command Sgt. Maj. Daniel Dailey, command sergeant major, 1-8 CAB, 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, Task Force Band of Brothers. But the assumption of authority will "put them in the lead and set them up front so the people notice that they're out front, out leading, (and) they care about their people," he explained.

Having an Iraqi face on the forces that provide security allows the joint force to improve security not just for the soldiers but for the Iraqi people who call this region northwest of Baghdad home, officials said.

"This battalion could not conduct this operation without the cooperation from all the citizens in the area," said Lt. Col. Hamed, commander of the Iraqi battalion. "By this cooperation we are creating a safer environment for all Iraqis."

The cooperation of the citizens, as well as the cooperation with coalition forces, has allowed the 3rd Battalion to be successful in providing security in this region as well as ridding it of insurgents.

"The battalion has conducted many operations to capture insurgents," said Col. Shojaa, the 1st Brigade, 4th Iraqi Army Division commander. "During this operation, we have found numerous amounts of weapons, IED materials and we have captured many terrorists. Our battalion also conducted security operations during the elections."

The accomplishments of this battalion are helping secure Iraq as the country is stabilizing its government.

"Their efforts in fighting the terrorists that threaten the citizens of Iraq have not gone unnoticed, and their discipline, training and dedication are setting a tremendous example for their fellow soldiers," said Col. Brian D. Jones, commander, 3rd HBCT, 4th ID. "It will be an honor for me to stand on the same field as these brave soldiers."

The 3rd Battalion played an instrumental role in the successes enjoyed during Operation Cowpens - a month-long operation on the Jabouri Peninsula that yielded numerous caches and seriously hampered the insurgent efforts to create chaos.

"I believe that doing (Cowpens) jointly was a great factor (in transferring authority of this region to the battalion)," Dailey said. "The people saw that their people were there. I don't think it could have been done without the Iraqi army help."

The 3rd Battalion, 1st Brigade, 4th Iraqi Army Division, was established in December 2003 from what was then the 203rd Iraqi National Guard Battalion. (From a Multinational Force Iraq news release.)

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