CONTINGENCY OPERATING BASE SPEICHER, TIKRIT, Iraq - In the early morning hours of Feb. 15, several hundred Soldiers from the 4th Iraqi Army Division supported by Coalition forces conducted a combined air-assault to clear and secure the Bichigan peninsula near Balad.
The A Troop, 3rd Squadron, 4th Cavalry Regiment, 25th Infantry Division and the 14th Iraqi Army Brigade Military Transition Team supported the operation which began with a series of U-H 60 Black Hawk training rehearsals on the flight line of a Forward Operating Base Feb. 14.
"The Iraqi Army initiated the idea for the operation," said Maj. Darren Buss, operation officer, 14th Iraqi Army Bde MiTT. "As a MiTT, our primary objective was to advise the 14th brigade commander and his staff of the planning procedures that had to be in place before the operation could be executed."
"The IA is conducting various security operations that will be continued daily as well as creating new routes to reduce congestion in the city -- all measures to secure and protect the people of this region," Buss added.
"Our role in the Iraqi Army's operation has been to help enable them to step forward and spear-head their own operations. We have done this by building their confidence and showing that they can continue to perform effectively before and during their operations," said Sgt. 1st Class Travus Brandon, platoon sergeant, 3rd plt., A Trp., 3rd Sqdn. 4th Cav. Regt., 25th Inf. Div.
"We are building upon their experience level by including the air-assault element to the operation, showing the Iraqi Army that they can handle a complex operation with an air-assault asset available. The end result will help combined Coalition missions because they will bring their knowledge and training to the table for the completion of successful operations in Iraq," he continued.
During the mission the IA captured two wanted criminals and found several small caches in the densely wooded orchards of the region.
"With continued combined operations between Iraqi Army and Coalition forces such as this, the Iraqi Security Forces will continue to progress as a more effective fighting force able to secure their towns and provide a safer environment for the people of Iraq," said 1st Lt. Steven Swan, a plt. leader in A Trp. who helped assist Iraqi forces during the operation.