XVIII Airborne Corps concludes Operation New Dawn in Iraq
February 23, 2012
FORT BRAGG, N.C. - Soldiers of XVIII Airborne Corps and Fort Bragg contributed to the end of nine long years at war in Iraq as part of Operation New Dawn, said Lt. Gen. Frank G. Helmick, commanding general of XVIII Abn. Corps and Fort Bragg.
Helmick made his comments during a leadership development program at Sports USA Feb. 16, which gathered senior leaders from across Fort Bragg to review the final operations in Iraq.
"Leadership development is to keep the education of our force and our leaders upfront and foremost in what we do," said Helmick. "If you're not learning something everyday from your Soldiers, peers, or superiors, you're in the wrong business."
Helmick spoke to more than 200 senior non-commissioned officers and officers about topics such as strategic politics, Iraqi politics, security, the Iraqi security forces and transitions.
The event also featured a question and answer panel including corps staff members involved in the conclusion of the war in Iraq. The staff members explained their personal roles in Iraq, as well as the decisions that needed to be made in order to secure and wrap up the final operations.
"What I took from the LDP was the counter tactics, techniques and procedures that were used in Iraq were very successful in closing out Operation New Dawn," said Command Sgt. Maj. Samuel B. Campbell, Fort Bragg garrison command sergeant major. "The panel helped explained about the security piece, which was very huge in cooperation as we were redeploying forces and closing out the war."
Campbell also shared his personal views on the success of the final drawdown, as this was the first war that U.S. forces completely pulled out of a country.
"Although all of my rotations were during Operation Iraqi Freedom, to be able to see all the hard work that went into so many years of fighting and see it finally come to an end in a very responsible, organized manner was really what I took away from Operation New Dawn," said Campbell.
The organization and responsibility that was demonstrated to accomplish the drawdown could not have been achieved without leadership, a skill that does not go unrecognized by senior command.
"America expects us to be ready," said Helmick. "They don't want to call down to Fort Bragg and ask 'are you ready to go', they want to hear 'where do you want us and when' because all of you provide an opportunity for your Soldiers to be trained, equipped and ready."
Helmick ended the event by thanking the Soldiers who took part in the war.
"What you have done, any of you who participated in Operation Iraqi Freedom or Operation New Dawn, has kept the American Soldier and military at the top around the world," said Helmick.
"Second place is not an option, and what we have to do as the current leaders in our Army is maintain that. All of you provided 28 million people an opportunity and for that, I thank you."