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Iron Soldiers assume responsibility for Baghdad operational environment

Jan 14, 2010

By Sgt.1st Class Kristina Scott 366 MPAD, USD-C

Baghdad - On a blustery, overcast day, the commander of 1st Armored Division assumed responsibility of the U.S. Division-Center operational environment in a transfer of authority ceremony conducted in front of the division headquarters building at Camp Liberty Jan. 13.

Maj. Gen. Terry Wolff succeeds Maj. Gen. Daniel Bolger, who will redeploy to Fort Hood, Texas, with 1st Cavalry Division after a 12-month deployment in Baghdad.

The ceremony, attended by many dignitaries to include Gen. Ray Odierno, the top U.S commander in Iraq and senior leaders of the Iraqi Security Forces, began as Bolger stepped forward. With the assistance of Command Sgt. Maj. Rory Malloy, Bolger placed the 1st Cavalry Division flag, which has flown over Baghdad since Feb. 10, 2009, into it's protective case, signifying that their term of responsibility had ended.

Wolff then stepped up to the 1st Armd. Div. flag and, with the assistance of Command Sgt. Maj. William Johnson, removed the protective case and unfurled the division flag, signifying the assumption of responsibility over the U.S. Division-Center operational environment.

Lt. Gen. Charles Jacoby, the deputy commanding general for U.S. Forces-Iraq and commander for I Corps, presided over the ceremony.

"Not so long ago," he said, "the streets of Baghdad were simmering in violence and chaos. In many circles, the complexity of the issues here appeared unsolvable. However, when looking at Baghdad today, you cannot help but immediately recognize that this is not the same city as just a year ago. The violence has dramatically decreased. The citizens of Baghdad are out in the streets, mosques and marketplaces. People are optimistic about the future, and this is especially significant, because Baghdad is Iraq's face of progress turned toward the world."

He went on to say, "We are here to pay tribute to one of the United States Army's elite combat divisions - The 1st Cavalry Division - which over the past year was instrumental in obtaining this phenomenal progress."

After much lauding of 1st Cavalry's accomplishments over the last year, Jacoby welcomed the new commander of USD-C.

"Old Ironsides is no stranger to Operation Iraqi Freedom," he said. "As the First Team departs and Old Ironsides assumes authority, our commitment to the Iraqi people remains unchanged. I am confident that in the year ahead, together we can set the conditions for the next decade to be one of peace and prosperity for Iraq."

Bolger then took the podium.

"Today, the 1st Cavalry Division departs, and we do so with honor," he said.

Honoring the memory of those who made the ultimate sacrifice, Bolger said, "Thirty-eight of our comrades gave their lives in this mission; 190 were wounded. We have brought home every one of them - their duty is done.

"But, the American mission continues, and that is why the 1st Armored Division stands here today. They are tough, ready and able. They will continue this mission and they will do it right," said Bolger. "First Team; Iron Soldiers; Courage!"

Wolff then took the podium, thanked all who attended the ceremony, and gave a special thank you to Bolger and members of First Team - as 1st Cavalry is known - for all they had done to prepare the 1st Armd. Div., staff for their tour. Moreover, Wolff recognized the efforts of key First Team members: Brig. Gens. Fred Rudesheim and Mike Murray, the deputy commanding generals of support and maneuver, respectively; Col. Tim Parks, the chief of staff; and the division senior enlisted noncommissioned officer, Command Sgt. Maj. Rory Malloy.

Wolff then complimented First Team on their partnership with the Iraqi Security Forces throughout Baghdad, expressing his desire to continue that partnership. Furthermore, he articulated that he and his team look forward to continuing to work with the Baghdad Provincial Reconstruction Team in their effort to improve civil capacity.

Wolff also gave a special thank you to "the Soldiers, leaders, and civilians of USD-C who continue to answer the call and get the job done."

Wolff concluded with the division motto: "Iron Soldiers; Army Strong!"

Wolff has served as the commander of 1st Armored Division since May 2009. Prior to assuming command of 1st Armd. Div., he served nearly two years on the National Security Council as a special assistant to the president and senior director for Iraq and Afghanistan.

Additionally, Wolff commanded 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment for three years, leading the regiment through a tour in Iraq in March 2003. He returned to Iraq for another tour in 2006 as commanding general of the Coalition Military Assistance Training Team.

Today, however, Wolff wasn't looking back.

"As we move forward, we understand the importance of the next six months in Iraq." said Wolff. "The USD-C team has dedicated ourselves to that mission and the tasks ahead."

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