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82nd Airborne Accepts Responsibility for Afghanistan Task Force

By Pfc. Anna K. Perry, USA
Special to American Forces Press Service

BAGRAM AIR BASE, Afghanistan, Feb. 2, 2007 – The 82nd Airborne Division accepted responsibility for Combined Joint Task Force 76 from the 10th Mountain Division in a transfer-of-authority ceremony here today.

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Army Maj. Gen. Benjamin Freakley (left), commander of the 10th Mountain Division, furls the division’s colors with the help of outgoing Combined Joint Task Force 76 command sergeant major Army Command Sgt. Maj. Ralph Borja during a transfer-of-authority ceremony at Bagram Air Base, Afghanistan, Feb. 2. Photo by Sgt. Jim Wilt, USA
  

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.

The task force supports NATO operations in eastern Afghanistan.

The 10th Mountain Division has been in Afghanistan for about a year, conducting missions such as Operation Mountain Lion, Operation Mountain Thrust, Operation Mountain Fury and Operation Mountain Eagle.

“This has been a noble endeavor for the 10th Mountain Division, and we are honored to have been a part of this … As we depart, we leave behind 3,200 battle-hardened soldiers to serve with the 201st and 203rd Corps under the great command of the 82nd Airborne Division,” said Army Maj. Gen. Benjamin C. Freakley, commanding general for CJTF 76 and the 10th Mountain Division. “We know that they will work hard to continue the efforts that have been put forward over the past five years.”

However, those efforts did not come without a significant price, the general noted. The Afghan and coalition servicemembers who gave their lives for the freedom of Afghanistan will forever be remembered and honored for their great sacrifice, Freakley said.

Thousands of 82nd Airborne paratroopers will be deployed throughout Afghanistan for more than year, continuing the combat, combat service and combat service support operations of their predecessors.

“I would like to thank the 10th Mountain Division for their significant progress over the past year. We accept this mission and the partnership with the Afghan people, the Afghan security forces and the Afghan government,” said Army Maj. Gen. David M. Rodriguez, commanding general for the 82nd Airborne Division and the incoming commander of CJTF 76. “I look forward to our partnership in advancing governance, security and infrastructure development.”

Soldiers of the 82nd Airborne Division plan on a year-long deployment to Afghanistan.

(Army Pfc. Anna K. Perry is assigned to the 19th Public Affairs Detachment.)

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Combined Joint Task Force 76

Click photo for screen-resolution imageLeft to right: U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Benjamin Freakley, British Army Gen. David Richards and U.S. Army Maj. Gen. David Rodriguez render honors to the Afghanistan colors during a transfer-of-authority ceremony at Bagram Air Base, Afghanistan, Feb. 2. Freakley, who commands the 10th Mountain Division, relinquished authority for Combined Joint Task Force 76 to Rodriguez, who commands the 82nd Airborne Division. Richards commands NATO’s International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan. Photo by Sgt. Jim Wilt, USA  
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