WASHINGTON, Sept. 8, 2010 — As the first U.S. soldiers to deploy exclusively for Operation New Dawn have arrived in southern Iraq, officials are investigating a shooting incident that left two American soldiers dead and nine others wounded in Iraq’s Salahuddin province yesterday.
The lead elements of 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment from Fort Hood, Texas, have arrived in Iraq and are preparing for their new mission. The regiment previously deployed three times during Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Known as the “Brave Rifles,” the combat-capable, brigade-sized unit will continue the mission of advising and assisting Iraqi security forces in five southern provinces. The unit replaces the 3rd Infantry Division’s 3rd Brigade, one of the first heavy brigade combat teams configured for an advise-and-assist role. The 3rd Brigade deployed from Fort Benning, Ga., a year ago under Operation Iraqi Freedom.
The Brave Rifles will operate under the 1st Infantry Division headquarters as part of U.S. Division South. The unit will advise and assist Iraqi army, federal police and border guard units, as well as State Department-led teams.
Operation New Dawn represents a change in the mission of U.S. forces in Iraq from combat missions conducted by U.S. forces to stability operations conducted by Iraqi security forces with U.S. advice and assistance.
Meanwhile, U.S. Forces Iraq officials have begun an investigation into the Salahuddin shooting, in which an Iraqi soldier also was killed.
A preliminary review of reports from the scene indicates the attack was deliberate, officials said, adding that the detailed investigation will clarify the facts and actions of all involved.
Army Brig. Gen. Jeffrey Buchanan, a U.S. Forces Iraq spokesman, expressed condolences to the families of the soldiers killed or wounded.
“Though this incident is tragic and our first concern is for our comrades and their families,” he added, “it doesn’t affect our strong commitment to the mission of advising and assisting the Iraqi security forces as they continue to sacrifice each day for security and stability in their nation. We stand firmly beside them.”
U.S. Department of Defense
Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Public Affairs)