Aug. 8, 2011

116th BCT HQs assumes responsibility for mission in Afghanistan

By Maj. Nevin Blankenship     
116th BCT Public Affairs

ZABUL PROVINCE, Afghanistan The Virginia Guard’s Staunton-based 116th Brigade Combat Team Headquarters offically began its mission in Afghanistan and took over responsibility from the 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division in a transfer of authority ceremony held Aug. 7 at Forward Operating Base Eagle. The 116th began federal active duty May 15 and will serve as the higher headquarters in Zabul province for coalition troops.

 

Zabul Provincial Governor Alhaj Mohammad Ashraf Naseri speaks to Soldiers of Combined Team Zabul at a transfer of authority ceremony at Forward Operating Base Eagle August 7. (Photo by Sgt. Frank O'Brien, 116th BCT Public Affairs)

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Provincial Governor Alhaj Mohammad Ashraf Naseri told of the accomplishments of the 1st SBCT and the confidence in the 116th BCT to continue the mission.

“The incoming unit has great potential and energy,” said Naseri. “They will be supported by the Afghan forces and they will help us be successful in our missions of security, stability and prosperity.”

Maj. Gen. James L. Terry, Regional Command South commander, told of the accomplishments of the outgoing unit and the expectations of the incoming unit.

“The relationships that Col. Wood’s unit made will be everlasting and unforgettable,” said Terry. “Their legacy will always be remembered.”

“The Stonewall Brigade is ready to continue the fight,” said Terry. “I am confident that you are equal to the task and I am proud to have you as part of the Regional Command South team.”

“It is not what you do, it is what you leave behind,” said Terry to both the incoming and outgoing units.

The 2nd Brigade, 205th Corps Afghan National Army Executive Officer, Col. Wazir, told of the bright future for Col. Wood and his Soldiers and the ANA’s eagerness to work with the 116th BCT in continuing to fight the insurgency in the province.

The outgoing commander, Col. Todd R. Wood, told of the accomplishments of his unit and his coalition partners.

 

Col. Blake C. Ortner and Command Sgt. Maj. Thomas H. Yancey uncase the 116th Brigade Combat Team colors at a transfer of authority ceremony at Forward Operating Base Eagle August 7. The 116th BCT is deployed to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. (Photo by Sgt. Frank O'Brien, 116th BCT Public Affairs)

Click HERE for a high resolution copy of this photo

“Governor Naseri, thank you for the great support of my unit,” said Wood. “You care about your citizens and they are fortunate to have you as their leader.”

“Everybody has worked hard to make this province better and the 116th will continue what we have started,” said Wood.

Col. Blake C. Ortner, the commander of the incoming 116th BCT said his Soldiers were up to the challenge of taking over the mission of Combined Team Zabul.

“The Afghan people are a great people and they have the ability to do anything,” said Ortner. “We will work together to build a better future for Afghanistan, especially the children.”

“I look forward to working with our partners in making Afghanistan a better place,” he said.

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