SOUTHWEST ASIA -- Army Lt. Gen. Paul J. LaCamera, commanding general of the XVIII Airborne Corps, assumed command of Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve from Army Lt. Gen. Paul E. Funk II, the III Armored Corps commanding general, today during a ceremony in Baghdad.
Iraqi security forces partners and distinguished guests joined an audience including U.S. and coalition soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines and law enforcement officials for the transfer of authority ceremony at the coalition headquarters.
Army Gen. Joseph L. Votel, commanding general for U.S. Central Command, presided over the ceremony. Votel said that he is confident the XVIII Airborne Corps team from Fort Bragg, North Carolina, is ready to continue the fight for the lasting defeat of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria and set conditions for follow-on operations to increase regional stability.
"Lt. Gen. Funk’s team has made tremendous progress," Votel said. "[From] increasing the capabilities of the ISF, collapsing pockets of ISIS fighters throughout the region, [and] helping to clear Hawijah, Anbar and the Euphrates River valley throughout the past year."
Votel further remarked on Funk’s leadership with the largest military coalition in history.
Coalition’s Commitment to Defeat ISIS
"CJTF-OIR's success is a testament to your leadership," Votel said. "Working by, with, and through brave Iraqi and Syrian partners, the coalition has remained committed to pursuing the lasting defeat of ISIS."
The XVIII Airborne Corps previously led the CJTF-OIR coalition from Aug. 2016 to Sept. 2017.
Outgoing commanding general Funk took the opportunity to reflect on his command of CJTF-OIR.
"There are two words to describe what has changed in the last four years since the formation of this coalition -- honor and hope. Working by, with, and through our Iraqi partners, our efforts helped the Iraqi security forces transform into a confident, professional organization and restore honor to their nation,” Funk said. “In northeast Syria, hope has replaced fear and oppression. While there is still a tough fight ahead, we are confident that XVIII Corps will lead the coalition to secure the lasting defeat of ISIS."
LaCamera shared his vision for the CJTF-OIR mission ahead.
"As we look to the future,” he said, “we must and will be aggressive and resolute in everything we do to ensure ISIS and its ideology are completely eradicated."
Since its establishment in June 2014, CJTF-OIR a global coalition consisting of 73 nations and five international organizations, has built and enhanced the capacities of partner forces and significantly degraded the ability of ISIS to recruit, train, plan, resource, inspire and execute attacks worldwide. The coalition’s collective accomplishments include training and equipping more than 170,000 Iraqi security forces and thousands of internal security forces in northeastern Syria; recapturing 99% of the territory previously held by ISIS in Iraq and Syria; and liberating nearly eight million Iraqis and Syrians from ISIS’s brutal rule.