ZAIDON, Iraq - When Maj. Bassim, commander of 4th Battalion, 24th Brigade, 6th Iraqi Army Division, needed assistance for a mission, help was just a phone call away.

Soldiers with Company C, 4th Battalion, 9th Infantry, 4th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, answered the Iraqi commander's request to accompany his unit on a search for a suspected weapons cache April 12.

"We have his number, and he has ours," said Capt. Guy Girouard, commander of Company C. "We make sure that we are always available if they need us."

Tips from locals had provided Bassim with information about the possible location of the cache, but instead of conducting this mission on his own, he saw this as an opportunity to call his American counterparts and combine their efforts.

"It's key that we work together on these important missions," said Bassim. "Being partners with the U.S. Soldiers helps our mission every way."

Based on the history between the IA and the Manchu Soldiers, working together usually equals success - but not always.

"We have worked with the 4th Battalion on numerous occasions in the past and found many weapon caches, but sometimes we don't," said 1st Sgt Julio Armas, the senior enlisted sergeant of Company C. "When we did find something, it was usually because the IA had good information on their whereabouts."

Functioning as one team, the U.S. and Iraqi Soldiers used mine detectors to sweep over a large patch of dry dirt where the weapons were suspected of being buried.

Whenever the detectors indicated a potential find, the group would mark the ground and the Soldiers with shovels would start to dig.

"Having the right tool for the job really helped," said Sgt. Dustin Carden, a team leader, explaining that the mine detectors made the search process more efficient.

After several hours of dusty and dirty work, the teamwork between the two units did not turn up any weapons, however, Carden said their efforts were not in vain.

"After looking through the whole area we didn't find anything. But, having this strong partnership between the IA is essential in developing ... confidence, no matter what the mission."

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