Wednesday, December 23, 2009

173rd BCT (Airborne) Returns to Afghanistan For Third Time

From CJTF-82

LOGAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan – Soldiers from the 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team, the 3rd BCT, 10th Mountain Division and their distinguished guests, stand for the American and Afghan national anthem at a transfer of authority ceremony at Forward Operating Base Shank, Dec. 20. The Spartans of 3rd BCT transferred authority of Logar and Wardak provinces to the Sky Soldiers of the 173rd ABCT for their third deployment to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. (Photo by Army Pfc. Michael Sword, 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team)

Sky Soldiers Assume Control of Spartan Battlespace

Written by Task Force Bayonet Public Affairs Tuesday, 22 December 2009 01:43

LOGAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan - In a ceremony held at Forward Operating Base Shank, the Spartans of 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division, handed over control of their area of operations to the Sky Soldiers of the 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team, based out of Vicenza, Italy, Dec. 20.

“As we say farewell to Spartan, we welcome back the 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team to Combined Joint Task Force 82 and RC-East battle-space,” said Maj. Gen. Curtis Scaparrotti, commander, Combined Joint Task Force 82.

Scaparrotti highlighted some of the achievements of the 3rd BCT.

“Working side-by-side with Afghan partners, you protected the southern gates of Kabul, improved the infrastructure at the provincial and district levels and extended the reach of good governors throughout both provinces,” he said.

“While much has been done through Task Force Spartan, there’s still plenty of work to be done,” he added.

However, Scaparrotti showed confidence that the 173rd will continue where Task Force Spartan left off.

“I look forward to the outstanding support the Sky Soldiers bring to the fight,” he added, “It’s an honor to serve with you again.”

Col. David B. Haight, commander, 3rd BCT, followed Scaparrotti noting the accomplishments of his Soldiers during their time in Afghanistan.

“With our Afghan army and police brothers, we planted our guidons in the heart of the enemy territory. We dominated our battle space and established permanent presence in 10 districts, across two provinces, that have become dangerous sanctuaries for the enemy,” Haight said.

Haight also mentioned the progress made in the two provinces during the Spartans’ year-long deployment.

“We allocated almost 50 million dollars in development of roads, transportation, governance, water sanitation, health and education,” he said. “All in an attempt to connect the people with their government and help them understand the work and progress made on their behalf.”

Haight then turned his attention to the commander and soldiers of the 173rd ABCT.

“Col. Johnson and Command Sgt. Maj. Rolling, I could not be more confident in the success you will realize during the coming year,” Haight said. “Your unit is disciplined, well trained, well led, and enthusiastic about the mission and that may be the most important thing.”

“I am confident that you will prevail and greatly improve upon what has been established here in this battlefield,” Haight added.

Recognizing the hard work and progress made by the 3rd BCT, Col. James Johnson, commander, 173rd ABCT made a final promise to the Spartans.

“You have set the high standard for us to follow, and we will do our best,” Johnson said. “We will ensure that the sacrifice of Task Force Spartan was not made in vain.”

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