By Army Lt. Col. Robert Preiss
In a formal transfer of authority ceremony attended by Gen. Lloyd Austin, commander of
forces in U.S. , as well as numerous Iraqi dignitaries, the 36th unfurled its colors as it officially replaced the Army's 1st Infantry Division, which had previously led Iraq efforts in the southern third of the country. U.S.
Now, the incoming National Guard division headquarters will take command of the two active component brigades engaged in advising, training and assisting Iraqi security forces in the region.
Consistent with the Army's new modular approach to battlefield organization, the two brigades under the command of the division headquarters are not those normally organic to the division.
The 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment shares the division's
roots, as it is based at Fort Texas
Hood, while the 3rd Brigade of the 4th Infantry is from
Fort Carson, Colo.
Noting that the division's vast southern operational area in
encompasses half of this country's 18 provinces, Gen. Austin said the region was "enormously important" to the future economic strength of Iraq . Iraq
He also said the 36th Infantry Division is up to the task in taking on a mission which could be decisive in the coming year as
forces depart United States in accordance with the terms of the existing U.S.-Iraqi security agreement. Iraq
In his remarks upon accepting responsibility as the new U.S. Division-South commander, 36th Infantry Division commander Maj. Gen. Eddy Spurgin paid tribute to his 1st Infantry Division predecessors, noting that the two divisions had served side-by-side in the Meuse Argonne campaign of World War I and that it was fitting that the two now once again were together ushering in a new phase of history in Iraq.
The full text of his remarks is available here: http://www.army.mil/-speeches/2011/01/02/49976-us-division---south-transfer-of-authority-remarks-by-maj-gen-eddy-m-spurgin/index.html
The transfer of authority marked the third time that a National Guard division has assumed responsibility for an area within
during the course of Iraq operations here over the past seven years. U.S.
In 2009, the 34th Infantry Division headquarters of the Minnesota National Guard also
served as the U.S. Division in southern
In 2004, the 42nd Infantry Division headquarters of the New York National Guard served in the northern part of the country.