Perfume Palace closes for handover
June 11, 2011
The Perfume Palace, located on Camp Slayer, officially closed during a ceremony, June 1. The palace closure was a significant step in the closing of Camp Slayer.
During its almost eight years of use, photos were prohibited inside the palace to protect operational security.
“The palace was first used by the U.S. in 2003 by the Iraq Survey Group,” said Capt. Drew Smothers, executive officer of joint intelligence, United States Forces " Iraq. “Their mission was to search and find weapons of mass destruction, and upon their departure in 2005, intelligence operations started and continued through the USF-I [joint intelligence] closing of the palace.”
“Because of the nature of operations in the palace, no cameras were allowed inside during the years of the facility being used for intelligence operations,” said Smothers. “Cameras were welcomed during the ceremony and after as everyone enjoyed what the palace had to offer.”
The ceremony began with a ceremonial key presentation by Maj. Gen. Mark W. Perrin, director of joint intelligence, United States Forces " Iraq, to Lt. Col. Jeni Vander Voet, mayor of Camp Slayer with Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 116th Cavalry Brigade Combat Team. The handover of the key signified the turnover of the palace.
Following the presentation, the formal ceremony began on the second floor of the palace. Distinguished visitors from the USF-I command group, as well as guests from other camps, listened as guest speaker, Perrin, spoke of the significance of the closing.
“Camp Slayer is really the first major camp on VBC to be closed and transferred,” said Perrin. “I think this will become a model of how other camps on VBC and around the Iraq joint operations area will also be able to close down and clear their areas.”
After the ceremony, attendees were able to explore the palace as well as take photos for themselves.
Col. John Bradsher, chief of operations section, joint intelligence, said the ceremony was great, very fulfilling and the crowd who attended was far more then what he expected.
“We ended an era of intelligence here, a lot of intel professionals have came here and worked to help commanders identify the enemy,” said Bradsher. “It’s a bittersweet, but positive ending to helping the Iraqis move forward.”
Concluding the festivities, the attendees left knowing that they were a part of history.