Iraq Assistance Group under new command
June 30, 2008
The Iraq Assistance Group held a change-of-command ceremony at the Joint Visitor Bureau on Camp Victory Friday.
Lt. Gen. Lloyd J. Austin III, commanding general, Multi-National Corps - Iraq and presiding officer, oversaw the change of command from Brig. Gen. James C. Yarbrough to Brig. Gen. Keith C. Walker.
"I can say with full confidence that James was a perfect fit for the job," Austin said about Yarbrough's position as the commander of the Iraq Assistance Group for the past year. "The progress that the Iraqi security forces has made in the last year is absolutely remarkable, and General Yarbrough's extraordinary leadership and vision is a major factor in their success."
"James, you have led the Iraq Assistance Group magnificently over the past year," Walker said adding his own praise to Yarbrough's commitment in building the Iraqi security forces to what they are today.
"Iraqi citizens view their security forces as the most creditable, honorable and trustworthy element of the Iraqi government," Yarbrough said. "This is a tough task: fighting a determined enemy while building an army, police forces, and border forces."
The army has added four division headquarters, eight brigade headquarters and 38 battalions to its ranks. They are now focused on enhancing other areas such as improving logistics, developing great leaders, and an integrated border defense.
"I am struck to remember how it was last June and look at how it is now and to consider the promise that the future holds," Yarbrough said. "Last June we averaged 120 attacks across Iraq each day. Twice in the past month we have had days with only 15 attacks all across Iraq."
Yarbrough will be leaving the Iraq Assistance Group after a year of hard work and much improvement in Iraq's security.
"The IAG requires an extremely smart warfighter, and that is exactly what we are getting with Keith," Austin said. "I have known General Walker for some time, and I have complete confidence that even though he has some very big shoes to fill, he is more than capable to take the IAG to the next level."
Walker will be taking over the Iraq Assistance Group as the U.S. continues to help Iraq develop its security infrastructure for a more stable and secure Iraq.
"To the Iraq Assistance Group, I pledge my full commitment to our mission," Walker said. "To our Iraqi partners, I look forward to working with you. Together we will increase Iraqi security forces capabilities to safeguard the people of Iraq and thus securing a stable and prosperous future."