CAMP LIBERTY, Iraq, March 3, 2006 — We are comrades. The Iraqi army and the American forces are brothers. We bleed together. We shed tears over the same fallen comrades, said Brig. Gen. Aziz Noor, commander, 3rd Brigade, 6th Iraqi Army Division.
|"The American forces are giving freedom back to the people of Iraq, just as they did in Japan, Germany and Korea."
Iraqi Army Brig. Gen. Aziz
These words rang clear to all those present as soldiers of 1st Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division, handed over operations to 3rd Brigade, 6th Iraqi Army Division, during a transfer of authority ceremony March 2, 2006 at Forward Operating Base Constitution.
It was a historical day for both the Iraqi army and the Coalition Forces. The transfer of operations was one of the largest and most prominent since the training of Iraqi forces began.
“The American forces are giving freedom back to the people of Iraq, just as they did in Japan, Germany and Korea,” said Brig. Gen. Aziz, 3-6 Iraqi Army. “We are receiving this area of responsibility and the job to protect it. God willing, we will be able to do so.”
More than 1,500 members of the Iraqi army stood proudly in formation as the ceremony took place.
The Iraqi army took over operations of western Baghdad and eastern Abu Ghraib.
“Today marks a great day for the people of Baghdad and the country of Iraq, as we celebrate the accomplishments of this brigade,” said Col. Jeffrey Snow, commander, 1st BCT, 10th Mtn. Div. “Never have I seen a group of soldiers learn so quickly and advance so efficiently.”
The two brigades have been working alongside each other for several months in training and combat operations – ridding the area of insurgents and winning the hearts of the Iraqi people.
“Soldiers of the 1-10 Mtn. Div., and the 3-6 Iraqi army – are truly brothers in arms,” said Snow. “We both sacrifice for life, liberty and the belief that all people – no matter their tribe, religion or background – can live together as one.”
The Iraqi soldiers’ success has been aided by the support of tribal leaders, police, counsel members and the local citizens.
Local council members commented that progress has been made despite resistance, and that it will continue to improve.
“Progress for the area has been hindered because the insurgents bomb our contractors and kill the innocent civilians,” said Mr. Hamed, a chairman for the Kadha council of Abu Ghraib. “Still, we have completed more than eighty