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Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Iraqi Army Unit Gains Full Operational Independence

17 January 2007
By Sgt. Paula Taylor
4th Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division Public Affairs

AL KINDI, Iraq — Coalition Forces joined their Iraqi Army counterparts in a Memorandum of Understanding signing Jan. 15 to mark the official handover of the 2nd Iraqi Army Division from Coalition to Iraqi control.

Prior to the MOU, the 2nd IA was working under the direction of the 25th Infantry Division and commander of Multi-National Forces-North, Maj. Gen. Benjamin R. Mixon. The memorandum signing turns control of the 2 IA over to the Iraqi Ground Forces Command.

Signing the documents, which were written in both English and Arabic, was Gen. Jamal, commander, 2 IA, and Col. Stephen Twitty, commander, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, who was representing Mixon.

“This ceremony is so important today because the 2nd Iraqi Army Division has demonstrated their capability to lead without Coalition Forces,” said Twitty. “They have demonstrated their ability to fight terrorism and conduct themselves as a division. They will be in the lead and we will be there to assist them whenever required.”

During the ceremony, Jamal addressed the Iraqi attendees and his soldiers.

“We have worked together with Coalition Forces since the formation of this division,” said Jamal. “During this time, we have been getting our equipment and training our soldiers. Now, today, we are ready to take full control of the battle space. We will continue to work together and cooperate with the Coalition Forces. We are confident we will succeed because the 2nd Division has trained hard and is well equipped to deal with any situation and handle the security of Mosul.”

Twitty, who also addressed the group, agreed with Jamal that the unit is ready to take over the battle space in Mosul.

“This is truly a historic event for the people of Iraq and the 2nd Iraqi Army Division. On behalf of General Mixon, the 25th Infantry Division, and the 4th Brigade Combat Team, I would like to applaud you for this historic occasion that you are about to embark on. This division has more than proven it is capable of bringing peace and security to the people of Mosul. You have gained the trust and confidence of the people in the city, the Iraqi police, and Coalition Forces. Your soldiers have demonstrated the capability to destroy terrorists wherever they may hide. I look forward to watching you lead your organization throughout the streets of Mosul. You are the future of Iraq,” said Twitty.

Photo: Col. Stephen Twitty, commander, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, sitting in for Maj. Gen. Benjamin R. Mixon, commander, 25th Infantry Division, signs a Memorandum of Understanding with Gen. Jamal, commander, 2nd Iraqi Army Jan. 15 in Al Kindi, Iraq. The MOU marks the handover of Jamal's division from U.S. control to the Iraqi Ground Forces Command. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Paula Taylor, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division Public Affairs).

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