Sovereignty to bring changes

By Pfc. Abel Trevino
Staff writer

The change in sovereignty for the Iraqi people came two days early as a new government led by Prime Minister Dr. Iyad Allawi and President Sheikh Ghazi al-Yawar assumed power from Coalition Provisional Authority and begin governing themselves June 28.

For the people of Iraq, this is the biggest step on the road to freedom; for Soldiers, this means responsibilities remain the same.

Soldiers need to keep their guard up and continue with the force protection measures they have been using, as the mission of the Coalition Forces changes to supporting the interim Iraqi government.

"Iraq has been through years of fear and intimidation," Col. Darrell L. Roll, deputy commanding officer for 13th Corps Support Command, said. "As they felt the pain of being in a regime that threatened their lives, they will have to learn the importance of taking responsibility for their own lives, building faith and confidence in the people around them, they can trust that their lives and freedoms won't be taken for granted or taken away."

The mission of the Coalition Forces is to guarantee this opportunity is present for the nation.

"I think our commitment to freedom often drives us to see other countries gain an appreciation for freedom, to not be under an oppressive government. This country can take on its new free environment," Roll said.

As the new government takes over, there are expected to be some rough times.

"The Iraqi people are ready to move forward. I expect to see some growing pains, but it's like that for people new to democracy," said Lt. Col. Chuck Prichard, of the 13th COSCOM Civil Affairs staff.

Coalition Forces will continue to help the Iraqi government create a stable and secure environment and eliminate foreign terrorist influence.

People stationed at LSA Anaconda should not notice a change as a result of the transfer of sovereignty.

"Our purpose here is to provide support to the Coalition Forces and we're here to support the stand up of the Iraqi National Guard and the forces that will eventually be there to support the Iraqi government. Indirectly, through the [Iraqi National Guard], we're providing support to the Iraqi government," Roll said.

Since logistical support is the primary mission here, any changes that take place in the government will not affect the day-to-day activities of those at LSA Anaconda.

"I don't think there would be any visible impact on the quality of life," Roll said. "The quality of life here is robust on [rest and relaxation] and other services that are provided to the Soldiers. Those that will be affected will be those that are traveling off [post]," said Roll.

For those Soldiers who frequently leave post, such as transportation companies and infantry units, there will be an increase in joint patrols between Coalition Forces and Iraqi National Guardsmen as they slowly take over the defensive role of their country.

The post will continue to act as a hub for both air and convoy travelers, only increasing its capacity to accommodate the needs of those traveling.

This means there are going to be a lot of transient types on LSA Anacoda. It is expected that most people passing through here will be on leave or traveling from one location to another using this as an intermediate stopping place.

As the Iraqi people gain experience in governing themselves in a democratic society, the U.S. Soldiers' responsibilities become a more supportive role of the country and its government.