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MNSTC-I, NTM-I conduct Change of Command Ceremony

Multi-National Force-Iraq

Wednesday, 07 October 2009

Multi-National Security Transition Command – Iraq
Public Affairs Office, Phoenix Base
APO AE 09348

PRESS RELEASE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Release No. 091007-04

Oct. 7, 2009

Contact: pao@iraq.centcom.mil
DSN: 318-852-1335
IRAQNA: 0780-997-4986

MNSTC-I, NTM-I conduct Change of Command Ceremony

BAHGDAD -- The Multi-National Security Transition Command - Iraq and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization Training Mission- Iraq hosted a change of command ceremony Oct. 7.

U.S. Army Lt. Gen. Frank G. Helmick welcomed U.S. Army Lt. Gen. Michael D. Barbero and relinquished to him the command of MNSTC-I as well as NTM-I.

Moments before the ceremony, Multi-National Force- Iraq commander, U.S. Army Gen. Ray Odierno promoted Barbero to lieutenant general. The U.S. Senate confirmed the promotion in September.

Odierno accepted the unit colors from Helmick and passed them on to Barbero to signify the changing of command. Odierno spoke to the assembled crowd, which included senior Iraqi military leaders, U.S. Ambassador to Iraq, Christopher Hill, and other Iraqi political and civilian leaders.

“Today is the first time in a generation that the Iraqi people are beginning to have a tremendous sense of pride in their security forces,” Odierno said. “This gives them great hope for the future of this great country.”

Regarding the new man at the helm here, the Multi-National Forces commander said Barbero possesses “an extremely diverse array of assignments and breadth of knowledge. He is the only man and the right man to continue the vital work of MNSTC-I and NATO Training Mission-Iraq.”

As the new commander of MNSTC-I, Barbero spoke about coming back to Iraq after spending 30 months previously here. “You never really leave Iraq,” Barbero said, adding, “your thoughts continuously return to the mission and to your friends serving here.

“I believe we can meet the challenges here and seize the opportunity to build the self sustaining security that the people of Iraq so richly deserve,” Barbero said.

Helmick, in his going away speech, said “I came here with one mission and that was to teach the Iraqis everything I know. But, I leave here receiving more than I gave.”

Helmick later said that although he is happy and looks forward to his new assignment as the commander of the XVIII Airborne Corps at Fort Bragg, N.C., he has a quiet sadness about leaving his Iraqi friends.

Barbero received guests in a formal receiving line and hosted a luncheon for all dignitaries and invited guests. The event was covered by a large number of Iraq media outlets, as well as Associated Press and Reuters.

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FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION OR INTERVIEWS CONCERNING THIS RELEASE, CONTACT THE MULTI-NATIONAL SECURITY TRANSITION COMMAND – IRAQ PUBLIC AFFAIRS OFFICE BY E-MAIL AT PAO@IRAQ.CENTCOM.MIL OR BY PHONE AT DSN: (318) 852-1332 OR IRAQNA: 0790-194-0270. FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT OUR ORGANIZATION VISIT: WWW.MNSTCI.IRAQ.CENTCOM.MIL.

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