BAGHDAD, Iraq - Soldiers are trained to fight.
Wars are usually waged against an enemy, to defend honor and country, with the sole purpose of victory in mind.
However, victory in today's modern age is not as simple as fighting the enemy on the front lines of a battlefield. The U.S. Army not only defeats the enemy, but also provides security, humanitarian aid, economic assistance, and other forms of help to the citizens of the areas that had once been enemy strongholds. The U.S. Army does more than just fight; it rebuilds and rejuvenates communities and cities that were once urban battlefields.
The Mada'in Qada was once one of these battlefields.
The Mada'in is an area southeast of Baghdad that had seen more than its fair share of violence in the past years. From 2007-2008 it was the front line of the fight for Soldiers of the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, who were able to successfully quell the fighting between criminal groups, insurgents and al-Qaida in Iraq forces by the end of their tour in May 2008.
When the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division put boots on the ground in the Mada'in Qada as 3rd Brigade's replacements, most of the fighting had ended, and the time for rebuilding had begun. Throughout their deployment, the Iron Brigade has helped the local leaders of the Mada'in communities, along with the Iraqi security forces stationed there to secure, rebuild and rejuvenate the area.
To better set conditions for coalition forces alignment post-Security Agreement this week saw another handover of responsibility of the Mada'in, this time to the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division. The leadership of the 'Iron Brigade' however, felt that it was an important part of this transition to give a formal farewell to the Iraqi leaders in the Mada'in that they had worked with for the past 11 months.
"I think that everyone in this room understands that one of the constants in Iraq over the last six years has been change," said Col. Pat White, commander, 2nd BCT, 1st Armd. Div., MND-B, while speaking at the farewell luncheon his brigade hosted for the Iraqi leaders located in the Mada'in Qada. "The reason I asked you all to come is because there has been a change in leadership in the Mada'in Qada and I want to make sure that we have given a proper farewell to you."
The luncheon, which was held in the International Zone at "Freedom Rest," April 1, served as a way not only to say goodbye, but to introduce the leadership of the 3rd BCT, 82nd Airborne Div., to the Mada'in community and ISF leaders.
"As much as we cooperated and were close with Col. White and his brigade in the past, we have to do the same thing with Col. McGuire and his brigade as well," said Maj. Gen. Qassim Jassem Nazal commander of the 9th Iraqi Army Division when he spoke at the luncheon. "That is because the only goal of the troops of the Coalition forces is to provide security and services and help the people of the Mada'in."
"I am looking forward to seeing the rest of the Mada'in and to continue to work with the leadership there," said Col. Timothy McGuire, commander of the 3rd BCT, 82nd Airborne Div., during the luncheon.
Various gifts and certificates were given to the commander of the 9th IA Div., the commander of the 3rd Brigade, 1st National Police Division, local Sheiks, and Mada'in Qada and Nahia level representatives who were invited to the event. The luncheon provided an opportunity for old friends to see each other one last time, along with the first of many meetings of the leadership of the 3rd BCT, 82nd Airborne Div.
"As I look around this room right now ...what I see, are Iraqi heroes who have given much to achieve security in the Mada'in," said White.