CONTINGENCY OPERATING BASE TAJI, Iraq — The 155th Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) handed its mission over to the 278th Armored Cavalry Regiment, 13th ESC, during a transfer of authority ceremony, March 12, at Contingency Operating Base Taji, Iraq.
The ceremony marked the end of a year-long deployment for the 155th HBCT headquartered in Tupelo, Miss., and the beginning for the 278th ACR out of Knoxville, Tenn.
Col. Knowles Atchison, deputy commander of the 13th ESC, addressed the outgoing and incoming Soldiers at the ceremony.
"[The Soldiers of the 155th] have denied the enemy to reign in its own back yard," said Atchison, a Fort Hood, Texas, resident. "You have given United States Forces — Iraq operational flexibility and freedom to maneuver on their own terrain, and you have done so with an unprecedented skill, style ... and deadly precision."
The 155th completed over 5,800 convoy-escort missions and drove more than 500,000 miles during their deployment. The brigade's Soldiers encountered 79 improvised explosive devices and 72 direct-fire incidents while sustaining minimal damage and no major injuries or loss of life.
Atchison said the 155th did an exceptional job during their deployment and Mississippi is anxiously awaiting their return. He also praised the incoming regiment for the experience they bring to the mission.
"I want to welcome the 278th," said Atchison. "Here for their second tour in Iraq, and with over 60 percent of [them] people who were here before, [you are] a cavalry regiment skilled, trained, experienced and seasoned. You will deny the enemy to reign. You will be the ultimate combat multiplier of the 13th as we provide sustainment all over Iraq. I am proud to serve with you."
Col. William L. Glasgow, the commander of the 155th and a Brookhaven, Miss., native, gave the incoming unit some advice to help them succeed.
"Just remember a couple of important things: enforce the standards, and ... get [Soldiers] from point A to point B safely," said Glasgow. "You [Soldiers] will do a tremendous job. It's going to be different because there is going to be a tremendous withdrawal while you are here."
Col. Jeffrey H. Holmes, the commander of the 278th Armored Cavalry Regiment and a Murfreesboro, Tenn., native, said his unit appreciated the warm reception. He said the 155th need not worry about the 278th or their mission, because they had set up the cavalry regiment for success.
"This is a legacy cavalry mission, gentlemen," said Holmes. "The most vulnerable time during a retrograde operation in a counter-insurgency fight, and we are at that point. [With] 3,400 scouts on the routes, we're going to do our mission. We've got Soldiers [whose] entire career is based on a cavalry mission. We've trained 18 months to be here. We're ready."