By Sgt. Dustin Roberts, 2nd HBCT PAO, 1st Inf. Div., MND-BMay 18, 2009
BAGHDAD - Soldiers from the 2nd Battalion, 54th Brigade, 6th Iraqi Army Division and Multi-National Division Baghdad Soldiers gave a man his home back after he graciously lent it out to serve as part of a joint security station for the past several months.
Soldiers serving with the 5th Squadron, 4th Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Heavy Brigade Combat Team "Dagger," 1st Infantry Division, Multi-National Division - Baghdad and the 2nd. Bn., 54th Bde., 6th IA Div. shut down Joint Security Station Yarmouk in a closure ceremony in northwest Baghdad May 16.
In cooperation with the signed security agreement between the Government of Iraq and Coalition forces, JSS Yarmouk will no longer be used due to the increased and stable security in the neighborhood.
Duraid Kassim Malik let the partnered Soldiers eat, sleep and operate from his home, also allowing concrete barriers to be built in a perimeter around it.
"Duraid is an example of someone who has made a great sacrifice for his neighborhood like so many Iraqis who have given up their homes to allow a joint Coalition and Iraqi Security Force element to stay in their homes and use them as bases," said Lt. Col. John Richardson, a native of Tallahassee, Fla., commander, 5th Sqdn., 4th Cav. Regt. "This closure could only be done because of the successful security operations conducted primarily by the Iraqi Security Forces."
The continued partnership in security gains throughout northwest Baghdad have allowed many JSS's to be no longer necessary.
"The base closure signifies a new chapter in the security of Yarmouk and Baghdad. The progress in Iraq is happening at an astonishing rate," said 1st Lt. Dontae Payne, a native of Pittsburgh with the 5th Sqdn., 4th Cav. Regt. "As hospitals, schools and stores are built in Baghdad, potential and opportunity are endless. The Iraqi Security Forces are committed to protecting these assets in helping to maintain the people's faith in their government."
The GoI is currently working with the Iraqi Ministry of Defense to decide when the rest of the JSS's in the Dagger Brigade's operational environment will be closed or handed over to the ISF before June 30.
According to the security agreement, the only joint bases in the cities that will remain open after the end of June deadline are the ones that the GoI have requested the Coalition forces to stay in.
"We will be moving out of the JSSs and back on to major base camps while the ISF stay in the neighborhoods and take the lead in security," said Richardson.
He added that JSS Yarmouk was a major stronghold when violence in the neighborhood was high, but the stronghold in present-day Yarmouk is the prospering local Iraqis.
Richardson said those who lent their homes to be a part of the JSS will get them back in the same condition as before or will be compensated for damages and the barriers will be completely removed within the week.
"I want to say thank you to all the families in Iraq who have given up their homes in support of the security of their neighborhoods," he said. "We are celebrating this landmark step forward in returning Iraq to normalcy."