82nd Airborne begins mission in Southern Afghanistan
October 3, 2011
KANDAHAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan, Oct. 1, 2011 -- Maj. Gen. James L. Terry, outgoing commander of Regional Command South, cased the 10th Mountain Division colors and officially handed over command to Maj. Gen. James L. Huggins Jr., 82nd Airborne Division and new RC(S) commander, during a transition of authority ceremony Saturday on Kandahar Airfield.
Lt. Gen. Curtis M. Scaparrotti, commander, International Security Assistance Force Joint Command and reviewing officer for the ceremony, addressed the multi-national audience first, emphasizing the partnership of Afghanistan and coalition forces and the positive effect of their efforts.
Our forces, working shoulder to shoulder, "shanah ba shanah," Scaparrotti said using the Afghan phrase, "train, fight, die and win along-side each other. Together, we are creating a better future for the people of Afghanistan," he said.
Following Scaparrotti's remarks, Terry welcomed the audience and offered his parting thoughts.
"Salam Alaikum," he said, "and peace be upon you," citing the traditional Muslim greeting.
Referring to the overall purpose here, Terry said, "this is not about coalition forces, this is about the Afghan security forces increasingly taking the lead."
Terry went on to say that collectively Afghan National Security Forces, or ANSF, have reason to be proud and stand tall. In the four provinces of Kandahar, Uruzgan, Zabul, and Daykundi, they have "thwarted hundreds of attacks and beaten back a weakening but still very violent enemy."
An increase in economic activity in the RC-(S) region, Terry said, is evidence of stability and progress, that "melons and pomegranates" have been shipped through Kandahar Airfield to global markets.
Once Terry's remarks were complete, Huggins walked up to the platform and spoke.
"Our task will be to continue to build on the progress of our ANSF and coalition partners, that the Afghans can take full control of their future in the lead, in their country," Huggins said.
Afghans will achieve sustainable economic development which will result in the peaceful, prosperous and independent future of their country, he said.
Huggins also said that two key factors for success over the next year will be working to develop governance and security and building local inclusive governments, "an area where I've already seen much progress."
"It is the Afghan people, themselves," Huggins continued, "who will achieve the form of government that is accountable to the people, a government they deserve."