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Coalition Forces transfer authority to Iraqi army in Diyala

By Sgt. Matthew Acosta

BAQUBAH, Iraq (Army News Service, Aug. 8, 2005) – A July 31 ceremony marked the transfer of authority for one fifth of the Diyala province to the Iraqi army.

Improved security in the Diyala Province has allowed Coalition Forces to successfully transition operational control of Forward Operating Base Scunion to Iraqi control.

“Today’s ceremony is a demonstration of the Iraqi army’s commitment to providing security for their own country,” said Col. Steven Salazar, commander of the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, Task Force Liberty. “They are well trained and equipped.”

Iraqi soldiers of the 2nd Brigade, 5th Iraqi Army Division, hoisted the Iraqi flag over the newly named Forward Operating Base Khamees, named in honor of an Iraqi army major killed in action June 26th.

Diyala Provincial Governor Ra’ad Hameed Juwad believes the citizens of Iraq are gaining a sense of security.

Delivering the ceremony’s keynote speech, Ra’ad emphasized the progress the Iraqi army has made and said their progress is only the beginning of what they will achieve in the future.

“It’s our responsibility to take care of our land and to protect our people and we will do it,” said Col. Saman Asi Talibany, commander of 2nd Brigade.

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