194th takes charge at JBB
September 8, 2009
JOINT BASE BALAD, Iraq - The 194th Engineer Brigade took command from the 555th Eng. Bde. in a transfer of authority ceremony Aug. 29, here at Joint Base Balad, Iraq.
The ceremony marked the end of a year-long deployment for the 555th, nicknamed the Triple Nickel, of Fort Lewis, Wash., and the beginning for the 194th.
Brig. Gen. Heidi V. Brown, the Multi-National Corps - Iraq deputy commanding general for sustainment, spoke to the Soldiers at the ceremony.
"As I look out at the Soldiers and leaders here and think about all you have done as a team, I am inspired and invigorated," said Brown. "The missions planned and executed by Triple Nickel have certainly contributed to the many successes experienced in Operation Iraqi Freedom and have been nothing short of world class."
During the 555th's deployment, the Soldiers did more than 4,000 route clearance patrols, travelling more than 411,000 km. They also found and cleared 172 improvised explosive devices as well as 33 caches.
"The Soldiers of Triple Nickel have accomplished exactly what we expected; they've done what was needed, when it was needed and then delivered some more," said Brown.
She said many of the Soldiers with the 194th were deployed in 2004 in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, during which they commanded and controlled engineer units at the corps level for the southern two-thirds of Iraq. Brown said the unit's experience would aid in the execution of the mission.
"Your experiences, your commitment to service, your flexible competence, will serve us well in the challenging days ahead," said Brown. "You must prepare to lead the transition as our forces begin to bridge from counter insurgency operations to stability operations."
"This will not be an easy transition," Brown said. "It will require from your command some remarkable planning, rapid adaptability and herculean efforts as we embark on the largest strategic reposturing of forces in 40 years."
Col. Randall L. Fofi, commander of the 555th, wished the incoming unit success in their mission.
"You have a great brigade," said Fofi. "I wish you and your team the best. I know that you will do well."
Brig. Gen. Robert A. Harris, commander of the 194th, said the unit will assume control of the corps engineer brigade, and assume control for the operations in Iraq.
"To the Soldiers of the 194th Engineer Brigade Headquarters, lets buckle our chin straps and set out to accomplish the mission we've all been training for and pondering for months," said Harris. "Let's do the job we came to do, earn the respect of our partners, our subordinate units and our supported units. It's our time. Let's make our country and our state proud."