By Sgt. Ashley CurtisSeptember 29, 2012
KANDAHAR AIRFIELD, Afghanistan - U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Jim Huggins, 82nd Airborne Division commanding general and outgoing Regional Command-South commanding general, cased the 82nd Airborne Division colors and officially handed over command to U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Robert "Abe" Abrams, commanding general of the 3rd Infantry Division, during a Transition of authority ceremony at Kandahar Airfield, Sept. 2, 2012.
Maj. Gen. James L. Terry, commander of the International Security Assistance Force Joint Command and reviewing officer for the ceremony, began the ceremony by speaking to the gathered NATO force members and Afghan officials about the gains Regional Command-South has made in last year, and how the Afghan National Security Forces have taken the reigns in the region.
"[ANSF] operational abilities have improved, along with their competence and their ability to control large operations. All under the guiding watch of this great All-American team," said Terry.
"The insurgency is losing momentum. Throughout their campaign is stalled. Our afghan partners' campaign plan remains on track," he continued.
Following Terry's remarks, Afghan Army Maj. Gen. Abdul Hamid, 205th Corp commander, spoke fondly of his experiences working with the RC-South teams.
"These two past divisions that were assigned to RC-South, we never, ever thought for a second that they were our partners. We always sensed that they were our brothers," said Hamid. I felt that 82nd was literally part of 205th Corp. I never felt that they were anything but Afghan forces."
Huggins fondly recounted his experience working with Afghan forces.
"I came here as a student of Afghanistan, and I leave a student of Afghanistan," he said. My team and I may never fully understand this country's amazing culture, religion, and social dynamics, but we will always appreciate, and most importantly, respect them. And with our Afghan partners we have formed a bond that cannot be broken."
"Last year at this time, we were proud to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the honorable and brave people of Afghanistan," said Huggins.
Abrams also applauded the ANSF efforts.
"Every day, thousands of Afghan soldiers and police, across the provinces of Kandahar, Zabul, (and) Uruzgan, along with Soldiers from 10 ISAF contributing nations of the coalition, they fight side-by-side, shoulder-by-shoulder, green and blue together, as brothers, to defeat our common enemy, to deny safe haven and protect the great people of Afghanistan."
"I can assure you that Combined Joint Task Force-3 is just as committed to this cause. We believe in this mission," said Abrams. "It will be done, by the rock of the Marne."