One of the five Army "surge" brigades sent to Iraq last year as part of an escalation — and credited, in part, with improving security — is on its way home.

The 4th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, went to Iraq in April 2007 and was sent to Diyala province, north of Baghdad. That region was one of the areas where many insurgents had fled when the U.S. and Iraqi troop presence was boosted in Baghdad.

A series of operations in Diyala targeted these insurgents, though in some cases, the militants had moved on before American troops arrived.

Now, the 4,000 soldiers of the brigade are beginning the process of returning to Fort Lewis, Wash., next month, officials said Thursday.

"We have been extremely successful during our 14 months of operations in Taji and Diyala," Col. John Lehr, the brigade commander, was quoted as saying in a news release. "Operations in concert with the Iraqi Security Forces have made the province safer and more stable."

The successes did not come without a cost: Officials said 37 of the brigade’s soldiers died during this deployment.

Among the brigade’s accomplishments were training and supporting nearly 20,000 Iraqi police in 64 stations throughout the province. A police academy was established, and the first 500 graduates are expected next month.

Violent incidents went down from their peak by 70 percent during their tour, brigade officials said.

"They are working hard to create a better police force — a force that is non-sectarian and non-corrupt," Lehr said.

Additionally, the brigade helped restart three electrical generator farms, which increased the available electrical power to the province by 25 percent.

The 4th Stryker Brigade Combat Team is the fourth of the five "surge" brigades to leave Iraq.

According to the Seattle Times, an advance party of around 100 soldiers returned home earlier this month, with more flowing in over the coming three weeks.

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