CONTINGENCY OPERATING BASE SPEICHER, TIKRIT, Iraq -In Saddam Hussein's former horse stables, now a central operation center at Forward Operating Base Remagen, more than 90 Iraqi Sons of Iraq from the Tikrit region registered to remain in the Sons of Iraq program and received payment Mar. 1 as the program transfers from U.S. to Iraqi funding and management.
"This has been my wish to join the Sons of Iraq program because it has opened the door for me to join the military and provide the needed security that will continue to protect my family and our great country," said Quesae Abd-Al Satar, who recently joined the SoIz program. "It doesn't matter where I go in the military - whether Iraqi Army or Iraqi Police, as long as I am a part of this program to contribute my effort I am thankful," he continued.
The 1st Battalion, 14th Brigade, 4th Iraqi Division of the Iraqi Army and Task Force Steel, 3rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division worked together to register the Sons of Iraq. Task Force Steel has two contracts with the towns of Wynot and Abu-Ajil, near Tikrit, where most of the SoIz registrants are from.
"Today we are conducting a combined operation in facilitating the SoIz registration and payment process for the towns of Wynot and Abu-Ajil," said Capt. Marcus Lopez, battalion signal officer, Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, TF Steel, 3rd Inf. Bde. Combat Team, 25th Inf. Div. "Here we will receive the Iraqi citizen's registration paperwork to process them through, the Iraqi Army will then verify and check the individuals off a by-name roster ... and validate that their paperwork is valid to receive payment from the SoIz program," he continued.
The process included the Sons of Iraq listing their previous occupations and job skills -- some have been contractors, carpenters and electricians - to better place them within the SoIz program, according to Lopez.
"We have only been assisting the Iraqi Army with providing in-depth background scans on the individuals who will be joining the program-other than that, this has been completely led by the Iraqi Army, thus showing that the Iraqi Army is becoming more and more efficient at providing what is needed to keep the Salah ad-Din province prospering," said Lopez.
After they registered and had their personal information verified and approved by the Iraqi Army, they moved to the final step-payment by U.S. Forces for their monthly salary.
Following the successful transfer in other provinces, the SoIz program in Salah ad-Din province will change its source of funding from U.S. forces to the Iraqi government's May 1.

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