From the Multi-National Division, Center of Public Affairs:
PATROL BASE MURRAY, Iraq - Soldiers of 1st Battalion, 30th Infantry Regiment, in conjunction with soldiers from the Iraqi Army's 6th Division, have been hard at work in Arab Jabour, steadily clearing the area of al Qaeda and other insurgent forces.
Lt. Col. Ken Adgie, commander of the 1st Battalion, 30th Infantry Regiment, from Fort Stewart, Ga., said Operation Guardian Torch succeeded in denying safety and freedom of movement to insurgents in the region.
Adgie said since Guardian Torch began, 400 buildings have been cleared, 250 people have been added to the 'wanted list', and more than 30 people have been detained.
"We are about 75 percent complete. We have a few more weeks ahead of us and the outlook is very positive," said Adgie, a native of National Park, N.J.
"With our work the Iraqi army forces here and the local leaders helping us I think Arab Jabour will be a great place to live."
Adgie said the most important accomplishment thus far is that his Soldiers and the IA soldiers here have started building a level of trust and confidence with the Iraqi people.
Though the contingent of Iraqi soldiers is small, they have been able to make a good impression on the Soldiers of Co. B, 1-30th Inf.
"They basically put an Iraqi face on every mission that we do and it shows the people that the Iraqi army cares about the government as much as we do," said 2nd Lt.James T. Reynolds, 3rd platoon leader for Co. B.
Reynolds said the IA soldiers working with him are well-trained and help them accomplish the mission.
Reynolds, a native of Gainesville Fl., said the mission is very important because it lets the residents know that they're not going to just sit back and let the terrorists take control of their country, city, or town.
In addition to providing extra boots on ground for Co. B, the Iraqi soldiers also contribute in other ways.
Pfc. Kyle Zane Rowin, an infantryman with 3rd platoon, said that they are able to break down cultural barriers that exist between U.S. Soldiers and residents of Arab Jabour.
"It's great; it goes hand in hand. They teach you about their culture and you teach them about yours," said Rowin, a native of Odessa, Texas. "You also can help them better their future and protect their country as well as their families."
One of the ways to bring normalcy to the region is to empower local residents. Adgie said that a weapons reward program has been established so residents can receive payments of up to $10,000 for information leading to the location of individuals on the wanted list and weapons caches left behind by Al Qaeda.
Adgie said that his forces will continue to provide security for the region as long as necessary to prevent terrorists from once again calling this region a safe haven.