News: 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 17th Fires Brigade transfer authority
By Maj. Alan S. Brown
CONTINTGINCY OPERATING BASE BASRA, Iraq - The 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, deployed out of Fort Carson, Colo., assumed the advise and assist mission in Basra province from 17th Fires Brigade June 17, during a transfer of authority ceremony at Contingency Operating Base Basra.
Taking over the mission in Basra will be 1st Battalion, 68th Armor Regiment, 3rd BCT, 4th Inf. Div. After deploying in March, the 1st Bn., 68th Armor Regt. has worked alongside the 17th FIB to learn its mission and begin developing relationships with Iraqi forces that will be necessary for the advise and assist mission.
The 3rd BCT, 4th Inf. Div. “Iron Brigade” is now responsible for providing training and assistance to Iraqi forces in four of Iraq’s 18 provinces.
Maj. Gen. Vincent Brooks, commander of the 1st Infantry Diviison and United States Division-South, headquartered at COB Basra, noted the significance of the 3rd BCT assuming responsibility for a fourth province.
“This reduces the number of U.S. combat capable brigades in the south from three to two, and their roles are to advise and assist the Iraqis in achieving enduring stability,” Brooks said.
During the ceremony, Col. James Rainey, commander of 3rd BCT, 4th Inf. Div., acknowledged the accomplishments of the 17th FIB and pledged to continue to build upon them.
“I promise you that the Soldiers of the ‘Iron Brigade’ will continue to work hard in advising and assisting our great partners of the Iraqi Security Forces, as they provide security for the people,” he said. “Much work remains, but success is clearly attainable.”
Col. Steven Bullimore, commander of 17th FIB, said the people of Basra have openly embraced his unit in friendship, and Basra has made tremendous progress with its security and economic development.
“The world now comes here to do business. The whole world watches Basra to see how it adjusts to the attention and to the challenge,” said Bullimore.