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    CJTF-10 Inactivation and RC-East End of Mission Ceremony

    CJTF-10 inactivation and RC-East end of mission ceremony

    Photo By Master Sgt. Kap Kim | Combined Joint Task Force-10 ended their mission in Regional Command-East as it both...... read more read more

    AFGHANISTAN

    11.04.2014

    Story by Master Sgt. Kap Kim 

    Combined Joint Task Force 10

    BAGRAM AIR FIELD, Afghanistan – In its last deployment to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, the 10th Mountain Division, as Combined Joint Task Force-10, ended its mission in Regional Command-East at Bagram Airfield, Nov. 4, as Maj. Gen. Stephen Townsend and Command Sgt. Maj. Ray Lewis cased its colors in preparation to depart for Fort Drum, N.Y., in front of what used to be a 9/11 Memorial: an I beam donated by the people of Breezy Point, N.Y.

    Many of CJTF-10's coalition partners, Afghan National Security Forces counterparts and civilians came to see the last regional command in Afghanistan end the last chapter of OEF.

    "Until a few days ago, amidst the flags of the coalition partners behind me, stood a column from the World Trade Center in New York, a reminder both of the day this conflict began in the United States, and the reason why dedicated warriors and civilians from so many nations have come to the fight in Afghanistan," said U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan James Cunningham.

    Although Maj. Gen. Stephen Townsend, who was the last regional command commander in Afghanistan, is on his way back to Fort Drum, after a 10-month deployment, he admitted to having mixed feelings about leaving Afghanistan.

    “This is definitely a bittersweet day for me,” Townsend said to the attendees. “I’ve deployed to Afghanistan four times, every time to RC-East.”

    Townsend, who in 2001 was the battalion commander for 4th Battalion, 31st Infantry Regiment, 10th Mtn. Div., watched the 9/11 attacks on TV with his Soldiers, said he knew exactly what the events of that day meant for him and his troops. Within a few months after 9/11, he deployed his battalion to Afghanistan as a part of Operation Anaconda.

    “I found myself in Afghanistan with a rifle in my hand,” he told attendees at RC-East’s 9/11 Memorial Ceremony. “Now, 13 years later, here we all are … working together to bring this combat phase of our international effort to a close and begin a new phase of resolute support.”

    He led a battalion task force in 2002 as part of Operation Anaconda, returned as a G3 with the division, served as a deputy commanding general with the 101st, and now, has ended as the last commanding general of RC-East.

    “I’ve seen a lot of change here over the last 13 years,” he said. “The Afghan Security Forces have gone from a rag-tag militia in 2002 to an organized Army and Air Force of over 350,000 which is leading and bearing the brunt of the fight to protect the Afghan people today. I know that they are strong and ready for the future. They have proven their mettle throughout this past year -- a year that saw the ANSF secure elections, run-off elections, and the first-ever peaceful transfer of power in Afghan history.”

    During the last 13 years of combat, many different Army divisions headquartered RC-East such as the 82nd Airborne Division, 25th Infantry Division, 101st Airborne Division, 1st Cavalry Division, 1st Infantry Division and the Southern European Task Force – 15 different commands. Yet, the 10th MTN DIV headquartered RC-East four times. The other deployment was in RC-South in Kandahar Airfield.

    “It was the 10th Mountain Division here at the beginning, and it is fitting that it is the 10th Mountain Division here at the end,” said Townsend. “I’m proud of our Soldiers and our division for all that has been accomplished here.”

    During the final year of OEF, CJTF-10's troops have fought the enemy and provided security force assistance to the ANSF in order to secure the Afghan people and deny provinces of eastern Afghanistan as a safe haven for international terrorists.

    Since Feb. 6, CJTF-10 provided mission command for service members of more than 30 different countries, along with 3rd and 4th brigade combat teams of the 10th MTN DIV; 2nd BCT and 159th Combat Aviation Brigade, 101st Airborne Division; the 3d U.S. Cavalry Regiment; 82nd CAB, 82nd Airborne Division; Task Force White Eagle from the Republic of Poland as well as other U.S. and coalition elements with U.S. and coalition Special Operation Forces, and assisted its ANSF partners in over 2,000 multi-pillar operations and contingency operations to enhance security and stability in the 14 provinces of eastern Afghanistan.

    “As our division gets ready to leave Afghanistan, we leave with fond memories of the time we spent with our Afghan friends and brothers in arms securing Regional Command East,” Townsend said addressing the many Afghan ANSF members in the crowd. “We leave knowing that the Afghan National Security Forces are in the lead, stronger than ever, and ready to secure their country … and we leave knowing that the children of Afghanistan have a much better opportunity for a bright future.”

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    NEWS INFO

    Date Taken: 11.04.2014
    Date Posted: 11.04.2014 11:08
    Story ID: 146925
    Location: AF

    Web Views: 2,485
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