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Iraqi army troops take lead in joint operation

By U.S. Army Grant Okubo Spc., 4th BCT, 10th Mtn. Div.

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FORWARD OPERATING BASE LOYALTY, Iraq (June 9, 2008) — Patriot Brigade Soldiers of the 4th Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division, Multi-National Division – Baghdad, conducted a combined operation with Iraqi army soldiers in Muthana, June 5.

Soldiers from Company D, 2nd Battalion, 30th Infantry Regiment and 1st Battalion, 4th Brigade, 1st Iraqi army division worked together to conduct a combined search operation at a suspected cache site.

The mission ran smoothly and went a lot quicker than search operations typically do, said Staff Sgt. Jerry Anderson of Co. D. Although they did not find a cache, the mission proved worth while as a deterrent to militants that use locations like these for illegal activities, said the San Angelo, Texas native.

Missions like these are important for ensuring the security of Iraq by taking weapons out of the hands of extremists and discouraging future illegal acts of violence, said Anderson. Conducting combined operations with IA is standard operating procedure for Co. D.

“We work with the IA exclusively now for all these types of missions,” explained Anderson. “They have demonstrated that they are capable of conducting these kinds of missions; and eventually, they’ll be able to do it by themselves without any help from coalition forces.”

Anderson was pleased with the performance of the IA soldiers, saying they did a good job and worked well together. A great deal of coordination and rehearsals are needed to get prepared for a mission such as this one, and IA soldiers are making improvements “across the board,” he said.

To support Soldiers who conducted the search, comrades in arms provided over watch security, explained Sgt. Michael Powers, a Jacksonville, Fla. native. These Soldiers look out for militants, weapons and anything suspicious or out of the ordinary, he explained.

Powers was elated with the performance of the Soldiers in his squad and graded them an 11 on a scale from 1 to 10. Additionally, Anderson credited the Soldiers of Co. D with a “high level of productivity” in “getting the job done.”