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Security forces squadron inactivated

USAF photo Chief Master Sgt. Tim Ryan rolls up the 732nd Expeditionary Security Forces Squadron Det. 3's flag during the inactivation ceremony July 3 at Camp Taji, Iraq. Det. 3 has had security forces airmen rotate yearly, training Iraqi police in the Baghdad area since 2006.

CAMP TAJI, Iraq — The 732nd Security Forces Squadron, Det. 3, was inactivated during a ceremony July 3, at 7:32 a.m.

“This ceremony marks the end of the Air Force’s first, and longest, active police transition team in history,” said Lt. Col. Dustin Sutton, the 732nd Expeditionary Security Forces Squadron commander. “In the past four years, we have been an integral partner with our Army brothers in building the Iraqi police capacity to a self-sustaining level.”

The focus of the detachment was to work with the Iraqi police and transition them toward police primacy, which means putting civil law and order in the hands of civil authorities, as opposed to having the Iraqi army have this responsibility in Baghdad.

“The goal was to get the Iraqi army out of the cities and out to secure the borders and have the police secure the cities,” said Maj. Shawn Covault, the 732nd ESFS Det. 3 commander.

In order to do this, they partnered with the Iraqi police to enhance law enforcement capabilities throughout half of Baghdad and the surrounding areas where they were responsible for approximately six million people as a police transition team.

Sutton said that Army officials submitted a request for forces to Air Force officials to take over the Baghdad area of operations.

This type of deployment and mission is something the Air Force has never done before because it was primarily an Army tasking, he said.

The mission began in 2006, when the 824th Security Forces Squadron from Moody Air Force Base, Ga., stood up as Det. 7 and partnered with, and trained, the Iraqi police in one of the most deadly neighborhoods in Baghdad, known as the Rasheeds.

“Each year, a whole new group of folks would come in from security forces squadrons all across the Air Force,” Covault said. “Every (major command) is represented. I don’t think I have more than maybe five (security forces members) that come from any one squadron. There is a lot of diversity in terms of MAJCOM representation on this mission.”

The security forces teams have conducted the mission so well that all security forces airmen will now train for this unique mission.

“This is the first time this type of deployment was taken on and they’re finishing it up,” Covault said. “We are mission complete. We’ve done it well enough that now security forces is looking at it as a core competency in future operations down the road.”

Unfortunately, the security forces career field has lost eight airmen since the war began, and four of them have been from Det. 3.

“We lost four members of our family,” Sutton said. “You’ve ensured that their sacrifice was not in vain, that what they gave to the people of this country and the stability of a region will have lasting effects. And, I believe this is the beginning of a new age for the Iraqi people.”

A new age is upon them, which is why the 732nd ESFS Det. 3 can close up shop and hand the reins over to the Iraqi police.

“They’ve gotten to a point now where the police force is established, it’s well-trained, and that was all because of this detachment,” Sutton said. “And now they’re able to uphold law on the local population to the point where they’re a credible force.”

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