By 2nd Lt. Stuart White, 6th Sqdn., 9th Cav. Regt. UPAR, 3rd AAB, 1st Cav. Div.July 22, 2011
CONTINGENCY OPERATING BASE DELTA, Iraq - On July 13, leaders from 6th 'Saber' Squadron, 9th Cavalry Regiment, 3rd Advise and Assist Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division met with Iraqi military and intelligence leaders on Contingency Operating Base Delta to discuss security matters and Iraqi Air Force capabilities in Wasit province.
The meeting was hosted by Brig. Gen. Abdul Kareem, the deputy commander of Al-Kut Air Force Base, on COB Delta. This was the first time that leaders from the intelligence community and ground forces have ever met with the IqAF in Wasit province.
Since June 11, 'Saber' Sqdn., has been advising and assisting Iraqi Security Forces within the province. Through these partnerships, 'Saber' Soldiers have provided training and assistance through joint patrols to enhance the capabilities of the ISF throughout Wasit province. They discussed the United States Forces-Iraq and ISF coordinating efforts to enhance security and the future re-posturing of USF-I.
Kareem prepared a presentation to show his compatriots the many ways he was prepared to support them and help provide a more united and capable force. Iraqi commanders included Maj. Gen. Husein Abd Al-hadi, the Wasit provincial Director of Police, Col. Ali Ismail Khalil Mohamad Ali, commander of the Wasit Federal Police Brigade, and Yasir Hasan Hilail Al Shahmani, the Director of National Defense in Wasit. They discussed how the IqAF could provide intelligence through aerial imagery and surveillance, and support ground forces through close air support.
"We have planes, we have pilots, and we have cameras on the planes. We can help the town and the police. I wanted everyone to know the possibilities in the Iraqi Air Force," said Kareem.
Ground force commanders and intelligence leaders in the province were energetic in their response to the proposal.
"I did not expect this meeting to go so well, but I hope we can continue to build this relationship with the Iraqi Air Force," said Maj. Gen. Husein Abd Al-hadi, Wasit provincial Director of Police. He then emphasized the importance of coordination, "I hope we can learn to utilize all the assets we have."
The relationship between Iraqi ground forces, Air Force, and intelligence agencies is just beginning, and there is a lot of work to do to develop these relationships. These types of coordinating efforts will strengthen the ISF.
"When you bring these guys together, they will talk and learn about how they can each help one another with their mission," said Lt. Col. Cameron Cantlon, commander of Saber Sqdn., and an Ettrick, Wis. native.
"We made a tremendous leap forward today. Our efforts to coordinate better intelligence through the Air Force and to communicate that intelligence to the Iraqi Police will certainly improve security in Al-Kut and Wasit province." explained Yasir Hasan Hilail Al Shahmani, the Director of National Defense in Wasit.