BALAD, Iraq – United States forces handed over Forward Operating Base Paliwoda to the Iraqi government here Sunday.
During a signing ceremony, Army Lt. Col. Eric Timmerman, commander of the 1st Battalion, 28th Infantry Regiment, 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, out of Fort Riley, Kan., signed over the FOB to Samir Al-Hadad, the receivership secretariat for the government of Iraq.
The return of the base was a significant milestone not only for the Soldiers of 1/28 Inf., but for the Iraqi army as well.
"It continues to show the progress that our Iraqi counterparts have made, not only in word but also in deed," Timmerman said. "It shows that they are in charge of their own security."
"It's a good day, and it's an opportunity for them to set their own course and do what they need to do to secure their country in order for them to be prosperous and free."
Once the former training ground for Saddam Hussein's guerilla fighters and the target of numerous mortar attacks the return of FOB Paliwoda to the GOI shows the tremendous strides and sacrifices that U.S. forces and its Iraqi counterparts have made in securing the base and the surrounding area.
It's a bit of a sad day too, because many lives have been lost here, Timmerman said.
This is the fifth forward operating base that the 'Black Lions' battalion has returned to the GOI.
"I guess I share in their emotion of happiness and their emotion of being fully responsible for their security," Timmerman concluded. "We'll remain good partners and friends."
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