News: 1st Cavalry Div. takes Regional Command-South reins from 4th Inf. Div.
KANDAHAR AIRFIELD, Afghanistan – America’s First Team took charge of Regional Command-South from the “Steadfast and Loyal” Ivy Division in a transfer of authority ceremony on Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan, July 7, 2014.
Maj. Gen. Paul J. LaCamera, commanding general of 4th Infantry Div., Combined Joint Task Force 4, handed over command authority of RC-S to Maj. Gen. Michael A. Bills, commanding general of 1st Cavalry Div. and CJTF-1.
As part of the ceremony, the colors of the 4th Inf. Div. were furled and cased, while the 1st Cav. Div. colors were unfurled, symbolically signifying the transfer of authority.
“We assume authority here today knowing that Combined Joint Task Force 4 has set the best possible conditions for the transition, and the First Team is ready to continue that important work,” Bills said. “Gen. LaCamera, you’ve set the bar high and I personally thank you and your Soldiers for setting us up for success.”
Lt. Gen. Joseph Anderson, commanding general of International Security Assistance Force Joint Command, presided over the event and gave thanks to both the outgoing and incoming divisions and explained the near-future change in mission for RC-South from Operation Enduring Freedom to Operation Resolute Support.
“Today is another historic day as we transition Regional Command-South, as we know it, for the final time,” Anderson said. “Like so many other changes occurring across Afghanistan, we will soon transition this headquarters from a Regional Command to a Train, Advise, and Assist Command, thereby ushering in a new era of our long conflict here in Afghanistan.
“The groundwork has now been laid for RC-South’s transition. The conditions are set for coalition forces to provide a functionally-based security force assistance to the Afghan National Security Forces,” Anderson said. “And the Afghans are now carrying the fight to the enemy.”
During his speech, Maj. Gen. Abdul Hamid, commanding general of 205th Corps, Afghan National Army, said the departure of the 4th Inf. Div. demonstrates that the Afghans are truly in the lead.
“With the assistance of ISAF, the Afghan National Security Forces have reached a tipping point of irreversible momentum, meaning we are prepared to begin assuming all security requirements in Regional Command-South,” he said.
Anderson highlighted a number of milestones that RC-S and 4th Inf. Div. accomplished during the last year.
“Over the past 12 months, RC-South has supported the ANSF in relentlessly pursuing the enemy, resulting in the killing or capture of nearly 3,000 insurgents, the clearance of nearly 500 weapons caches, the seizure of thousands of kilograms of explosives, and enemy-initiated attacks are 40 percent lower than what they were only a year ago,” Anderson said.
In his closing remarks, LaCamera expressed his sentiment for his Afghan counterparts and the new team.
“To my Afghan brothers: congratulations on your many victories. I pray for your losses, and for a speedy recovery of your wounded,” he said. “More importantly, I pray God’s blessing on you and your countrymen every day.
“The fight is far from over and Gen. Mike Bills is the right man for the job to carry us on to Resolute Support,” he added. “I wish the First Team all the best and God’s blessing as they continue the fight, and to train, advise and assist our Afghan brothers.”