News: Long Knife soldiers complete their New Dawn mission in Iraq
By: Spc. Angel Turner
4th Advise and Assist Brigade Public Affairs
1st Cavalry Division, U.S. Division-North
CONTINGENCY OPERATING SITE MAREZ, Iraq - After completing a year-long deployment to Iraq, soldiers assigned to 4th Advise and Assist Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division, cased their colors during a transfer of authority ceremony at Contingency Operating Site Marez, Sept. 4.
“Long Knife” troopers began their deployment to northern Iraq in support of Operation New Dawn Sept. 1, 2010, and the transfer of authority to 4th AAB, 1st Armor Division, marks the formal completion of their mission.
Long Knife soldiers officially assumed authority of the mission in Ninewa, Dahuk and Irbil provinces, Oct. 18, 2010, from 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division. The provinces, which include the major population centers of Tal’ Afar and Mosul, are home to more than four million people and cover an area similar in size to West Virginia.
The Long Knife Brigade deployed to Ninewa previously during Operation Iraqi Freedom from 2005 to 2007.
“As you leave Ninewa, there are two things which stand out, and I think are indicative of your tour here in Ninewa and indicative of the unit in general. They are what you accomplished and how you did it,” said Maj. Gen. David Perkins, commanding general of U.S. Division–North and 4th Infantry Division.
As part of their advise, train and assist mission, Long Knife soldiers trained Iraqi security forces and helped them modernize their light infantry tactics at the all-inclusive Ghuzlani Warrior Training Center.
They also provided basic and specialized training to the 3rd Federal Police Division and the 102nd Field Artillery Regiment, 2nd Iraqi Army Division, which recently formed and began training with M198, 105mm towed howitzers.
In addition to the specialized training 4th AAB soldiers provided, they also conducted training for Iraqi security forces and Kurdish security forces at combined security areas, which helped prevent conflict in the province’s disputed internal boundaries.
“As we depart, if I had to sum up how we feel as an organization in a single word, it would be confident,” said Col. Brian Winski, commander of 4th AAB, 1st Cavalry Division.
“We leave confident that the Iraqi army forces we trained with now have a foundation of traditional military capabilities which they will continue to build upon as they defend against and defeat external threats,” added Winski, a native of Milwaukee.
Perkins added that the heritage 4th AAB, 1st Cavalry Division, leaves behind is well documented and noticed. “[Col. Winski] as you and the sergeant major leave here today and head back to Fort Hood, know that you and your soldiers have left a large legacy here, dramatically improved security here in Ninewa, and conversely throughout the rest of Iraq as it is linked in.”
Now that the Long Knife troopers have completed their mission in northern Iraq, “Highlander” soldiers of the 4th AAB, 1st Armored Div., have the responsibility of transferring COS Marez to Iraqi security forces as part of the drawdown of the U.S. presence in Iraq.