As I Corps' year-long deployment winds down, Lt. Gen. Charles H. Jacoby, Jr., I Corps commanding general, spent time talking with the unit's Soldiers during a town hall meeting, challenging them to make the most out of the last months of their deployment.

Jacoby held a series of meetings in December and January to ensure all Soldiers were afforded an opportunity to hear about the impact of the recent merger to United StatesForces-Iraq and to understand the roles they will continue to play before the unit returns to Fort Lewis, Wash.

With the merger, Jacoby explained his transition from commanding general of Multi-National Corps-Iraq to United States Forces-Iraq deputy commanding general of operations. He told the Soldiers that they will continue to work with and support three subordinate commands - United States Divisions North, Center and South.

"You should not feel any anxiety about this change. You will still be supporting the divisions, providing staff support and helping us in the decision-making process," he said.

A measure of how successful Servicemembers have been in those roles is evident by the positive way the divisions feel about working with corps-level staff, he said.

The relationship between USF-I and the divisions will be of great importance as Fort Hood's III Corps replaces I Corps in the upcoming months. Jacoby said the Soldiers need to continue to set incoming personnel up for success, and he has no doubt that will happen.

"We will seamlessly move into our transition. (III Corps) will be walking into a well-oiled machine and ready to go," he said.

With the first element of I Corps' Headquarters already redeployed, Jacoby reminded those remaining that there is still a mission at hand.

"We are not just holding steady, we need to finish strong. We have done more than anyone could have ever expected," he said. "We have a period of intense transition ahead with elections and the drawdown to 50,000 Servicemembers. We will define the final stages of the U.S. role in Iraq, and I think that it will be very positive."

Although Soldiers are not continuing to patrol and conduct missions in the cities, Advise and Assist Brigades are actively supporting the Iraqi Security Forces; civil capacity projects are continuing to grow with assistance from troops and civilians throughout Iraq and Servicemembers still interact and teach their Iraqi counterparts.

Most importantly, Jacoby told his troops that they must remain a team in order to finish strong.

"In your last 60 or 70 days, you still have important work to do. We will still remain the I Corps team, and it means a heck of a lot," he said.

I Corps' current deployment marks the first time in more than 50 years the unit has deployed in support of combat operations.

"We brought the patch back," he said. "Wear it with pride. We are the most decorated corps in the United States Army."

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16