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Spartan Brigade Assumes Authority of Ninewa Province

Dec 2, 2009

By Pfc. Crystal M. O'Neal, 2nd HBCT, 3rd ID Public Affairs

FORWARD OPERATING BASE, MAREZ, Iraq - Five Soldiers marched side-by-side at a close interval carrying 2nd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division's Colors, 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division's Colors and the American flag down an aisle filled on both sides with Soldiers.

The five Soldiers simultaneously took the stage, executed a number of precise turns and movements and finally ended with 2nd HBCT, 3rd ID's Colors on the right side of 3rd HBCT, 1st Cav. Div.'s Colors.

These Soldiers and their movements were a part of a transfer of authority ceremony held at Forward Operating Base Marez in northern Iraq, Dec. 1, signify'ing 2nd HBCT, 3rd ID's assumption of authority of Ninewa province from 3rd HBCT, 1st Cav. Div.

The Spartan Soldiers accepted their responsibility and call to duty as they have so many times in the past. In fact, the brigade, constituted in 1917, has fought in several wars, including World War I, World War II, the Korean War, and the Cold War.

Upon uncasing its Colors at the ceremony, the Spartan Brigade began its fourth tour in Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. It began March 2003, with its seize of Baghdad and removal of dictator Saddam Hussein.

Major General Tony Cucolo, the Task Force Marne Commander, thanked the Greywolves for all their accomplishments in the Ninewa province, and challenged the Spartans to pick up where the Greywolves left off - as partners with their Iraqi counterparts, advising and assisting them as they progressed in their capability to provide security.

"This ceremony is important; today, the departing unit on this day commits, again, to never forget the sacrifices they made here, and the arriving unit acknowledges that there may be more sacrifice ahead, and commits to carry on in a manner that honors those who committed sacrifices before them," said Maj. Gen. Cucolo. "All of this means to our Iraqi partners that we remain committed to you and your success."

According to Col. Charles E. A. Sexton, 2nd HBCT commander, the Spartans are ready to continue what the Greywolves started and make the Ninewa province a better, safer place.

"Partnered with our Iraqi counterparts and the people of Iraq, we will make this dream of a safer Iraq a reality," said Col. Sexton. "We will, as a team, work together representing the people of the United States and the people of Iraq, standing shoulder to shoulder to make Ninewa better than how the Greywolf Soldiers left it.

"This is our promise: hope for a better future in Iraq that will not perish."

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