Thursday, January 05, 2012
Texas Guard unit signs forward operating base over to Afghan control
By Staff Sgt. Luke Graziani
Combined Joint Task Force 1 - Afghanistan
PANJSHIR PROVINCE, Afghanistan (1/5/12) - Another big step in the transition process has been taken with Forward Operating Base Lion now under the direct control of the Afghan government.
A provincial reconstruction team from the Texas National Guard, 321st Civil Affairs Brigade, officially signed over authority of the FOB to the Panjshir Provincial Governor, Keramuddin Karim on Dec. 28.
A formal ceremony was held to sign the last legal documents and to present the governor with an oversized 'key to the city'.
"It's a little nerve wracking, but it's exciting," said Army Master Sgt. Valerie Lofton, native of Bucyrus, Ohio, 321st CA Brig. FOB mayor. "I actually hate to leave. It's a great province. It's been a great experience working with everybody here."
Forward Operating Base Lion resides in, what has been deemed the model
province - Panjshir.
"We're very proud of the work that the team has accomplished here," said Army Lt. Col. Daniel Gajewski, native of Chicago and 321st CA Brig. Provincial Development Support Team commander, "This is one of the true success stories. We see nothing but a bright future for the people of Panjshir. We look forward to coming back here someday as tourists."
The governor of the province envisions great things for the future of the FOB. There are plans to convert the namesake of the province into a college for women.
"We do have our four-year development program planned for Panjshir," said Keramuddin Karim, Panjshir provincial governor. "What we are trying to do is...make a college or university for the young generation of Afghanistan."