AD DIWANIYAH, Iraq -- Iraqi Prime Minister Ayad al Allawi, along with other national and local dignitaries, attended the graduation ceremony of more than 200 Iraqi National Guard recruits here at the ING compound, today.
In addition, five ING soldiers from Ad Diwaniyah and five from An Najaf were recognized and awarded a pistol by the Prime Minister to honor their heroism in action during fighting in their respective cities in August.
The recruits, who just completed a five-week training course led by ING staff non-commissioned officers and Marines from the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit, will join the ranks of the 404th ING Battalion, 50th Brigade, based here.
The ING soldiers will be responsible for helping to provide for the security and stability of the city and its outlying areas.
"You will defend this country against terrorism from outside your country, and against Ba'ath Party members from within who join terrorists intent on destroying our people," said Allawi. "But they cannot, because you, Iraq's heroes, have the important challenge of all Iraqi National Guard units-- to help build a new democracy in Iraq and protect the political process in the next election."