Story by MAJ Vonnie Wright on 09/25/2019BAGHDAD--The 1st Brigade Combat Team "Bastogne," 101st Airborne Division, officially cased its colors and transitioned its mission to 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team "Arctic Wolves," 25th Infantry Division, during a ceremony held September 25 at Forward Operating Base Union III.
The casing of the colors signified the end of Bastogne's current mission in Iraq, as they were a part of a regular rotation of forces that support the Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve. The brigade deployed from Fort Campbell, Kentucky in December 2018 to locations across the CJTF-OIR area of operations to support the enduring defeat of Daesh.
The Task Force Iraq commander, Brig. Gen. William H. Seely III presided over the event. Seely spoke of the progress made by the Bastogne brigade in the fight against ISIS.
"Task Force Iraq and our Iraqi partners are at the center of the mission to defeat ISIS," said Seely. "I want to thank Bastogne for its professionalism and diligence to ensure that defeat."
Bastogne Soldiers worked alongside Coalition partners from 76 nations and 5 international organizations to support the Iraqi Security Forces as they provide security for the Iraqi people and set conditions for long-term stability.
Bastogne Soldiers leave after several months enabling Iraqi and partner force operations with training, airstrike and artillery support, intelligence sharing and reconnaissance flights.
From remote outstations throughout Iraq where Coalition artillery units fired side-by-side, to advising and assisting Iraqi and Kurdish forces during operations as they hunted ISIS fighters in restrictive terrain and mountain locations, Bastogne Soldiers executed a variety of missions.
Col. Derek Thomson, commander of 1st Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division expressed thanks during the ceremony to his Soldiers and partners with one significant word coming to mind, which was "gratitude." "Gratitude of the Bastogne Soldiers that stood their post. Gratitude to the Iraqi Army who accepted us as their own. It has been an honor," said Thomson.
During the ceremony, Bastogne leaders cased their brigade colors, and the Arctic Wolves uncased their brigade colors as they officially marked the beginning of their deployment.
"It is an honor to take the helm from Bastogne brigade and we look forward to working with our partners to defeat ISIS," said Col. Matthew Brown, commander of 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division.
Bastogne brigade Soldiers will return to Fort Campbell to prepare for their next "Rendezvous with Destiny."