101st Brigade Transfers Authority to Strykers
American Forces Press Service
MOSUL, Iraq, Jan. 22, 2004 The 1st Brigade, 327th Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) handed over control of the Tigris River Valley area of northern Iraq today to the 5th Battalion, 20th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade (Stryker) 2nd Infantry Division in a ceremony at the Qayarrah West Airfield.
Col. Ben Hodges, commander, 1st Brigade, 327th Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), and Command Sgt. Maj. Bart Womack, brigade command sergeant major, wrap the brigade flag up to symbolize that they are transferring authority in the Tigris River Valley to the 5th Battalion, 20th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade (Stryker) 2nd Infantry Division, during a ceremony Jan. 22. Photo by Spc. Joshua Hutcheson, USA
(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
The 1st Brigade Combat Team has worked in the area since May, and military officials detailed various contributions the team made. The unit's soldiers spent their time trying to improve the quality of life for Iraqis, officials said, and they captured people who threatened the lives of Iraqis and coalition forces. They destroyed hundreds of weapons and ammunition caches around the area. They built and rebuilt schools, factories and other parts of the infrastructure. They helped hold elections in the Tigris River Valley, and trained and worked with local soldier and militia groups.
"The brigade has not only helped the infrastructure, they've helped improve it," said Maj. Gen. David H. Petraeus, 101st commander, during his remarks. "It's a sign of great success of the 1st Brigade that they'll be replaced by a battalion."
Petraeus thanked the soldiers of the 1st Brigade Combat Team for all the work they've done, and offered words of encouragement to the incoming troops. "This marks the end of (the 1st Brigade) mission here in northern Iraq and I just want to say one more time -- very, very well done," he said. "This is a very doable mission for 5/20."
Col. Ben Hodges, brigade commander, shared the feelings he's had and the brigade has neared the end of its tour.
"Today is bittersweet. There is no doubt that every soldier in the 1st BCT is anxious to get home, including me," Hodges said. "For the rest of your lives, no matter what you do or where you go, you'll be able to look back proudly."
Hodges spoke of the work done jointly by his soldiers and the local government and his thoughts on the future. "I believe that our shared goal of a prosperous Iraq is very close," he said.
To the Stryker soldiers, he shared his belief in their ability to continue the beneficial work done in the area. "You're going to be extremely effective in every facet of operations here in Ninevah province," Hodges said. "I believe that you're going to make history by enabling Iraq to run itself."
Lt. Col. Karl D. Reed, Task Force 5/20 commander, expressed his appreciation of the work done by the 101st soldiers to make Iraq a better country.
"Their accomplishments will forever go down in history as one our nation's greatest achievements," Reed said. "It's a great opportunity; we're building a nation -- a nation governed by Iraqi citizens for Iraqi citizens. My soldiers are very excited to do this because they're getting a chance to make a difference."
(Courtesy of the 101st Airborne Division.)