BAGHDAD, Iraq Nov. 7, 2007 -- The 44th Expeditionary Signal Battalion of U.S. Army Europe's 5th Signal Command unfurled its colors and assumed its official duties in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom during a transfer of authority ceremony here Nov. 3.

The battalion, based in Mannheim, Germany, replaces the 86th Signal Battalion from Fort Huachuca, Ariz. During their 15-month deployment, the 44th will be under the operational control of the 11th Signal Brigade, also based at Fort Huachuca.

After the ceremony, Lt. Col. Kris Kramarich, the commander of the 44th, wished the 86th a safe journey home after their 15 months here, and asked her Soldiers to stay focused on their OIF mission.

"I charge you to have faith in what you already know; apply what your experience has taught you, and take care of yourself and your fellow warriors," she said.

Command Sgt. Maj. Earl Allen of the 44th said the event fully confirmed the 44th ESB has taken the helm.

"The Soldiers are motivated and ready to execute the 44th ESB wartime mission. It is our responsibility to ensure the warfighters have the best communication links possible. We will not fail them. I truly thank the 86th for their professionalism leading up to the transfer of authority."