By Jim Garamone
WASHINGTON, Oct. 11, 2006 – American soldiers in Iraq accomplish wonders during their tours in Iraq, the commander of Multinational Force Iraq said here today. At a Pentagon news conference with Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld today, Army Gen. George W. Casey Jr. used the 101st Airborne Division as an example of what a division can do.
The 101st deployed from Fort Campbell, Ky., and took over responsibility for northwest Iraq in November 2005. The division redeployed in September.
"Over that period they detained over 150 high-value individuals," Casey said. "Each one of these (was) a painstaking intelligence collection and development effort that resulted in the capture of an individual."
The division secured more than 200 election sites that allowed 1.5 million Iraqis to vote. The 101st moved two Iraqi divisions, nine brigades and 35 battalions into the lead in their area.
On the police side, division soldiers brought five provincial and 11 district police headquarters up to the second-highest level of preparation. "They oversaw the training integration of over 32,000 police, and they supported the development of two strategic infrastructure brigades with 14 battalions," the general said.
The division supervised building 100 police stations, 130 border forts and improved seven international ports of entry along the borders.
The progress the division made with Iraqi security forces allowed coalition officials to reduce forces in the area by a two-star headquarters and two brigades. This means a total of 10,000 fewer coalition forces in the region and 25 fewer bases.
"It's not insignificant what a division can get done taking small steps every day, and that's what we say -- we make progress in Iraq every day by taking small steps," Casey said.