Wednesday, May 14, 2008

35th Armor Regiment Soldier Takes Command at Combat Outpost Cashe

Lieutenant Colonel Rich Morales, 1st Battalion, 35th Armor Regiment commander, stands in front of his Soldiers as he prepares to uncase his unit colors during a transfer of authority ceremony at Combat Outpost Cashe May 12. (U.S. Army photo/Spc. Justin Snyder)

By Spc Justin Snyder
2nd Brigade, 1 Armored Division Public Affairs Office

FORWARD OPERATING BASE HAMMER, Iraq – Soldiers held a ceremony May 12, transferring authority in the Jisr Diyala nahia, Iraq, from the 3rd Battalion, 1st Cavalry Regiment, to the 1st Battalion, 35th Armor Regiment, at Combat Outpost Cashe.

The ceremony began with the playing of both the United States and Iraqi national anthems.

Colonel Wayne W. Grigsby Jr., commander of the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, addressed the crowd, which included 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division Soldiers, 3rd BCT Soldiers and many local Iraqi leaders and citizens.

Grigsby, a native of Prince George’s County, Md., thanked the Iraqi leaders and the Sons of Iraq for helping the 3-1st Cav. Regt. accomplish a successful mission in the Jisr Diyala nahia. He told the Iraqis that, though his people are leaving, his Soldiers’ hard work will continue through the efforts of the incoming 1-35th Armor Regt.

“We thank the Sons of Iraq and local leaders for a successful tour over the past 15 months,” Grigsby said. “The Iron Brigade is more than ready to assist you and your needs. This is only the beginning.”

Lieutenant Colonel John Kolasheski, commander of the 3-1st Cav. Regt., took the podium following Grigsby’s speech. He said the ceremony was not just a welcoming for a new command, but a celebration of what the Iraqi people have accomplished over the past 15 months.

“Together, we have put the wheels in motion,” said Kolasheski, a native of Loudon, Tenn. “Seize this opportunity you have been given and move forward not backwards.”

Following his speech, Kolasheski cased the colors of the 3-1st Cav. Regt. and turned over the microphone to Lt. Col. Rich Morales, commander of the 1-35th Armor Regt, who uncased the 1-35th Armor Regt. colors.

Morales, a native of El Paso, Texas, told the people it was time for the 3-1st Cav. Regt. to return to their families and promised their efforts would be remembered and honored with continued cooperation in their area of operation.

“Today we begin a new chapter in a very proud book,” Morales said. “My Soldiers are committed to helping. Together we will move forward.”

Kolasheski feels confident in the abilities of the 1-35th Armor Regt. and believes they will do a wonderful job over the next 15 months.

“These Soldiers are well trained and well led,” Kolasheski said. “They have a good understanding of their environment and what is up ahead. They are the perfect unit for the job.”

Sheikh Case, a local tribal leader, attended the ceremony. He has worked with the 3-1st Cav. Regt. on numerous projects during their stay at COP Cashe. He said he looks forward to working with the 1-35th Armor Regt. in the coming months.

“Anything these guys need, me and my people will be there,” Case said. “I know they are here to help.”

The ceremony concluded with the playing of the 3rd Infantry Division Song, the 1st Armored Division Song and the Army Song.

The 1-35th Armor Regt. falls under the command of the 2nd BCT, 1st Armd. Div., from Baumholder, Germany, which is replacing the 3rd BCT, 3rd Inf. Div. in the Mada’in Qada, in southeastern Baghdad province.

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