FORWARD OPERATING BASE MAREZ, Iraq - Over the past week, each battalion from 2nd "Spartan" Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, located in the Ninewa Province, Iraq, unveiled their battle Colors during individual ceremonies.

The ceremonies represented the change of authority from the Soldiers of 3rd "Greywolf" Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division to the battalions of the Spartan brigade. Having assumed full responsibility of Ninewa Province, Spartan Soldiers began their fourth deployment in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

"Today is a great day as we mark the passing of the torch from one fantastic unit to another," said Lt. Col. William Lindner, commander, 3rd Squadron, 7th Cavalry, 2nd HBCT, 3rd ID.

Lieutenant Colonel Lindner also said that over the past two weeks, the leaders and Soldiers of the 3rd HBCT, 1st Cav. Div. have been available to answer every question, afforded every courtesy and extended a hand wherever it was needed, during the transfer of authority process.

"There is no possible way to completely transfer the knowledge and experience gained over the past 11 months in this complex terrain from one unit to another," said Lt. Col. Lindner. "But I would have a hard time believing that anyone could have done more than the Greywolves did to successfully prepare us for the mission we assume today."

Colonel Gary Volesky, commander, 3rd HBCT, 1st Cav. Div., agreed that the time the two brigades have spent together has been a great learning experience for every Soldier - Greywolf and Spartan - that will help the each of the battalion's mission in Iraq.

"Your (Spartan) Soldiers have been open minded and willing to learn from the experiences of the battalions you replace, you are ready to assume the mission," said Col. Volesky. "Good luck as you sprint to the finish line of the mission in Iraq."

Lieutenant Colonel Thomas Williams, commander, 1st Battalion, 9th Field Artillery, 2nd HBCT, 3rd ID, reinforced to all in attendance that 1/9 FA, as well as every Spartan battalion, is ready to assume the mission at hand.
"We are trained and ready to assume this position and understand we cannot do it without our great counter parts, the Iraqi Security Forces and the government of Iraq, who risk their lives on a daily basis to preserve the momentum required to achieve a stable and secure Ninewa Province," Lt. Col. Williams said.