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Australian Army Thanks Iraqi Unit

By Lt. Col. Mark Kerry, USA
Special to American Forces Press Service

CAMP JUSTICE, Iraq, July 13, 2005 – The Australian army presented awards to Iraqi soldiers who rescued Douglas Wood, the Australian contractor held captive by terrorists for six weeks, in a ceremony at the Iraqi Ministry of Defense in Baghdad July 11.

Click photo for screen-resolution image
Chief of Staff of the Australian Army, Lt. Gen. Peter Leahy, left, presents an award to Col. Mohammed Fa'ek Raouf, commander, 2nd Battalion, 1st Brigade, 6th Iraqi Army Division, during a ceremony July 11 in recognition of his unit's efforts. Mohammed's men discovered the captured contractor during a cordon-and-search operation in Baghdad on June 15. U.S. Army photo
  

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.

Australian army Chief of Staff, Lt. Gen. Peter Leahy hosted the ceremony, and Iraqi Lt. Gen. Naseer Abadi, deputy chief of staff, represented the Iraqi minister of defense. Brig. Gen. Jaleel Khalaf Shouail, commander of Iraqi division's 1st Brigade, also attended.

The Australians presented gifts and offered special thanks to Col. Mohammed Fa'ek Raouf, battalion commander of the forces responsible for the rescue.

Mohammed's men discovered the captured contractor during a cordon-and-search operation in Baghdad June 15. Upon discovering Wood, who was hidden under covers in a house, Mohammed's soldiers immediately realized he was not Iraqi. They seized the terrorists and brought Wood to the 256th Brigade Combat Team medical clinic on Camp Liberty for treatment.

Mohammed told the Australian general that he was very happy things worked out the way they did for Wood, and he was glad to be a part of it. (Army Lt. Col. Mark Kerry, of Task Force Bengal, is 256th Brigade Combat Team public affairs officer.)

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