Task Force Danger Welcomed Back to Germany
By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, May 16, 2005 Army leaders recognized the Iraq service and sacrifice of members of Task Force Danger at a ceremony in Kitzingen, Germany, today.
Army Secretary Francis Harvey told the soldiers of the 1st Infantry Division that their service in Iraq was crucial to the success of the Iraqi elections held Jan. 30.
The "Big Red One" was the center of the 22,000-member Task Force Danger, headquartered in Saddam Hussein's hometown of Tikrit -- the heart of the Sunni Triangle. The soldiers operated against "a ruthless and immoral enemy willing to employ any means necessary to achieve their objective," Harvey said.
"Perhaps the most telling sign of progress in Task Force Danger's area of operations was the 1.6 million Iraqis who turned out for the Jan. 30 elections," Harvey said. "That's 64 percent of all eligible voters in your area."
The task force saw action in Samarra, Baqubah, Tikrit, Najaf, Fallujah and Mosul. Harvey praised the task force for its agility in handling both combat and stability operations. In addition, the task force's servicemembers helped train more than 30,000 members of the Iraqi security forces and initiated more than 1,000 civil works projects.
The mission had a price, Harvey said. Task Force Danger lost 193 soldiers, airmen and Marines, and saw 845 servicemembers wounded.
Army Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, 5th Corps commander, said the members of the division added new laurels to the Big Red One. "You added a brilliant new chapter to the division's history, with some of the most decisive actions in the Iraqi theater," Sanchez said.
Division Commander Maj. Gen. John Batiste praised the men and women of the division for their warfighting skills over an area the size of West Virginia. He said everything the task force undertook was done with the full cooperation of Iraqis.
"You equipped, trained and mentored more than 30,000 members of the Iraqi security forces," he said. "Some of the most rewarding moments over the last year were defined by the courage and enthusiasm we saw in the Iraqi people as they served their country.
"We know there is no shortage of brave Iraqi men and women who are willing to serve their country," Batiste continued. "We applaud their service, their sacrifice and their courage."