‘Golden Dragons’ return post to Government of Iraq

| June 10, 2011 | 0 Comments
Lt. Col. Andrew Ulrich, commander, 1st Bn., 14th Inf. Regt., “Golden Dragons,” 2nd BCT, 25th ID, addresses soldiers assigned to 47th Bde., 12th IA Div., during the COL Gaines Mills transfer ceremony in Kirkuk province, Iraq, June 1.

Lt. Col. Andrew Ulrich, commander, 1st Bn., 14th Inf. Regt., “Golden Dragons,” 2nd BCT, 25th ID, addresses soldiers assigned to 47th Bde., 12th IA Div., during the COL Gaines Mills transfer ceremony in Kirkuk province, Iraq, June 1.

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

CONTINGENCY OPERATING SITE WARRIOR, Iraq — U.S. forces officially returned Contingency Operating Location Gaines Mills to the Government of Iraq during a transfer ceremony in Kirkuk province, Iraq, June 1.

Lt. Col. Andrew Ulrich, commander, 1st Battalion, 14th Infantry Regiment, “Golden Dragons,” 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, officially signed over stewardship of the compound to Col. Kalaid, executive officer, 47th Bde., 12th Iraqi Army Div.

Kalaid thanked Soldiers of 1st Bn., 14th Inf. Regt., 2nd BCT, and all the other units that served at COL Gaines Mills during recent years, for their support and friendship.

“We remember today, the circumstances our Soldiers went through together,” said Kalaid. “During counterterrorism operations and training, you stood by us. Also by providing logistical support and intelligence, the American Soldiers have assisted us greatly and shown that they are true friends.”

The return of COL Gaines Mills, known as Tal Awar, to Iraqi Security Forces, or ISF, serves as a symbol of the ISF’s readiness to train and conduct operations independently, Ulrich said, during the transfer ceremony.

“We are very sad today to leave Tal Awar,” Ulrich told ISF soldiers. “It has been our home away from home for the past year now, but we hope you enjoy it for many years to come.”

Golden Dragon Soldiers are the last U.S. forces assigned to COL Gaines Mills; they worked closely with Iraqi troops occupying the rest of the base and assisted them during partnered security operations near Kirkuk.

As U.S. forces transitioned to an advise, train and assist role during Operation New Dawn, Soldiers shifted their focus to the professional development of their Iraqi counterparts, said 1st Sgt. Craig Buck, senior enlisted leader, Company C, 1st Bn., 14th Inf. Regt., 2nd BCT.

“(The Iraqis) are already handling most operations on their own,” Buck said. “I give all the credit for the success of our mission to my Soldiers, especially my platoon sergeants, who were out there training the Iraqis every day.

“Turning this place over is a boost of confidence to the Iraqi soldiers,” he continued “It signifies a change, not only a change in the property books but (in) the confidence that the Iraqi populace has in its army.”

Ulrich said U.S. Soldiers will continue to train and work with Iraqi units for the duration of OND.

“Every day we spend working together makes us better,” Ulrich said. “Whether it’s training or fighting insurgents, we learn from each other. I hope for a continued, long-lasting relationship between the people and the army of Iraq, and the people and Army of the U.S.”

“We will stay loyal to the people and give our hearts and bodies to making a strong Iraq,” Kalaid said.

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Category: Deployed Forces, News

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