Written by Capt. Jarrod Morris
TAAC-E Public Affairs
Laghman Province, Afghanistan – Train, Advise, Assist Command – East held a casing and uncasing ceremony for the outgoing 3rd Cavalry Regiment “Brave Rifles” and incoming 3rd Brigade Combat Team “Rakkasans,” 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) at Tactical Base Gamberi February 15th, 2015.
Col. Cameron Cantlon, the 3rd CR commander, and Senior Enlisted Leader Command Sgt. Maj. Roger Heinze carefully folded and cased the regimental colors, a symbolic representation of a mission completion for the Brave Rifles.The 3rd CR deployed to Afghanistan in June 2014, in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. Under OEF the Brave Rifles performed security force assistance, village support, force protection, and the retrograde and closure of seven forward operating bases.
In October, 3rd CR received new orders to join TAAC-E at TB Gamberi and assist with the transition to NATO’s new Resolute Support Mission. Under RSM the Brave Rifles assumed responsibility for training, advising and assisting corps-level units of the Afghan National Security Forces in eastern Afghanistan as well as providing force protection for U.S. coalition troops in the region.
Col. J.B. Vowell, the 3rd BCT commander, and Senior Enlisted Leader Command Sgt. Maj. Walter Tagalicud then uncased the brigade colors, an indication the Rakkasans are ready to assume their new role in TAAC-E.
TAAC-E commander Brig. Gen. Christopher Bentley, Cantlon, and Vowell each gave remarks at the ceremony.
In his speech, Bentley thanked the 3rd CR team for their partnership and bid the Brave Rifles troops farewell. Bentley also highlighted the variety of 3rd CR achievements during a nine-month deployment of continuous transition in Afghanistan.
Bentley then turned to the Rakkasans. “Today we continue what began six months ago in the piney woods of western Louisiana at Fort Polk,” Bentley said. He was referring to the training conducted between the TAAC-E headquarters and 3rd BCT at the Joint Readiness Training Center in July-August 2014, in preparation for this deployment.
“Welcome back, Task Force Rakkasans,” Bentley said.
“Our commitment to the people of Afghanistan has always been strong.”
He added that the advisers will continue to partner each day with the ANSF to help them become sustainable for the long term.
For many of the Rakkasans this is not their first deployment.
“Our regiment has many who have sweat, bled and died for us to be here,” Vowell added, emphasizing the importance of the new mission.
At the conclusion of the ceremony 3rd BCT formally assumed responsibility for training, advising and assisting corps-level Afghan army and police forces in eastern Afghanistan under NATO’s RSM, as well as protecting U.S. coalition forces in the region.