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Team 15 builds partnership with Iraqi counterparts

Feb 8, 2011

By Spc. Andrew Ingram U.S, Division-North Public Affairs

CONTINGENCY OPERATING SITE WARRIOR, Iraq -- Five days-a-week, Soldiers assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Battalion, 14th Infantry Regiment, 1st Advise and Assist Task Force, 1st Infantry Division, work with 15th Brigade, 12th Iraqi Army Division.

Sometimes the Soldiers, known as Team 15, provide supplies and clean water. Occasionally, they conduct weapons training with their Iraqi counterparts.

The mission is to facilitate the 15th Iraqi Army Brigade's transition to a self-sufficient fighting force capable of providing security and stability for the Iraqi people, said Maj. Samuel Hall, deputy team chief, Team 15, HHC, 1st Bn., 14th Inf. Regt.

Team 15 advises and assists the 15th Bde.'s leadership by teaching them the more nuanced aspects of leading soldiers, he said.

"We have been teaching them soldier skills for years," said Hall. "Now, sitting in an office talking about how to order supplies and keeping their operations organized is the focus."

Team 15 helps the 15th Bde. with issues ranging from military operations to planning, training and organizing events, said Hall.

"We have been working with them for months, but the Iraqi army is definitely operating on their own," he said. "They are running operations on their own and not just planning combat operations but ceremonies, as well. They are doing it all."

Lt. Col. Omar Zeyad, civil affairs officer, 15th Bde., 12th IA Div., said the mentorship of American forces has greatly improved the Iraqi Security Forces' mission to gain the trust and support of the Iraqi people.

U.S. forces deserve recognition for their hard work and efforts, said Capt. Hussein Mohammad, commander, Communication Company, 15th Bde., 12th IA Div.

Hussein, who began his command in July with one tent to house his men and equipment, used money from his own pocket and employed assistance from 1st Bn., 14th Inf. Regt. to build a headquarters for his company.

"American forces especially have provided logistical support to help build my company's headquarters," said Hussein. "I am very grateful to them."

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