By Jim Hinnant, 401st Army Field Support BrigadeJune 16, 2008
BAGRAM AIRFIELD, Afghanistan (June 10, 2008) Ac"a,! Leadership of the U.S. Army Sustainment Command battalion charged with supporting combined joint task force operations in the Operation Enduring Freedom area of operations passed from one experienced leader, trainer and maintainer to another in a ceremony here today.
In a "clamshell" maintenance facility, filled with an audience from across the Bagram Airfield community, Lt. Col. Iraj Gharagouzloo relinquished command of 3rd Battalion, 401st Army Field Support Brigade to Lt. Col. Donald Mayer, who comes to Afghanistan from the U.S. Military Observer Group - Washington, where he served as operations officer for the Multinational Force and Observers.
Gharagouzloo, who had commanded the battalion since June 8, 2007, returns to the United States and will be assigned to ASC headquarters, Rock Island, Illinois.
The ceremony was hosted by Col. Dennis M. Thompson, commander, 401st Army Field Support Brigade.
Thompson said the change of command ceremony was also an opportunity to recognize the efforts of all the Soldiers and civilians of "Task Force Support."
"Members of this team can be found throughout the country of Afghanistan, playing a vital role in the readiness and survivability of U.S., coalition, NATO and Afghanistan security forces," he said. "It simply couldn't be done without their efforts, and under Iraj's leadership they have conducted their mission like true champions."
The 3rd Battalion conducts logistics operations and provides technical support through 13 locations dispersed throughout Afghanistan, and during the past year has grown from 600 to 1,200 people, said Gharagouzloo.
"We faced many challenges, but never faltered in the mission," he said. "As my time here at Bagram comes to an end, my family awaits my return, and I feel confident leaving the battalion in the hands of Lieutenant Colonel Mayer."
Gharagouzloo closed in traditional Army fashion, employing his tactical call sign as he saluted the Soldiers of the battalion for the last time.
"Support Six - Out," he said.