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Georgian Army ends mission in Helmand province, Afghanistan

US Marine Corps News

By Sgt. Jessica Ostroska | Marine Expeditionary Brigade - Afghanistan | July 16, 2014

CAMP LEATHERNECK, Afghanistan -- Soldiers with the Republic of Georgia gathered for a ceremony marking their end of mission with Regional Command (Southwest) aboard Camp Leatherneck, Helmand province, Afghanistan, as they bid farewell to their coalition counterparts, July 15, 2014.

While deployed in support of the International Security Assistance Force, Georgian soldiers worked under Task Force Belleau Wood to aid in security force protection within Helmand province.

"Thank you for coming to today's flag-lowering ceremony," said Brig. Gen. Daniel D. Yoo, commander, RC(SW). "Thank you for your steadfast partnership and commitment to our Afghan partners here in Afghanistan. Although today's ceremony marks the end of your participation with RC(SW), it doesn't end your commitment to the mission here in Afghanistan. You have been a very good partner, and your performance has reflected professionalism and commitment. I can't thank you all enough. As you get ready to go home, you can be proud of your accomplishments."

Since ISAF entered Afghanistan, the Republic of Georgia has been a committed and loyal coalition partner, deploying their first rotation of troops during September 2004.

"I am honored to take part in such a historical moment," said Col. Roman Jokhadze, Deputy Chief of General Staff of Georgia. "Thank you for the great effort you have made from your great countries. We are so honored that we were fighting shoulder to shoulder with our coalition partners and to make life better here in Afghanistan."

This year marked the 13th rotation and final deployment for the Georgian army with RC(SW). Since their mission first began, more than 11,000 Georgian soldiers have deployed to the country. Throughout their deployments to southwestern Afghanistan, 29 soldiers were killed in action, 435 have been wounded in action, 35 of whom are amputees.

"It is impossible to not talk about our soldiers who we have lost during this mission," said Jokhadze. "Their legacy will stay in our hearts for all times. We will continue in our fighting to honor their legacy here in Afghanistan."

The ceremony concluded with the lowering of the Georgian flag symbolizing Georgia's mission with RC(SW) had come to an end.

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