The Administration Affairs School held its first Barber Course graduation ceremony at Camp Taji here March 1. The seven graduates, from five Iraqi Army divisions, gained new tonsorial skills they will use immediately to support the soldiers in their units.
The course, which began Feb. 1, included training in sanitation and hygiene, familiarization with the tools and equipment, barber history and shaving techniques during the practical exercises. All soldiers met the minimum requirements on theoretical and practical assessments for completion of the course.
â€œI am Infantry, so I have learned something new,â€ said Pvt. Ali Abd Alameer, 8th Division. â€œI will use what I have learned with the soldiers at my unit.â€
At the graduation ceremony, Brig. Gen. Abd Al Kareem, commander of the school, presented each student with a certificate of completion for the course and congratulated them on being the first students to graduate from the class.
The students were enthusiastic about returning to their units to put their new knowledge and skills into practice.
â€œThe knowledge I have gained here will be very useful,â€ said Pvt. Mohammed Kareem Ali from the 8th Division. â€œI will cut soldiersâ€™ hair at my unit.â€
The next course is planned for later this year.
Posts Tagged ‘iraqi army’
Scores of Samarra citizens joined provincial and community leaders March 23 to attend a concrete barrier removal ceremony reminiscent of the opening of the Berlin wall nearly twenty years ago.
The concrete barriers, commonly known as â€œT-walls,â€ surround several government and military buildings throughout Samarra to provide a layer of protection against insurgent attacks. While T-walls have become a familiar site in Iraq, they are a sign of more dangerous times, and most citizens agree itâ€™s time for them to go.
Samarraâ€™s mayor, Mahmood Khalaf Ahmed, joined Lt. Col. Sam Whitehurst, commander, 2nd Battalion, 35th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, and citizens from all over the city of Samarra to witness the first step in a city-wide barrier removal project.
â€œSamarra has become very peaceful,â€ said Omar Khaled, a local produce shop owner. â€œThe barriers remind us of bad times,â€ Khaled continued, â€œbut it is time to look toward the future and enjoy our peace. It is time to reopen Samarra.â€
To the sound of cheering and clapping, a young Iraqi man dressed in sweatpants and sandals strapped hooked chains onto the lifting points of the barriers. Ten individual barriers were lifted, removed and placed on a flat-bed truck.
Both Ahmed and Whitehurst spoke with Iraqi media, echoing Khaledâ€™s sentiment.
â€œThe people of Samarra have a sense of security now,â€ said Ahmed, â€œa security they have not known in many years.â€
â€œMany exciting events have transpired in Samarra over our last five months here,â€ said Whitehurst. â€œToday is, without a doubt, the most exciting of those events.â€
Whitehurst concluded by saying â€œthe progress and security that has come to Samarra is a direct result of the cooperation and partnership of the Samarran people. None of this would be possible without your help.â€
The site selected for the initial barrier removal is in a section of Samarra that was once used for public executions in darker days. Today it is a peaceful marketplace.
The removed barriers will be given to the Iraqi Army and used for security around military compounds.
This is a very big deal, considering the terrorist problems in the region just two years ago.
Camp Ramadi was signed over to the Iraq government in a memorandum of agreement signed by Iraqi army and U.S. military officials at Camp Ali, Iraq Tuesday.
Camp Ali, which is a segment of Camp Ramadi occupied by the Iraqi army, is located about 70 miles west of Baghdad in Ar Ramadi, the provincial capital of the Al Anbar Province. The MOA was signed by Staff Brig. Gen. Adel, the commander of the First Quick Reaction Force Brigade, Iraqi army, headquartered at Camp Ali, and U.S. Army Col. Ronald Kapral, the commander of Camp Ramadi and the 81st Brigade Combat Team, Washington Army National Guard. The memorandum was a tenant agreement of sorts. It outlined the areas that will be used by Coalition forces through 2011.
The signing over of Camp Ramadi is a step toward Coalition forces pulling out and handing complete responsibility and control back over to the Iraqis.
â€œSigning over of Ramadi is more symbolism than it is an actual event,â€ said Kapral. â€œIt shows that the U.S. military and the Coalition forces are starting to prepare to turn over and demilitarize the bases that we have been using for the past five years.
â€œIf you look at what has been done in the past five years, the Iraqi army has started taking responsibility for their actions. Theyâ€™re starting to support themselves.
â€œThey are proving training we have given them over the past three years is starting to pay off,â€ Kapra said. â€œThe Iraqi Army wants to take charge of their country, wants their bases and wants to provide the security for the people of Iraq.â€
Ar Ramadi was a center of Sunni insurgent resistance in the years following the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003. The area is now better known as one of Iraqâ€™s biggest success stories.
Coalition forces took possession of Camp Ramadi, formerly known as Camp Junction City, in 2003 shortly after the ground offensive. Since the start of Operation Iraqi Freedom, Ar Ramadi has had a handful of bases occupied by Coalition forces returned to the Iraq government. Camp Ramadi is now one of the last Coalition-only bases left in the Ar Ramadi area.
Although the signing marks a big step for the Iraqi government and leaders of Coalition forces, the majority of the troops stationed on Camp Ramadi will notice little change, if any.
â€œFor those of us who physically live on Camp Ramadi, it really doesnâ€™t change the normal day-to-day operations. What it does mean, from a long-term perspective, is that Coalition Forces are giving back the bases and land to the Iraqis, due to their sovereignty,â€ said Lt. Col. Kevin McMahan, the Camp Ramadi operations officer.
Force protection measures will not be changed. All camp improvement projects will continue. Iraqis will take a look at the buildings on Camp Ramadi to see if it is something they want to keep. The physical structures built on Camp Ramadi will either be prepared to be handed over in 2011 or torn down. Part of the agreement is for Coalition forces to put the base back to the way they found it.
The Iraqi army and the Iraqi Police have been taking control much more, as Coalition Forces have been stepping into the background.
â€œFrom my personal opinion, it is the beginning of the end. We are posturing to give back bases to the Iraqis. This will allow us to take a more supportive role,â€ said McMahan.
In a ceremony at Hope Chapel on Victory Base Complex Nov. 29, a contingent of military forces from Bosnia-Herzegovina was honored by their Coalition partners for their service in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. The historic event marked the end of a commitment that started in June 2005.
â€œThis is a historic day for the nation of Iraq and for the nation of Bosnia-Herzegovina,â€ said Maj. Gen. Michael Ferriter, deputy commanding general for operations, Multi-National Corps â€“ Iraq, â€œIt is also a bittersweet day since we must farewell a long time partner of the Coalition but in doing so recognize that their departure represents a great success that has been achieved here in Iraq, success that could not be achieved without their support.â€
While the Bosnian-Herzegovina troop numbers were less than 150 soldiers, the commitment was seemingly larger considering the conflicts within their own country.
â€œBosnia-Herzegovina has recently come out of a tragic conflict,â€ said Brig. Gen. Stamenko Novakovic, commander of the 6th Infantry Brigade Bosnia-Herzegovina Armed Forces. â€œThe country is not fully recovered â€¦ but we understand the situation in Iraq, and the suffering of the Iraqi people. We found strength to contribute to Operation Iraqi Freedom.
â€œWe hope the Soldiers from Bosnia-Herzegovina met their tasks with success and fulfilled your and our expectations and justified invested efforts. To the brotherly people of Iraq we wish that just like in our country that you can overcome every trouble and advance peace and prosperity,â€ he said.
Making up the Bosnia-Herzegovina contingent were two forces â€“ armed forces security and the explosive ordnance disposal units. The explosive ordnance units provided support to Multi-National Force â€“ West and Multi-National Division â€“ Central. Meanwhile, the infantry element of the Bosnian-Herzegovina forces provided support on Victory Base Complex for Multi-National Division â€“ Bagdad.
Working side-by-side with members of 1st Battalion, 153rd Infantry Regiment of the 39th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, MND-B, the Bosnian-Herzegovina soldiers assisted in base defense by working in tower security operations as well as internal presence patrols. A total of 49 Bosnian-Herzegovina soldiers added to Company B, 1st Battalion, 153rd Infantry Regiment, 39th IBCT, force protection efforts on VBC.
â€œOur biggest concern at first was the language barrier; however, we quickly realized they had six or seven Soldiers that spoke passable English, which was far better than what we spoke of their language,â€ said Lt. Col. Brad Cox, commander, 1st Bn., 153rd Inf. Regt. â€œSoldiers on both sides showed a lot of patience, which led to the building of a great relationship in a short time period. Ultimately, the Bosnian-Herzegovina Soldiers performed side-by-side with our troops, and their performance was no different. Capt. (Dragan) Malicâ€™ (Security Unit Leader) is an outstanding officer, and I rate him against any Soldier in the Army or the world for that matter.â€
As the ceremony progressed, Malicâ€™ and Maj. Ibro Alispahic, commander of troops, were presented the United States Army Commendation Medal for their service. As Col. Kendall Penn, commander, 39th IBCT, MND-B, pinned the medal to Malicâ€™s uniform, the two Soldiers, from opposite sides of the world, rendered a salute symbolizing the bond between the Coalition forces in Iraq.
Following the two awards to Malic and Alsipahic, Penn and Command Sgt. Maj. Steven Veazey, senior enlisted leader, 39th IBCT, presented the Army Achievement Medal to all of the Bosnia-Herzegovina soldiers for services rendered Aug. 27 to Dec. 2008.
â€œToday was a significant event that the 39th brigade is proud to be associated with,â€ said Penn. â€œThe â€˜Bowie Brigadeâ€™ has worked with a lot of professional soldiers, both national and international, since arriving in country in March, and I can tell you these are some of the finest soldiers weâ€™ve had the privilege of working with here in Iraq. Iâ€™m convinced that the struggles theyâ€™ve faced in their own country have made them an even stronger contributor to the future of Iraqâ€”they understand the challenges faced by Iraq.â€
Addressing the Bosnian-Herzegovina Soldiers, Maj. Gen. Khudaier Abass of the Iraqi Army, Multi-National Force â€“ Iraq CJ5 Coalition, pointed out that while he spoke English he didnâ€™t want anything lost to translation. â€œI will speak in Arabic this time as I want to mean every single word that Iâ€™m going to say. In English, I canâ€™t express it in the way I want to feel it from my heart toward our friends, our brothers from Bosnia.â€
And while his words had to be translated twice, through English and then Bosnian, his heartfelt thanks from the nation of Iraq seemed clear.
â€œOn behalf of the Iraqi Army and all Iraqi people I give thanks and admiration. Bosnia has been through similar circumstances as Iraq is going through now,â€ Abass said. â€œBosnia today provides support and help to our country. We will never forget this help the Iraqi people, the next generationâ€”for what the Bosnian Armed Forces did for Iraq. Iraq is moving forward in the democratic process, development and reconstruction. All of this is due to the help of the Bosnian friendly forces.â€
Abass paused for a moment, and then provided an invitation to the soldiers in the room to one day come back to Iraqâ€”as guests.
â€œGod willing, we will meet in the near future in Iraq, and at that time, you and your family will be our guest,â€ he said. â€œI wish Bosnia and itsâ€™ people prosperity and progress and may God help the Coalition forces and their families.â€
The Government of Iraq, with a few Coalition forces, reached out to the Lahijia tribe, a sub tribe of the Abbu Muhammed tribe, of Iraqâ€™s Marsh Arabs near Basra Nov. 2.
The humanitarian aid mission was led by the Iraqi Army, provincial councils, local veterinarians and community leaders. It was supported by a small group of British and American forces, and is part of a bigger GoI program to reach out to the marsh areaâ€™s population and include them in the Government of Iraq.
â€œThe mission was to treat the people of the Rota village near Basra,â€ said Yousif Yousif, physician, Iraqi advisory task force, 44th Medical Command. â€œWe saw about 450 men, women and children. Most of the cases were simple.â€
The marsh area, drained by Saddam Hussein after the first Gulf War, is home to a majority of the Marsh Arab population that has not left.
â€œIn the past, the marsh tribes were persecuted by the old regime. They were treated horribly,â€ said Maj. Scott Roberts, deputy, reconciliation cell, Multi-National Corps â€“ Iraq. â€œThere is no running water, or electricity. Most of them donâ€™t even have shoes and they have not had a school for the children to attend in the Rota village since 1977.â€
The Iraqi Army has advanced from supporting security operations to executing support missions and aiding the government in providing support to the people of Iraq in locations still in their infant stages.
â€œIraq is a country gaining strength, and to solidify that strength it is developing its capacity to deliver essential services and reconcile with its population, not just in urban areas,â€ Roberts said. â€œThey were able to bring medical support to and really reach out to the population with just a small Coalition force presence.â€
â€œTwo weeks ago, when a small Coalition force advisory team visited the village, there was only one elderly man present. The others were either in hiding or out working,â€ Roberts said. â€œNow, after being told that the Government of Iraq was coming to help by bringing them humanitarian assistance, all of the men showed up, to include some of the younger ones.â€
The mission not only provided medicine, food and blankets, but it also renewed the relationship between the Marsh Arabs and the GoI.
â€œThe Iraqi Army planned the operation very well. All the doctors and nursing staff were fantastic in treating people and running the combined medical engagement,â€ Yousif said. â€œI consider the mission a great success. A great deal of the patients were satisfied with the level of care we were able to provide.â€
â€œThe humanitarian assistance mission built a relationship between the population and its own government to gain control and dominance of its country with its own institutions and it was a great success,â€ Roberts said. â€œIt was a great meeting. When the day began, there was a feeling of uncertainty, and in the end the Iraqi Army the tribe members were dancing with each other sharing tribal songs.â€