News: 17th Fires Brigade assumes command in Basra
Story by 1st Lt. Christopher Dunphy
CONTENGENCY OPERATING BASE BASRA, IRAQ — Col. Steven L. Bullimore accepted command of U.S. military operations in Basra Province from Col. Butch Kievenaar in a transfer of authority ceremony on Contingency Operating Base Basra, Aug. 27.
Bullimore serves as commander of 17th Fires Brigade, an artillery brigade based at Fort Lewis, Wash., while Kievenaar commands the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division. The 2nd BCT returns to its home station at Fort Carson, Colo. after 12 months in Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
After the invocation by 2nd BCT chaplain, Lt. Col. John L. Kallerson, the casing of the 2nd BCT's guidon and the uncasing of the incoming command's colors, distinguished visitor Brig. Gen. David J. Elicerio, deputy commanding general of operations, Multi-National Division - South, approached the podium and spoke of the two brigade's achievements and proud lineage.
"It is an honor to stand before two such distinguished formations for today's transfer of authority," he said. "From the trenches of World War I to the beaches of Normandy in World War II and on to the jungles of Vietnam, each of our units has served the nation with honor. Now, as we write the final chapters of this great effort, you will be long remembered by the Iraqi people as bringing peace and lasting stability."
Elicerio spoke about 2nd BCT's close relationships with their Basra counterparts in the 14th Iraqi Army Division and their long-sustained efforts in coordinating provincial security with the Iraqi Police and Department of Border Enforcement.
He also expressed the division's confidence in the 17th FB's ability to continue the important partnership with local Basra leadership and the Provincial Reconstruction Team in promoting economic growth and ensuring regional stability.
"I look to the Thunderbolts to provide unique leadership and mentorship in order to further security and establish more collaborative practices throughout Basra," Elicerio said. "I am confident that you will model successful partnerships."
After remarks by Elicerio and Kievenaar, Bullimore took the opportunity to thank the 2nd BCT leadership for their guidance and assistance as the 17th FB prepared for command.
"It is a privilege to accept this mission hand-off with the Warhorse Brigade," he said. "We appreciate the time and effort you and your leaders have expended to ensure we clearly understand the mission and what your team has accomplished to get to this point in the very southern tip of Iraq."
Bullimore also pledged his brigade's readiness and enthusiasm in working with Basra Province's Iraqi leadership in the months ahead.
"The Thunderbolt Brigade is excited to have the opportunity to work with these great leaders for the security and prosperity of the Iraqi people," he said. "Our Soldiers have trained hard to prepare for this and they are fully capable of accomplishing this mission. We stand ready in partnership with our Iraqi brothers."