US army transfers authority in Iraq ahead of Trump inauguration

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US Army officers serving in Iraq participate in the authority transfer ceremony on Jan. 19, 2017

ARA News 

Erbil – The U.S. Army’s 82nd Airborne Division completed their transfer of authority with the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division – Air Assault, at forward operating base Union III, Iraq, on Jan. 19, 2017, the US-led coalition said in a statement on Thursday.

The 101st Abn. Div. Blackheart Soldiers, commanded by U.S. Army Col. Brett Sylvia, was deployed to Iraq in May 2016 to serve as the lead element for the Combined Joint Forces Land Component Command’s advise and assist mission for the US-led coalition against ISIS.

“I am incredibly proud of how Strike Soldiers adapted, endured and persevered. From austere outposts to newly constructed airfields, Strike Soldiers dutifully executed our commanders’ intent,” Col. Sylvia said.

During the past nine months, the US-led coalition provided a range of support to the government of Iraq and the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) in the war on ISIS in Fallujah, Sharqat, Qayyarah and Qaraqosh, beside providing construction teams who restored Qayyarah West’s airfield. They also installed assault bridges.

“Our time has come to a close but the mission is far from over. The Soldiers of TF Falcon have ably grabbed the baton and are now running with it. Under the tremendous leadership of Col. Work and CSM Rucker, I know the Iraqis will achieve even more. I wish you nothing but the best in writing the next chapter,” said Sylvia.

The 82nd Abn. Div.’s Falcon brigade, led by U.S. Army Col. James Pat Work, will continue to lead the advise and assist mission, which includes on-going support to the Iraqi security forces as they begin their push into western Mosul after the Iraqi security forces cleared out most of eastern Mosul last week.

“It’s our high honor to return paratroopers of the 82nd Airborne Division – America’s guard of honor – to Iraq at this historic moment,” said Work.

The transfer of authority took place one day before Donald Trump’s inauguration to become president.

Reporting by: Wladimir van Wilgenburg | Source: ARA News 

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