Kirkuk, Iraq – The Iraqi Army’s 2nd Brigade captured three suspected insurgents during a cordon and search of a neighborhood in Kirkuk.
The Iraqi Army has been performing cordon and search missions with coalition forces in Kirkuk for months, but today’s mission was not only led by the 2nd Brigade, every facet of the mission from planning to execution was performed with little coalition assistance.
“This is where we’re headed,” said 1st Lt. Paul Ogwo, an operations officer with the Iraqi Army 2nd Brigade military transition team. “The idea is that the Iraqi Army is able to plan and execute independent of coalition forces.”
The cordon and search was planned around intelligence, gathered by the Iraqi Army’s 2nd Brigade, that included names and possible locations of individuals allegedly part of an insurgent cell in the city. They then dispatched a collection element to produce reconnaissance and surveillance of the suspected areas.
The 2nd Brigade then cordoned and searched the area where they apprehended three suspected insurgents.
The only involvement of coalition forces during the mission was minimal guidance by the military transition team.
“We guided the battalion only as far as saying, ‘what if we do it this way?'” Ogwo said. “But, for the most part they planned and executed this mission on their own. I’m encouraged by the way this mission was executed.”
1st Lt. Jeffrey Johnson, another operations officer with the military transition team, was one of only a handful of coalition forces on the ground with the troops and witnessed the success of the Iraqi Army.
“The Iraqi Army from A to Z did a superb job,” Johnson said. “I would say from start to finish they did really well in terms of the military decision making process, the command and control elements being in place, and at the battalion level all the staff elements conducted the operation from intelligence gathering to operations with boots on the ground superbly.”
After today, Johnson said the Iraqi Army 2nd Brigade will move on to larger operations.
“The next step for these guys, since they’ve proved they’re capable of doing an operation with nearly zero coalition force guidance other than just over watch, is that they can actually conduct missions with multiple platoons, if not company level missions in their area of operation,” said Johnson.
Today was a milestone in the plan of the transition from coalition forces to Iraqi security forces, Johnson said.