Story by Spc. Anthony Jones
After years of cooperation between Iraqi and U.S. security forces at the Diyala Operations Center, a move had to be made. In conjunction with the June 30 deadline for U.S. combat forces to be withdrawn from Iraq's cities, the DOC, a combined Iraqi – Coalition base located within the Diyala Governance Center, needed to be moved outside Baqubah, the provincial capital.
To continue building relations and work alongside the Iraqi Security Forces against insurgents and violent extremists, senior leaders of the 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division and local ISF leaders agreed upon a new location outside Baqubah's city limits.
"We had to move the DOC from its previous location to Forward Operating Base Lion, and we couldn't get the infrastructure set up fast enough," said Lt. Col Paul Sarat, the 1-25 SBCT's deputy commander.
In order to rapidly build the much needed infrastructure for the new, combined, facility, the 1-25 SBCT looked to the U.S. Air Forces' Detachment Six, 732nd Expeditionary Civil Engineering Squadron. Personnel assigned to Det. Six are attached to the Army's 73rd Engineer Battalion and Joint Task Force Eagle, at Joint Base Balad.
"The Airmen came in and in a matter of days had everything set up to be fully operational, [and] without any loss in continuity. They literally stepped in and took a bunch of empty buildings and turned [them] into a fully functional operations center."
For their hard work and help keeping operations in Diyala running smoothly and maintaining the ability co-locate and cooperate between Iraqi and Coalition leaders, the Airmen of Det. Six, currently stationed and located at JBB, were presented with certificates of appreciation from Sarat on behalf of the 1-25 SBCT.
Addressing the Airmen before presenting them with their certificates, Sarat said, "It wasn't just the buildings themselves you were building, it was the infrastructure of the Iraqi Army itself as it stands on its own feet and we fall into much more of a mentor role."