HOHENFELS, Germany (Jan. 13, 2011) -- Members of the Hohenfels and Grafenwoehr military communities, along with representatives from the Romanian Army, joined together today in Hohenfels, Germany, during a ceremony to officially recognize the completion of the 1st Battalion, 4th Infantry Regiment's 5-year mission in Afghanistan.

Since 2006, the 1st Battalion, 4th Infantry Regiment has maintained a company-sized element deployed as part of a Romanian Battle Group in Afghanistan's Zabul province. During the nine consecutive International Security Assistance Force, or ISAF rotations, they augmented the Romanian Land Forces with personnel, enablers, and operational experience, while the Romanians developed and improved their own capacity and interoperability.

"It was a great honor for our battalion commanders to have embedded in their units a company from your battalion," said Romanian Maj. Gen. Alexandru Rus, chief of Strategic Planning Directorate, Romanian Land Forces. "This unique partnership highlights the special relationship between us. Together we have succeeded to keep open a vital economic corridor and to achieve so far COMISAF's requirements."

Due to the success of this unique partnership and other conditions in theater, last year, Romania deployed a second battalion and a brigade tactical command post, signaling its increased commitment to ISAF.

"You can be very proud," said Brig. Gen. Steven L. Salazar, commanding general of the Joint Multinational Training Command. "You served your nation, ably supported the Romanian Task Force and provided hope for the Afghan people of Zabul province."

Their continuous deployments, while serving to provide stability and security to the people of Afghanistan, also enhanced the unit's unique Opposing Forces mission at the Joint Multinational Readiness Center (JMRC) by providing them with first-hand, personal knowledge of today's tactics, techniques and procedures, as well the current battlefield trends as they relate to both U.S., allied and combatant forces.

"This is not the last great thing that Soldiers serving under the Warrior banner will do," continued Salazar. "Apply your experiences to train the forces - U.S. Army in Europe forces as well as our allies."

Their experiences has also enabled JMRC to positively impact rotational units' mission rehearsal exercises and allowed them to experience realistic training to better prepare for their missions.

More than 1,400 Soldiers from 1-4 Infantry deployed during this five-year mission, a number of them earning valorous awards which included one Silver Star, 21 Bronze Star Medals with V Device, 48 ARCOMs with V Device and one Soldier's Medal. Over the last four deployments, 40 Soldiers earned the Purple Heart.

Eleven Soldiers paid the ultimate sacrifice, giving their lives in the defense of freedom.

The mission came to a conclusion this week with the return of the 1st Battalion, 4th Infantry Regiment's Team Cherokee to Hohenfels.