Monday, March 10, 2008

Military Officials in Iraq Praise Soldiers of Redeploying 'Surge' Brigade

"Published 03/10/2008 - 1:33 a.m. GMT (PressMediaWire) WASHINGTON, March 9, 2008 - A military spokesman in Iraq today praised soldiers of an Army brigade that will soon redeploy to the U.S. and mark the first reduction in the number of surge forces sent to stabilize Iraq last year.
Multinational Force Iraq officials announced March 6 that some 2,000 paratroopers from the 2nd Brigade, 82nd Airborne Division, will return to Fort Bragg, N.C., in the next several weeks, reducing the number of U.S. combat brigades in Iraq from 19 to 18."

..."During a news conference today in Baghdad, Smith told reporters that Iraqi security forces and citizens capitalized on efforts the 2nd Brigade paratroopers made over their 15-month deployment. In that time, he said, 125,000 Iraqis joined military or police ranks, and some 90,000 citizens enrolled in volunteer groups. "

..."The 2nd Brigade paratroopers, known as "Falcon Soldiers," established two of the first combat outposts in Baghdad, said Army Maj. Gen. Jeffery Hammond, commander of Multinational Division Baghdad. As a result, attacks in Adhamiyah, a northeast suburb of the Iraqi capital, decreased from 465 to 15 per month since December 2006. "Falcon Soldiers spent $30 million on reconstruction projects including renovation of schools, generators, water pump repair, trash pickup and micro-loans, revitalizing markets (and) making life better and safer for the residents of northeast Baghdad," Hammond is quoted as saying in a March 6 Multinational Force Iraq news release. "

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