FORWARD OPERATING BASE HUNTER, Iraq - Nearly 500 Iraqi soldiers traveled approximately 20 miles to reinforce that the Iraqi army is capable of providing stability in southern Iraq March 7.

The 3rd Battalion, 41st Iraqi Army Brigade, with assistance from the 5th Battalion, 82nd Field Artillery Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, completed 'Operation Thesinger'.

"I'm always excited to work with the Americans," said Lt. Nubrass Shaker, an operations officer in the Iraqi Army. "My Soldiers always learn new things during these missions,"

The IA and American Soldiers conducted mounted and dismounted patrols. They tactically moved in full combat gear and body armor across open fields, villages and canal roads to interact with the locals and establish relationships in the area. The purpose of this operation was to emphasize to the Iraqi people that their Army is capable of providing stability in the Maysan province.

"This is my second time in Iraq, and the Iraqi Army is a much more organized and disciplined unit than it was when I was here in 2005," said Spc. David Dawson, a cannon crewmember with the 5th Btn., 82nd FA Regt. and Keysar, W. Va. resident. "I think they will be able to handle things once we leave Iraq."

As Coalition Forces patrolled along suspected smuggling routes, the local citizens were very excited to see the Iraqi and American troops working together.

One local leader said his village consists of simple farmers who just want to live a peaceful life for themselves and their children, raise their crops and livestock and not have to worry about the criminals smuggling weapons into their homeland.