Iraq takes over Reyad station from US

Map showing location of Reyad

The US military has handed over control of the railway station in Reyad to the local authorities, after using it as Patrol Base Howell.

The map shows the approximate location of Reyad, on the line from Haqlaniyah via Biji to Kirkuk. A groundbreaking ceremony for the construction of the line was held in Baiji on 8 February 1983, and a ceremonial inauguration in the presence of the then Minister of Communication Mohammed Hamza Al Zubaidi was held on November 7 1987

U.S. Forces Transfer Riyadh Train Station Back to Iraqis

By Spc. Karla P. Elliott
11th Public Affairs Detachment

FORWARD OPERATING BASE WARRIOR, KIRKUK, Iraq – As part of the new security agreement and due to improved security in the city of Riyadh, coalition forces and local Iraqi government officials held a ceremony to transfer the Riyadh Train Station, formerly known by coalition forces as Patrol Base Howell, back to the Kirkuk Department of Transportation Jan. 3.

“The train station transfer went smoothly and the sounds of trains will signal a return to normalcy,” said Shakir Mahmood, director of transportation for Kirkuk province.

The transfer is a major step toward restoring the rail service in Kirkuk province. The remaining task is to complete the final span of the Bayji Railroad Bridge that links the Kirkuk rail line with the Samarra to Bayji line.

“Once the train station is functioning, it will help energize the economy as well as decrease the number of commercial vehicles travelling on the roads,” said Mohamad Ahmad Hussein, the mayor of Riyadh.

Coalition forces also noted the significance of the event.

“I’m honored to be here this morning among you to mark the transfer of the Riyadh Train Station from coalition forces to the people of Iraq,” said Lt. Col. Kenneth R. Casey, commander of 1st Battalion, 67th Armor Regiment, attached to the 3rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division. “Today represents one of the many transitions happening across Iraq, with the improved security situation provided by the Iraqi police, Iraqi army, Sons of Iraq and U.S. forces.”

The transfer played an important part in CF efforts to start giving their areas of responsibility back to the Iraqis.

“Patrol Base Howell is a great example of what U.S. forces are trying to do, which is to give the infrastructure back to the Iraqis to use for their intended purposes,” Casey said.

PB Howell has sheltered coalition forces for more than a year, and many Soldiers have called this place a home.

“It’s hard for us to leave because this has been our home for a while,” said Capt. Thomas Strum, commander of D Co., 1st Battalion, 67th Armor Regt. “It’s been great to live so close to the people that we serve here in the town of Riyadh, but it’s an important step forward.”

“We’ll move on and continue to do what we do,” said 1st Sgt. Michael Oliver, 1st Sgt., Co. D, 1-67th Armor Regt. “Although we’re not here, we’re still going to help them build a better country.”

“The movement of American forces within Iraq shows the people that there is validity to the security agreement,” said Sturm. “This is definitely a symbol of Iraqi sovereignty,” he concluded.

Source: DVIDS press release 2009-01-06