Iraqi Defense Ministry Bids Petraeus Farewell
American Forces Press Service
BAGHDAD, Sep. 15, 2008 The Iraqi Defense Ministry held a ceremony today to say goodbye to Army Gen. David H. Petraeus, who turns over command of Multinational Force Iraq tomorrow to Army Gen. Raymond T. Odierno.
Army Gen. David H. Petraeus and Iraqi Defense Minister Abd al-Qadir al-Mufriji salute while passing the Iraqi
flag during a farewell ceremony for Petraeus Sept. 15, 2008, in Baghdad. Petraeus is turning over command of Multinational Force Iraq to Army Gen. Raymond T. Odierno. Courtesy photo
(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
Petraeus, who will take command of U.S. Central Command, has served in three command positions in Iraq since 2003, having previously commanded the 101st Airborne Division and Multinational Security Transition Command Iraq.
Iraqi Defense Minister Abd al-Qadir al-Mufriji congratulated Petraeus on his next assignment and expressed his regret to lose a man he called a close friend to himself and the Iraqi people.
“We will lose General Petraeus, but I am sure he will always be with us,” Qadir said. “When General Petraeus came back here as [commanding general] of Multinational Force Iraq, it started a new era of fighting terrorism and enforcing the law.”
Petraeus praised the Iraqis and their coalition partners for the struggles they shared and the successes they achieved.
“Coalition and Iraqi forces have given hope to a country that was on the brink of civil war,” Petraeus said. “All the Iraqis and the leaders should take great pride in their soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines. I assure you your coalition partners share in that pride.”
The event also celebrated three milestones in equipping the Iraqi security forces. The Iraqi police and armed forces have taken delivery of 50,000 M-16 rifles and have trained Iraqi soldiers to field them. They have also received 2,000 M-1114 up-armored Humvees and 5,500 single-channel ground and airborne radio systems.