November 16th, 2006 02:37 EST
1st Cav. Div. takes the reigns in Baghdad
BAGHDAD — Under the clear, morning skies of a promising new day here, 1st Cavalry Division took the reigns for Multi-National Division - Baghdad from 4th Infantry Division during a transfer of authority ceremony Wednesday.
The ceremony honored the hard work and sacrifices of the departing “Ironhorse Division,” and looked forward to future challenges and successes to be garnered by the “First Team.”
Presiding over the ceremony was Lt. Gen. Peter Chiarelli, commanding general, Multi-National Corps -- Iraq. Chiarelli, nostranger to the 1st Cav. Div., was well suited for his role. Less than two years ago, he commanded the “First Team” duringtheir first rotation as MND-B.
“It seems like only yesterday that I led the ‘First Team’ here,” said Chiarelli. “I know you will build on the exceptionalsuccess of the 4th Infantry Division. I have complete confidence that (First Team) will make the difference.
“The TOA is a symbol of the commitment of the coalition to the people of Iraq,” said Chiarelli. He emphasized that “ourcommitment has not wavered. “This has indeed been a challenging time in Iraq,” he noted. He said in this complexatmosphere, “… few victories happen fast and we can only succeed through perseverance.”
The MNC-I commander said all Soldiers of 4th Inf. Div. should be proud of what they accomplished during their tenure here. He said the Soldiers had a direct positive impact on the Iraqi people‘s day-to-day lives, producing tangible successes such as increased electricity, improved sewage systems and a monumental increase in trained Iraqi Security Force.
“This is the decisive period in the campaign for Iraq,” said Maj. Gen. James D. Thurman, commanding general, 4th Inf. Div.“Fighting side-by-side with Iraqi Security Forces, we have become brothers-in-arms, seeking a common goal.”
The 4th Inf. Div. commander addressed an audience of Iraqi and Coalition leaders, looking back on a year’s worth ofsuccesses and sacrifices by his MND-B forces.
“Since Jan. 7, the Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines of the Coalition Forces, standing side by side with the (soldiers)and (officers) of the Iraqi Security Forces, have courageously faced a determined enemy,” he said. “They have fought theterrorists in the streets, farmlands and deserts of four provinces: Baghdad, Babil, Karbala and Najaf.
“Our combined efforts enabled a new, democratically-elected government to form and begin leading the Iraqi people, livingin a free nation,” Thurman said.
With the colors of his division cased and ready to accompany him home, Thurman’s thoughts were focused on the effortsof his Soldiers and on the support of their families.
“Our families and friends wait for us in the United States,” he said. “They have been patient and have supported usunfailingly. We return to our homes and families proud of our contribution to bettering the lives of the Iraqi people.”
With the crisp notes of the 1st Cav. Div. band accompanying the ceremony, Thurman passed on the mantle of MND-Bwith pride for his Soldiers and optimism for his successors.
Maj. Gen. Joseph F. Fil Jr., commanding general, 1st Cav. Div., uncased his colors and assumed command of theMND-B mission as the division colors changed position in the honor guard procession.
“The First Team is committed to continue to improve the security situation, to build upon the work of the “IronhorseDivision,” to work hand-in-hand with our brothers in the Iraqi Security Forces and to support those Iraqi forces as theymove to the lead to assist the Iraqi people in achieving a more prosperous and peaceful future,” said the MND-Bcommander.
With obvious pride in the troops of his new command, Fil closed by thanking the 4th Inf. Div. for their great efforts inproviding a smooth transition with the 1st Cav. Div. and took a moment to recognize all the forces that make up MND-B.
“While it is my honor to lead the First Team back to Baghdad, Multi-National Division -Baghdad is so much more than justthe 1st Cav. Div.,” he said. “The ranks of Multi-National Division - Baghdad are filled with our Iraqi partners, every servicecomponent of the U.S. military and Soldiers from nearly every active Army division in the inventory.
“I look forward to leading this amazing formation,” Fil said, “in an effort to help the good people of Iraq realize their destinywhich is a safe and secure Iraqi, where freedom reigns.”
(Courtesy of 363rd Mobile Public Affairs Detachment)