News: It's all business as Navy commander takes over during TOA
Story by Spc. Maurice Galloway
COB BASRA, Iraq — Cmdr. Byran M. Cochran, U.S. Navy, Task Group 56.4 assumed command of U.S. Naval operations in Basra province from Cmdr. Patrick T. Britt, U.S. Navy, Riverine Squadron 2, in a transfer of authority ceremony on Contingency Operating Base Basra Nov. 15.
As the boatswain's mate rang the bell to announce the arrival of the official party, Col. Steven L. Bullimore, 17th Fires Brigade, commanding officer of U.S. military operations in Basra province, took to the stage, followed by Britt and finally Cochran.
After the invocation given by Chap. (Lt.) Jeff Augustin, RIVRON Three, Bullimore approached the podium and commended RIVRON Two on successfully completing their mission and securing the waterways in southern.
"Personally, and I think I speak for much of the team on this, we are going to miss RIVRON Two," said Bullimore. "Cmdr. Britt and Master Chief Lees, your attitude and work ethic have impacted the entire Brigade task force. You have been an integral part of our team and a real game changer in Basrah province."
Bullimore commented on RIVRON Two's adaptability and intuition as key components to the substantial reduction of miscreants' indirect fire attempts in the southern tip of Iraq.
The Thunderbolt commander closed his remarks on the well earned rest and reset that Britt's Riverines will be enjoying soon.
"Ty Britt, the exceptional work that you and your sailors have performed in such a short period of time is well deserving of all the accolades that come your way," Bullimore said. "But what I appreciated most was your gung ho attitude and energetic methods in approaching every mission; those were infectious to everyone who came in contact with RIVRON."
The 17th FB commander spoke of developing the same great relationship with Cochran and his sailors as they conduct operations on the Basrah waterways.
With bitter sweet feeling, RIVRON Two's commander delivered his final remarks as commanding officer of naval operations in Basrah province.
"It's another 'Great' day to be a Riverine," said the Brandon, Miss., native.
The phase was one he had used in each of his update briefs with Bullimore.
"We approached this assignment to Basrah province with great anticipation," he said. "Not knowing the area or what would be required of our team contributed to excitement of the assignment."
Britt joked about the how frequently the RIVRON name was confused, being called 'River-On'. He also teased that the key to gaining acceptance in the Army community was to work the term 'HOOAH' into every conversation at least five times.
"It has been an honor and privilege to serve side by side with an Army unit that is as professional as they are competent," said Britt. "We wish the continued success of the 17th FB in their mission to increase the capabilities of the Iraqi Security Forces and interdict the insurgency efforts of militants."
In his closing statements Britt addressed the incoming commander, noting his clear vision and focused determination as an indication of success.
"Bryan, you have a great team and it is our honor to share the name 'Riverine' with your guys," said Britt. "It's clear you came in with a passion for the mission. I'm confident that same passion will lead to a more stable and secure environment in Iraq."
Britt took the opportunity to invite Bullimore back up to podium to present him with a wooden plaque in remembrance of RIVRON Two. As the two gentlemen returned to their seats, the master of ceremonies welcomed Cochran to the stage.
When Cochran, from Atlanta approached the podium to deliver his speech the resounding words he uttered stole the show.
"Hooyah Men. Let's get to work." .