CONTINGENCY OPERATING SITE MAREZ, Iraq - In a display of mutual respect gained during cooperative operations, U.S. Soldiers of 1st Squadron, 9th Cavalry Regiment, 4th Advise and Assist Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division, and Iraqi Army troops participated in a short ceremony to celebrate Iraqi Army Day at the al-Ghuzlani Warrior Training Center, here, Jan. 6.

Established in 1921, the Iraqi Army reached its 90-year anniversary and a new chapter as they improve their skills at the newly built training center; capable of training the whole battalion in collective tasks culminating with a battalion live-fire exercise.

"This is honorable for us to celebrate the Iraqis' birthday while training with U.S. forces," said staff Col. Mohamed 'Olwan, battalion commander of 1st Battalion, 11th Brigade, 3rd Iraqi Army Division.

"It's nice to have the opportunity to have all of my soldiers taking part in this training and to learn new skills," said 'Olwan.

Iraqi soldiers gathered at different parts of the training site, working with U.S. Soldiers of 4th AAB, 1st Cav. Div., to enhance squad-level tasks necessary for the modernization of the light infantry battalion.

"We are here to give them light infantry skills that they were previously taught, but haven't trained on in a long time," said Lt. Col. John Cushing, commander, 1st Sqdn., 9th Cav. Regt. "We are giving them the skills necessary to defend their country and it's fitting that within the first few days of training, the IA celebrated its birthday."

Squads learned new tactics and techniques, while honing their infantry skills to improve how they operate collectively as a unit.

"If they leave here better than when they came, then we've accomplished our goal," said Staff Sgt. Christopher Price, a scout assigned to Troop C, 1st Sqdn., 9th Cav. Regt. "It is really nice to see how much their army has grown since 2003."

"We are at a point where we can actually celebrate events together to include the IA's birthday," said the native of Calera, Ala.

The Soldiers of 4th AAB serve deployed to northern Iraq in support of Operation New Dawn perform advisory operations to Iraqi forces across U.S. Division-North.