KUNAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan – In a picturesque ceremony held at Camp Joyce in eastern Kunar province, Soldiers from the 1st Battalion, 32nd Infantry Regiment transferred battlespace authority to 2nd Battalion, 503rd Airborne Infantry Regiment.
With Kunar provincial government and tribal leaders, Afghan National Security Forces, and International Security Assistance Force and Task Force Mountain Warrior military leadership present, Task Force Rock took ownership of their Kunar province theater of operations from Task Force Chosin.
The transfer of authority ceremony included religious prayers, the casing of Task Force Chosin’s colors and the unfurling of Task Force Rock’s colors. U.S. Army Col. Randy A. George, Task Force Mountain Warrior commander, U.S. Army Lt. Col. Mark O’Donnell, Task Force Chosin commander, and U.S. Army Lt. Col. William Butler, Task Force Rock commander also made brief remarks.
George praised the efforts of Task Force Chosin and welcomed Task Force Rock back to the Kunar River Valley. Task Force Rock previously served 15 months in Kunar province from May 2007 to July 2008.
“Chosin, you’ve been phenomenal from start to finish. You’ve been disciplined, aggressive and morally beyond reproach in the toughest mission any military unit could be asked to perform,” George said. “You’ve worked tirelessly to bring opportunity, security and progress to the people in the Kunar River valley. The work you’ve done here is an example to everyone.”
George reminded the attendees of the lives lost and altered during Task Force Chosin’s tour of duty, but expressed optimism for the future in Kunar Province on the eve of the new year.
“Today we’re lucky to welcome the Rock into the ranks of Task Force Mountain Warrior. Task Force Rock, your reputation precedes you. This battalion has shown uncommon valor in every one of its deployments,” George said. “I know firsthand the Soldiers of Task Force Rock are among the best in our Army. You’ve trained hard for this mission, and you’ve arrived physically fit, disciplined and trained to defeat any enemy. I’m completely confident you will build on Task Force Chosin’s successes.”
Taking the podium after O’Donnell praised the efforts of his Task Force Chosin Soldiers, Butler set the course for Task Force Rock’s time in the province.
“Today we celebrate the accomplishments of Task Force Chosin and our dedicated and loyal Afghan partners,” Butler said. “Over the course of the last 12 months, the people of the Kunar Valley, with the assistance of provincial and district leaders, Afghan National Army, Afghan National Police, Afghan Border Police, National Directorate of Security and Task Force Chosin, have transformed the valley into a more vibrant region of Afghanistan.”
Butler said his unit, based in Vicenza, Italy, is looking forward to getting to work.
“Our Sky Soldiers are no strangers to the Kunar River valley and have looked forward to returning. We understand we are here to protect the people, train and operate side-by-side with our Afghan partners, and further transform Kunar into a secure, stable and fully functional province that meets the needs of its people,” Butler said. “We look forward to the next 12 months and the challenges ahead. We face them together with our Afghan partners and brothers-in-arms.”
A TOA ensures continuity by integrating the incoming unit seamlessly into the battle command structure and training with the outgoing unit prior to assuming its mission. The Task Force Rock area of responsibility includes 10 districts, the provincial capital of Asadabad and more than 200,000 residents.
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