Thurman: Our Disciplined Soldiers Perform Like Champions
November 14, 2006
BAGHDAD (Army News Service, Nov. 14, 2006) - The 4th Infantry Division, with more than 20,000 "Ironhorse" Soldiers, deployed to Iraq and took the mantle of responsibility for Multi-National Division - Baghdad from 3rd Infantry Division during a transfer of authority ceremony Jan. 7, 2006. The deployment marked the division's second deployment to theater in three years.
The unit became the first complete "heavy modular" division to deploy to combat after it expanded from three maneuver brigades to a four-brigade combat team concept and created a multi-functional combat aviation brigade.
Upon arrival here, the force grew to the size of a Corps, amassing a combat force of more than 63,000, which included more than 30,000 U.S. and Coalition Soldiers and 31,000 Iraqi Security Forces. Approximately 600 Coalition service members from Estonia, Georgia and Macedonia served in the formation. By year's end, the force expanded to almost 70,000 Coalition Forces, Iraqi Army, Iraqi Police and National Police.
MND-B is a true joint/combined formation. Of note, the patches of nine out of the 10 active duty Army divisions were represented in MND-B during the year-long deployment.
MND-B commanded and controlled 13 brigades. The brigades included the 4th Inf. Div.'s 1st Brigade Combat Team, 2nd BCT, 4th BCT, Fires, and Combat Aviation Brigade. Other 4th Inf. Div. assets in theater were the 3rd Heavy BCT, which was attached to 101st Airborne Div. in MND - North, and Sustainment Bde., which was attached to 3rd Corps Support Command at Camp Taji.
The division assumed a recently expanded battle space that covered almost 17,000-square miles, stretching north to Tarmiya and south to the Saudi Arabian border. The area of responsibility, roughly the size of West Virginia, encompassed the provinces of Baghdad, Babil, Karbala and An Najaf.
The division was tasked with securing Baghdad and building the Iraqi Security Forces across the four provinces.
Under the leadership of Maj. Gen. James D. Thurman, commanding general, MND-B, the ISF expanded in size, professionalism and capability, exercising initiative and zeal for establishing security in their country.
When 4th Inf. Div. took command of MND-B in January, one division, three brigades and 13 Iraqi army battalions were in the lead. The Iraqi Security Forces now have two divisions, 10 brigades, totaling 25 Iraqi Army battalions that are now in the lead providing security for the Iraqi people. In the near future, the 6th and 9th Iraqi Army Divisions will go under the control of the Iraqi Ground Force Command and the Minister of Defense.
"I think it is important to look at the accomplishments of the Iraqi Security Force to maintain perspective," said Thurman.
The national election results were released in January without incident under the protection of the ISF. Also, in April the ISF ensured the protection for the successful seating of the Council of Representatives and the IA provided security for numerous religious celebrations and observances to include Arba'een and Ashura. In the aftermath of the Samarra/Baghdad. bombing, the 9th IAD deployed a mechanized task force, without receiving prior notice, in less than 48 hours to
The Iraqi Police are also making great strides across four provinces and filling the ranks with trained and qualified personnel. More than 55,000 officers are currently in uniform. Since January, more than 10,000 new policemen have answered the call in the MND-B area of operations. There are 262 Iraqi Police stations providing service to approximately 10 million citizens.
With Iraqis in the lead, the government of Iraq started Operation Together Forward Aug. 7. The objective of the ongoing operation focuses on decreasing sectarian violence by reducing murders, kidnappings and improvised-explosive devices in specified areas identified by the government. During current operations, ISF are in the lead for 70 percent of the city.
"Our strategy remains to clear, hold and build," emphasized Thurman. "We've seen positive effects in neighborhoods that we have cleared and continue to protect with combined forces. Protecting and holding the areas have provided the Iraqi government the opportunity to meet the basic needs for the people and to begin building civil capacity."
The building phase is ongoing, geared to reverse 30 years of neglect and consists of short-, mid and long-term projects, such as public utilities, administration, health, schools and safety. During the second phase of Operation Together Forward, approximately $7.6 million from the Commanders' Emergency Response Program has been committed to projects such as improving sewage disposal, trash collection and power generation.
Restoring essential services has been a constant focus of MND-B. During the deployment, 37 agricultural projects have been conducted for the tens of thousands of farmers in the area. There have been 140 education projects, including the renovation of 5.5 percent of Baghdad schools and upgrading 111 school facilities to benefit approximately 310,800 elementary students. MND-B has conducted 57 medical operations, including renovation of 21 hospitals and clinics. Six new public health clinics have opened in Baghdad.
MND-B also conducted 146 sewer and water projects, including 13 sewage pump stations, 19 water treatment plants, six compact water units and replacement of 25 kilometers of pipe. Approximately 145 primary and secondary roads were repaired or paved, along with sidewalks and curbs.
During these civic action operations, MND-B focused on hiring local Iraqis to do the work to help stimulate the economy, improve construction and building practices and allow Iraqis to take pride in the reconstruction efforts. During peak employment, CERP opened approximately 23,000 jobs to Iraqis.
From January through November, MND-B conducted 149 division-, brigade- and battalion-level security operations, including 44 air assault operations. There have been more than 392,000 patrols conducted by CF and ISF, averaging more than 40,000 patrols per month.
"These achievements were made possible by the dedication and commitment of the men and women of the 4th Infantry Division and Multi-National Division - Baghdad," said Thurman. "Our Soldiers can reflect with pride upon their accomplishments during the past year in the most complex combat environment I have ever seen."
Through close partnership with the Iraqi Security Forces, MND-B assisted the ISF in increasing their capability and professionalism; working together to maintain the security in Baghdad, Karbala, Najaf and Babil. More Iraqi units now have responsibility for security in critical areas and CF and ISF continue to set the conditions and create opportunities for the National Unity Government to serve its people.
"Our Soldiers are committed and have selflessly given their all for this mission," said Thurman. "Our disciplined Soldiers performed like champions every day and I'm mighty proud of them."