‘Golden Dragons’ return base to Iraqis

| May 20, 2011 | 0 Comments
Soldiers assigned to 1st Bn., 14th Inf. Regt., “Golden Dragons,” 2nd BCT, 25th ID, render honors as the American flag is lowered for the last time at COL McHenry during a base transfer ceremony in Kirkuk province, Iraq, May 15.

Soldiers assigned to 1st Bn., 14th Inf. Regt., “Golden Dragons,” 2nd BCT, 25th ID, render honors as the American flag is lowered for the last time at COL McHenry during a base transfer ceremony in Kirkuk province, Iraq, May 15.

Story and Photos by
Spc. Andrew Ingram
U.S. Division-North Public Affairs

CONTINGENCY OPERATING LOCATION MCHENRY, Iraq — U.S. Soldiers officially transferred responsibility of Contingency Operating Location McHenry to the Iraqi government during a ceremony, here, May 15.

The return of COL McHenry, or Mo Oscar Bagarrah as its known to the Iraqi people, represents a big step toward the completion of U.S. forces’ mission in Kirkuk province, said Lt. Col. Andrew Ulrich, commander, 1st Battalion, 14th Infantry Regiment, “Golden Dragons,” 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division.

“The transition of Mo Oscar Bagarrah is one of the first and most important transitions in Kirkuk,” Ulrich said. “Although we are leaving our footprint, here, we will continue to advise, train and assist. I have full confidence that the Army and the partnered security forces gathered, here, today, are ready for this transition.”

Staff Brig. Gen Mohsin (left) commander, 46th Bde., 12th IA Div., officially takes responsibility of COL McHenry from Lt. Col. Andrew Ulrich, commander, 1st Bn., 14th Inf. Regt., 2nd BCT, 25th ID, during a base transfer ceremony, May 15.

Staff Brig. Gen Mohsin (left) commander, 46th Bde., 12th IA Div., officially takes responsibility of COL McHenry from Lt. Col. Andrew Ulrich, commander, 1st Bn., 14th Inf. Regt., 2nd BCT, 25th ID, during a base transfer ceremony, May 15.

The Golden Dragons officially transferred the base and its remaining facilities to Staff Brig. Gen. Mohsin, commander, 46th Bde., 12th Iraqi army Div., who represented the Government of Iraq.

The Golden Dragons will be the last U.S. unit to occupy the base, and Soldiers worked diligently with their Iraqi counterparts to ensure the safety of the people of Iraq, Ulrich said.

“We built a lasting and meaningful personal relationship that assured me that we could call on the Iraqi Security Forces at any time, and they would respond without hesitation,” Ulrich said. “Hopefully, we instilled the same trust in our partners, and they now know they have a lasting friend in the American Soldier and the American people.”

COL McHenry served as one of the oldest U.S. operating locations in Iraq, established during the first year of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Along with IA and Iraqi police units, Soldiers in 1st Bn., 14th Inf. Regt., 2nd BCT, have seen a drastic decline in violence and increase in public safety, medical health and economic growth, Ulrich said.

“Eleven months ago, our battalion moved into Mo Oscar Bagarrah with the mission to advise, train and assist the (ISF) in providing security for their people,” Ulrich said. “We were not surprised to find that they needed very little assistance and were very competent.”

Col. Michael Pappal, commander, 1st Advise and Assist Task Force, said the transfer of COL McHenry represents ISF’s ability to continue taking full responsibility for the safety and protection of its people.

“The closure of this camp does not signify that we will be pulling away from our advise, train and assist mission with the Iraqi police, the IA and the Regional Guard Bde.,” Pappal said. “Those relationships with our partners in arms will continue and remain strong into the future.”

Ulrich thanked his Iraqi counterparts for their hard work, sacrifices and dedication to Iraq and its people, while training and working with the Golden Dragons.

“It is with great pride that we end our time at Mo Oscar Bagarrah on a high note, surrounded by all our security partners who have the peoples’ best interest in mind,” Ulrich said during the ceremony.

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Category: Deployed Forces, News

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