By By Spc. Jessica LuhrsOctober 2, 2010
CONTINGENCY OPERATING SITE WARRIOR, KIRKUK, Iraq -- During an Iraqi Army led cordon and search in the Rashaad Valley near Kirkuk, Iraq, nearly 50 IA soldiers with 2nd Battalion and 4th Battalion of the 15th Brigade, discovered a cache with more than 800 rounds of heavy machine gun ammo buried throughout a field and detained four suspects, Sept. 25.
"The mission showcased the ability of the 15th BDE IA to plan, coordinate and execute a complex mission almost entirely on their own. The plan was theirs, we merely gave input and provided enablers," said 1st Lt. Dan Chapman, a platoon leader with Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Battalion, 14th Infantry, "Golden Dragons" 2nd Advise and Assist Brigade, 25th Infantry Division, out of Schofield Barracks, Hawaii.
"We were definitely in the advise and assist role during this mission," said 1st Lt. Chapman who was the ground force commander for U.S. forces during the mission.
The IA decided to search the site because of a reliable tip they received of insurgent activity in the area, according to Lt. Col. Moufoq, the IA ground force commander during the mission.
1st Lt. Chapman, a native of Stockbridge, Ga., said during the entire mission he was very impressed with the IA soldiers and their leadership.
"The IA soldiers and leadership impressed me with their individual soldier professionalism, ability of leaders to command and control units on the ground, and adapt the plan to the situation on the ground," he explained.
Immediately after securing the ammo, detaining four individuals, and clearing the rest of the area the IA once again impressed the Golden Dragons by visiting a nearby village to drop off humanitarian aid.
"It is important to build relationships with the people in the village. When we do we are able to detain insurgents and find their weapons," said Lt. Col. Moufoq.
1st Lieutenant Chapman said this mission set the standard for IA missions with the responsible drawdown of troops.
"This operation and others like it will demonstrate the increased ability of the Iraqi Security Forces to stand on their own against internal and external threats once the U.S. withdraws," said 1st Lt. Chapman.