CONTINGENCY OPERATING BASE WARHORSE, Iraq " Soldiers of 2nd Advise and Assist Brigade, “Black Jack,” 1st Cavalry Division, assumed responsibility for the U.S. mission in Salah ad-Din and Diyala provinces, Iraq, during a Transfer of Authority ceremony at Contingency Operating Base Warhorse, June 13.
Black Jack Brigade replaced 2nd AAB, 25th Infantry Division, as “Warrior” Brigade wrapped up a year-long deployment in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation New Dawn.
The transfer of authority marked the start of Black Jack Brigade’s fourth tour of duty in Iraq, and the unit’s first deployment in an advise, train and assist role in support of Operation New Dawn.
“Second AAB, 1st Cav. Div., will conduct stability operations and security force assistance in Diyala and Salah ad-Din provinces to support Iraq’s continued development as a sovereign, stable, and self-reliant strategic partner committed to regional stability,” said Col. John Peeler, commander of Black Jack Brigade.
Black Jack Brigade, from Fort Hood, Texas, will continue with the efforts and initiatives that have already been set in motion by 2nd AAB, 25th Inf. Div., with a focus on the successful completion of the advise, train and assist mission in Iraq, said Peeler.
“We are proud of how far Iraq has come, but we are also aware of the challenges ahead,” said Peeler. “Our Black Jack Soldiers are determined to work toward lasting stability and security while continuing to build an enduring relationship between our two countries.”
Peeler emphasized that his unit will accomplish its advise and assist mission by building on the work done by Warrior Brigade.
During their time in Iraq, 2nd AAB, 25th Inf. Div, worked closely to assist provincial governments and Iraqi Security Forces to further the goals of these organizations.
Colonel Malcolm Frost, commander of 2nd AAB, 25th Inf. Div., whose unit will return to their home station at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii, said U.S. forces working with their Iraqi partners saw huge advancements in security, governance and economic areas within Salah ad-Din and Diyala provinces.
“I am simply staggered by the incredible progress that has been made by local provincial governments, the Iraqi Army, Iraqi Police and border patrol,” said Frost.
“You can be proud of your accomplishments,” said Frost to local provincial and Iraqi Security Forces leaders attending the ceremony. “Iraq is now an oasis of hope in the Middle East.”
Frost also reminded Black Jack Brigade Soldiers that gains made in security and governance can be easily lost if Iraqi and U.S. forces do not continue to work toward increased regional stability.
“The reward for success is always more work and greater responsibility,” said Frost. “The Iraqi people desire to build on recent successes, improve their quality of life, and obtain security forces who can defend not just their cities, but Iraq’s borders. Therefore, I challenge you to keep moving forward toward a brighter destination for Iraq.”
“Although the Warrior Brigade is departing, I am confident that the Black Jack Brigade, under Col. Peeler, is no less committed to assisting and supporting the governments of Diyala and Salah ad-Din, and their security forces, as they provide enduring security and stability for all Iraqi People,” he added.
The people of Salah ad-Din and Diyala provinces can expect the same commitment and dedication that the Soldiers of Warrior Brigade displayed in ensuring stability and security within these provinces, explained Peeler.
“We will work as one team to meet our shared goals and vision of security and stability within these provinces,” Peeler said of his Soldiers and their Iraqi Security Forces partners.