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'Ironhorse' Division assumes responsibility for Baghdad

BAGHDAD (Army News Service, Jan. 9, 2006) – As Iraqi Army and coalition partners looked on, the 3rd Infantry Division transferred authority of Multi-National Division-Baghdad to the 4th Infantry Division in a ceremony Jan. 7.

Maj. Gen. J.D. Thurman, the commanding general of 4th Inf. Div., along with Command Sgt. Maj. Ronald Riling, uncased the “Ironhorse” Division’s colors, signifying the division assuming the mantle of responsibility as Multi-National Division-Baghdad. The division cased its colors before deploying from Fort Hood, Texas, during a ceremony Oct. 28.

Lt. Gen. John Vines, the commanding general of Multi-National Corps-Iraq, served as the reviewing officer for the ceremony. Also attending were several senior Army leaders from throughout the theater as well as Gen. Babader Zebari, the chief of ataff of Iraqi Armed Forces; Lt. Gen. Abadi, the deputy chief of staff, Iraqi Joint Staff; and Maj. Gen. Mobdir, commander of the 6th Iraqi Army Division.

3ID passes authority

“This ceremony symbolizes the transfer of authority. There’s another symbolism of course – the Soldiers who serve under those colors are conducting operations throughout the Multi-National Division-Baghdad sector,” said Vines, commenting on the fact the 3rd and 4th Infantry Division Soldiers were continuing to conduct operations even as the ceremony progressed.

“The 3rd Infantry Division is the first U.S. division to serve two complete tours in Iraq,” he said. “No unit in the United States Army has been busier, more deployed or has seen as much combat as the 3rd Infantry Division.”

3ID sad to go

The ceremony signifies a day marked with both happiness and sadness, said Webster, after casing the Marne Division’s colors.

“We are happy to have shared in the successes of the Iraqi people this year and proud to have served the cause of freedom alongside so many brave Iraqi men and women,” he said.

Much has been accomplished between the coalition and Iraqi forces together, he added.

“We have worked together to fight within the rules of law to beat these terrorists and to put them in jail,” he said. “Together we will win this fight for democracy.

“We wish you well in the year ahead. Freedom, peace and prosperity will come with continued hard work and sacrifice. We are proud to have been a part of it. Thank you. Rock of the Marne!”

4ID Cdr says ‘06 will be decisive

Thurman followed Webster at the podium and said it was an honor to be in the great country of Iraq and the historic city of Baghdad and an honor to assume command of the 30,000 Soldiers of Multi-National Division-Baghdad from his close friend, Maj. Gen. Webster.

“We will never forget the sacrifices made by Marne Division Soldiers and the people of Iraq. We admire the courage of the Soldiers and police patrolling the streets and villages, and we admire the courage of the Iraqi citizens who bravely went to the polls to vote.”

Over the next year, he added, Task Force Ironhorse Soldiers will continue to build on the Marne Divisions successes and will continue to foster the partnership with its Iraqi brothers as it continues to move forward.

“This year will be the decisive period for the campaign in Iraq. I look forward to working with the newly elected government, the Iraqi Army and the Iraqi Police. Together, we will be successful,” said Thurman.

Ironhorse spans 3 provinces

Along with the change of authority comes an expanded battle space for the Ironhorse Division. In addition to the Baghdad province, the division will also be responsible for the provinces of Karbala, An Najaf and Babil.

The 4th Battalion, 320th Field Artillery Regiment, 506th Regimental Combat Team, of Task Force Ironhorse, took authority of the lower Karradah district in eastern Baghdad from 1st Battalion, 9th Field Artillery Regiment, 3rd Infantry Division, during a transfer of authority ceremony at Camp Loyalty Jan. 5.

Many 4ID troops on 2nd tour

Although 40 percent of the division’s Soldiers previously served in the theater of operations, Riling said many things have changed since the division last stepped foot in Iraq, citing the emergence of the Iraqi Security Forces, Iraqi Army and the Iraqi Police.

“My guidance to Soldiers and leaders is don’t get complacent,” said Riling. “Make sure you get enough rest and you’re eating properly. Do PT to relieve the stress. And like Gen. (George) Casey (Jr.) says: You stop; you read; and you think. If you do that, we’re going to be much more successful throughout the year. So far I’ve seen great morale. I’ve seen good standards across the board, and I ask leaders to continue to enforce the standards.”

506th RCT takes over East Baghdad

When the 506th Regimental Combat Team assumed responsibility of eastern Baghdad Jan. 5, the 4-320th FA commander, Lt. Col. Kevin Milton, said “Our ultimate goal is to work ourselves out of a job.”

Milton formally accepted the responsibility of supporting the newly elected government and combating the anti-Iraqi forces in Baghdad's Zafaraniya district from Lt. Col. Steven Merkel, commander of 1-9 FA.

“Our mission here is to maintain a safe environment,” said Milton. “We will also take every opportunity to assist and interact with the Iraqi Security Forces.”

The 4-320th is committed to working with the people of Zafaraniya in the common goal of growing democracy in Iraq, pledged Command Sgt. Maj. Charlie Lakin Jr. “Our priorities will remain security, governance, essential services and education.”

(Editor's note: Information compiled from news releases by the 3rd and 4th Infantry Divisions.)

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