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Task Force Rakkasan transfers authority to Task Force Duke

 

Written by U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Ben K. Navratil
Task Force Duke Public Affairs

187th Infantry Regiment - Iron RakkasansFort Campbell KY, 101st Airborne DivisionKhowst Province, Afghanistan – The 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division, Task Force Rakkasan handed over command of Khowst and Paktya Provinces to 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, Task Force Duke during a transfer of authority ceremony at Forward Operating Base Salerno in Khowst Province January 30st.

The Rakkasans also ceremoniously cased their colors in preparation of their trip back to their home base in Fort Campbell, KY, while the 3rd BCT, 1st Inf. Div. of TF Duke from Fort Knox, KY, uncased their own.

U.S. Army Col. Viet Luong, commander of the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division, Task Force Rakkasan, and a resident of Fort Campbell, KY, and U.S. Army Command Sgt. Maj. Gregory Patton, a resident of Fort Campbell, KY, case their brigade colors for the transfer of authority ceremony held at Forward Operating Base Salerno in Khowst Province Jan. 30th.  (Photo by U.S. Army Spc. Tobey White, Task Force Duke Public Affairs)

U.S. Army Col. Viet Luong, commander of the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division, Task Force Rakkasan, and a resident of Fort Campbell, KY, and U.S. Army Command Sgt. Maj. Gregory Patton, a resident of Fort Campbell, KY, case their brigade colors for the transfer of authority ceremony held at Forward Operating Base Salerno in Khowst Province Jan. 30th. (Photo by U.S. Army Spc. Tobey White, Task Force Duke Public Affairs)

The ceremony was attended by Duke and Rakkasan Soldiers; Brig. Gen. Stephen Townsend, deputy commanding general of Combined Joint Task Force – 101; Abdul Jabbar Naeemi, Khowst governor; and several members of the Afghan National Security Forces. It was a great medley of backgrounds, ethnicities and even uniform styles, as the outgoing Rakkasans wore the Army combat uniform, while the Duke Soldiers wore the newer multi-cam uniform.

“The hard work, the sacrifice, the blood of the ANSF and coalition partners have helped meet the conditions for stability in the region,” said Naeemi, “and the enemy forces can no longer move freely.”

U.S. Army Pfc. Lauren Sivak, an intelligence analyst from Cleveland, Ohio, and U.S. Army Spc. Brandon Wells, a topographic analyst from Hartsville, S.C., both of Headquarters, Headquarters Company, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, practice before participating in the color guard of the transfer of authority ceremony held at Forward Operating Base Salerno in Khowst Province Jan. 30th. (Photo by U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Ben K. Navratil, Task Force Duke Public Affairs)Rakkasan commander U.S. Army Col. Viet X. Luong, of Fort Campbell, KY, also emphasized the progress made during his unit’s rotation here.

“During the early moments of this rotation the Taliban was winning in our provinces,” he said. “But this summer, our combined actions started to produce remarkable results. We began to take many enemies out of the fight. The security conditions improved, and we began turning the tide against the Taliban.”

Speaking in both English and Pashto, U.S. Army Col. Christopher Toner, commander of TF Duke and Topeka, KS, native, thanked the Rakkasans for their service and sacrifices and pledged his assistance to the ANSF.

U.S. Army Col. Christopher Toner, a Topeka, KS, native and commander of the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, Task Force Duke, speaks at a transfer of authority ceremony held at Forward Operating Base Salerno Jan. 30th.  (Photo by U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Ben K. Navratil, Task Force Duke Public Affairs)“Our brothers in the ANSF, we embrace you with a spirit of mutual respect and cooperation,” he said. “We are here now to continue the support the Rakkasans have given you over the past 12 months.”

As the ceremony drew to a close, Toner promised that he and his Soldiers would help the Afghan people in their fight for their country.

“The Soldiers of the Duke Brigade are committed to using everything in their power to build Afghan capacity for providing security and stability to the region,” he said.


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