News: 17th Iraqi Army Division celebrates Iraqi Army birthday
Story by Staff Sgt. Scott Wolfe
By Spc. Kevin Holden and Staff Sgt. Scott Wolfe
2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division
BAGHDAD – The 17th Iraqi Army Division celebrated the rebirth of the Iraqi army with a ceremony and lunch at their division headquarters in Mahmudiyah, Jan. 9.
"I would like to thank the coalition forces. Your support has allowed us to better serve the Iraqi people. We are forever grateful to you," said Iraqi Staff Maj. Gen. Ali Jassim Mohammed Hassen Al-Frejee during a speech to a crowd which included the Mayor of Mahmudiyah, Qada officials, local Sheiks, the Assistant IA Chief of Staff, Lt. Gen. Dourhee and Soldiers from Multi-National Division – Baghdad.
When the IA was re-established in 2004, Jan. 6 was set aside as the birthday of Iraq's reborn army. Jassim was unable to observe the official birthday with his unit on Jan. 6 due to a prior engagement so he rescheduled the celebration for Jan. 9. The day-long event closely resembles how their U.S. partner celebrates the birth of their Army with Flag Day on June 14.
The Iraqi army soldiers showcased their military skills with hand-to-hand combat exhibitions, tactical demonstrations, and parade drills while the Iraqi army band played music throughout the ceremony.
Dourhee praised the Iraqi army for helping to bring security to the fledgling democracy during his key note speech.
"The new Iraqi army has conducted itself with honor. We have created enough stability within the cities that is safe for the people we work for – the Iraqi people," said Dourhee.
A meal was immediately served to the attendees after the ceremony followed by soccer matches played by Iraqi soldiers.
"That was a fantastic ceremony and a true representation of the professionalism of the Iraqi army," said Lt.Col. Jim Bradford, a native of Lynchburg, Tenn., commander of the 1st Combined Arms Battalion, 63rd Armored Regiment, which is currently assigned to the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division, Multi-National Division- Baghdad.