MUTHANNA, Iraq - Military leaders and members of the Muthanna Provincial Reconstruction Team met with local mayors and tribal sheikhs at the Joint Security Site near Combat Outpost Six.

The meeting, which served as a farewell and welcome to American military leaders in the area, joined leaders of the 2nd Squadron, 12th Cavalry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division and the 1st BCT, 82nd Airborne Division and members of the Muthanna Provincial Reconstruction Team with local mayors and tribal sheikhs in northern Muthanna.

The Iraqi leaders welcomed Lt. Col. Scott Kendrick and his staff while bidding farewell to the Devil Brigade's Special Troops Battalion during the meeting, which took place in a modif - a traditional Iraqi meeting room.

The incoming cavalry unit is taking responsibility for the province and plans to build on the foundation established by the Devil Brigade.

During the relief in place/transfer of authority process, the 2-12 Cav. Regt.'s troops learned about the environment in Muthanna and met local Iraqis, with whom the outgoing troops have relationships.

"Their success is our success," Kendrick said about the Muthanna Province's citizens. "We are here to support the Iraqis in their move toward a democratic and representative government through a partnership with the Iraqi Army and Iraqi Police in all joint missions throughout the province."

Muthanna is under Provincial Iraqi Control, which requires Coalition forces receive permission from the local authorities before they are allowed to enter any of the cities in the province. Instead of creating friction, it has fostered more cooperation with the local authorities.

Kendrick, a native of Spartanberg, S.C., took the opportunity to introduce his civil affairs team, a critical catalyst to rebuilding and reconstruction efforts, at the meeting.

While Muthanna had been largely ignored under Saddam Hussein's rule and did not receive a lot of attention at the beginning of Operation Iraqi Freedom, the province is now being rebuilt and restored with projects started during the Devil Brigade's deployment here.

"In an area of subsistence farmers, each project, no matter how small, can make a big difference," said Capt. Matt Guevara, a native of North Bellmore, N.Y. "We will use all the assets that we have to continue bringing more projects to the area."

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16