Maintenance window scheduled to begin at February 14th 2200 est. until 0400 est. February 15th


Forgot Password?

    Defense Visual Information Distribution Service Logo

    Highlanders assume Ninewa mission

    Highlanders assume Ninewa mission

    Courtesy Photo | Col. Scott McKean (left) and Command Sgt. Maj. Thomas Eppler, command team, 4th Advise...... read more read more



    Courtesy Story

    United States Division-North

    By: Spc. Brandon A. Bednarek
    4th Advise and Assist Brigade, Public Affairs
    1st Armored Division, U.S. Division-North

    CONTINGENCY OPERATING SITE MAREZ, Iraq - As the U.S. remains committed to reposturing their forces in Iraq, a significant transition is redefining the relationship between Iraq and the U.S.
    In eight years, American forces have gone from full-fledged combat operations, to advising, training and assisting Iraqi forces, to officially handing over bases, in accordance with the security agreement.

    A similar transition is also occurring between two U.S. Army brigades in Iraq.

    For the past year, soldiers with 4th Advise and Assist Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division, worked to accomplish their mission in support of Operation New Dawn. The “Long Knife” soldiers assumed the mission of advising, training and assisting Iraqi security forces in and around Ninewa province October 18, 2010.

    The purpose of the ATA mission was to improve Iraqi security forces’ capabilities and enable them to defend Iraq and its people from both internal and external threats.

    Training such as Tadreeb al Shamil, Arabic for all-inclusive training, focused on teaching the Iraqi army the individual tasks critical to their respective jobs. Once the individual tasks were mastered, ISF learned a number of unit-level collective tasks.

    As 2011 began, Long Knife soldiers led ISF training. A majority of this training was conducted within COS Marez at the Ghuzlani Warrior Training Center. Over the course of the next seven months, Iraqis assumed the lead in the conduct of all training, enabling Long Knife soldiers the opportunity to take on an advisory role, assisting if necessary.

    In July, GWTC hosted the culminating event of Operation Iron Lion: a capstone exercise which demonstrated cooperation between all ISF agencies.

    With the Long Knife mission now complete, a new brigade has stepped in, ready to conduct their mission with “Strength and Honor.”

    The “strength and honor” motto is a symbolic reference to “Highlanders,” 4th AAB, 1st Armored Division, who officially assumed responsibility of the OND mission in Ninewa province during a transfer of authority ceremony Sept. 4 at Contingency Operating Site Marez, Iraq.

    The histories of both brigades are intimately intertwined. The 4th Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, which was activated in October 2005 from Fort Bliss, Texas, was first deployed to Iraq in 2006 and again in 2008.

    Upon returning to Fort Bliss from their second deployment, the unit was reflagged as 4th Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division, and 4th BCT, 1st Cavalry Division, was then reassigned to Fort Hood, Texas.

    The ceremony marks the second time in their lineage that the “Long Knife” Brigade has transferred authority to the “Highlanders” while deployed in Iraq. The first occurred in 2009 while deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

    “The Long Knife and Highlander brigades have been bonded since our inception, and many of our soldiers have served within each BCT’s ranks,” said Col. Scott McKean, Highlander commander.

    Since arriving in early August, Highlander soldiers have spent the weeks performing a relief-in-place with their cavalry counterparts. The process, intended to seamlessly interchange two units, occurs when an incoming unit is scheduled to replace another.

    “We’re making sure the systems they had in place remain operational, and making sure all of our staff has the same situational awareness,” said Command Sgt. Maj. Thomas Eppler, senior non-commissioned officer with 4th AAB, 1st Armored Division.

    The mission that lies ahead for the Highlanders is one of great importance, but also one of constant change. Flexibility and discipline will be an essential component to successfully maintain the course to success, said Mckean.

    “We will put forth every effort to create flexibility and opportunities for our leaders,” he added. “We will ensure that our mission is done with the highest level of discipline and professionalism.”

    With a combined seven Iraq tours, and well more than 40 years of military experience, both McKean and Eppler are experienced soldiers, looking forward to leading their brigade to a successful mission.

    “We will ensure success with honor,” said McKean.



    Date Taken: 09.07.2011
    Date Posted: 09.07.2011 02:49
    Story ID: 76551

    Web Views: 468
    Downloads: 0