News: Arctic Wolves again provide relief to Dragoons
Story by Spc. Thomas Duval
FORWARD OPERATING BASE LAGMAN, Afghanistan – Two highly decorated Army units gathered in Zabul province to celebrate a momentous occasion May 18 as the 2nd Stryker Cavalry Regiment “Dragoons” relinquished command of the Afghanistan province of Zabul to the Arctic Wolves of 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, during a transfer of authority ceremony.
During the ceremony the 2nd SCR colors where cased signaling the end of a yearlong deployment while the 1/25 SBCT unfurled theirs. This time honored tradition is used to signify the official transfer of authority among the two command groups.
Maj. Gen. James L. Terry, commanding general of Regional Command South, 10th Mountain Division (LI), spoke on the significance of each unit’s sacrifices, as well as their past missions and future challenges.
“Today, partnered patrols, new infrastructure, and an emerging Afghan base of governance and security solutions provide a framework that never previously existed,” Terry said. “Through it all the Dragoons have helped the district provincial government work with representatives to improve governance and development. With Afghan partners they built a foundation for safer and stronger communities that will free them from insurgent influence.
“Due to the Dragoons effort we start this next season in a much better place,” Terry said. “The Dragoons now hand the home field advantage to the Arctic Wolves.”
After honoring the milestones set by the 2nd SCR, Terry turned his attention to the mission that lays ahead for the 1/25 SBCT Arctic Wolves.
“The Arctic Wolves have a proud history reaching all the way back to World War II and coming up through Vietnam and most recently through a year of hard fighting in Iraq,” he continued in his remarks directed to the 1/25 SBCT leaders.
“Welcome to the RC-South team. Col. [Todd] Wood and Command Sgt. Maj. [Bernie] Knight, you are in command of one of the most versatile, powerful, and mobile fighting brigades in the Army, you have a proven history, and have sustained a legacy of combat in the proud 25th Infantry Division, “Tropic Lightning”, and I know you will carry Task Force Dragoons mission forward through the pending fight.”
After the Speech, Col. James Blackburn, 75th Regimental commander of the 2nd Cavalry Regiment, expressed his admiration for his Afghan counterparts and welcomed his successor.
“We are proud to share a common history with the 1/25 SBCT yet once again and we are privileged to serve with such heroes,” said Blackburn.
“The 1st Stryker Brigade is committed to working with the government and leaders to assist the security forces to protect the people of Zabul province and to assist the province in its growth,” Wood said.
Wood and the 1/25 SBCT will operate throughout southern Afghanistan as they establish ever increasing security in order to increase the capacity of the government of Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and mentor the Afghan national security forces. The 1/25 SBCT’s most recent deployment was to Iraq where they also relieved the 2nd SCR.
International Security Assistance Force service members joined the 2nd SCR for a moment of silence to honor soldiers of the regiment who gave the ultimate sacrifice in defense of freedom during their time in southern Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.