News: Spartans take Command in Eastern Afghanistan
Story by Pfc. Andrya Hill
FORWARD OPERATING BASE SALERNO, Afghanistan — With an atmosphere of mixed emotions vibrating through the crowd of Soldiers, Airmen, civilians and well wishers, the Soldiers of 4th Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division say their final farewell. The Brigade handed over the reins of authority to the paratroopers of 4th Brigade Combat Team (Airborne), 25th Infantry Division, lead by Col. Michael Howard, during a transfer of authority ceremony that was held March 19 at Forward Operating Base Salerno, Afghanistan.
During the past year, the provinces of Paktya, Paktika and Khowst were under the command of the 4th Brigade Combat Team, 101st Infantry Division lead by Col. John "Pete" Johnson.
Under his command, these provinces flourished and violence declined and the Soldiers of Currahee greatly influenced their Afghan counterparts.
During his speech, Johnson offered words of wisdom to the new brigade, inspiring them to focus on the task at hand, execute their goals, and pass on a greater Afghanistan next year.
"I look forward to the day we can return, as tourists with our children, to witness the fruits of our shared labor," Johnson said, addressing the distinguished Afghan guests, elders, commanders, and governors who attended the ceremony.
The immense progress made by the Currahee encourages the Spartans as they embark on their year-long mission.
Howard echoed Johnson's words and expressed his determination to the Afghan audience.
"I am committed to partnering with you. I am committed to mutual respect. I am committed to Afghanistan," he said. "I believe in the way the Currahee have done business for the past year in their side-by-side operations with you, and you should expect no less from my team."
Howard, who is currently serving his fourth tour in Afghanistan, is confident that the Spartans will succeed in their mission. The 4-25th will continue the counter-insurgency operations, and maintain the partnerships and programs founded by their predecessors.
"We're excited to be here, and look forward to working together to make Khowst, Paktya, and Paktika better places for future generations. I look forward to a brighter future together."