10th Mountain Division Takes Afghanistan Task Force Command
By Sgt. Douglas DeMaio, USA
Special to American Forces Press Service
BAGRAM AIR BASE, Afghanistan, Feb. 21, 2006 The 10th Mountain Division assumed command of Combined Joint Task Force 76 at a ceremony here today, replacing the Southern European Task Force.
Army Maj. Gen. Benjamin C. Freakley, 10th Mountain Division commander, assumes command of Combined Joint Task Force 76 in Afghanistan as he receives flag from Army Lt. Gen. Karl W. Eikenberry, commander of Combined Forces Command Afghanistan, at Bagram Air Base Feb. 21. Army Maj. Gen. Jason K. Kamiya (second from left), who heads Southern European Task Force, is the outgoing CJTF 76 commander. Photo by Sgt. Douglas DeMaio, USA
(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
"It's a great day to be here at Bagram Airfield," said Army Lt. Gen. Karl W. Eikenberry, Combined Forces Command Afghanistan commander. "This past year has seen extraordinary successes, and CJTF 76 has played a pivotal role in writing another great chapter in the history of the new Afghanistan."
Army Maj. Gen. Benjamin C. Freakley, 10th Mountain Division commander, assumed command from Army Maj. Gen. Jason K. Kamiya, SETAF commander.
"When we assumed command of this CJTF a year ago, I told you how proud we were to be given the honor and the opportunity to serve here in Afghanistan and to bring peace and prosperity to the Afghan people," Kamiya said. "We understood the enormous task and the array of challenges, and I stated then that our fundamental purpose during our year in Afghanistan was to make a difference. As we gather this morning, this time to say goodbye, it is our hope that the enormous work and sacrifice of the SETAF CJTF 76 has, in fact, made that difference."
Freakley and the 10th Mountain Division CJTF 76 now lead that effort, providing leadership to more than 18,000 coalition soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines.
"Today we take the time to reflect on the tremendous accomplishments, sacrifices and service of the Southern European Task Force, which has served so admirably under the leadership of Major General Kamiya and Command Sergeant Major (Iuniasolua) Savusa over the past year," Freakley said.
All three generals highlighted the improvements in Afghanistan during the last year. Having successful parliamentary elections, assisting the Afghan government with setting up services to support Afghans and aiding earthquake victims in Pakistan were among some major accomplishments they highlighted for the yearlong deployment.
"You have paved the road for our continued success with the Afghan people, built powerful friendships and alliances, and laid out a seamless transition for the coalition forces," Freakley said.
As the 10th Mountain Division takes over, civic assistance such as building and repairing roads, establishing medical care programs, and developing trades schools through provincial reconstruction teams are important missions the command will continue, Freakley's said.
"We have consulted with Afghan experts to further understand the rich culture, unique customs and the great people of this land as we prepare for this important task," the general said.
The 10th Mountain Division understands the task of ridding the country of terrorists and improving the lives of Afghans, he said. "This task force will make a difference," the general promised.
(Army Sgt. Douglas DeMaio is assigned to the 20th Public Affairs Detachment.)