By Sgt. Kim Browne, CJTF-1/RC-East PAOMay 20, 2011
BAGRAM AIRFIELD, Afghanistan, May 20, 2011 -- During a pivotal time in the war on terror and in Afghanistan's history, Regional Command-East's command authority shifted from Combined Joint Task Force-101 to CJTF-1.
At a transfer of authority ceremony May 19, 2011, held on Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) handed the reins of command over to the 1st Cavalry Division.
"Rest assured governors, generals, partners, Screamin' Eagles, past and present, that this campaign is just that, a campaign, and not a series of one-year fights and the First Team, in very capable hands, will pick up where the 101st left off," said Lt. Gen. David Rodriguez, commander of the International Joint Command.
Upon completion of the ceremony, Maj. Gen. Dan Allyn took control of eight U.S., French and Polish task forces and 14 provinces that combined have a population of 7.5 million Afghans.
RC-East consists of 43,000 square miles and shares 450 miles of border with Pakistan.
For the troopers of the division's headquarters this succession of authority marks a major point in history. It is their first deployment to Afghanistan.
Yet this isn't the division's first deployment in support of the war on terror. First Team Soldiers have deployed three times in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Currently, the division's 2nd Brigade Combat Team will deploy and join 3rd and 4th BCTs in support of Operation New Dawn in Iraq. Additionally, the 1st Air Cavalry Brigade will deploy to northern Afghanistan this summer.
This change in authority comes after a year of advancing security, governance, and development for the people of Afghanistan by the 101st.
"The First Team and RC-East will continue to build on the hard-earned gains for which [the 101st Abn. Div.] and our Afghan partner have so bravely fought," Allyn said.
In addition to the approximately 850 troopers from Fort Hood, Texas, CJTF-1 now has a combined joint task force of more than 31,000 International Security Assistance Forces Soldiers and civilian partners ranging from nine different countries.
Allyn also gave a message to the members of the First Team, "Mount up, the battle is joined, and decisive and sustained action by this combined and unified team will defeat the enemies of the people of Afghanistan."