As the need for foreign troops declines in Iraq, another of our Coalition partners goes home, proud and victorious.
The 8th Armenian Contingent conducted an end of mission ceremony at the Joint Visitor Bureau, Camp Victory, Iraq, Oct. 6, 2008.
The 46 member contingent worked in support of the Polish brigade, Multi-National Division â€“ Central South, as medical staff, transportation and explosive ordnance disposal personnel.
â€œThe Armenian peacekeeping and humanitarian mission in Iraq began in January 2005,â€ said U.S. Marine Corps Maj. Gen. Paul Lefebvre, deputy commanding general, Multi-National Corps â€“ Iraq. â€œSince that time, the Armenian armed forces have rotated 380 personnel through Iraq and have provided first-class support to Operation Iraq Freedom in the areas of transportation, engineering and medicine.â€
The Armenian transport component has successfully executed more than 60 convoys, while the engineering component has removed more than 9,000 pieces of unexploded ordnance and cleared more than 130,000 square miles of terrain. In addition, the Armenian medical component has performed more than 300 surgeries and provided ambulatory healthcare to over 450 military personnel and 700 civilians, thus bolstering ties between the nation of Iraq and coalition forces.
â€œIt has been our honor to serve under your command and to know and to work with you in the filtering of peace and democracy in Iraq,â€ said Capt. Ruben Papyan, commander, 8th Armenian Contingent Commander and Armenian senior national representative. â€œOn behalf of the Armenian contingent, I would like to take the opportunity to offer you all our gratitudeâ€
Brig. Gen. Mihai Chirita, Romanian army, deputy director, MNF-I CJ5 coalition, presented each soldier with a certificate of appreciation for their outstanding service and support to the coalition and Operation Iraqi Freedom.
â€œNever forget what you have accomplished here,â€ Lefebvre said. â€œYou will be able to look back and know that you were part of something great; something that shaped the world for future generations. You have represented your country to the highest degree.â€
By Pfc. Eric Glassey
13th Public Affairs Detachment