By Army Sgt. 1st Class Joe Thompson
Special to American Forces Press Service
Aug. 15, 2008 - Iraqi security forces will partner with the U.S. Army's 41st Fires Brigade and occupy the checkpoints and patrol bases in Iraq's Wasit province that 1st Georgian Brigade manned before the unit members redeployed home during their country's domestic crisis. "We want to train and work with the U.S. Army," said Sgt. Namel Watak Nwiyf, of the 32nd Iraqi Army Brigade.
Nwiyf is with a contingent of Iraqi soldiers working with U.S. soldiers from Battery B, 2nd Battalion, 20th Field Artillery Regiment, at checkpoints in Wasit to keep the province stable and secure.
"We like our job here of running the traffic control point and providing security at the entrance of the patrol base," Nwiyf said.
Army 2nd Lt. Charles Hines, Battery B, 2-20th Field Artillery Regiment, is the liaison to the Iraqi army at the patrol base. He said the plan is to have a complete partnership with the Iraqi soldiers.
"Right now, the Iraqi soldiers have taken over the responsibility of the traffic control point, but we are going to train them to be able to take over the entire patrol base, go and do presence patrols and set up temporary traffic control points in our area," Hines said.
The 41st Fires Brigade has established a very good working relationship both the Iraqi police and the Iraqi Army, Col. Richard M. Francey, Jr., the commander, said.
"We are integrating with the [Iraqi security forces] to make us a better fighting force," Francey said. "They have stepped up to the plate, and their partnership is why we are able to take over the mission that the Georgians had to leave behind, with no change in the security and safety of the Iraqi people"
For Nwiyf, working with the Americans is a chance to get better training, and learn as much as he can from the U.S. soldiers.
"I want to fight fiercely alongside the U.S. Army," he said. By working with the Americans, he added, "I get more training to be able to do the job."
(Army Sgt. 1st Class Joe Thompson serves in the 41st Fires Brigade Public Affairs Office.)