Military

Iraqi Army, Coalition forces partner for Operation Legion Pursuit II

Multi-National Force-Iraq

Thursday, 02 April 2009

Multi-National Corps – Iraq
Public Affairs Office, Camp Victory
APO AE 09342

www.mnc-i.com
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
RELEASE No. 20090402-04
April 2, 2009

Iraqi Army, Coalition forces partner for Operation Legion Pursuit II

Multi-National Division - North

FORWARD OPERATING BASE WARHORSE, DIYALA, Iraq – Before the sun rose March 26, Soldiers of 24th Infantry Regiment were already on the move, heading for the villages of Abu Bakr and Abu Awad northwest of the Diyala provincial capital Baquba.

The Soldiers, commanded by Capt. Matthew D. Mackey, were beginning Operation Legion Pursuit II in partnership with 19th Brigade, 5th Iraqi Army Division.

The top three key tasks of Legion Pursuit II were to project and sustain Iraqi Security and Coalition forces in the area, conduct a detailed census of the towns and to provide humanitarian assistance in order to bolster ISF and local national relations, said Mackey.

“To accomplish the first task is to project ISF and Coalition forces combat power in the sector; go out there with the people and stay out there for an extended period of time,” said Mackey.

In order to complete the census, Coalition forces and Iraqi Army soldiers moved from house to house using satellite images to help them understand the layout of the two villages. Overall, more than 422 buildings between the village of Abu Bakr and Abu Awad to include houses, animal pens and other standing structures were searched during the operation; 150 families entered into a local census; 26 caves were cleared and reduced; and four weapons caches were located and exploited.

“As a squad leader, I would greet the village people, ask them their concerns, comments, if they’re getting enough food and where they’re getting their water from,” said Staff. Sgt. Ian H. Martinez. “From there I would write down their personal information— who was the head of the household, how many males or females lived there and how many children were there.”

Early in the first day of the operation, the villagers were curious when the Soldiers began moving from house to house, but by midday and into the second day, word had passed about the ISF and Coalitions forces’ intentions in the area and the villagers began to open up to Soldiers from both forces.

“They have seen us patrolling before, but usually we were doing a quick pass,” said Mackey. “I saw no hostility. Once they understood why we were there, they were very open and supportive. One woman said she was very happy we were working with the IA and she hoped that someday the IA could be at the level of Coalition forces, which I think they are getting there.”

While maintaining security, the Iraqi and Coalition Soldiers were very personable and respectful; many of the noncommissioned officers have deployed before and understand the culture, said Mackey.

After clearing both villages and the wadi’s, which are deep canyons caused by erosion leading to the river valley, the IA dropped off food supplies in the villages.

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FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT THE MULTI-NATIONAL DIVISION – NORTH PUBLIC AFFAIRS OFFICE AT: MNDNPAO@25ID.ARMY.MIL OR DSN 318-856-0218.

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