An Iraqi army gunner scans his sector as his convoy plows through the streets of the Younis Al Sabawi neighborhood. The Iraqi army performed a cordon and search in conjunction with Coalition forces. (U.S. Army photo by Pfc. Adam Blazak)
MOSUL, Iraq (May 23, 2008) — The Iraqi army in conjunction with coalition forces performed a cordon and search in the Younis al Sabawi neighborhood May 19.
“This was the first mission that the Iraqi Army was on their own, while we took the backseat,” said Spc. Michael Johnson, an infantryman for Delta Company, 1st Battalion, 8th Infantry Regiment.
The Iraqi army’s 1st Battalion, 5th Brigade, 2nd Division lead the way during the operation.
Having the Iraqi army in the lead is very important, Brown said.
“The Iraqi army conducted deliberate planning on their own, which shows competence and initiative,” Brown added.
Having Iraqis police their own neighborhoods gives local nationals a lot of confidence to see their own out there wearing the Iraqi flag, Brown said.
Currently on his second tour in Iraq, Sgt. 1st Class John Paul Bernard, tank platoon sergeant for Delta Company, 1st Battalion, 8th Infantry Regiment, sees the improvement in his Iraqi army counterparts.
“There has been a substantial improvement since my last tour,” he said. “They are more established and better equipped.”
“We have developed a good working relationship with the Iraqi army,” Bernard continued. “Having the Iraqi army gaining respect translates into operation combat power.”
Brown added that this mission was successful in that no one was injured and that a weapons cache was seized.
“These operations need to become the standard, not the exception,” Brown concluded.