American Forces Press Service
Nov. 2, 2007 - The Iraqi government has assumed command of a major unit from the country's army, a sign of continued improvement in Iraq's armed forces, U.S. officials said. Marine Maj. Gen. W.E. Gaskin, commander of Multinational Force West, relinquished operational control of the 7th Iraqi Army Division, commanded by Maj. Gen. Murthi Mishin Rafa Farahan, to Iraqi Ground Forces Command in a ceremony at the division's headquarters at Camp Blue Diamond, in Ramadi, yesterday.
Seventh Iraqi Army Division is responsible for security along the western Euphrates River Valley, with three brigades operating across the region. Partnered with Regimental Combat Team 2 and 1st Battalion, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, the 7th Division conducts counterinsurgency operations throughout the vast desert expanses of western Anbar province and Ramadi.
"You have courageously taken the fight to the enemy in some of the most dangerous portions of al Anbar," Gaskin said. "Because of your superb warfighting skills, the 7th Division has successfully reduced violence from Ramadi to the Haditha triad, from Anah to al Qaim, and to the westernmost borders of al Anbar province. You have put al Qaeda on the run. You have helped make this possible, because you are the brave sons of al Anbar."
Military transition teams and Multinational Force West will continue to support the more than 9,000 Iraqi soldiers of the 7th Division with combat service support, medical evacuation and air support as necessary while these capabilities are developed within the division, officials said.
"We, the Marines and soldiers of MNF West will continue to share the battlefield with you here in Anbar province and will stand with you shoulder-to-shoulder as brothers to eliminate the insurgency from your home," Gaskin went on to say. "You have proven yourselves time and time again in this challenge, this struggle for the future of al Anbar, for all of Iraq. We will succeed in this battle against terrorists because we will do it together."
Soldiers from 7th and 1st Iraqi Army Divisions are attending schools at the Anbar Training Center in Habbaniyah and elsewhere to receive training in maintenance, administration, medical support and logistics planning.
The 7th Division is the newest Iraqi army division and the last of 10 to transfer to command and control by Iraqi Ground Forces Command. The 1st Division, responsible for security in the greater Fallujah area and one of Iraq's most seasoned units, transitioned to the command's control in February.
(From a Multinational Corps Iraq news release.)