News: USF-I commander, CSM visits 'Ready' Soldiers
Story by Pfc. Jessica Luhrs-Stabile
KIRKUK - The U.S. Forces-Iraq Commanding General, Gen. Raymond T. Odierno, and the USF-I Command Sergeant Major, Command Sgt. Maj. Lawrence Wilson, met with the senior leadership of Forward Operating Base Warrior, near Kirkuk, Iraq, July 30.
The visit began with a briefing from Task Force Marne Deputy Commanding General Maneuver, Brig. Gen. Patrick J. Donahue, II; Col. Larry Swift, commander of 1st Brigade Combat Team, “Ready First,” 1st Armored Division; Command Sgt. Maj. James Daniels, the Ready First command sergeant major; leadership of Ready First and members of the Kirkuk Provincial Reconstruction Team.
During the briefing, the senior leaders discussed the upcoming change in mission and the progress that has been made in the surrounding area.
The highlight of the progress was the Kirkuk Combined Security Forces, a combination of U.S. soldiers, Peshmerga, Iraqi army and police.
“We have had great success with the CSF,” said Col. Swift. “Their training has brought these soldiers to the level of our own soldiers. We expect great things from this security force.”
Following the briefing, 10 soldiers were brought into the room to be recognized by the USF-I command team.
“All of you are doing a great job, and I am very proud of each of you,” Odierno said to the soldiers after giving them his personal coin.
Before the USF-I command team visit ended, they sat down for dinner with Brig. Gen. Sameer Abdul Kareem Jassin, commander of the 12th Division Iraqi Army.
During the dinner, Sameer talked about his view on security.
“Security in the area is very good,” he said. “The people of Kirkuk trust us, because we have been trained very well.”
Odierno said he was very impressed with his visit and the progress being made in Kirkuk.
The Ready First Combat Team is doing a great job in Kirkuk. The brigade is building strong relationships with the Iraqi security forces and the PRT, and this has attributed to the success in the area, said Odierno.