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Iraqi soldiers of the 5th Brigade celebrate during a transition-of-authority ceremony of Forward Operating Base Camp Honor on Tuesday in Baghdad.
Iraqi soldiers of the 5th Brigade celebrate during a transition-of-authority ceremony of Forward Operating Base Camp Honor on Tuesday in Baghdad. (Khalid Mohammed / AP)

The U.S. military handed over control of another base to Iraqi forces Tuesday, this time ceding authority for Forward Operating Base Honor in central Baghdad.

Soldiers from the Iraqi army’s 5th Brigade, 6th Army Division assumed control of the base from the 4th Infantry Division’s 4th Brigade Combat Team, marking what the U.S. military called “the increasing role Iraqi security forces are undertaking in Baghdad and throughout their country.”

FOB Honor is situated in the palace district and used to be home to the Baath party headquarters. Airstrikes during the 2003 invasion destroyed five of the 20 buildings in the complex, U.S. officials said. The 15 remaining buildings will be used by the Iraqi units.

“The turnover of FOB Honor demonstrates the increased capability of Col. Mohammed’s brigade to assume greater responsibility and security of Baghdad,” Col. Michael Beech, commander 4th Brigade, 4th Infantry Division, said in an Army news release. Breech was referring to Col. Mohammed Wasif, commander of the Iraqi forces taking control of the base.

“The 5th Brigade has earned a reputation of being a tough, well-trained and well-led unit,” Beech said.

U.S. forces have turned over some 30 bases to Iraqi control in the past year. The most notable was FOB Danger, a huge palace complex near Tikrit. There were conflicting reports that Iraqi forces had looted the palaces after the Americans handed over the base. The Iraqi official blamed for the looting in one news report denied the claims in an interview with Stars and Stripes in January.

FOB Honor was first occupied by U.S. soldiers from the 3rd Squadron, 2nd Armored Calvary Regiment, in October 2003. They were followed by the 3rd Infantry Division’s 6th Squadron, 8th Calvary, in January 2004; and the 4th Brigade, 4th ID arrived in Baghdad in December 2005.

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