<b>CAMP RAMADI, Iraq</b> - An advise-and-assist brigade from the 3rd Infantry Division arrived earlier this month to begin its transfer of responsibilities with 1st Advise and Assist Brigade, 82nd Airborne Division, as their deployment draws to a close.

Soldiers assigned to the Fort Stewart, Ga.-based 4th Advise and Assist Brigade, 3rd ID, have teamed up with their Iraqi Security Force counterparts in time to support Operation Iraqi Freedom and transition to Operation New Dawn soon. The 3,000 Vanguard Brigade Soldiers are replacing the 3,500 Soldiers of 1st Bde., 82nd Airborne Div., who will completely redeploy to Fort Bragg, N.C., next month.

Colonel Lou Lartigue, 4th AAB commander, said his team's operations will closely mirror the advise-and-assist mission of 1/82.

"We'll continue to support and enable the Iraqi Security Forces to prevent future attacks," he said during his initial Iraqi media gathering at Camp Ramadi, July 17. The Vanguard commander said 4th AAB will train with their ISF partners on a daily basis.

Soldiers assigned to the airborne unit are currently sharing lessons learned from their 12-month deployment with 4th AAB Soldiers until a ceremony slated early in August will officially transfer authority to 4th AAB.

<b>Beginning an enduring partnership</b>
Though the 4th AAB has not officially assumed authority of the Anbar province, advise and assist missions are already underway at Camp Mejid, an Iraqi Army compound near the Al Asad Air Base. There, Stability Transition Team members and Soldiers assigned to the Company B, 3rd Battalion, 7th Infantry Regiment, 4th AAB intelligence support team have partnered with 7th Iraqi Army Division soldiers at the newly constructed Joint Operations Center.
The facility, which opened last May, was modeled on 1/82 AAB's tactical operations center, and allows Iraqi soldiers to receive a 'heads up' on any significant actions in their areas. Both IA and U.S. forces in the JOC track and trade information on all significant actions 24 hours-a-day, seven days-a-week.

"Before [the JOC opened], the IA would meet with their American counterparts maybe once or twice a day to discuss significant actions that occurred," explained an Iraqi Army officer.** "Now, we have constant communication with each other; we can share information first-hand, and that's important."

The IA officer went on to say he is grateful for the presence of 4th AAB Soldiers at the JOC.
"We are reaping the benefits of the American expertise," he said. "Their knowledge and logistical support is definitely appreciated."

Enabling their Iraqi counterparts is the overall goal of the brigade, said Maj. Princeton White, intelligence advisor for the 7th IA Div. Stability Transition Team.

"We want to help the Iraqi Security Forces-police and army-secure their nation and protect themselves," he said, adding that the brigade is working to help legitimize the ISF in the eyes of the people and Government of Iraq.

<b>Securing the streets</b>
Wasting no time in helping the ISF, Soldiers from 1st Platoon, B Co., 3/7 Inf., conducted partnered operations to assess four Iraqi Police checkpoints in Anbar, July 21.

The "Cottonbaler" Soldiers, accompanied by 1/82 AAB troops assigned to Battery A, 3rd Battalion, 319th Airborne Field Artillery, assisted Iraqi Police officers who searched oncoming vehicles. The traffic control point assessment afforded the 4/3 AAB Soldiers another opportunity to establish an enduring friendship with the Iraqis before officially inheriting the largest province in Iraq.

**Editor's Note: The name of the aforementioned Iraqi Army officer is being withheld for security purposes.

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