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'Steel Dragon' Soldiers write the final chapter of their Iraq-era legacy

November 8, 2011

By 2nd Lt. Christopher Molaro, 2nd Bn., 82nd FA Regt. UPAR, 3rd AAB, 1st Cav. Div.

CONTINGENCY OPERATING BASE ADDER, Iraq -- After deploying earlier this year, 2nd Battalion, 82nd Field Artillery Regiment, 3rd Advise and Assist Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division is busier than ever on Contingency Operating Base Adder, Iraq as they prepare to apply the final touches to a legacy that has been forged since March 2003.

The 'Steel Dragon' Battalion assumed the role as a maneuver battalion working with Iraqi Security Forces and the local populace in Muthanna and Dhi Qar provinces. These provinces encompass a large portion of southern Iraq and more importantly, the main supply route that United States Forces in Iraq have been using to get to Kuwait.

All 'Steel Dragon' Soldiers are scheduled to redeploy back to Fort Hood, Texas before Christmas as part of the re-posturing efforts by U.S. Forces here.

'Steel Dragon' remains dedicated to advising and assisting the ISF as they prepare to assume full responsibility of Iraq's sovereignty and security.

"Our Soldiers remain vigilant and devoted to the mission and will do so until the last member of the team is home safe," said Capt. George Gordon, a native of Sealy, Texas and the battalion's battle captain.

Gordon oversees the battalion tactical operations center, managing all of the route clearance patrols that are conducted between 'Steel Dragon' Soldiers and their ISF partners, ensuring a safe and secure passage for thousands of U.S. Soldiers and their equipment as they leave Iraq on historic tactical road marches.

Gordon explained how Soldiers are not letting up on their patrols and anticipate accomplishing their new mission of getting every Soldier home safe.

The re-posturing efforts do not come without a cost. The battalion has worked in an area on COB Adder encompassing a few acres including a fully operational motor pool with hundreds of vehicles, tactical operation centers, training centers and a medic station.

Since September, U.S. Forces have made preparations to turn the base over to Iraqi forces. As a result, that multi-acre battalion footprint has shrunk to a single building, housing all operational stations, five artillery batteries and one company headquarters.

'Steel Dragon' is ready to bid farewell to the highly trained and competent ISF they have partnered with during the deployment. As the battalion moves forward, the Soldiers remain committed to finishing the job, remaining safe and forging the historical path into a new post Iraq War era.

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