By Pfc. Bailey A. Jester, 1 BCT, 1CD PAOJune 22, 2009
BAGHDAD, Iraq - Soldiers from Company E, 1st "Black Knights" Battalion, 5th Cavalry Regiment, attached to the 1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, moved out of Joint Security Station Basateen, June 2, in preparation for transfer of the station to the Government of Iraq.
The move of U.S. Soldiers and the transference of responsibility for the JSS are in accordance with the Security Agreement. The agreement, that took effect Jan. 1, 2009, states that all U.S. combat forces will withdraw from Iraqi cities by June 30.
"This is the first company sized JSS to be closed," said Detroit, Mich. native, 1st Sgt. Henry Gadsden, the company's senior enlisted advisor said about the "Ironhorse" brigade's footprint. "All other JSS's have been platoon sized."
With June 30 quickly approaching, Soldiers are working to remove all excess property from JSS Basateen.
"The local national contractors have been nothing but help to us- a very big help," stated Gadsden. "They are just as tactical and proficient as we are."
Local national contractors assisted in the movement of the containerized housing units (CHUs) and in packing Coalition gear in support of the move.
"Their response time is magnificent. If we need help with anything they respond within the hour," said Gadsden. "They always bring us 100 percent."
Company leadership will transfer excess equipment to the 3rd Battalion, 2nd Brigade, 1st National Police Division (NP) and the local nationals who will be occupying JSS Basateen.
While at JSS Basateen, U.S. troops partnered with the NP's everyday. Whether just a security patrol of the area or a more specific mission, they were involved with the NPs in providing security to the north central sections of Baghdad.
The Soldiers plan to support their Iraqi Security Forces partners by going out every day to work and meet with the NP leadership, said San Antonio, Texas native Capt. Brent Kinney, the Co. E commander.
"Moving out of the JSS's is one of the bigger signs that U.S. forces are almost ready to move," said Gadsden.
There are approximately 21 CHUs and 50 T-Walls left to remove from Basateen.
"I see it only taking about three days to finish removing everything from the JSS," said Kinney.
The transference of responsibility ceremony, scheduled for early June, will be the final step in returning the facility to the GoI.