Military

CENTCOM

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HEADQUARTERS UNITED STATES CENTRAL COMMAND
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January 17, 2004
Release Number: 04-01-45


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


RAKKASANS LEAVE; STRYKERS TAKE OVER

MOSUL, Iraq - The 187th Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), handed over control of part of northwest Iraq today to the 1st Squadron, 14th Cavalry Regiment, Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, in a ceremony outside the town of Tallafar.

Col. Michael Linnington, commander, 187th Inf. Rgt., relinquished control to Lt. Col. Buddy Carman, commander, 1st Squadron, 14th Cav. Rgt., during the relief in place ceremony in front of an audience of the leaders of the 101st, including Maj. Gen. David H. Petraeus, division commander, and Command Sgt. Maj. Marvin L. Hill, division command sergeant major.

Since arriving in Iraq, the 3rd Brigade Rakkasans participated in many key battles during Operation Iraqi Freedom. Once major combat operations stopped, the Rakkasans made their way to northern Iraq and worked hard on stabilizing and rebuilding the region. They helped with local government elections, trained Iraqi military and police, and worked on several projects in the region, Gen. Petraeus said.

"(This) showed what could be done to improve the life of the Iraqi people by working with Iraqis of all tribes, ethnicities and religions," Petraeus said.

The Rakkasans will soon be leaving for America, leaving the Stryker Brigade in charge of the area and completing projects.

Linnington thanked his soldiers for their exceptional duty and Iraqis for their help in restoring the country. "Today is a great day for the Rakkasan soldiers who are heading home to family and friends," he said.

The incoming Carman spoke about his readiness to finish off where the 101st soldiers began.

"Thank you for your excellent work," he told the Rakkasans. "We have our work ahead of us now. We're up to the task and poised to complete this mission so that one-day we too will return to our families."

The departing soldiers are ready to get home to their families, and satisfied with the job they did to bring stability and peace to Iraq.

"It feels great," said Sgt. Rickey Flagg, Charlie Company, 326th Engineer Battalion, attached to 3rd Bn. 187th Inf. Rgt. "I've been away a whole year and my wife had my first son on Aug. 13th.

"I think we've done a lot for these people. They've been oppressed for years and we came over here and helped them learn how to live independently," he said.

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