FORWARD OPERATING BASE SARKARI KAREZ, Afghanistan – Soldiers of 2nd Battalion, 34th Armor Regiment “Dreadnaught” passed responsibility of Forward Operating Base Sarkari Karez and the surrounding battle space to Soldiers of 3rd Squadron, 71st Cavalry Regiment “Titans” on Dec. 23.
In a traditional transfer of authority ceremony, the departing unit forms up behind the guidon. During the ceremony, the outgoing unit cases their colors, symbolizing the end of their time in Afghanistan.
Lt. Col. Christopher J. Kidd, 2-34 Armor commander, and Command Sgt. Maj. John McDwyer, battalion senior enlisted adviser, cased the unit’s colors in the ceremony. After 2-34 Armor’s colors were cased, 3-71 Cavalry officially assumed command of Sarkari Karez.
“The Dreadnaught mark on history was achieved over nine months in Maiwand; the battalion immediately established security,” said Col. Patrick D. Frank, commander of 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division (LI), Task Force Spartan.
From May 15 to Dec. 23, Soldiers of 2-34 Armor has worked closely with TF Spartan to clear the Maiwand District of insurgents and to stabilize the Afghan people. Now, their work role in the counterinsurgency fight has come to an end.
During their deployment, Dreadnaught Soldiers conducted more than 1,800 patrols, 31 air assaults, built five pieces of tactical infrastructure, and transferred command of Combat Outpost Ata Mohammed and Strong Point Jawkari to their Afghan National Security Assistance Force counterparts. Their operations resulted in the seizure or reduction of more than $600,000 worth of illegal narcotics, weapons and improvised explosive device making materials.
“The Dreadnaughts have fought hard over the last nine months, clearing pockets of enemy resistance and building capacity within the Afghan National Security Assistance Forces,” said Lt. Col. Mike Kirkpatrick, 3-71 Cavalry commander. “As we assume their duties, we will continue to clear, mold and build.”
After the ceremony, Soldiers of 2-34 Armor returned to Fort Riley, Kan., to be reunited with their friends and Families.
Responsibility of Sarkari Karez and the surrounding battle space now belongs to Titan Soldiers.
“Titans, once again, you have assumed your duties professionally, and I have every confidence that you will improve our performance, as well as the performance of our partners,” Kirkpatrick said to his Soldiers standing in formation.
The 3-71 Cavalry was originally activated in December 1941, as the 701st Tank Destroyer Battalion. The 701st deployed to North Africa in 1942 and fought throughout WWII. The unit was eventually attached to the 10th Mountain Division in northern Italy, where the Soldiers served in many crucial operations.
Soldiers in 3-71 Cavalry deployed to Afghanistan for the first time in February 2006, in support of Operation Enduring Freedom as part of TF Spartan. The squadron was deployed to northeastern Kunar and Nuristan provinces. TF Spartan deployed in support of OEF again in December 2008 to Logar and Wardak provinces, where 3-71 Cavalry again provided the unit with multifaceted operational support.
Now, during the unit’s third deployment to Afghanistan, Soldiers have been operating in Kandahar Province for the past eight months. However, 3-71 Cavalry was detached from TF Spartan and has been operating out of Forward Operating Base Terra Nova in the Arghandab River Valley.
"Titan Troopers of 3rd Squad-ron, 71st Cavalry Regiment who have already been defeating the Taliban in Maiwand will now officially join this professional team and continue the progress for the Afghan people,” Frank said.
Upon assuming authority of FOB Sarkari Karez, the Titans will operate with TF Spartan for the remaining three months of their deployment.
“We will finish with honor,” Kirkpatrick said to his Soldiers. “Titans, you have proven yourselves in the Arghandab and established yourselves as a force to be reckoned with in Maiwand.”