‘Dragon’ Brigade to focus on Afghan partnership
Col. Joseph Wawro and Command Sgt. Maj. Wylie Hutchison, the commander and senior non-commissioned officer of the 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, uncase the 4IBCT “Dragon” Brigade colors, signifying the completion of the transfer of authority from the 172D Infantry Brigade, from Grafenwoehr, Germany, June 16.
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Story by: SSG Gene A. Arnold
PAKTIKA PROVINCE, Afghanistan – The 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, from Fort Riley, Kan., completed a transfer of authority with the 172nd Infantry Brigade in eastern Afghanistan's Paktika province, June 16.
The 4IBCT "Dragon" Brigade, 1st Inf. Div., has taken the charge of advising and assisting the local Afghan National Security Forces and government, which are already leading the way to success.
"Our mission over the next few months is to maintain the momentum of the campaign that 172nd Infantry Brigade has established as we continue the assisting and advising role to our Afghan partners in a effort to assert authority in our area of operations," said Col. Joseph Wawro, the brigade commander.
"The 'Dragon' Brigade will stand shoulder-to-shoulder with our Afghan partners to enable their success, as professionals and brothers in arms," he added.
Since the brigade stood up in 2006, combat actions were its primary function. But for more than a year, the brigade has been preparing for a role unknown to them: advisory.
"The brigade has been deployed to Iraq twice and that's kind of the reason why we stood up," said Command Sgt. Maj. Wylie Hutchison, the senior non-commissioned officer of the "Dragon" Brigade. "We trained differently this time and I think it's paid off."
"We have an understanding that we will not win the war and achieve our goals without putting the ANSF and the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan in the lead. We partner with them and allow them to make the decisions that are needed to solve the problems but we're just here to help," he added.
In a ceremony in front of the new "Dragon" Brigade headquarters building, Wawro and Hutchison uncased the colors with distinguished guest in attendance including Maj. Gen. William C. Mayville Jr. and Command Sgt. Maj. Charles V. Sasser Jr., International Security Assistance Force Joint Command Sgt. Maj. William Johnson, Afghan National Army and Police Force commanders, and provincial and district governors of Paktika province.
Mayville, the commanding general of Combined Joint Task Force-1 and the 1st Infantry Division, spoke at the ceremony:
"We are not running out or abandoning you," he said. "We are thinning the ranks so more can be placed on the shoulders of the Afghan people."
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