War on Terrorism

Monday, March 19, 2018

10th Mountain Division Takes Command of OIR Ground Troops

BAGHDAD, March 19, 2018 — The Army’s 10th Mountain Division today assumed authority today of Combined Joint Forces Land Component Command Operation Inherent Resolve from the Army’s 1st Armored Division during a transfer of authority ceremony at Forward Operating Base Union III here.

The transfer of authority between commanders was symbolized by Army Maj. Gen. Robert P. White’s casing of the 1st Armored Division’s colors as Army Maj. Gen. Walter E. Piatt, commander of the 10th Mountain Division and CJFLCC-OIR, uncased the his division’s colors at the coalition’s military headquarters here.

CJFLCC-OIR is the land component of the coalition force representing 75 nations and international organizations that have joined to enable partnered Iraqi forces to defeat the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria in Iraq and restore stability and security.

The Fight Continues

“The Iron Soldiers saw the end of the tough fight to seize the crown jewel of [the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria’s] so-called caliphate in Mosul,” said Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve commander Army Lt. Gen. Paul E. Funk II. “Life is beginning to stabilize in liberated areas, but the battle against this barbaric enemy is not over.”

The ceremony was widely attended by troops from all coalition nations stationed in Iraq, as well as Iraqi officials. Funk acknowledged the strength of the partnership and the importance of Iraq’s leadership in the fight to defeat ISIS. “I appreciate your confidence, courage and commitment,” he said to the coalition’s Iraqi partners.

White also acknowledged Iraq’s leadership and sacrifice in the mission to defeat ISIS here. “Thousands of Iraqi martyrs made this possible,” he said.

The ceremony marks the end of a nine-month deployment for the 1st Armored Division soldiers from Fort Bliss, Texas, and marks the beginning of a new journey for the “Mountain Soldiers” from Fort Drum, New York. “We have come to serve this coalition and the Iraqi security forces,” Piatt said.

The transfer of authority between 1st Armored Division and 10th Mountain Division is part of a headquarters consolidation within Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve, representing another step forward in reducing U.S. troop levels in accordance with the request of Iraq’s government.

CJFLCC’s mission continues to support training, advising and equipping Iraq’s security forces to achieve the lasting defeat of ISIS and help provide security to the people of Iraq.
"We are deeply honored to take our place in this coalition,” Piatt said.

Dunford Arrives in Afghanistan to Assess Campaign Plan

By Jim Garamone DoD News, Defense Media Activity

BAGRAM AIRFIELD, Afghanistan, March 19, 2018 — Marine Corps Gen. Joe Dunford, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, arrived here today to assess the campaign plan now that all personnel are in place and the South Asia strategy is in full swing.

“I want to talk to the actual advisors who are working on the ground with the Afghans every day and make some conclusions about where we are,” Dunford told reporters traveling with him.

The chairman is traveling with a larger than normal party, including senior officials on the Joint Staff who specialize in intelligence, strategy and logistics.

Army Command Sgt. Maj. John W. Troxell, the chairman’s senior enlisted advisor, is also in the party. These officials will travel throughout Afghanistan to gather assessments for the chairman on how the effort is going, ultimately enabling Dunford to get a full picture of the various challenges ahead.

Security Force Assistance Brigade

The general will meet with senior Afghan and U.S. officials to get a top-down look at the situation, but he really wants to meet with soldiers of the 1st Security Force Assistance Brigade, which deployed to Afghanistan in February and is now close to full strength. The SFAB is the heart and soul of the train, advise and assist mission. Members of the unit will advise Afghan units down to the kandak-level -- about the size of a battalion.

The brigade is composed of officers and senior noncommissioned officers with deployments to Afghanistan in the past and experience working with Afghan forces. They are all graduates of the Army’s Military Advisor Training Academy at Fort Benning, Georgia. They will serve nine-month tours of duty in Afghanistan.

“With the advisory effort now, I want to get a good feel for the campaign plan and what they expect to do over the next couple of months,” Dunford said. “I also want to have a discussion on measures of effectiveness -- how will we know as this is going on over the next couple of months we are where we need to be in implementing the Afghan’s plan.”

4-Year Plan

This effort is all tied to the four-year plan promulgated by Afghan President Ashraf Ghani last year.

There are many moving parts, the chairman said. He wants to understand progress in building the Afghan military aviation enterprise.

The chairman will also get a chance to see NATO forces operating in the country. NATO and partner forces contribute to about a third of the train, advise and assist effort and are “inextricably linked” down to the tactical level, he said.

Dunford knows Afghanistan well, as he served as the commander of NATO’s International Security Assistance Force from February 2013 to August 2014. This visit should give the chairman a good baseline for the new strategy as Afghan forces confront a period of high operational tempo.

The chairman said he also wants to ensure the effort is properly resourced, and to examine the Afghan government’s reconciliation plan.

“There will always be refinements to the force and the better we can understand it, the better we can support them and provide advice to the secretary,” Dunford said.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

DoD Identifies Air Force Casualties

The Department of Defense announced today the deaths of seven airmen who were supporting Operation Inherent Resolve. They died March 15 when an HH-60 Pave Hawk helicopter crashed in western Iraq. The cause of the crash is under investigation.

Killed was:

Captain Mark K. Weber, 29, of Colorado Springs, Colorado. He was assigned to the 38th Rescue Squadron at Moody Air Force Base, Georgia. For more information, media may contact the 23rd Wing public affairs office at 229-257-4146.

Also killed were:

Captain Andreas B. O'Keeffe, 37, of Center Moriches, New York.
Captain Christopher T. Zanetis, 37, of Long Island City, New York.
Master Sergeant Christopher J. Raguso, 39, of Commack, New York.
Staff Sergeant Dashan J. Briggs, 30, of Port Jefferson Station, New York.

All four were assigned to the 106th Rescue Wing at the Francis S. Gabreski Air National Guard Base, New York. For more information, media may contact the New York National Guard public affairs office at 518-786-4581.

Also killed were:

Master Sergeant William R. Posch, 36, of Indialantic, Florida.
Staff Sergeant Carl P. Enis, 31, of Tallahassee, Florida.

Both were assigned to the 308th Rescue Squadron, Air Force Reserve, at Patrick Air Force Base, Florida. For more information, media may contact the 920th Rescue Wing public affairs office at 321-615-0329.