Long Knives end tour in southern Iraq: Historic day also sees Romania end mission in Iraq
June 22, 2009
CONTINGENCY OPERATING BASE ADDER, Iraq - The 4th Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division "Long Knives" cased its colors in a ceremony that transferred responsibility for Coalition Operations in southern Iraq to the Highlander Brigade on June 4 here.
The 4th BCT, 1st Armored Division "Highlanders" from Fort Bliss, Texas, unfurled its colors in the base's Memorial Hall - sending the last of the Long Knife Soldiers home and ending their year-long tour in southern Iraq's tri-province area of the Maysan, Dhi Qar and Muthanna.
It was an historic day on COB Adder as the Romanian contingent in Iraq held an end-of-mission ceremony earlier in the day to mark that nation's end to their participation in Operation Iraqi Freedom.
"With you here, I honor the Soldiers who have not returned home," said Maj. Gen. Richard Nash, the commander of Multi-National Division - South and the 34th Infantry Division. "We will never forget these Soldiers or their Families," Nash told the mixed audience of Long Knives and Highlanders.
Col. Philip Battaglia's Long Knife Brigade struck the path for the local Iraqi Security Forces to follow and molded the Iraqi Army's 10th Division, local police and border patrol elements during the deployment.
"The Long Knife Brigade laid a firm foundation of security and opportunity for the people of southern Iraq," Battaglia said during the ceremony. "The sacrifices of our troopers and their Families gave this part of Iraq an unprecedented atmosphere of hope, success and optimism."
During the yearlong deployment, the Long Knives trained the Iraqi police, army and border patrol to facilitate those units to assume sole responsibility for the security of the people in Muthanna, Dhi Qar and Maysan provinces. The brigade also enabled the Provincial Reconstruction Teams in each province to improve the government and economic development throughout southern Iraq.
"I am extremely proud of the professionalism and dedication of all our troopers," Battaglia said. "They are extremely excited to rejoin their Families and friends and are proud of a job well done."
The Long Knives will conduct various ceremonies in June and July, to include a print dedication ceremony at Fort Hood's Howze Theater on June 10 to commemorate the year-long deployment. After block leave, the brigade will uncase its colors to mark the official return of the unit to Fort Hood on Jul. 23 at Cooper Field at Fort Hood.