• Mike Sergeant (blue vest), of the British Broadcasting Company, speaks into his voice recorder during the Sulla Media Day, March 2, hosted by the 1st Combined Arms Battalion, 18th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, Multi-National Division-Baghdad. The event gave both western and Arabic media outlets the opportunity to see progress in northwest Baghdad.

    Mike Sergeant (blue vest), of the British...

    Mike Sergeant (blue vest), of the British Broadcasting Company, speaks into his voice recorder during the Sulla Media Day, March 2, hosted by the 1st Combined Arms Battalion, 18th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division...

  • Brig. Gen. Frederick Rudesheim (left), deputy commanding general for support, Multi-National Division-Baghdad, speaks with Ambassador John Bennett, Embedded Provisional Reconstruction Team, in the Shulla neighborhood of northwest Baghdad, March 2. The two attended the transfer ceremony of Joint Security Station Shulla before taking Iraqi and western journalists on a walking tour of the neighborhood.

    Brig. Gen. Frederick Rudesheim (left), deputy...

    Brig. Gen. Frederick Rudesheim (left), deputy commanding general for support, Multi-National Division-Baghdad, speaks with Ambassador John Bennett, Embedded Provisional Reconstruction Team, in the Shulla neighborhood of northwest Baghdad, March 2. The...

  • Sgt. Phillip Brinker, 2nd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, Multi-National Division-Baghdad, waits at a neighborhood swimming pool in northwest Baghdad, March 2. Brinker helped escort numerous Arabic and western media agencies around the Shulla area to see structural and economic improvements.

    Sgt. Phillip Brinker, 2nd Heavy Brigade Combat...

    Sgt. Phillip Brinker, 2nd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, Multi-National Division-Baghdad, waits at a neighborhood swimming pool in northwest Baghdad, March 2. Brinker helped escort numerous Arabic and western media agencies around...

  • Lt. Col. Philip Smith (left), public affairs officer, Multi-National Division-Baghdad, walks the streets of the Shulla neighborhood of northwest Baghdad during a media walk-through, March 2. Shortly before the walk-through, various Arabic and western media witnessed the transfer ceremony of Joint Security Station Shulla, in which the 1st Combined Arms Battalion, 18th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, Multi-National Division - Baghdad, handed over the station to the 2nd Battalion, 22nd Brigade, 6th Iraqi Army Division.

    Lt. Col. Philip Smith (left), public affairs...

    Lt. Col. Philip Smith (left), public affairs officer, Multi-National Division-Baghdad, walks the streets of the Shulla neighborhood of northwest Baghdad during a media walk-through, March 2. Shortly before the walk-through, various Arabic and western...

  • Kim Gamel (left foreground), of the Associated Press, interviews Lt. Col. John Vermeesch, a native of Marshall, Mich., commander, 1st Combined Arms Battalion, 18th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, Multi-National Division-Baghdad, March 2 about working with the 6th Iraqi Army Division to secure the population of the Shulla neighborhood of northwest Baghdad in a media walk-through of the neighborhood. Gamel, along with numerous Arabic and western media, also glimpsed a rebuilt and refurbished chicken restaurant, which was heavily damaged in an insurgent attack in late December 2008.

    Kim Gamel (left foreground), of the Associated...

    Kim Gamel (left foreground), of the Associated Press, interviews Lt. Col. John Vermeesch, a native of Marshall, Mich., commander, 1st Combined Arms Battalion, 18th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, Multi-National...

BAGHDAD - As per a recently signed security agreement, Multi-National Division - Baghdad Soldiers and Iraqi Security Forces made another necessary step toward total Iraqi control in securing northwest Baghdad.

In a transfer ceremony, Soldiers from the 1st Combined Arms Battalion "Vanguard," 18th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, handed over the keys to Joint Security Station Shulla to the 2nd Battalion, 22nd Brigade, 6th Iraqi Army Division March 2 at the Shulla Neighborhood Advisor Council Hall.

The "Vanguard" Soldiers invited Iraqi and western media to witness the transfer ceremony, as well as walk the streets in order to highlight recent security and infrastructure improvements in Shulla.

During the visit, reporters from outlets such as al-Hurra Television, Agency French Press, Reuters, the Associated Press and the British Broadcasting Company, witnessed the transition of Joint Security Station Shulla and had lunch at a newly rebuilt chicken restaurant; destroyed by a vehicle-born explosive device in December 2008.

"The event was a testimony to the astonishing progress we see on a daily basis in northwest Baghdad," said Lt. Col. John Vermeesch, a native of Marshall, Mich., commander of the "Vanguard" battalion. "The security situation in Shulla has not been this good in a long time. Because of that, the citizens of Shulla are experiencing a better standard of living and infrastructure improvement that they have not seen in years."

During the walk the visitors saw kids waving Iraqi flags, busy sidewalks and flourishing shops.

"They were excited to see how secure the area is; it was very natural and normal," said Mona Joesif, an Arabic media coordinator for 2nd HBCT, from San Diego. "Women and children were walking around and everything seemed to be okay."

Joesif also said why it was important for the residents of Shulla to be informed of news in their neighborhood.

"For me, as an Iraqi person, it's important to know what's going on with the security agreement between Coalition Forces and the Iraqi Government," she said. "When it's time for the Americans to leave, it's important to know if the Iraq Security Forces will be standing on their feet."

Vermeesch said the transfer of JSS Shulla to the 2nd Battalion, 22nd Brigade, 6th Iraqi Army Division confirmed that the ISF are not only standing on their feet, but gaining confidence daily while taking the required steps toward permanent success.

"As part as our endeavor to support the ISF and in accordance with the security agreement between our two countries, we continue to turn the security of Iraq back over to the Iraqis," said Vermeesch. "The transition of JSS Shulla from American control to Iraqi control is just one more step in this process."

"This is an historic time for Shulla, for Baghdad and for all of Iraq. The "Vanguard" battalion is proud to be a part of Baghdad's future."

Page last updated Wed March 4th, 2009 at 12:22