One step closer: property transfers to Iraqis continue
Col. Charles Heatherly, deputy chief for strategic effects, joint civil-military operations, USF-I, signs the documents for the building transfer of ownership to the Iraqi forces, March 12, on Camp Victory, Iraq, as Iraqi Brig. Gen. Yassine Ali, director of Iraqi Ground Forces Command's civil military operations, looks on. The transfer symbolizes the first of its kind under Task Force Dragon, XVIII Airborne Corps.

CAMP VICTORY, Iraq -- As the U.S. and Iraqi forces continue to further strengthen their cohesion, an official building and equipment transfer between the United States Forces - Iraq joint civil-military operations staff and Iraqi Ground Forces Command Civil-Military Operations staff took place March 12, here.

The transfer of four modular office structures was the first of its kind under Task Force Dragon, XVIII Airborne Corps. Col. Charles Heatherly, deputy chief for strategic effects, joint civil-military operations, USF-I. Iraqi Brig. Gen. Yassine Ali, director of Iraqi Ground Forces Command Civil-Military Operations, and 1st Lt. Mohammed Shakir, administrative officer for Iraqi Ground Forces Command, signed the documents for the transfer of ownership to the Iraqi forces.

"We're transferring these buildings over to the Iraqis to increase their capacity, especially toward the civil-military operations," said Sgt. 1st Class Keith Smith, the civil affairs noncommissioned officer-in-charge. "They're going to use these buildings for their own civil-military operations school."

"Staff Brigadier General Ali is responsible for the training of all civil affairs and operations in the Iraqi army as a whole, they're just beginning to build this capacity," said Heatherly. "He's got to have a place to train, so this provides a great opportunity to transfer what we have here that we're no longer using to Camp Iraqi Hero."

With the buildings now officially owned by the Iraqi forces and plans to use them for training, U.S. servicemembers see how the Iraqis have made strides toward building a better force.

"It's kind of exciting and a unique opportunity to be here and witness this right now," said Smith. "When we work ourselves until the mission is complete, that makes success. I think we've accomplished that here."

"This signifies United States Forces - Iraq's commitment with the IGFC G-9, to further the expansion of their civil military operation," said Heatherly.

This handover is one of the many that servicemembers will participate in as transfers to Iraqi forces continue and U.S. forces draw down throughout the year as part of Operation New Dawn. The receipt of buildings such as these, will allow Iraqi forces to continue to expand their area of operations further than the IGFC.

"This is just one small segment of the full transformation," said Heatherly. "They understand the impact that their army makes on their people."

"It's very exciting when I see this kind of cooperation between the USF-I Soldiers and our military," said Maj. Hamdan Laieth, chief of staff for IGFC's CMO. "We will use these buildings for our own training and this will help us establish a foundation that will expand throughout our Army. We will get started as soon as possible."

Page last updated Sat March 19th, 2011 at 09:00