Azerbaijanis Complete Tour in Iraq
CAMP RIPPER — For the past five years, servicemembers from a small country approximately the size of South Carolina have been providing vital security for one of Iraq’s major sources of power, the Haditha Dam.
On Dec. 3, Coalition forces recognized the hard work and efforts made by Soldiers from the 1st Azerbaijani Peacekeeping Company during the past year, for their mission in Iraq is over and the Soldiers will be returning home soon.
Azerbaijan is a small country located on the western shore of the Caspian Sea, north of Iran. Azerbaijan was once part of the Soviet Republic, but declared its independence in 1991. The country is approximately 33,000 square miles and has a population of over 8 million.
Though Azerbaijan may not be well known by most Americans, the work they have done in Iraq for the past five years deserves special recognition worldwide.
“The Azerbaijanis provided security for an absolutely vital piece of infrastructure in the al-Anbar province, the Haditha Dam, which produces in excess of 25 percent of the entire power grid for the country of Iraq,” said Col. Patrick J. Malay, commanding officer of Camp Pendleton-based Regimental Combat Team 5, whose area of operation includes the Haditha Dam.
The first company of Azerbaijanis Soldiers arrived here Aug. 15, 2003, and was assigned to provide security for the dam. With 11 rotations and more than 1,000 troops, the Azerbaijanis remained a constant presence at the dam, which incurred no large-scale attacks during their time there....
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