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V Corps Release

Release Date: 5/4/2004

1st Infantry Division Public Affairs Office release

TIKRIT, Iraq -- Leaders from V Corps' 1st Infantry Division joined Coalition Provisional Authority and Iraqi dignitaries in presenting Iraqi Achievement Medals to 33 members of the Iraqi Civil Defense Corps' 201st Battalion.

The awards, given in recognition of the ICDC members' service over the past three months, were presented in a ceremony at Saddam's Birthday Palace here May 4.

Attending the ceremony were dignitaries from around the Tikrit area, Coalition Provisional Authority members and members of the division's 1st Battalion, 18th Infantry. The 1/18th Infantry is responsible for training and advising the fledgling force.

Lt. Col. Jeffrey Sinclair, the 1/18th commander, addressed the crowd and praised the awardees.

"These men do not fear an enemy that hides in the shadows," said Sinclair. "These men understand that a new nation is built on sacrifice, commitment and dedication."

Maj. Musab Yosif, operations officer for the 201st, knows first-hand the strain these soldiers are placed under. Yosif's cousin was killed last night by insurgents. In spite of his loss, he wanted to make the trip to see these soldiers recognized. "They are special soldiers," Yosef said. "When everybody tried to leave, they said they will stay even if we die to free Iraq." Yosif planned to return to his family as soon as the ceremony was over.

The ceremony highlighted individual service, but U.S. military officials say they are pleased that the ICDC has progressed more quickly than expected. The corps conducts joint patrols with the Army; mans static checkpoints on its own, and maintains its own command and control element, said 1/18th Command Sergeant Major Doug Pallister.

Pallister, who is the senior enlisted member of the battalion, said his unit sacrifices people and resources in order to develop the local ICDC into a self-reliant force, and the sacrifice is worth it. The individual companies rotate a captain, two lieutenants, two sergeants first class and five staff sergeants into advisory slots at the ICDC battalion. Some of the soldiers enjoy the challenge so much, Pallister said, they request to stay on.

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