Thursday, June 04, 2009

82nd Airborne Assumes Command in Eastern Afghanistan

BAGRAM AIRFIELD, Afghanistan, June 3, 2009 - Fifteen months after transferring authority of Regional Command East in Afghanistan to the 101st Airborne Division, the 82nd Airborne Division reassumed command during a ceremony here yerterday.

The ceremony marks the official transition from Combined Joint Task Force 101 to Combined Joint Task Force 82, with the new unit assuming responsibility for 14 provinces in eastern Afghanistan along the Pakistan border.

Army Maj. Gen. Curtis Scaparrotti, commander of the 82nd Airborne Division and CJTF 82, praised 101st Airborne Division soldiers for their 15 months of service working to enhance the lives of the Afghan people.

"The leadership of the 101st forged an exceptional team that has proven an unparalleled understanding of, and performance in, this complex environment," Scaparrotti said. "In partnership with the people of Afghanistan, they have taken the fight to our common enemy and improved the lives of thousands of Afghan citizens."

Army Maj. Gen. Jeffrey Schloesser, commander of the 101st Airborne Division and CJTF 101, reflected on the accomplishments made by the soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines, civilians and coalition partners in his task force during past 15 months while also looking to the future with CJTF 82.

"You can hold your head high at what you were able to accomplish," he said. "History will record your accomplishments here fighting those who would terrorize the world. While we say farewell to Afghanistan, another great task force returns to take our place.

"The 82nd Airborne Division -- no strangers to Afghanistan -- led by Major General Scaparrotti, will continue to assist the government, the Afghan national security forces, and the people of Afghanistan," he continued, "increasing security, improving governance and developing Afghanistan."

Regional Command East's mission is to bring development, governance and security to Afghanistan and ultimately to deny terrorists safe haven to launch attacks against the United States and its allies. CJTF 82 will work directly with NATO's International Security Assistance Force, U.S. Forces Afghanistan and the Afghan government to maintain security and development for the region.

The 82nd Airborne Division, deployed here from Fort Bragg, N.C., will maintain control of Regional Command East for about a year. The 101st Airborne Division, based out of Fort Campbell, Ky., has been deployed to Afghanistan since April 2008.