News: III Corps uncases colors, begins mission as nucleus of U.S. Forces - Iraq
By Master Sgt. Tim Volkert
CAMP VICTORY, Iraq — When the blue and white caltrop unfurled in the Al Faw Palace rotunda March 13, during a transfer of authority ceremony, III Corps officially assumed its place in the newly-formed U.S. Forces - Iraq.
III Corps, based at Fort Hood, Texas, is the first corps-level unit to begin its tour as a component of USF-I. I Corps, based at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., merged Multi-National Corps — Iraq into the new USF-I organization in January this year.
During the ceremony, Lt. Gen. Robert W. Cone, USF-I deputy commanding general for operations and III Corps commanding general, told his Soldiers that they are now part of United States Forces-Iraq and will be part of a historic moment in both U.S. military history and in the history of Iraq.
"To the Soldiers of the Third Corps, you are now part of a bigger team ... Supporting the mission of USF-I is no small task," he said. "As I have stated at Fort Hood, we are a team of teams and that's no different here. To all of the service members serving in USF-I, you are at the cusp of a historic period. Before us is the opportunity to make a mark in history."
During the ceremony, Gen. Raymond Odierno, USF-I commanding general, said that Cone, Command Sgt. Maj. Arthur L. Coleman Jr., and the Phantom Corps Soldiers return to Iraq at a time of transition and will have a lot of work ahead of them.
"Following the recently completed elections, we are now entering a new phase of the U.S., government or Iraq relationship. And with that, we bring in the Third U.S. Corps led by Lt. Gen. Bob Cone," he said. "Third Corps is no stranger to the Iraqi theater of operations as it makes its third deployment as the operational headquarters here in Iraq. We all know there is much work to be done for you and our increasingly capable Iraqi partners."
As the Phantom Corps Soldiers begin this deployment, Cone said they are ready to join the USF-I team and accomplish the mission before them.
"The Third Corps team stands ready," he said. "We are fully integrated in to the USF-I staff and prepared for the challenges ahead."