AL UDEID AIR BASE, Qatar - The 11th Air Defense Artillery "Imperial" Brigade conducted a transfer of authority ceremony with the 108th Air Defense Artillery "Spartan" Brigade at the Blatchford-Preston Complex Theater on Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar, Oct. 14, 2017. The ceremony signaled the end of the Spartan's mission and the beginning of Imperial's.
"We are extremely proud and honored to assume this mission and do not take this enormous responsibility lightly," said Col. Issac Gipson, commander of Imperial. "More importantly, we view it as a privilege and an opportunity to serve our great nation."
"A relief in place transfer of authority is a significant event," said Gipson. "It is a public demonstration of the continuity of the mission and it allows all of us who are associated with this mission to take the time to recognize and reflect on the accomplishments of the Soldiers as well as those of the outgoing organization."
Maj. Gen. Victor Braden, commander of the 35th Infantry Division based out of Leavenworth, Kansas, expressed his admiration and thanked the Spartans for their service.
"The 108th Air Defense Brigade has demonstrated to our nation, our partners and our adversaries the greatness of our modern military," said Braden.
"For the 108th command team, Col. Branson and Command Sgt. Maj. Adams, I have been privileged to serve with you," said Braden. "The Spartan Brigade has shown that it is an agile and adaptive force with innovative leaders of character who have thrived in the complexity of the mission at hand."
Col. Charles Branson, commander of the Spartans, thanked Braden in his speech and expressed his appreciation for the mission in Qatar.
"This mission has been the most rewarding of my career and one I would most definitely continue if given the opportunity," said Branson.
Braden also addressed the Imperial command charging them with the mission and reminding them of its complexities.
"For Col. Gipson, Command Sgt. Maj. Albright and the 11th Air Defense Brigade; the mission complexity continues," said Braden. "Your purpose here is to deter aggression in the region and protect the strategic resources on the western side of the Arabian Gulf."

"This mission requires commanders that provide clear intent and empowers agile and adaptive leaders to exercise disciplined initiative," said Braden. "It requires Soldiers that have honed their skills in how to move, shoot and communicate."
Gipson fully understands the mission, continued training and the hard work of every Soldier to assume authority.
"Our number one priority will be maintaining combat readiness through training," said Gipson.

"This ceremony marks not only the geographic relocation of a tremendous headquarters that will perform its wartime mission but it also underscores the level of effort and accomplishments achieved by the outstanding Soldiers of the brigade headquarters along the way to mission assumption." said Gipson.

Gipson also thanked all those who support every Soldier serving.

"To the families of all of our service members, thank you for your untiring devotion to your Soldier and all you do to make it possible for them to serve," said Gipson. "We know you serve alongside your Soldier and sacrifice constantly. In many ways, your sacrifice can never be repaid or overstated."

"11th, I look forward to seeing you build upon 108th's success," said Braden.