CAMP LEMONNIER, Djibouti — U.S. soldiers with 1st Combined Arms Battalion, 63rd Armor Regiment, 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, transferred authority to the “Vanguards” of the 1st Combined Arms Battalion, 18th Infantry Regiment in an outdoor ceremony at Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti, Dec. 14, 2013.
U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Terry Ferrell, commanding general of Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa, presided over the ceremony.
“(The 1/63rd soldiers) have set a new standard,” he said. “Your battalion has been phenomenal, and I appreciate what all the leaders, from private to lieutenant colonel, have done during your deployment.”
“You have accomplished things no one else has done on this continent as a U.S. force, and you have developed relationships with our partner nations,” Ferrell added.
The 1/63rd was the first unit to deploy under the Defense Department’s new initiative of regionally aligned forces. The regional alignment provides combatant commanders a resourcing solution in to build partner capability, which provides a reliable supply of soldiers for short, training-focused missions.
U.S. Army Lt. Col. Jason Wolter, commander of the 1/63rd CAB, said his soldiers have done a lot to help CJTF-HOA’s mission in countering violent extremist organizations to prevent them from gaining a foothold in the region.
“The colors of this battalion, and its soldiers, are proud to have served with such an outstanding group of Marines, sailors and airmen,” he said. “To the HOA team, sergeant major Freyre and I want to express our gratitude for everything you have done for our soldiers. During this period of service, they have grown and learned thanks to your professionalism and support.”
This transition will be seamless to those on camp, Wolter said.
“To the Dragons, I’d like to say thanks,” said U.S. Army Lt. Col. Robert Magee, commander of the 1/18th CAB. “Your attention to detail and willingness to go the extra mile … (resulted in) a flawless relief in place and transition of authority.”
During the unit’s deployment, the 1/18th CAB will be focusing on force protection, military-to-military engagements with partner nations as well as supporting CJTF-HOA’s mission of stabilizing and strengthening security in the region.