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U.S. transfers Karbala base to Iraqi Army

May 18, 2011

By Sgt. Garrett Ralston

KARBALA, Iraq, May 15, 2011 -- Joint Security Station Hussayniyah was officially transferred to Iraqi government authority in a ceremony held here, May 14, 2011.

The 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment, who has operated from the base since 2010, relinquished its responsibility to the 33rd Iraqi Army Brigade who will use it for its future operations.

"With this transition ceremony, the security forces of this land assume an even larger part of its security and stability," said Lt. Col. Gregg Athey, commander of 1st Squadron, 3rd ACR. "My troopers and myself are honored and humbled to be a small part of this significant act."

U.S. forces established JSS Hussayniyah in 2005 as a forward patrol base. Since that time, the purpose for the base shifted to that of a joint base for U.S. forces and Iraqi forces to work together and to support the Karbala Provincial Reconstruction team.

In his speech to the Soldiers and guests present at the ceremony, Athey described details of the many successes in the region.

"Truly great things have been achieved in Karbala, to include 1,126 civil capacity projects valued in excess of $198 million U.S. dollars," he said. "In fact, more than $50 million dollars were spent on electricity distribution alone while $30 million dollars were spent on public water infrastructure, including the renovation of two sewage treatment plants."

New courthouses, schools, and roads now exist throughout Karbala province as a result of these same PRT projects.

"The U.S. presence has definitely been beneficial to the people here in Karbala," said Col. Reginald E. Allen, commander of the 3rd ACR. "As I have said, I believe that the Iraqi security forces are fully capable of providing security to the mid-Euphrates area and to Karbala."

Iraqi security forces assuming the base will find it equipped with containerized housing units, a complete dining facility, a covered equipment maintenance area and a sound suppressed, indoor shooting range for weapons training.

"Today's ceremony marks yet another step forward in the strategic partnership between Iraqi security forces and U.S. forces," said Athey. "Make no mistake, the transition of this patrol base, from USF to ISF, is part of the planned and agreed upon drawdown of USF scheduled to be complete by December of 2011."

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