Thursday, February 11, 2010

U.S. transfers three bases to Iraqi government in Ninawa

US Forces - Iraq

NINAWA PROVINCE, Iraq (Feb. 11, 2010) – United States Forces transferred three bases to the Government of Iraq in Ninawa province Feb. 9, signaling a ready, secure and stable Iraq.

In three separate ceremonies, Joint Security Sites Iraqi Turkey Pipeline 2, Badoush and Scorpion were officially transferred to the Government of Iraq.

The closures began at JSS Scorpion, where members of the Iraqi forces gathered alongside Soldiers from the 1st Battalion, 64th Armor Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, and watched asa the bases were transferred with just a few quick signatures.

The Soldiers in attendance, Iraqi and American, have a history together, according to Capt. Aaron Vevasis, company commander for Company C, 1/64 AR.

“We worked directly with their battalion headquarters and conducted patrols together,” Capt. Vevasis said. “The base transfer was made possible because of the Iraqi Army’s success.”

“We’re one step closer to the Iraqis being able to establish their own security and maintain their own country by themselves,” said Sgt. 1st Class Robert Dozier, an infantryman and platoon sergeant for 1st Platoon, Company B, 1/64 AR.

Sergeant 1st Class Dozier’s platoon was stationed at JSS Scorpion for the last three months, and worked and trained closely with the Iraqis.

Shortly after the transfer of authority for Scorpion was complete, the transfer of Badoush took place. Lieutenant Colonel Thomas Williams, commander of 1st Battalion, 9th Field Artillery, 2nd BCT, 3rd Inf. Div., sat with Iraqi Army Brig. Gen. Daham Ibrahim Qader, the Badoush prison warden with the Ministry of Justice, and Sameer Alhaddad, who handles all official base transfers.

“I am greatly honored to receive this facility from the American forces today,” said Iraqi Army Brig. Gen. Daham.

“On behalf of all the Americans that have served here in Badoush — over the past several months and years — I want to thank you for the partnership and allowing our Soldiers to train and work alongside the police here at the prison as well as the people in the city here at Badoush,” said Lt. Col. Williams.

“This is just another positive step forward in the relationship for the country of Iraq,” the commander went on to say.
The three representatives then signed the papers officially finalizing the transfer of Badoush to the Government of Iraq.

A short helicopter ride later, the Iraqi and U.S. Forces representatives arrived at ITP2, to transfer the last of the three bases.

“I am thrilled, and I think it’s a great day,” said Capt. Thomas Carroll, the company commander for Company B, 1/64 AR. “It shows that Americans are true to their word. It’s a good day for the Iraqis and Americans together.”

Captain Carroll’s unit, which has worked at ITP2 for a more than three months, conducted counter-improvised explosive device patrols with Iraqi forces during their stay. The unit is being replaced by a reconnaissance platoon from the 352nd Iraqi Army Battalion.

“We will continue to be close,” said Capt. Carroll. “The Iraqi people are in good hands with this unit.”

Continuing the relationship between the Iraqis and the U.S. Forces was also re-iterated by a member of the Iraqi Prime Minister’s staff.

“I can see the relationship between the two armies, and it’s amazing,” said Alhaddad, who handles all base closures. “They work together as partners and support each other. I’m really happy about it.”

Source: US CENTCOM.

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