Nov. 26, 2007

3rd Battalion, 116th Infantry takes over Kuwait mission

Lt. Col. John Epperly, commander of the 3rd Battalion, 116th Infantry, Virginia National Guard and Command Sgt. Maj. Alan Ferris, 3rd Bn., 116th Inf. command sergeant major, uncase their unit’s colors at the transfer of authority ceremony held at Camp Patriot, Kuwait Oct. 1. (Photo by Sgt. David A. Begley, 3rd Bn., 116th Infantry Public Affairs.)

By Spc. Jason Kemp
3rd Battalion, 116th Infantry

CAMP PATRIOT, Kuwait – The traditional casing and uncasing of colors took place on Oct. 1 signifying a transfer of authority.  The 2nd Battalion, 142nd  Field Artillery, Arkansas National Guard handed its mission over to the 3rd Battalion, 116th Infantry, Virginia National Guard at Camp Patriot.

The 2nd Bn., 142nd F.A., is being replaced by 3rd Bn., 116th Inf., due to regular troop rotations in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Their primary mission in Kuwait will be to provide force protection to strategic assets such as the deep water ports used as the conduit for supplies coming into theater. The battalion will also conduct numerous other missions in conjunction with the Kuwaiti Ministry of Defense. The 3rd Bn., 116th Inf. also has three of its rifle companies, roughly half the battalion, assigned to combat operations in Iraq. Their primary mission is to provide security to convoys of supply trucks.

The outgoing commander, Lt. Col. Michael Merritt, told of the accomplishments of himself and his troops.

The 2nd Bn., 142nd F.A. improved the alliance with the Kuwaiti Ministry of Defense and Kuwaiti Ministry of Interior. They improved upon the security of both the Kuwaiti Naval Base and the seaport of Debarkation at Ash Shuaybah said Merrit.

Lt. Col. John Epperly, the incoming commander of the 3rd Bn., 116th Inf., said that his Soldiers were up to the challenge of taking over the mission of SECFOR South.

“I look forward to working closely with our Kuwaiti friends and allies so that we can forge an even stronger alliance. We deeply appreciate your hospitality, support and professionalism and you may expect our deepest commitment to be a strong partner to you as well. We also look forward to forming a great joint team with our fellow Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines over the next year so that we can defeat the enemies of freedom.”

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