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101st Airborne Division assumes command of CJFLCC-OIR from 82nd Airborne Division in Iraq

Headquarters, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault)

Fort Campbell KY - 101st Airborne DivisionBaghdad, Iraq – The 82nd Airborne Division relinquished command of the Combined Joint Forces Land Component Command – Operation Inherent Resolve (CJFLCC-OIR) to the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) during a transfer of authority ceremony in Baghdad, Iraq, March 8th.

As the 82nd Airborne Division returns to Fort Bragg, NC, they leave the Iraqi security forces, or ISF, stronger than they were when the division arrived in June.

“The Iraqi army has transformed dramatically over the past year, and that positive change is in part thanks to the professionalism, commitment and leadership of the 82nd Airborne Division,” said Lt. Gen. Sean MacFarland, commander of the Combined Joint Task Force – Operation Inherent Resolve.

"While the efforts of the coalition have contributed to defeating Daesh, the most important work has been done by our Iraqi partners," said Major Gen. Gary J. Volesky. "They have made the largest sacrifice. Their success in taking back Ramadi changed the course of this fight and they have put Daesh on the defensive and continue to take the fight to them more and more everyday. We will work tirelessly to help them remove Daesh from their land once and for all."
“While the efforts of the coalition have contributed to defeating Daesh, the most important work has been done by our Iraqi partners,” said Major Gen. Gary J. Volesky. “They have made the largest sacrifice. Their success in taking back Ramadi changed the course of this fight and they have put Daesh on the defensive and continue to take the fight to them more and more everyday. We will work tirelessly to help them remove Daesh from their land once and for all.”

Iraqi security forces have had significant victories, including the recent liberation of Ramadi.

“In December, as Ramadi was being cleared street by street, we saw fireworks over the city of Baghdad every night for about ten straight days,” said Maj. Gen. Richard Clarke, outgoing commander, CJFLCC-OIR.

“From the birth, through the new year, to include that great watermark on December 26th when the flag was planted in the city center of Ramadi, it has been a turn. The Iraqi security forces and specifically the Iraqi soldiers now believe that they can defeat Daesh. The people of this country now believe they can defeat Daesh. And make no mistake, they are defeating Daesh.”

MacFarland stressed the significance of the 82nd Airborne Division’s contributions in Iraq.

“They have helped set the conditions for the Iraqi security forces to rope Daesh back and to retake Mosul,” said MacFarland.

Since the beginning of the “All American” division’s tour, approximately 16,000 Iraqi security forces have graduated building partner capacity training, and Daesh now controls 40 percent less ground than it did since May, Clarke said.

In addition, there were more than 4,000 air strikes coordinated by, with and through the Government of Iraq (GoI), and $1.6 billion in equipment distributed to Iraqi forces, said Clarke.

Major Gen. Gary J. Volesky, incoming commander, CJFLCC-OIR, feels the 101st is set up for success due to the 82nd’s accomplishments.

“Your team not only set conditions for successful offensive operations, but refined systems and processes that will have a lasting impact beyond both of our tours here,” said Volesky in his remarks to the outgoing division. “You improved the efficiency and effectiveness of training, increased our ability to support ISF with lethal strikes, and widened the pipeline for equipment and supplies to flow.”

The 101st Airborne Division will continue to work with coalition forces in an advise and assist role for ISF; however, Volesky stressed that it is Iraqis who are ultimately leading the fight.

“While the efforts of the coalition have contributed to defeating Daesh, the most important work has been done by our Iraqi partners,” said Volesky. “They have made the largest sacrifice. Their success in taking back Ramadi changed the course of this fight and they have put Daesh on the defensive and continue to take the fight to them more and more everyday. We will work tirelessly to help them remove Daesh from their land once and for all.”

“The road ahead will be neither short nor easy,” said MacFarland. “But I have no doubt that the CJFLCC-I, under the leadership of the 101st Airborne Division, will continue to welcome the challenges ahead, and with the same drive, courage and honor as we have seen today, that ultimately we will defeat Daesh and expel them from the cradle of civilization.”

Even though the 82nd Airborne Division is leaving, other coalition forces and joint partners will continue to work in Iraq through the transfer of authority.

“Today while you will see a different patch on shoulders, one thing that will not change is the commitment from our coalition and all of the nations that our headquarters represent,” said Volesky.

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