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Iraqi soldiers tackle new mission

By Sgt Michael Moody , 25th Inf. Div.

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Iraqi soldiers patrol in Nassir Sept. 5. The continued growth of the IA, both in terms of numbers and operational experience, allows them to take on missions formerly handled exclusively by Coalition forces.
Iraqi soldiers patrol in Nassir Sept. 5. The continued growth of the IA, both in terms of numbers and operational experience, allows them to take on missions formerly handled exclusively by Coalition forces.

Sept. 21, 2008 — CAMP TAJI (Sept. 22, 2008) — Iraq has seen remarkable gains in security during the last nine months, due in part to the hard work of the Iraqi Army.

Until recently the IA only dealt with kinetic-type missions such as kicking in doors, serving arrest warrants, patrolling and defending security sites. However, the continued growth of the IA, both in terms of numbers and operational experience, allows them to take on missions formerly handled exclusively by Coalition forces.

Now, due to the increased confidence and experience of IA Soldiers and their leaders, they are beginning to tackle missions through diplomacy, public relations and engaging local leaders.

One such example is the role the IA is taking in the town of Nassir, northwest of Baghdad.

Up until late spring Nassir was a suspected area of activity for the insurgency and there was not a firm grasp on security in the area.

That all changed in June.

When approximately 4,000 workers returned to the steelworks factory at Nassir, securing the area became a priority, said Capt. Gary McCormick, a native of Orlando, Fla., and former company commander with Multi-National Division – Baghdad. McCormick was responsible for Nassir from December 2007 until July 2008.

The U.S. Soldiers worked together with the IA to ensure the security of the residents and the factory workers.  More than 20 percent of the Nassir factory’s 4,000 employees are from the surrounding area. The fact they can move freely, without fear of attack, serves as a testament to the effectiveness of joint Coalition and Iraqi security forces operations, McCormick said.

To keep the people of the area safe, the IA soldiers conducted an operation, Sept. 5, in and about the town of Nassir. The purpose of the operation was to introduce themselves to the residents and show them they care about the safety of their everyday lives.

An IA officer spoke with residents about their security concerns and reported insurgency threats in the area.

During the mission the IA soldiers took time to meet the children of the town and pose for pictures. The citizens of Nassir seemed appreciative and responsive to the efforts of the IA, said a military transition team chief.