News: Task Force Geronimo assumes deployment position
Story by 1st Lt. Angela Fry
CAMP ADDER, Iraq – The Louisiana Army National Guard's 2nd Squadron, 108th Cavalry Regiment, headquartered in Shreveport, La., recently assumed their role as Task Force Geronimo at Camp Adder in Iraq.
The task force, commanded by Lt. Col. William Rachal, of Breaux Bridge, La., and Command Sgt. Maj. Albert Vanzant, of Campti, La ., uncased its colors to symbolize the transfer of authority from Oregon's 2nd Battalion, 162nd Infantry Regiment to the Louisiana cavalry squadron, which deployed with the 256th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary).
The unit's primary mission consists of providing convoy escort teams to conduct security during the responsible reduction of U.S. Armed Forces and equipment in Iraq, as mandated by the president.
"Our Troopers are motivated, and ready to assume our convoy security missions," Rachal stressed. "Throughout the TOA process, our Troopers have worked side-by-side with 2/162, benefiting greatly from the wealth of experience they have obtained over the past eight months in theatre."
Rachal continued by explaining the importance of putting to practical use the vast experience the Oregon unit has gained during its deployment.
"Our counterparts have far exceeded my expectations during this process," Rachal said. "Their professionalism and diligence, which has been evident by the success they have achieved, have exerted a positive influence on our ability to transition to the left seat and begin our mission with confidence."
Mobilized, Jan. 5, the 2/108th spent approximately two months at Camp Shelby, Miss., conducting pre-deployment training to prepare for their new mission. Upon arrival to their overseas duty station, they worked alongside members of the 2/162, to assist with the transition into their new role.
"I am pleased with our level of flexibility in the squadron. Over the past year, we have conducted training on our warrior training tasks and battle drills at home station, Camp Beauregard in Pineville, La., and Camp Minden, while sending numerous Troopers to schools to obtain individual proficiency," the squadron commander continued.
Col. Dan Hokanson of Keizer, Ore., 41st Infantry Brigade Combat Team commander, addressed his Troops from the 2-162's Task Force Volunteer formally for the final time in Iraq.
"Over the past 12 months, the Soldiers of Task Force Volunteer established they would not only be the first to assemble, but they would also take the lead," Hokanson said. "Today, as they transfer authority, there are many areas they led to reflect on…from their direct support convoy security missions and the defense of CSC Scania, to their numerous civil-military operations."
"When called upon, they were the first to assemble; and they succeeded at every task they were given," the 41st commander added.
Hokanson ended by providing words of confidence in the troopers of the 2/108th.
"The honor and pride in every mission will now fall into the very capable hands of Lieutenant Colonel Rachal, Command Sergeant Major Vanzant and the Troopers of 2nd Squadron, 108th Cavalry. As part of the 256th Infantry Brigade Combat Team under Colonel Ball and Command Sergeant Major Wagner, I know Task Force Geronimo will take their missions to the next level."
"To the Soldiers of Task Force Geronimo, good luck and Godspeed. To the Soldiers of Task Force Volunteer…well done. It has been an honor to serve with you."