News: Task Force Marne CG attends 12th Div. IA change of command
Story by Pfc. Jessica Luhrs-Stabile
KIRKUK, Iraq -- Surrounded by his Task Force Marne partners, Maj. Gen. Abul Amier Ridha Mohammed Al-Zaidi, former commander for 12th Division Iraqi Army, bid farewell to his soldiers and partners as Brig. Gen. Sameer Abdul Kareem, assumed command of 12th Div. IA, during a change of command ceremony at the Kirkuk Training Center, April 20.
Distinguished guests of the event included: Task Force Marne Commanding General, Maj. Gen. Tony Cucolo; Task Force Marne Deputy Commanding General Maneuver, Brig. Gen. Patrick J. Donahue, II; Col. Larry Swift, commander of 1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division out of Fort Bliss, Texas; Lt. Col. Charles Freeman, Senior Advisor 12th Military Transition Team; Command Sgt. Maj. James Daniels, command sergeant major 1/1 AD, and Kirkuk provincial senior leaders.
During the ceremony, Cucolo, had much praise to offer Maj. Gen. Amier.
"I would like to bid a fond farewell to my partner and brother- in-arms, Maj. Gen. Amier," said Cucolo, during his speech at the ceremony.
Following his speech Cucolo presented Amier a tangible remembrance of their time together—a Meritorious Service Medal.
This medal is usually presented to senior level leadership for exceptionally meritorious service.
The incoming commander, Sameer commended Amier for a job well done, and the incoming 12th Div. commander also discussed his plans for the future.
"As we are doing now we will fight as one for the city of Kirkuk," said Sameer. "We are almost to the end of this fight against terrorism."
Cucolo assured the incoming IA commander—and new partner— that the U.S. forces would continue to support the IA.
"I would like to make my commitment to the senior leadership of Kirkuk and Brig. Gen. Sameer known, the support of Iraqi security forces and the people of Kirkuk will not waiver," said Cucolo.
Before the end of the ceremony Amier had some final words of advice for the incoming commander.
"You must depend on the citizens of Kirkuk and local authorities to help you fight terrorism, if you do this you will succeed," said Amier.