U.S. commander tours base, views Iraqi army drills
MUQDADIYAH, Iraq — The incoming commander of U.S. forces in eastern Iraq toured the base in Muqdadiyah on Saturday and reviewed the Iraqi army battalion that handles many of the day-to-day security responsibilities in the region.
Maj. Gen. Thomas R. Turner II was making one of several stops at bases in the area has he readies for the 101st Airborne Division from Fort Campbell, Ky., to take command and allow the 42nd Infantry Division — a National Guard unit — to return to upstate New York.
Turner arrived in Iraq in late September at the division headquarters at Forward Operating Base Speicher just north of Tikrit and is visiting bases in the area before the formal transfer of authority on Nov. 1.
Iraqi army soldiers sounded a trumpet as the general arrived to meet with the commander of the Iraqi Army battalion, Col. Thea Abid Ismael Al-Tamimi.
The commander and his Iraqi counterpart met for about 10 minutes and talked about the number of Iraqi forces in the area, their training programs and the security problems in the Diyala region, where a mix of Sunnis and Shiites has seen scattered violence in recent months.
The general watched as Iraqi army soldiers performed a training drill using armored personnel carriers and simulated an assault on an abandon building. He also watched a security platoon run through a live-fire, room-clearing exercise.
The general’s two-hour visit to the Iraqi side of the base here included a tour of the Diyala Regional Training Facility, a newly renovated building where Iraqi platoons receive group training. He also stopped at a police training facility on the base.
Primary authority for handling security in the area surrounding the city of Muqdadiyah was transferred from U.S. Task Force 1-30 to the Iraqi Army battalion on August 1.