News: 41 Infantry Brigade Combat Team honored with Meritorious Unit Citation
WARRENTON, Ore. – The 41 Infantry Brigade Combat Team, Oregon Army National Guard, was awarded a Meritorious Unit Citation at Camp Rilea, in Warrenton, Ore., July 20, in recognition of its subordinate units’ efforts during their July 2009 – April 2010 combat deployment to Baghdad, Iraq.
According to the award narrative, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 41 Infantry Brigade Combat Team, and the 41 Special Troops Battalion ran the Base Defense Operations Center at Victory Base Complex, an area consisting of seven contingency operating bases, one Air Force base, five Iraqi Security Force bases, and Baghdad International Airport. The 41 Special Troops Battalion's subordinate units were tasked with physical security for the base complex as well as convoy security on key routes throughout southern Iraq.
As part of the ceremony, Maj. Gen. Raymond F. Rees, Adjutant General, Oregon, presented the Meritorious Unit Citation streamer to the commander of the 41 IBCT, Col. William Edwards, who in turn affixed the streamer to the brigade guidon.
Addressing the Soldiers in attendance, Rees said, “You represented the Oregon National Guard, the people of Oregon, and our nation in a wonderful fashion. We are extremely proud of everything you have done.”
Edwards praised the units on the 2009-2010 deployment for their ability to adapt to what he considered a non-standard mission. He also stated that 41 IBCT helped shape processes that would be used by follow-on forces conducting operations in Iraq as the draw-down continued.
Capt. Van Zallee, an infantry officer in the 41 IBCT, was on the 2009-2010 deployment. While he said he had initial concerns about going from “feet to wheels” by the end of the pre-deployment training, Zallee said he felt the unit had been trained well for the mission.
Zallee also said one of the challenges of draw-down operations was the adjustment to the new convoy and traffic control procedures to be used when encountering Iraqi drivers on the roadways. On this deployment, operations were adjusted so the Iraqis were provided as much freedom of movement as possible during the day.
“The whole idea was that Iraqi people had lives,” Zallee said, “In order for them to get into a normal routine, we had to conduct our security convoys at night, to try to get them back to that sense of normalcy.”
The July 20 ceremony was the third of seven recognition ceremonies for units of the 41 Infantry Brigade Combat Team, Oregon Army National Guard, that have received the Meritorious Unit Citation. Ceremonies have been conducted for the 1-82 Cavalry Regiment, the 2-218 Field Artillery Battalion, the 1-186 Infantry Battalion, and the 141 Brigade Support Battalion. The 41 Special Troops Battalion ceremony will be conducted in August, and the 2-162 Infantry Battalion ceremony is scheduled to take place in November.
The Meritorious Unit Citation is awarded to units for exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of duties for at least six continuous months during a period of military operations against an armed enemy. While service in a combat zone is not required, the service must be directly related to the combat effort.