BAGHDAD - U.S. forces under Multi-National Division-Baghdad handed over another joint security station to Iraqi Security Forces in a ceremony as the "out of the cities" date of June 30 draws near.

The 1st Combined Arms Battalion, 18th Infantry Regiment "Vanguard," 2nd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, handed over Joint Security Station Hurriyah II to the 1st Battalion, 22nd Brigade, 6th Iraqi Army Division, June 9, in the Kadamiyah district of northwest Baghdad.

"This is yet another step the sovereign state of Iraq has taken to provide for the security of the people of Baghdad and the progress that has been achieved together with the Iraqi Security Forces," said Col. Joseph Martin, a native of Dearborn, Mich., commander, 2nd HBCT. "Iraq is now enjoying irreversible momentum toward a peaceful and prosperous future."

Since October, elements of the Vanguard Battalion lived and worked with the Iraqi Soldiers in a joint effort to help secure the population of Kadamiyah's Hurriyah neighborhood.

As the security in Iraq improved, the two governments decided it was time for the ISF to take more responsibility.

"The Security Agreement set up clear guidelines for the Coalition forces in Iraq and in concert with Iraqi Security Force partners, we will ensure that the future remains stable," said Martin. "The security situation in Hurriyah is the best that it has been in three years. That is due to the competence, confidence and professionalism of the Iraqi Army and all of the ISF who patrol the neighborhoods."

Martin added that along with security gains, there are substantial infrastructure improvements and a better standard of living then several years ago.

The transfer of JSS Hurriyah I, a week ago by the Vanguard Soldiers, also demonstrated the U.S. commitment to returning Baghdad to it's citizens.

"Right now Hurriyah is living in peace and security," said Maj. Hussein Adhab Salman al-Qiussey, commander, 1st Bn., 22nd Bde., 6th I.A. Div. "We do have stability even though over the years we have seen some violence."

Hussein said that they do not want to lose any momentum and his Soldiers will step up to the task ahead of them.

"This represents a huge responsibility and we wanted to step up to it. I ask all of the local leaders in Hurriyah to assist with the progress of receiving Hurriyah II. This will be a good opportunity for the ISF and the Iraqi Army; The IA will be patrolling the streets."

With Martin and a representative of the Iraqi Prime Minister's Office signing the official paperwork, the transfer became legitimate.

"This is a historic time for Hurriyah," said Martin. "I salute the diligence of local leaders who support continued transition toward a future of safety, security and confidence provided by the ISF to the people of Hurriyah."