One week after assuming command, the senior U.S. Army commander in Iraq visited United States Division-South Sept. 8.

Gen. Lloyd Austin, commanding general of United States Forces-Iraq, toured Contingency Operating Base Basra's business center, the new resiliency campus, and the USD-S headquarters.

The visit was Austin's first to Basra since he took command of USF-I on Sept. 1.

Maj. Gen. Vincent Brooks, commanding general of USD-S and the 1st Infantry Division, took Austin to the business center where he was briefed by Basra Provincial Reconstruction Team leaders on the economic way-ahead for the province.

"This is what creates true change for the country," Austin said. "When we get the economy going, we get people investing; this is really, really important work."

Austin then got a preview of the Basra Resiliency Campus, which is scheduled to open Sept. 9. The campus features areas that help Soldiers focus on developing the five pillars of Comprehensive Soldier Fitness: physical, spiritual, emotional, social and Family.

"This is very impressive; you've managed to draw a lot of things together here," Austin said of the facility. "I appreciate the hard work and the care that you've put in."

After touring the campus, Austin went to the USD-S and 1st Inf. Div. headquarters, where he received an update on operations in southern Iraq, a critical piece of the civil capacity puzzle in Iraq due to its vast oil fields and ports on the Persian Gulf.

After the brief, Austin honored 10 USD-S Soldiers by presenting them with coins, an Army tradition for recognizing troops.

"Congratulations, and thanks for a job well done," Austin told the Soldiers.

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