BAGHDAD - A historic event took place here, May 30, when Soldiers of the 1st Battalion, 18th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division transferred Joint Security Station Hurriyah to the Iraqi Army's 1st Battalion, 22nd Brigade, 6th Regiment.

"The transfer of JSS Hurriyah from Coalition forces to Iraqi Security Forces is one more step in the process of relinquishing control of security to the Government of Iraq," said Lt. Col. John Vermeesch, commander of 1st Bn. 18th Inf. Regt., a Roscommon, Mich. native. "This event is symbolic of the increased security in the Hurriyah area."

Hurriyah was once a spot perforated with sectarian violence, causing many families to leave. According to Vermeesch, ISF and U.S. troops working out of JSS Hurriyah have deterred area violence.

"We worked with the ISF to ensure security here," said Capt. Nathan Williams, a Raleigh, N.C., native and commander of Company A, 1st Bn., 18th Inf. Regt. "We conducted both mounted and dismounted patrols and interacted with the people every day to minimize sectarian violence and improve living conditions."

The people of Hurriyah now have better living conditions and a more improved infrastructure because of the joint efforts of the ISF and CF, Williams said.

"The improved conditions of Hurriya are due to the competence and professionalism of the ISF with the aid of the CF," said Vermeesch. "It is now time for the CF to leave JSS Hurriyah to the GoI, in part because of the Security Agreement and partly because the ISF have proven they have the ability to provide security for the Iraqi people."

Although the U.S. troops will no longer be at JSS Hurriyah, they will continue to support the ISF. The ISF will take greater roles in the security situation, to fill the void that will be left by Coalition forces.

"As of now we will continue to partner with the ISF to provide security to the people in northwest Baghdad," said Willaims. "We will slowly fade away as conditions keep on improving," he added.

U.S. Soldiers are relinquishing control of joint security stations back to the Iraqi government as conditions improve and to implement articles the Security Agreement that went into effect Jan. 1, 2009.

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