The Golden Dragons are part of the 25th Infantry Division's 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat team, led by Col. Todd B. McCaffrey. They relieved the 1st Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division, Jan. 15 at Camp Taji north of Baghdad.
The following excerpt is from GlobalSecurity.org
In mid-September 2004, as part of an Army-wide effort to give its facilities around Baghdad friendlier connotations, and try to resolve the issue of constantly-changing facility names, Camp Cooke was renamed Camp Taji, with its Arabic translation "Camp Taji".
The quality of life at Camp Taji gets better every day. The Camp now has the Largest PX in Iraq , which has a Subway, Burger King and Pizza Hut. They also have a newly built dining facility, which is three times larger and the food selection is unbelievable. There are several Gyms and MWR facilities where soldiers can exercise, watch movies or sporting events and play games. Soldiers live in air-conditioned and heated trailers, have hot showers and can eat four meals a day in the new dining facility.
Soldiers on Camp Taji had a lot to celebrate on a day full of Thanksgiving activities with the grand opening of a new post exchange and dining facility 25 November 2004. The new exchange boasts 29,000 square feet of retail space. The additional space gave the exchange the ability to add merchandise that previous locations on Camp Taji were unable to accommodate. The construction of the facility took over two months to complete with employees and contractors working through the night to ensure the store's opening in conjunction with the Thanksgiving holiday. It will be able to serve over 1,000 soldiers at a time and up to 14,000 soldiers in a day. The facility is named the Command Sgt. Maj. Eric Cooke Sports Zone. It pays homage to the former command sergeant major of the 1st Armored Division's 1st Brigade Combat Team, who was killed on Christmas Eve 2003 while visiting his soldiers.
From office supplies, to combat boots, war is hell on equipment. Without the right equipment, performing one's mission at best can be difficult.at worst, impossible. With operations that run around the clock, soldiers of the Headquarters Company and 239th Military Intelligence Company supply sections ensure Bowie Brigade troopers always have the proper equipment. The sign attached to the wooden fence in front of the non-descript warehouse belies the building's true purpose. "Welcome to Little Rock!" the stenciled letters read, the only indication that this particular warehouse is different on the long stretch of road dotted with similar buildings. The 239th MI Co. and the brigade's HHC (Headquarters Company) are responsible for the issue, maintenance and accounting of all OCIE (Organizational Clothing, Individual Equipment).
Housed in an unassuming concrete structure, the remnant of a prior regime, a small group of men humbly awaits their next mission. Their job requires strength, humility, teamwork and courage. They are the firefighters of Camp Taji. Assembled from the Puerto Rico National Guard's 215th Engineering Detachment and Massachusetts-based Army Reserve units, the 287th and 356th Engineering Detachments, the 1st Cavalry Division fire-fighters on Camp Taji play a pivotal role as first responders to a variety of situations ranging from hazardous material clean-up to crash and rescue services.
Back home, their civilian occupations are as varied as the states they come from, but they all have one thing in common: they all know how to push cement. Soldiers of the 980th Engineer Battalion (Combat Heavy) attached to the 4th Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, layed the foundation for an airfield expansion at Camp Taji in October 2004. The 980th is a reserve battalion headquartered in Austin, Texas with subordinate units in San Antonio and Seagolville. They are between the combat engineers who are pushing stuff out of the way and the more permanent type of construction performed by the Corps of Engineers. They have the skills to support long-term construction projects. Compared to previous projects, their current mission is by far the largest since they were deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom II. Their mission is to construct an expansion apron and they poured in the neighbor of 40 acres of concrete. The project included building demolition, grading, concrete placement and apron construction. When the project was completed they had poured over 50,000 cubic feet of cement.
Thanks a charity organization called the Freedom Calls Foundation, soldiers stationed in Taji can talk to loved ones back home free of charge. The facility offers 30 phones, 4 video conferencing stations, 10 video email stations, and 40 computers with email and internet access.
Inside Camp Taji there is the Taji Training Center which trains new Iraqi military recruits (Jundis or privates). As of February 2006, about 2,000 Iraqis have been trained at Taji. U.S. soldiers were mainly responsible for training the Jundis in the early stages of the occupation. More recently, U.S. forces seve a more advisory role with the responsibility of basic training being primarily tasked with Iraqi instructors. At Taji, Jundis learn how to man checkpoints, clear rooms, perform first aid, marksmanship and drill and ceremony.
As the partnership between the Iraqi army and Coalition Forces grows each day, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers poured more than $3.5 million into the local Iraqi community to open a renovated Iraqi army theater and two renovated health clinics. The theater is now available to the 15,000 Iraqi troops who call Camp Taji their home. The facility not only improves the quality of life for the troops, but also cements a friendship growing between Coalition Forces and the Iraqi army. The Taji Cinema, which was essentially destroyed during the beginning of Operation Iraqi Freedom, had the old roof removed and replaced, 500 seats re-upholstered and a new restroom area with eight toilets installed. The project cost $754,000 and took almost seven months to complete. This facility will offer many activities, ceremonies and show a lot of training videos to train the Iraqi army and the new Iraq.
In addition to the theater, two 143-square-meter health clinics have been built. The $3 million project gives Iraqi soldiers accessibility to medical clinics with some of the latest equipment in medical technology.