The 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, Combined Task Force Lancer, marked the end of a nine-month deployment to southern Afghanistan by relinquishing control of its nearly 15,000 square kilometer battle-space to the 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division, Combined Team Ready First, during a Transfer of Authority ceremony at Camp Nathan Smith, Afghanistan in Kandahar City Jan. 7.

CTF Lancer deployed from Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash. to Kandahar Province, Afghanistan in April 2012 during a critical time in the NATO campaign as US and international forces began transitioning security responsibilities to the Afghan National Security Forces and the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan.

"CTF Lancer Soldiers mark this deployment by accomplishing some of the most complex and difficult tasks assigned to anywhere in RC-South," said Maj. Gen. Robert Abrams, Regional Command-South commander. "Lancers brought Afghan National Security Forces into the lead this past summer, mentoring and developing all the pillars of the Afghan National Security Forces."

Their battle-space of nearly 15,000 square kilometers within northern Kandahar included the decisive terrain of Kandahar City and the districts of Arghandab, Shah Wali Kot, Khakrez, Mya Neshin and Nesh. At the peak of the fighting season the Lancer brigade's area of operation expanded to include Zharay, Maiwand and Ghorak, which were some of the most contested terrain in the country.

"While I am a simple Soldier, I hope it will mean something to you when I tell you that you have earned the trust and respect of the Lancers," said Col. Barry F. Huggins, commander of CTF Lancer. "We will take with us back to America a first-hand view of all that you have accomplished and we will tell this story to all who will listen."

The Afghans have seen many Soldiers come and go over the course of 11 years of war, but the relationships built between CTF Lancer and their Afghan National Security Forces partners will have a lasting impact as the war continues to wind down until its official end date on Dec. 31, 2014.
"It has been a tremendous honor to stand with you having taken our place in a long line of Soldiers who have been called to duty here," said Huggins. "I am humbled to stand in front of this group of accomplished, prominent and brave men who have earned their place in a millennia spanning history of Afghanistan."

After nine months, CTF Lancer achieved tremendous progress in accomplishing the nation's objectives. The Afghan Security Forces made great strides toward independent operations, leading the tactical fight and preventing the Taliban from forming an operational sanctuary.

Col. Kenneth Adgie, who serves as the commander of Combined Team Ready First, will be responsible for the further development of the ANSF and the continuation of transition of governance and security to the Afghan people.

"Today's ceremony marks the change of one brigade to another, and an opportunity to reconfirm our commitment to the Afghan people," said Adgie. "Our shoulder patches and names are different, but our dedication to the mission that Col. Huggins and his Soldiers have shown [the past nine months] inspires us and tells us to work as hard as they did."