Sgt. Stryker here. Hope everyone out there is doing well – whether you’re in the military or you have a friend or loved one (or even a loved friend!) in the military, here’s wishing you well. While the people in the United States prepare to celebrate Independence Day, the US military continues to do their duty around the world, bringing freedom and security to people all over the world. We should make an effort not to forget these people as we celebrate Fourth of July 2009.
All the hard work and dedication is paying off, though. For instance, in Iraq, in accordance with Article Five of the Security Agreement between the United States and the government of Iraq, signed in Baghdad in November of last year, Iraqi security forces now have full ownership of security in their cities, villages and localities. This switchover took place June 30, 2009.
“As of today, U.S. combat forces will turn over the security of cities to Iraqi security forces, and begin a period where our primary security role is one of training, mentoring and advising the ISF,” said Maj. Gen. Rick Nash, Multi-National Division – South commander. “Today’s ISF is capable, ready and dedicated to keeping the people of Iraq safe.”
“Leaving the cities does not mean that we are backing off; instead, it indicates our confidence in the Iraqis to safeguard their own citizens. Likewise, the Security Agreement is a tangible, positive sign of a mature relationship between two sovereign nations,” said Nash.
In accordance with the Security Agreement U.S. forces will withdraw from all Iraqi territory by Dec. 31, 2011.
There are those out there who wanted to cut and run earlier, but the fruits of all the labor poured into Iraq ARE showing if you’re looking. Problem is most people aren’t looking. And that’s just sad.
Sgt. Stryker out.
Military Transition Team Marines Build Professionalism and Friendships
Maj. Jacob Evans, team chief for Military Transition Team 0228, instructs an Iraqi soldier on the proper placement of the flag on a uniform aboard Camp Hamza, Iraq, June 25. Fostering friendships is a vital part of working with members of the Iraqi military. Photo by Lance Cpl. Jason Hernandez
U.S. Navy Ceremonial Band
Petty Officer 1st Class Eric Lopez, a member of the U.S. Navy Ceremonial Band, performs during a Twilight Tattoo ceremony at Fort McHenry in Baltimore, Md. The band, based in Washington, D.C., is the Navy’s premier musical organization and performs public concerts and military ceremonies in the greater Washington area and beyond. Photo by Christina M. Catalanotto
Iraqis Lead Air Assault
Sgt. 1st Class Thavee Salayphonh, of Visalia, Calif., takes a knee on the edge on a trench overlooking the terrain during Operation Winged Lion II, an Iraqi-led air assault clearance mission, June 26, in the Ma’dain region, located outside of eastern Baghdad. Salayphonh and his fellow paratroopers assigned to K Troop, 5th Squadron, 73rd Cavalry, 82nd Airborne Division, Multi-National Division – Baghdad supported national police officers assigned to the 3rd NP Brigade, 1st NP Division during an Iraqi-led air assault clearance operation dubbed “Operation Winged Lion II.” Photo by Sgt. 1st Class Alex Licea
Chief petty officers render a hand salute during a reading of “The Watch” during a memorial service honoring the life of fallen Command Master Chief Jeffrey J. Garber onboard the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower. The Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group is deployed to the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations as part of a regularly scheduled deployment in support of Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom as well as maritime security operations. Photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Rafael Figueroa-Medina
Evening Flight Operations
An AV-8B Harrier lands aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Bataan during evening flight operations. The Bataan Amphibious Ready Group is supporting maritime security operations in the U.S. 5th and 6th Fleet areas of responsibility. Photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Kristopher Wilson