News: 3rd Brigade Combat Team assumes responsibility of fourth province Basra
Story by Maj. Alan Brown
CONTINTGINCY OPERATING BASE BASRA, Iraq - The 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, of Fort Carson, Colo., assumed the advise and assist mission in Basra province from the 17th Fires Brigade June 17 during a transfer of authority ceremony at Contingency Operating Base Basra.
Assuming the mission in Basra will be 1st Battalion, 68th Armor Regiment, 3rd BCT, 4th Inf. Div. After deploying in March, the 1st Bn., 68th AR has worked alongside the 17th FIB to learn its mission and begin developing relationships with Iraqi forces that will be necessary for the advise and assist mission.
The 3rd BCT, 4th Inf. Div. “Iron Brigade” now is responsible for providing training and assistance to Iraqi forces throughout the provinces of Basra, Dhi Qar, Maysan and Muthanna.
In his address during the ceremony, Maj. Gen. Vincent Brooks, commander, United States Division South, headquartered at COB Basra, noted the significance of the 3rd BCT assuming responsibility for a fourth province.
“This reduces the number of U.S. combat capable brigades in the south from three to two, and their roles are to advise and assist the Iraqis in achieving enduring stability,” said Brooks.
During the ceremony, Col. James Rainey, commander, 3rd BCT, 4th Inf. Div., acknowledged the accomplishments of the 17th FIB and pledged to continue to build upon them.
“I promise you that the Soldiers of the Iron Brigade will continue to work hard in advising and assisting our great partners of the Iraqi security forces, as they provide security for the people,” he said. “Much work remains, but success is clearly attainable.”
Col. Steven Bullimore, commander, 17th FIB, said during the ceremony that the people of Basra have openly embraced his unit in friendship. He added that Basra has made tremendous progress with its security and economic development.
“The world now comes here to do business. The whole world watches Basra to see how it adjusts to the attention and to the challenge,” said Bullimore.
Rainey highlighted the fact that a battalion is now able to do the mission that used to be assigned to a brigade. This change is a direct reflection of the rapidly growing capabilities and professionalism of the Iraqi security forces, he said.
The people of Basra are entirely in the lead providing for the security, stability and sovereignty of their province, said Rainey.
This is the 3rd BCT’s fourth deployment to Iraq. The brigade last served in East Baghdad for 15 months before returning home to Ft. Carson, where it spent 13 months refitting and retraining before deploying to southern Iraq in March.