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First Brigade Combat Team transfers authority

Multi-National Force-Iraq

Thursday, 20 March 2008
Multi-National Corps – Iraq
Public Affairs Office, Camp Victory
APO AE 09342

RELEASE No. 20080321-07
March 21, 2008

First Brigade Combat Team transfers authority
Multi National Force – West PAO

CAMP FALLUJAH, Iraq – The 1st Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division completed a transfer of authority with Regimental Combat Team 1 March 20.

The Raiders First Combat Team, comprised of elements of 1st Battalion, 3rd Brigade Troops Battalion; 1st Battalion, 41st Field Artillery Regiment; 3rd Brigade Support Battalion; 3rd Battalion, 69th Armor Regiment; 1st Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment; 2nd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, relinquished control of a central portion of Anbar province, previously known as area of operation (AO) Topeka, to Regimental Combat Team 1.

The 1BCT assumed responsibility of AO Topeka February 18, 2007. The 29,000 square kilometer area included the provincial capital Ramadi, the area west of Fallujah, east of Hit and extended north to Lake Thar Thar and south of Lake Habbaniyah.

The Raider brigade assumed control of AO Topeka at the height of al Qaeda in Iraq’s grip of Ramadi and the surrounding area. Daily attacks averaged 30 to 35 as al Qaeda in Iraq used its murder and intimidation campaign to control the population. In a matter of six weeks, the Raider brigade and Iraqi Security Forces liberated Ramadi from al Qaeda in Iraq. March 31, 2007 marked the first day without an attack in Ramadi, beginning a trend that totaled 300 days over the brigade’s deployment.

“Ramadi has gone from being the most dangerous city in Iraq to the safest. All of this happened in just over one year’s time,” said Col. John Charlton, 1st Brigade Combat Team commander.

The 1BCT increased security by recruiting and training the local Iraqi police force, increasing their ranks from 2,000 to 9,400 Iraqi police in central Anbar, and helping the two Iraqi army brigades increase their strength by more than 100 percent. The construction of joint security stations, police stations, expeditionary forward operating bases and a city-wide security perimeter will ensure security is maintained.

Over the course of a 15-month deployment, 1BCT contributed to a self-governing Iraq, and helped set the conditions for continued economic and infrastructure development. The brigade mentored and partnered with the Ramadi municipal government and helped cultivate 13 neighborhood districts. More than 1,600 reconstruction projects and 13 economic zones have helped spawn a thriving economic community.

The neutralization of al Qaeda in Iraq allowed Ramadi citizens to reclaim their city. Markets, schools, playgrounds, soccer fields and businesses are all active and thriving. The Iraqis held a 5K fun run through downtown Ramadi in September 2007, along a route that was once the deadliest street in Iraq. They celebrated their liberation from al Qaeda in Iraq with two parades. There is a flourishing women’s civic center and a city museum, making Ramadi the only city in Iraq beside Baghdad to have a museum.

The 5th Squadron, 7th Cavalry Regiment and 2nd Battalion, 7th Infantry Regiment, units assigned to 1BCT, were attached to Marine Regimental Combat Teams across Anbar province during the deployment to Iraq and also are transitioning home.

The Raider brigade will begin transitioning their personnel and equipment back to Fort Stewart, Georgia over the next month.



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