CAMP LIBERTY, Iraq -Honor guards-comprised of Soldiers chosen for their professionalism and attention to detail-are symbols of history and pride, manifesting the best military's offer with their pin-point movements and traditions.

Soldiers serving with 1st Cavalry Division and 4th Infantry Division teamed with servicemen of the Iraqi Army and Iraqi National Police to form a premiere honor guard for the Multi-National Division-Baghdad's transfer of authority ceremony on Camp Liberty Feb. 10.

The ceremony marks the official hand over for the Baghdad operational environment to the 1st Cav. Div. from the 4th Inf. Div.

"I think having a joint honor guard is a pretty good merger, because this is actually their place and it's important that they be included," said Spec. Lucas Sweeney, a native of Rapids, Wis., who serves with the 1st Cav. Div. Honor Guard.

This joint color guard demonstrates a continuance of teamwork at all levels between Iraqi and U.S. forces.

"It's basically showing that both nations are working together to accomplish missions for both the Iraqis and ourselves, and it's this cooperation that's holding us together," said Staff Sgt. Hal Spiller, a native of Rock Hill, S.C., deputy commandant and Honor Guard non commissioned officer in charge, 1st Cav. Div., MND-B.

U.S. Forces have gone through many drills and hours of practice with the ISF to ensure the ceremony is executed correctly.

"The Iraqi Soldiers are really smart and intelligent people. It took us about a day and a half to teach them their portion in the ceremony," Collins said. "It's our main focus to display that there is a strong pride, honor, and heritage from within the division by displaying our division's colors, the national colors, and the Army colors," he added.

These highly symbolic ceremonies serve as a reminder of progress for U.S. forces, but they also give the ISF a positive outlook for the not too distant future.

"We're happy about it when they change divisions and that we're closer to depending on ourselves," said Matham Hussein Ali, Iraqi Honor Guard member, 1st National Police Division.

This TOA ceremony, with its mixed U.S. and Iraqi color guard, subtly speaks of things to come in the continued U.S.-Iraqi partnership as Iraq continues to progress in their ability to secure their own country.

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