1st Battalion 41st Field Artillery Commander Talks to WTOC - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

09/19/07

1st Battalion 41st Field Artillery Commander Talks to WTOC

Lt. Col. Noel Nicolle Lt. Col. Noel Nicolle

The soldiers with Fort Stewart's 1st Battalion 41st Field Artillery are now halfway through with their mission in Iraq. Their commander said in a satellite interview today that everything is going well.

Lt. Col. Noel Nicolle said his troops are training Iraqi police officers in Ramadi. They are teaching them how to patrol neighborhoods, search buildings and fire weapons.

"In my experience with the Iraqi police here in Ramadi, they are very brave and when there was fighting with Al-Qaeda, they would not shirk from a fight," Col. Nicolle said. "They would stay in there and fight right next to coalition forces and fight."

The unit deployed to Iraq in January. Nicolle said that determination from the Iraqi police has boosted his soldiers' spirits.

"They see directly working with police the results, the fruits of their labor and it's very gratifying to see the police improve and they are close to policing on their own, so the morale for my soldiers is pretty high right now."

Nicolle did not want to comment on the president's plan to start withdrawing troops in December. "Regardless of what occurs or doesn't occur in Washington, our mission here is unchanged," he said. "We will be here through our deployment time in April. We still have a lot of work to get done while we are here and we are anxious to continue helping the Iraqi police, so when we leave the Iraqis will be policing themselves."

Nicolle says he wants to thank everyone in Savannah and Hinesville for their support of the troops.

Reported by: Michelle Paynter, mpaynter@wtoc.com

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