Rakkasans Officially Take Reins From Commandos
November 6, 2007
The Army's most-deployed brigade traded seats with the brigade with the highest percentage of multiple deployers at a ceremony on Camp Striker Nov. 2.
Iraqi army generals and prominent tribal sheiks of Southern Baghdad were among the dignitaries who attended the ceremony that marked the official transfer of authority from the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry) to the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault).
Third Infantry Division Commander Maj. Gen. Rick Lynch bid the Commandos adieu and welcomed the Rakkasans.
Lynch lauded the 2nd BCT, 10th Mtn. Div. (LI) for their work with the Concerned Local Citizens, the seizure of the Yusufiyah thermal power plant and turning it into Patrol Base Dragon. He referenced the 48 medical operations that helped 11,000 Iraqis and the 397 Commander's Emergency Response Program projects that employed 18,000 local citizens.
"Commandos, you have fought the good fight, you have kept the faith and never wavered," said Col. Michael Kershaw, commander of 2nd BCT, 10th Mtn. Div. (LI). "You have suffered, bled and yet reached out when others would have struck.
"But you have been able to see the fruits of your efforts in the faces of the children in South Baghdad, and the lives whom you've helped to make better," Kershaw continued.
After his remarks, Kershaw joined Command Sgt. Maj. Anthony Mahoney, 2nd BCT, 10th Mtn. Div. (LI), command sergeant major, in casing the brigade's colors, which was followed by the uncasing of the 3rd BCT, 101st Abn. Div. (AASLT) colors.
"Today we have with us warriors of the highest caliber, with the noblest of missions," said Col. Dominic Caraccilo, 3rd BCT, 101st Abn. Div. (AASLT) commander. He said although some soldiers wear uniforms that bear American flags and some wear the Iraqi flag, they are all united by a common cause: to see an independent Iraq for future generations.
"What (Commandos) have accomplished with their Iraqi army partners has given us the momentum to carry on those missions to the next level without letting up the pressure on our enemies," Caraccilo said. "With our Iraqi friends, we are destined to make Iraq an independent nation."
The Rakkasans' Civil-Military Operations Officer Maj. Robert Bertrand, said the attendance of Iraqi leaders at the ceremony demonstrated the combined works of tribal sheiks, Iraqi army division and brigade commanders, Iraqi government and Coalition Forces to create a safe, secure and growing Iraq.