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Iraqi Army Unit Assumes Command of Forward Base

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Feb. 1, 2006 – The Iraqi army's 5th Brigade, 6th Division, assumed control of a base in central Baghdad from the U.S. 4th Infantry Division's 4th Brigade Combat Team during a transfer-of-authority ceremony yesterday.

"The ceremony marked the increasing role Iraqi security forces are undertaking in Baghdad and throughout their country in enforcing the sovereign government's rule of law," U.S. officials said in a statement.

"This brigade is responsible for protecting Iraq's new government here in the International Zone," said Iraqi Col. Mohammad Wasif, commander of 5th Brigade, 6th Iraqi Army Division. "The brigade consists of three battalions. We will work day and night to achieve our mission for the new government of Iraq."

Forward Operating Base Honor is located in Baghdad's palace district and housed the former Baath regime before the war. Before coalition forces took over, U.S. air strikes destroyed five of the 20 buildings of the former regime headquarters.

Today, 15 buildings still stand as Iraqi forces transition with the 4th BCT "Cobras" and make FOB Honor their new home. U.S. soldiers from 3rd Squadron, 2nd Armored Calvary Regiment, were the first to move into FOB Honor in October 2003, followed by the 3rd Infantry Division's 6th Squadron, 8th Calvary, in January 2004. The 4th BCT arrived in Baghdad in December and has relinquished ownership of the FOB to the Iraqi 5th Brigade.

"The turnover of FOB Honor demonstrates the increased capability of Colonel Mohammed's brigade to assume greater responsibility and security of Baghdad," U.S. Army Col. Michael Beech, 4th BCT commander, said. "The 5th Brigade has earned a reputation of being a tough, well-trained and well-led unit," he said.

The Iraqi 5th Brigade's 3rd Battalion will occupy the area in South FOB Honor, and 1st and 2nd Battalions will occupy the area in North FOB Honor.

"Today is another great step forward for the future of Iraq," said Iraqi Maj. Gen. Mubdar Hatim Hazya al-Duleimi, commanding general of the 6th Iraqi Army Division. "Today we lay a new brick in the building of our army."

"We are committed to the citizens of this country and this army and will defend our homes from the threats of the terrorists as we bring freedom back to this country," he said.

The FOB Honor transition marks the continued improvement in the Iraqi security forces' capability over the past year as it continues to assume more battlespace throughout the country, said Beech. "With the seating of the new government and the increased capability of Iraqi security forces, I'm very optimistic," he said. "I think 2006 is going to be a great year for Iraq."

(From a Multinational Force Iraq news release.)

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