3rd Corps Chief Salutes Troops' Performance in Iraq
By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Apr. 21, 2005 The Army's 3rd Corps commander saluted the performance of his troops deployed in Iraq over the past year during prepared remarks given April 20 on Capitol Hill.
Recently back stateside after a year's assignment as commander of Multinational Corps Iraq, Lt. Gen. Thomas F. Metz told members of the Senate Readiness and Management Subcommittee that his soldiers, leaders and units "were well prepared for the intense demands of counterinsurgency operations in Iraq."
Over the past year, the 3rd Corps "has deployed or redeployed nearly every one of its 75,000 soldiers and 24,000 combat vehicles and aircraft" to and from Operation Iraqi Freedom duty from units based at Forts Hood and Bliss, in Texas; Fort Carson, Colo.; Fort Riley, Kansas; and Fort Sill, Okla., Metz said.
These forces represent "over 35 percent of all the United States Army active-component ground combat power," he said.
The 3rd Corps' 1st Cavalry Division recently returned home to Fort Hood from a year's duty in Iraq. The general said he is "very proud" of the division's performance in Iraq, noting its soldiers "secured Baghdad and provided much-needed armor, mechanized infantry, attack aviation and artillery for the major battles of Najaf and Fallujah."
Such division accomplishments helped to "set the conditions for the Iraqis to hold their first free elections in over 40 years," Metz said.
Metz also praised other 3rd Corps units that have served or are serving in Iraq, such as:
The 4th Infantry Division, which operated in the volatile Sunni Triangle;
The 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment, which patrolled Anbar province near the Syrian border;
3rd Corps' two heavy brigades: the 1st Brigade, 1st Infantry Division, and 3rd Brigade, 1st Armored Division; and
Elements of the 3rd Corps Artillery, 13th Corps Support Command, and the Corps' separate combat-support brigades (intelligence, signal and military police).
As MNCI commander, Metz said he "experienced first-hand the wide ranging demands placed on each of my units and saw how these superb young soldiers, Marines, airmen and sailors met every challenge."
Metz's troops in Iraq "were superbly led" and "ready for the relentless demands of combat," the general noted, adding that his troops "were as trained and ready as any unit in this nation's history."
Mission success in Iraq "begins with the individual soldier, who must be ready to fight anytime, anywhere," Metz said.
There are no rear lines in Iraq, he pointed out, noting, "Every soldier knows it."
Soldiers "have to be ready from the moment they cross the berm into Iraq," the general said.
"And they were," he concluded.