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'Dragon' Brigade to focus on Afghan partnership

June 17, 2012

By Sgt. Gene A. Arnold, 4IBCT Public Affairs Office

"Our mission over the next few months is to maintain the momentum of the campaign that 172D Infantry Brigade has established as we continue the assisting and advising role to our Afghan partners in a effort to assert authority in our area of operations," said Col. Joseph Wawro, the brigade commander.

"The 'Dragon' Brigade will stand shoulder-to-shoulder with our Afghan partners to enable their success, as professionals and brothers in arms," he added.

Since the brigade stood up in 2006, combat actions were its primary function. But for more than a year, the brigade has been preparing for a role unknown to them: advisory.

"The brigade has been deployed to Iraq twice and that's kind of the reason why we stood up," said Command Sgt. Maj. Wylie Hutchison, the senior non-commissioned officer of the "Dragon" Brigade. "We trained differently this time and I think it's paid off."

"We have an understanding that we will not win the war and achieve our goals without putting the ANSF and the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan in the lead. We partner with them and allow them to make the decisions that are needed to solve the problems but we're just here to help," he added.

In a ceremony in front of the new "Dragon" Brigade headquarters building, Wawro and Hutchison uncased the colors with distinguished guest in attendance including Maj. Gen. William C. Mayville Jr. and Command Sgt. Maj. Charles V. Sasser Jr., International Security Assistance Force Joint Command Sgt. Maj. William Johnson, Afghan National Army and Police Force commanders, and provincial and district governors of Paktika Province.

Mayville, the commanding general of Combined Joint Task Force-1 and the 1st Infantry Division, spoke at the ceremony:

"We are not running out or abandoning you," he said. "We are thinning the ranks so more can be placed on the shoulders of the Afghan people."

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