New Dawn’ Soldiers Arrive in Iraq

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)

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