Friday, December 7, 2007

Good News from Iraq: 7 Dec 2007

From MNF-I, 3-1 Cav. Regt., Concerned Local Citizens Open Headquarters.

FORWARD OPERATING BASE HAMMER — Soldiers of Troop A, 3rd Squadron, 1st Cavalry Regiment, along with members of the Concerned Local Citizens of Al Khargulia, held a ribbon-cutting ceremony Dec. 2 to open the new Concerned Local Citizens Headquarters.

The headquarters project began approximately one month ago when local sheiks coordinated with Troop A leaders to decide where the headquarters would best serve the mission of the CLCs and the needs of the community. After several meetings, the group decided on a local shopping area 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team Soldiers call “Four Corners.”

“Four Corners is one of the most influential portions of the Assassin Troop area of operation,” said Maj. Andrew Koloski, from Juneau, Alaska, executive officer for the 3-1st Cav. Regt. “It is a key intersection that is important to the economy of the area. The markets and businesses bring both Shia and Sunni locals together. Also, the Concerned Local Citizens asked to have the headquarters at Four Corners.”

Capt. Tavares Tukes, from Savannah, Ga., a staff officer in 3-1st Cav. Regt., believes the central location lets insurgents in the area know that residents are no longer living in fear.

“The operation was conducted to allow the locals to take a stand against violence. Shia and Sunni Concerned Local Citizens along with the National Police are working together for security,” Tukes said.

He added that moving to Four Corners is just one step closer towards the area residents having control and influence over their own community.

According to Koloski, the central location of the headquarters provides not only a command and control center where leaders can keep in close communication with all area checkpoints, but also a place that citizens of Al Khargulia can easily access.

Koloski said the CLCs of Al Khargulia are a fairly new group that commenced in September.

“The Concerned Local Citizens have grown rapidly,” Koloski said. “Citizens of the area saw how effective the program is in neighboring villages and wanted to take a stand in their own neighborhood. I am humbled by their bravery.”

Company A, 3-1st Cav. Regt. is assigned to the 3rd HBCT, 3rd Infantry Division, and has been deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom V since March.