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81st Brigade Combat Team transfers authority

BALAD, Iraq - The 81st Brigade Combat Team relinquished command of their operations to the 29th Brigade Combat Team on March 3 at Logistics Support Area Anaconda, Balad, Iraq.

The 81st BCT has overseen security and stability operations in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom II since April 2004.

Closing a chapter in history, the 81st BCT Soldiers stayed focused and successfully completed every aspect of their mission. The brigade completed thousands of combat and humanitarian operations through such milestones as the Transfer of Sovereignty on June 28, 2004, and the Iraqi elections on January 30, 2005.

The 81st BCT Soldiers have earned a hard-won reputation for discipline, courage, initiative, dedication, and high standards of performance while conducting a full spectrum of complex operations and responding to numerous threats, successfully deterring the enemy.

LSA Anaconda was home to the Brigade Headquarters Company, 181st Support Battalion, Task Force Tacoma, Task Force Rainier, and Task Force Chinook. They supported logistical operations by conducting security, detainee, and force protection for the base.

The primary responsibilities of the 181st Support Battalion included security at the Entry Control Points on LSA Anaconda. In addition, they conducted support operations for medical missions, ran a detainee medical holding facility, conducted security on supply convoys and also provided maintenance support for the brigade throughout its area of operations.

Task Force Rainer was responsible for running the Joint Defense Operations Center on LSA Anaconda. The JDOC functioned as an emergency response center as well as the central communication coordination clearinghouse for all internal force protection issues. Force protection components included guard towers, quick reaction forces and security elements at the entry control points.

Thanks to the state-of-the-art technology, the JDOC provides a sensor-to-shooter environment in which Army and Air Force coordinate and augment one another's efforts and has been a successful joint operation that other military organizations use as a model.

Task Force Chinook was created to recruit, train, mentor, equip and conduct missions with the 210th Iraqi National Guard Battalion. The 35-member task force set out to train more than 800 local Iraqi farmers into a combat-ready unit. The task force implemented an aggressive campaign to ferret out insurgent infiltrators within the 210th Bn. as well as in the local villages and yielded 27 enemy arrests and conducted 463 joint combat patrols.

Brig. Gen. Oscar Hilman, commander of the 81st BCT, summarized the brigade's success. "Throughout the year, the brigade has fought terrorists, former regime elements and anyone trying to destabilize Iraq," he said. "Soldiers conducted numerous operations and were directly responsible for helping to achieve a secure environment for the people of Iraq."

The brigade's achievements did not come without a price. Nine Soldiers gave their lives and many Soldiers were wounded in action in support of this just and honorable cause.

Hilman stated, "We will never forget our fallen comrades-in-arms. On behalf of all the Soldiers of the 81st Brigade Combat Team, I want to acknowledge their service, their sacrifice, and the example these great Americans set for all of us. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families and friends of all our comrades who have given their full measure. We can take comfort in knowing they are in God's hands."

HHC, 81st BCT should complete the process of redeploying to Fort Lewis, Wash. by the end of March.

To obtain the photos associated with this release, e-mail cpicpressdesk@baghdadforum.com
For more information concerning this release, contact Capt. Anne Marie Peacock, 81st BCT Public Affairs Officer, at public.affairs81bct@us.army.mil.

Release #050303b

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