By Spc. Tiffany Evans - MND-C PAOJune 26, 2008
CAMP VICTORY, Iraq - One civil affairs battalion ends their 15-month odyssey in Iraq; another arrives to begin its own adventure.
The 401st Civil Affairs Battalion from Webster, N.Y., turned over the reins to the 445th CA Bn., during a transfer of authority ceremony at Camp Slayer June 21.
"This group has faced a lot of adversity from our first days at Fort Bragg, N.C., when our mission itself was uncertain, to being split apart to cover multiple missions over two multi-national division areas," said Lt. Col. Jon Walters, commander of the 401st CA Bn.
"Through all of the challenges, they continued on with a good attitude and a professional demeanor, accomplishing the mission."
Soldiers of the 401st CA Bn. filled in the gaps in CA coverage left by redeploying surge brigades and provided outstanding support to civil affairs companies throughout Iraq, said Walters, a native of Isle of Palms, S.C. The supported companies made great strides by issuing commanders' emergency response program processing funds, helping with the Sons of Iraq reintegration, and helping set-up brick factories and poultry farms.
"As we leave, we believe the 401st has set the table for the 445th CA to take things to the next level. I am confident that the 445th CA will excel, improving on what we have established and putting their own ideas into motion," Walters said. "We leave it in able hands. It has been a pleasure working with two great divisions, the 10th Mountain Division and the 3rd Infantry Division before them."
Operation Iraqi Freedom established security conditions unimaginable only a year ago, said Lt. Col. Glen Goddard, commander of the 445th.
"How appropriate that the 445th CA Bn., from Mountain View, Calif., deploy to support the 10th Mountain Division. This battalion is not new to the fight," said Goddard, a native of Anchorage, Alaska.
"The 445th left Iraq only two years ago - a pace of deployment greater than any other type of reserve unit and almost at the operation tempo of the active duty."
The mission of the 445th CA Bn. is to build on the successes of the 401st CA Bn. and seize this window of opportunity for civil military operations to take the lead in the fight.
"The Peacemaker battalion is here to give our tears, our blood and a lot of sweat to this noble effort, and we look forward to a productive tour with the 10th Mountain Division and the Iraqi people," Goodard said.