News: 20th Engineer Brigade assumes engineer responsibilities in Iraq
Story by 1st Lt. Lamario Thomas
JOINT BASE BALAD, Iraq – The 20th Engineer Brigade of Fort Bragg, N.C., assumed authority from the 36th Engineer Brigade of Fort Hood, Texas, during a transfer of authority ceremony that took place on Feb. 9, 2011, here at Joint Base Balad.
The 20th Eng. Bde., now known as Joint Task Force Castle, serves as the Theater Engineer Brigade which is the command and control element for all Army and Air Force engineer units throughout Iraq in support of Operation New Dawn. The brigade will also continue the mission of training Iraqi Army engineers, thereby building capacity in the Iraqi Army and ensuring that they are prepared to manage their country’s engineer requirements well into the future.
At the TOA Ceremony, Col. Kent Savre, commander of the 36th Eng. Bde., and a native of Edina, Minn., spoke about some of the accomplishments made by his team during their tenure in Iraq and shared his thoughts on how he foresaw the end result of the work of the two brigades. “I sincerely believe we are on course to set the conditions for an enduring strategic partnership with a sovereign, stable, self-reliant, and unified Iraq…”
The 36th Eng. Bde. returns to Fort Hood, Texas, and resumes duties as the engineer brigade for III Corps.
Col. Rick Kaiser, a Milwaukee, Wis. native, and commander of the 20th Eng. Bde., said that he was honored to continue the job begun by the 36th Eng. Bde.
Kaiser stated, “It is humbling to be here today and accept the tremendous honor and responsibility as the last Eng. Bde. to serve in Operation New Dawn.”
Having served in Iraq as part of a multinational response to the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in 1990, and as the corps level engineer headquarters during Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2004, and again in 2007; the 20th Eng. Bde., has extensive experience in Iraq. Task Force Castle major units include the Air Force’s 467th Expeditionary Prime Beef Squadron, the 326th Eng. Bn., Headquarters and Headquarters Company 20th Eng. Bde., and an assortment of other specialty engineer units.
Described by Savre as being “extremely capable,” the 20th will conduct numerous and various missions during their deployment. Among other things, the brigade will handle construction, prime power operations, bridge recovery, route clearance duties, and advise, train, assist, and equip for the Iraqi Army in the areas of construction, logistics, and strategic bridging capability.
Kaiser thanked Savre and his team for the “great transition,” between the two units over the past two weeks. He also summed up the day’s events with a promise.
“Today represents both progress and promise and as we progress forward to the culmination of Operation New Dawn, rest assured that while indeed, we may never pass this way again, the 20th Eng. Bde. will certainly do as much good as we can do…that is my promise.”
The 20th Eng. Bde. is well postured to continue to build on the great works of its predecessors and carry on the great reputation of both the 20th Eng. Bde. and the Engineer Regiment.