The Austin American-Statesman’s Robert W. Gee had a good story yesterday that provides some insight into the job ahead for Col. Jon Lehr, commander of the 4th Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division.
Gee’s story profiles the work that Col. David Sutherland has done with local sheiks the last few months in forging reconciliation in post-Arrowhead Ripper Diyala Province. He commands the 3rd Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division.
But now Sutherland’s brigade is returning to Fort Hood. It was to formally turn over responsibility for Diyala to the 4-2 in a ceremony this week.
For the 4-2, the change means a greatly expanded area of operations. Sutherland and a senior U.S. military spokesman on Saturday told reporters that the 3-1′s depature would result in an overall decrease in American soldiers in Iraq but a net increase in Diyala. Reading the transcript it’s not completely clear how the latter is the case, but it is true that a Stryker brigade like Lehr’s is much larger and has several hundred more infantrymen to employ than Sutherland’s cav brigade.
Two of the 4-2′s infantry battalions – the 2nd Battalion, 23rd Infantry Regiment and the 1st Battalion, 38th Infantry Regiment – have moved up from Baghdad to Baqouba and Muqdadiyah to cover down on the new area, brigade officials said.
Last information I had was the 4th Battalion, 9th Infantry Regiment, the 2nd Battalion, 12th Field Artillery Regiment, the 202nd Brigade Support Battalion and the brigade headquarters was still at Taji, and the 2nd Squadron, 1st Cavalry Regiment was working in Baqouba and Khan Bani Sa’ad.
MEANTIME, in case you missed it earlier this week Michael Yon had a one-paragraph update on Baqouba, scene of so much hard work by soldiers from the just-returned 3rd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division before and during Operation Arrowhead Ripper.
The markets are opening and the streets are again filled with people. I thought the veterans of Baqubah might like to know that their efforts have made a tremendous difference for the people here. You fought hard. This writer saw it. Your sacrifices truly meant something.