CAMP VICTORY, Iraq - Responsibility for the command, control and support of the Multi- National Force -, Multi- National Corps - Iraq changed hands Feb 11 at the Al-Faw Palace as the Soldiers of Task Force Phantom, III Corps Special Troops Battalion, Fort Hood, Texas, handed the reins to Task Force Dragon, XVIII Airborne Corps STB, Fort Bragg, N.C.
Presiding over the transfer of authority ceremony, which hosted an audience of hundreds of Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines and Coalition Forces, was MNC-I Chief of Staff, Brig. Gen. Joseph Anderson.
Anderson praised the accomplishments of the TF Phantom Soldiers and thanked them for their diligent service.
"I'd personally like to recognize the Task Force Phantom Soldiers who have served with distinction these past fifteen months," Anderson said. "They truly represent those who have passed before them, and I thank each and every member of this team for their efforts in their operations here in Iraq.
Anderson listed the accomplishments of the task force as he and the audience were there to "honor the achievements of these warriors," he said.
Some of those accomplishments included:
- 2,287 convoy missions, transporting 31,000 plus passengers.
- Encountered nine improvised explosive devices, one explosively-formed penetrator and numerous small-arms fire engagements.
- Conducted mass casualty events for six attacks and emergencies at the palace
- Provided daily operational management for the 46,000 square-foot Al-Faw palace.
As a result of the unit's dedication, 86 Combat Action Badges and 267 Bronze Star Medals were awarded.
"Overall, I can say that it was a great experience," said Col. Gregory Maxton, TF Phantom commander.
"I think all of us will have positive memories that we can be able to look back upon for a long time, knowing that we made a difference while we were here," Maxton said before welcoming his incoming counterparts.
"As Task Force Phantom departs, we turn over the reins to Task Force Dragon, led by the great team of Lieutenant Colonel [William J.] Wanovich, and Command Sergeant Major [Leroy] Chaney," Maxton said. "Over the past six months I've had the opportunity to work with them ...and they are the right team to take what we have accomplished to the next level."
TF Dragon Commander, Lt. Col. William J. Wanovich, took the lectern and closed out the ceremony with confident words to those in which he is charged.
"It's time to roll up our sleeves and get busy," Wanovich said. "I'm confident in your abilities and honored to stand in front of you as your commander. Know I'll be with you every step of the way. Airborne, all the way."
The was the second deployment in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom for the Phantom Corps Soldiers and is also the second time that the XVIII Airborne Corps STB will take the helm as TF Dragon here.
TF Dragon will be responsible for a myriad of operations which support the approximately 2,500 servicemembers in the MNF - and MNC - I Headquarters element, including personnel management, training, communications, convoy escorts and more.