Soldiers from the Stability Transition Team of Task Force Spear, 4th Advise and Assist Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division, partnered with troops of 6th Brigade, 3rd Iraqi Army Division, to search for indicators of extremist activity in western Mosul, Jan. 19.
Partnered together, the combined force pursued leads and information provided by residents near the al-Harmat neighborhood of the city. Iraqi soldiers took the lead for the operation, establishing a security cordon and knocking on doors with U.S. forces serving in an advisory role.
U.S. Army Maj. Jason Carter, executive officer of Task Force Spear, said the decreasing role of U.S. forces in such operations is a testament to the Iraqi soldiers’ increasing ability to act alone.
“Today was a great example of them demonstrating their capability to conduct these operations autonomously,” said Carter, a native of Panama City, Fla. “It reduced the amount of safe havens that the enemy may think that they have in western Mosul.”
With U.S. forces change of responsibilities in support of Operation New Dawn, security operations in northern Iraq transitioned to Iraqi security forces.
During the patrol, soldiers of Task Force Spear, 4th AAB observed their ISF counterparts as part of ongoing efforts to bolster security for the people of Ninewa province.
“We continue to assist them with everything we have,” said 1st Sgt. Jose Rosario, senior enlisted leader, Task Force Spear, and native of San Juan, Puerto Rico. “We’re looking forward to the next few months to continue to enhance their capabilities.”
Acting on information collected from local residents, the Iraqi Army and U.S. soldiers searched several abandoned buildings suspected of being insurgent hideouts.
In a display of security presence, senior Iraqi leaders greeted local Iraqis and provided contact information in the event the citizens witnessed any unusual activity in their neighborhood.
“It shows that they care,” said Carter. “Not only does it force the enemy out, but it also encourages the populace and lets them know that the Iraqi security forces are here for them.”
The information paid off as several Iraqi soldiers discovered coils of wire and possible bombmaking materials, as well as a crawl space in an abandoned house at the edge of the city.
The 6th Brigade, 3rd IA Division, soldiers demonstrated that they are fully adept at carrying out missions in their own areas with minimal or no help from U.S. forces, said Carter.
Soldiers of Task Force Spear and 4th AAB remain responsible for building ISF capabilities U.S. Division-North as much as possible, as aggressively as possible, he said.
Article by Sgt. Shawn Miller, 109th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment