3rd ID assumes responsibility of MND-North
November 4, 2009
CONTINGENCY OPERATING BASE SPEICHER, Iraq (Nov. 4, 2009) -- Leaders of the 3rd Infantry Division uncased the unit's colors again in Iraq during a ceremony Nov. 3, signifying the official transfer of authority for Multi-National Division - North.
Maj. Gen. Tony Cucolo, Task Force Marne commander, with Command Sgt. Maj. Jesse Andrews at his side, assumed responsibility for MND-North from the 25th Infantry Division, as it began redeploying back to Schofield Barracks, Hawaii.
During Operations Iraqi Freedom I, III and V, 3rd Infantry Division transformed itself into Task Force Marne to command and control combat operations in its given portion of Iraq.
In 2006 the division hit the ground in Baghdad as part of the surge. In March 2003, it was at the tip of the spear for the initial phase of OIF. Then elements of the division returned in 2005. Now, for a fourth time, the division became TF Marne, this time assigned to Multi-National Division - North.
"Today, our uncased colors symbolize a deep commitment by a group of professionals to give our absolute best effort in support of our Iraqi partners and to build on the progress already made, and most importantly our commitment to perform our duties in a manner worthy of the great sacrifices of those Americans and Iraqis who have gone before us," said Cucolo.
During this deployment, TF Marne has scaled back its combat role, and will provide more of an advisory support and assistance to Iraqi forces.
"For an American Soldier, I would not want to be anywhere else in Iraq," Cucolo said. "The partnership with the Iraqi Security Forces has been outstanding, and the efforts of the civilian leadership in this part of Iraq have been superb. I just look forward to continuing that progress."
Maj. Gen. Robert L. Caslen Jr., commander of Task Force Lightning and out-going MND-N commander, had only positive comments about Cucolo and Task Force Marne, and their upcoming mission.
"There is no one in the entire United States Army I trust more to take this mission with all its complexity than Tony Cucolo," Caslen said. "I guarantee there will be no gaps in service support or mission accomplishment."
As the command element of MND-N, Task Force Marne will have a presence in numerous cities and villages, to include Mosul and Tall Afar in the Ninewa province; Kirkuk City and Hawija in the Kirkuk province; Tikrit and Balad in the Salah ad-Din province and Baqubah in the Diyala province.
Task Force Marne now commands four maneuver brigades: 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, out of Fort Riley, Kan.; 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, and 2nd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, both out of 1st Cavalry Division, Fort Hood, Texas; 3rd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, out of Fort Lewis, Wash. TF Marne also commands the 25th Combat Aviation Brigade and the 130th Engineer Brigade, both from Hawaii.
This winter, the 3rd ID's 2nd Brigade Combat Team will join the task force and replace 3rd HBCT, 1st Cav.
Since Cucolo has hit the ground, he's heard how each of the brigades routinely work with their ISF counterparts to conduct air assaults, patrols and reconstruction projects.
Interface between the troops and the Iraqi Army has changed from just combat to discussions and practices to improve life for the Iraqi people.