By Spc. Cynthia S. Teears
11th Public Affairs Detachment
TIKRIT, Iraq- Headquarters, Headquarters Company, 111th Engineer Brigade relinquished command of the engineering portion of Task Force Iron, Multi-National Division - North, to Headquarters, Headquarters Company, 18th Engineer Brigade in a ceremony, May 29, at Contingency Operating Base Speicher.
The Soldiers of HHC, 111th Eng. Bde., who deployed August 2007, have conducted route clearance, main support route and alternate support route maintenance, security operations and combat based construction.
"The engineers are the savior of everyone," said Maj. Gen. Mark P. Hertling, the commander, Task Force Iron MND-N. "The Sappers (a term referring to engineers) of MND-North are responsible for, as I understand,...the construction of 82 combat outposts, four Joint Security Stations and the route clearance of thousands of miles,"
Quoting a Soldier, Hertling said, "It's like going to the moon and back several times."
The engineer brigade has done many things to improve the living conditions for our own Soldiers and for the citizens of Iraq, said Col. Melvin L. Burch, the commander, 111th Eng. Bde. They have built many bridges, bypasses, contingency operating bases, joint security stations and control points.
"It has been an honor and a privilege to serve alongside the many great warriors here as part of this team," said Burch. "You have made roads safe for our forces and also for the citizens of Iraq. You have improved the quality of life for our Soldiers."
The brigade has also made a considerable impact on U.S. relations with the Iraqi people.
"Your partnership with Iraqi engineers has been inspirational to them and will enable them to take an even greater role in claiming freedom for their country," Burch said.
Burch also congratulated his Soldiers, on a job well done.
"You did as your forefathers did at Lexington and Concord," Burch said. "You laid down the tools of your trade and picked up your weapons and went to continue the battle for freedom in another land. You've made a significant impact to this country and its peoples. You have truly lived up to our motto of 'Minute Men for Freedom.' I will never be able to thank you for all your great efforts, just an outstanding performance."
During the ceremony there was also a casing of colors for HHC, 111th Eng. Bde. and the uncasing of colors for HHC, 18th Eng. Bde.
Col. Matthew H. Russell, the commander, 18th Eng. Bde., thanked everyone with the 111th Eng. Bde. for making this relief in place, and transfer of authority, an extremely successful event.
"The 18th Engineer Brigade will always remember your professionalism, your dedication, determination, and devotion to ensure that your sister brigade got it right," Russell said. "Got it right before you departed, so that we can continue to enhance the work you have done. Thanks again it was truly our pleasure."
Russell commended his Soldiers and encouraged them for their missions to come.
"I am proud of each and every one of you," said Russell. "Proud that you chose this way of life, be it for a short time or a lifetime."
Hertling's closing remarks summed up his gratitude to the outgoing and encouragement for the incoming.
This work, Engineer's transfer authority, by PFC Cynthia Teears Van Cleve, identified by DVIDS, is free of known copyright restrictions under U.S. copyright law.