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Progress continues in Iraq.............

by Del McMullen / July 22, 2004 6:17 AM PDT

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New Iraqi Army Takes Custody of Al Kasik Military Base

Baghdad, Iraq ? July 21, 2004 ? Project and Contracting Office (PCO) director David Nash attended a flag raising ceremony at the Al Kasik New Iraqi Army base today outside of Mosul. The event marked the handover to the New Iraqi Army and included an official review of Iraqi troops, remarks by Iraqi civilian and military leaders and a tour of facilities on-site. Other than brief remarks by Director Nash, the event was entirely in Arabic. Guests stood at attention as a color guard raised the Iraqi flag while the national anthem played over loudspeakers.

In a symbolic gesture, Nash presented Major General Koursheed Salem, Commanding General, Third Iraqi Armed Forces Division with a ?key? to the base. ?This transfer signifies an important step towards Iraqis taking custody of their own security and national defense,? said PCO Director Nash, at the conclusion of the event.

The facility was initially constructed in the 1980s but was never completed by the former regime. The site was chosen for the current project because of pre-existing infrastructure. Work continues as Iraqi soldiers are already being housed and trained on-site. The base will eventually have facilities for over 6000 Iraqi troops and will serve as an important training center for the New Iraqi Army. The base contains its own water electrical and sewage treatment facilities, dining halls, firing ranges and barracks and expected be completed this fall.

In addition to the base construction and renovation PCO is supplying equipment such as battalion sets, vehicles, weapons, personal equipment, supplies and operation and maintenance training to provide the comprehensive tools needed for an effective and professional military. The New Iraqi Army is being trained under the direction of the Office of Security Transition (OST).

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