By Pfc. Amanda McBride
4th BCT, 3rd Inf. Div. PAO
FORWARD OPERATING BASE KALSU, Iraq – The 4th Brigade Combat Team (Airborne), 25th Infantry Division, Fort Richardson, Alaska, officially handed over operations of Forward Operating Base Kalsu and its surrounding areas to the 4th Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, Fort Stewart, Ga., in a transfer of authority ceremony held at the 4th Brigade Quad Courtyard, Saturday.
The paratroopers from the 4th BCT (Abn.), 25th Inf. Div. deployed to Iraq in October 2006 and have participated in combat operations in Anbar, Baghdad, south Baghdad, Babil, Najaf, Karbala, Diwaniyah and along the Saudi Arabian border.
During the ceremony, Maj. Gen. Rick Lynch, commanding general of Multi-National Division - Center, showed appreciation for the dedication that the Spartan Brigade showed during its tour in Iraq.
"Today we celebrate one of the most magnificent brigade combat teams in the United States Army," Lynch said. "The 4th Brigade of the 25th Infantry Division led from the front and achieved measurable success over the last 15 months.
"As I go back to the battlefield, I look in AO Spartan, it's amazing to me (to see) the progress.
"You can walk through the streets of Jurf as Sahkr wearing a patrol cap and seeing 48 shops open; you can go to JSS Iskan in Hasawa and see the magnificent progress being made."
The TOA marks the official start of the Vanguard Brigade mission in Iraq. It is also the start of the brigade's second deployment in the support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
"We are honored to join Task Force Marne, the Iraqi security forces and the Iraqi people in their efforts to secure their homeland," said Col. Thomas James, commander of the 4th Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division.
Prior to the TOA, individual Soldiers in the Vanguard Brigade had the opportunity to transition with their counterparts from the Spartan Brigade to ensure the overall transition from one unit to the next went smoothly.
The ceremony was marked by the traditional uncasing of the colors by Soldiers from the Vanguard and Spartan Brigades.