News: 'Rangers' return base to Iraqi government
Story by Sgt. Shantelle Campbell
BAYJI, Iraq — As the U.S. continues with the responsible drawdown of troops in Iraq, more U.S.-run military bases are being returned to the Iraqi government.
During a signing ceremony, April 17, Lt. Col. Paul Kreiss, the commander of the 2nd Battalion, 16th Infantry Regiment, 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division out of Fort Riley, Kan., signed over Forward Operating Base Summerall to Samir Al-hadad, the Receivership Secretariat for the Government of Iraq.
The return of the base was a significant milestone for not only the Soldiers of 2-16 Inf., but for the Iraqi Army as well.
"It's a big day for Iraq," said Command Sgt. Maj. Wylie Hutchinson, the top non-commissioned officer for the 'Rangers' battalion. "The [Iraqi security forces] in this area are very [professional] and have [constantly] proven themselves. We're confident that they will do a great job here."
Iraqi army Brig. Gen. Abdullah, the brigade commander of the 14th Iraqi Army, said the signing was an important event and would help to enhance the trust toward the capabilities of the Iraqi army.
"We will [continue] to push the wheel forward," he said. "We will remind our [brethren] to enhance their efforts [in] working with the Iraqi people to earn their respect and love."
Before FOB Summerall could be turned over, soldiers of the 'Rangers' battalion worked diligently to return it to its original state.
"I'm very proud of [my soldiers]," said Hutchinson. "They were very vigilant."
"This is victory. This is what victory feels like," he concluded. "A lot of good men and women have paid the price [so] we could [get to this point]. It feels good and it feels like we've won something in the fact that we accomplished the mission."