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Baghdad operation showcases Iraqi readiness

By Sgt. Brian Tierce , 1st Infantry Division

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Iraqi soldiers prepare to conduct an operation alongside American Soldiers in the Ameriyah District of northwest Baghdad Dec. 20. The operation netted a number of illegal weapons and displayed the abilities of the Iraqi security forces to plan and execute a combat operation.
Iraqi soldiers prepare to conduct an operation alongside American Soldiers in the Ameriyah District of northwest Baghdad Dec. 20. The operation netted a number of illegal weapons and displayed the abilities of the Iraqi security forces to plan and execute a combat operation.

Dec. 23, 2008 — BAGHDAD, Iraq (Dec. 22, 2008) – Iraqi security forces, with the assistance of coalition forces, conducted Operation ‘Foul Dagger’ Dec. 20 in the Ghazaliyah and Ameriyah Districts of northwest Baghdad.

The purpose of the mission was to deter a recent uptick in grenade attacks in the area and establish a relationship with the local citizens.

In the early morning hours Soldiers from the 4th Battalion, 22nd Brigade and 4th Battalion, 54th Brigade, 6th Iraqi Army Division, partnered with the Troopers from the 5th Squadron, 4th Cavalry Regiment and 4th Squadron, 10th Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, Multi-National Division – Baghdad, to execute the mission.

“This was a great Iraqi planned, resourced and executed operation,” said Lt. Col. Monty Willoughby, commander, 4th Sqdn. 10th Cav. Regt., who is a native of Clever, Mo. “The ISF continue to exert pressure on the insurgency to protect the populace.”

The daylong operation lead to numerous discoveries of weapons caches in both districts.

Another result of the operation was the interaction with the local populace to show not only a presence in the area but also to show the citizens that the ISF are in the lead and fully capable.

“The Soldiers of the 4th Iraqi Army Battalion showed great commitment to providing a safe environment in Ameriyah and building relationship with local leaders,” said Maj. David Benton, operations officer, 4th Sqdn. 10th Cav. Reg., who hails from Colorado Springs, Colo.

Throughout the mission, ISF and MND-B Soldiers spread out throughout the area to meet with local citizens and search historic cache sites. The Soldiers knocked on residents’ doors and spoke with the citizens, rather than having to force the issue.

That was just fine for the Soldiers on the ground.

“The muhallahs throughout the area were effectively searched, and any illegal weapons we discovered were collected to ensure proper authorization and to protect the local citizens,” said Sgt. 1st Class Bruce Pavia, battle captain, 5th Sqdn., 4th Cav. Regt., who is a native of Colorado Springs, Colo.

Upon completion of the operation, the Soldiers returned to their respective Joint Security Stations to conduct thorough after action reviews.

No major events occurred during the operation, so it was a chance for the ISF and MND-B Soldiers to discuss the high points of the day.

“Operation ‘Foul Dagger’ represented a tactical victory for the Iraq and coalition forces,” said Sgt. Joshua Smith, a civil affairs team member, 5th Sqdn. 4th Cav. Regt., who hails from Los Angeles. “We made a lot of head way with the local population by handing out flyers and making a face-to-face, person-to-person connection with the citizens of Ghazaliyah.”