<b>CAMP RAMADI, Iraq</b> - Paratroopers from 1st Advise and Assist Brigade, 82nd Airborne Division, officially handed their mission in Al Anbar, Iraq, to the Soldiers of 4th Advise and Assist Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division, during a transfer of authority ceremony at Camp Ramadi, Aug. 2.

Colonel Lou Lartigue and Command Sergeant Major Joseph Altman, the 4th AAB command team, unfurled their unit colors at the Ramadi Event Center, displaying the blue and red Vanguard flag for the first time since they cased the colors at Fort Stewart, Ga., June 25.

The ceremony, attended by both U.S. and Iraqi Security Forces, marked the start of the Vanguard Brigade's third deployment to Iraq while simultaneously bidding farewell to the Fort Bragg, N.C., based paratroopers.

"The transfer of authority continues to demonstrate the commitment of the United States to the people of Iraq," said outgoing commander, Col. Mark Stammer.

His team of 3,500 paratroopers replaced two Marine regimental combat teams one year ago and set out on their mission to enable Anbar's provincial government to establish security operations with 1st and 7th Iraqi Army divisions, the Department of Border Enforcement and the Iraqi police.

"Working shoulder to shoulder with our [Iraqi Security Forces] counterparts, we have built everlasting friendships based on shared commitment, sacrifice and risk," said Col. Stammer, adding that combined operations between the ISF and U.S. troops have benefited all of western Iraq.

The incoming commander, Col. Lartigue, said his brigade will continue to build on the successes of 1/82 and continue to work alongside their Iraqi counterparts toward a "prosperous future for the people of al Anbar."

"Together with our Iraqi partners and the people they serve, we can set the conditions for an enduring and lasting peace," Col. Lartigue said. "All of those we represent, in America and Iraq, are filled with the hope of a future of continued freedom, prosperity and security. We are proud to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the people of Al Anbar to continue to forge Iraq's new dawn."

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