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    1st Battalion, 320th FA Regiment transfers security of BAF to the Georgian 51st Light Infantry

    1st Battalion, 320th FA Regiment transfers security of BAF to the Georgian 51st Light Infantry

    Photo By Sgt. Ariel Solomon | Lt. Col. Koba Grigolia, commander of the Georgian Army’s 51st Light Infantry...... read more read more



    Story by Spc. Ariel Solomon 

    U.S. Forces Afghanistan

    BAGRAM AIR FIELD, Afghanistan – The security of Bagram Air Field was officially transferred from 1st Battalion, 320th Field Artillery Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division, to the Georgian army’s 51st Light Infantry Battalion and 2nd Squadron, 3rd Cavalry Regiment, at Bagram Air Field, Afghanistan, Nov. 1, 2014.

    Approximately 700 Georgian soldiers, as well as Troopers from 2nd Squadron 3rd Cavalry Regiment, will work together to ensure the safety of the airfield, partnering with Afghan National Security Forces to build a secure area around the base.

    The 40-minute ceremony consisted of a simple casing of the 1-320th colors and the uncasing of the 51st Light Infantry colors, as well as speeches by the outgoing and incoming commanders.

    "I'm very proud to be a part of it with our team," said Lt. Col. Koba Grigolia, commander of the Georgian 51st Light Infantry. "I know we're already working very well with 2/3 CR. I look forward to a successful mission and eventually being able to go home with everyone safely."

    The 1-320th FA Regiment completed a nine-month tour in Afghanistan, during which they worked to leave the area better than they received it for their replacements. They helped develop Afghan National Security Forces in the area, working with the Afghan National Army and Afghan National Police, as well as the National Directorate of Security.

    "When we first took this mission, we did not have an ANSF partnered force," said Lt. Col. Mark Sherkey, a native of Machipongo, Virginia, and commander of 1st Battalion, 320th FA Regiment.

    "We are turning over ANA, ANP and NDS partnerships to the 2/3 CR. We've started the groundwork for partnered operations. I believe, going forward, Lt. Col. James and his team will be able to leverage that capability and continue to expand on it."

    U.S. Marines with the Georgian Deployment Program advise and assist the Georgian infantry in their mission and will go on side-by-side patrols with the Georgians as they defend Bagram, according to Marine Lt. Col. Peter Lang, a native of Rochester, New York, officer in charge of Georgian Deployment Program International Security Assistance Force Rotation 14 team.

    "We had a great ‘left seat, right seat’ with the 1st of the 320th Field Artillery Regiment and I think the Georgians are looking forward to working with 2/3 CR in the Bagram security zone," said Lang. "I know we had a great turnover with all the key leaders in the area... we met with all the local leaders to build our ANSF partners and local government so they can take the lead."

    With the 51st settled into their new role defending Bagram and authority officially transferred, the last of the 1-320th prepare to leave the dust of Afghanistan behind.

    "All of my men except for five have already redeployed," said Sherkey. "They're excited. They've worked hard. It’s been a high operation tempo for nine months and it's time for their earned rest and to get them to their families."



    Date Taken: 11.01.2014
    Date Posted: 11.03.2014 00:43
    Story ID: 146809
    Location: BAGRAM AIR FIELD, AF 
    Hometown: MACHIPONGO, VA, US
    Hometown: ROCHESTER, NY, US

    Web Views: 418
    Downloads: 1