FORT RILEY, Kans.—At a Welcome Home Ceremony held on Feb.17, Col. Joseph Wawro, the commander of the 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, and Command Sgt. Maj. Wylie Hutchison the senior enlisted advisor or the ‘Dragon’ Brigade, uncase the brigade colors. The colors were uncased at the ceremony in front of a formation of about 280 Soldiers as well as hundreds of cheering Family and friends. The uncasing signifies the brigade’s completion of its nine month deployment to Eastern Afghanistan. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Scott Lamberson, 4IBCT PAO.)
Story by: Stephanie Hoff
1ST INF. DIV. PUBLIC AFFAIRS
It's been a historic year for the 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team,1st Infantry Division, as the unit's Soldiers completed their first tour to Afghanistan.
The unit recently returned from its deployment, in which the brigade was the first to deploy under the Army's new nine-month deployment structure.
"It's great to be home," said Col. Joseph Wawro, the brigade's commander, at a Feb. 17 uncasing ceremony, which signified the unit's official return to Fort Riley. "During our deployment, the brigade has accomplished many things, which have contributed to the security primacy of our Afghan partners."
The "Dragon" Brigade departed last spring for Afghanistan, where it was responsible for operations in the provinces of Paktika and Ghazni. On Feb. 13, the brigade participated in a transfer of authority ceremony, where it handed over supervision to the 3rd Brigade 203rd Corps of the Afghan National Army. The ceremony was the first time U.S. forces have transferred authority to Afghan national security forces in the Ghazni Province.
"Typically, we transition authority from a U.S. force to another U.S. force. What was significant about this last transfer of authority is that the transition was from 4th IBCT to the 3rd Bde., 203rd Corps (ANA)," said Col. Stephen L.A. Michael, commander, Cross Functional Team Warrior, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division, during the Feb. 13 ceremony in Afghanistan. "So now they are officially in the lead. It's their mission. They are in charge of Ghazni. We are in the advise, assist and enabling role, but it is their mission all the way."
Wawro complemented the brigade's Soldiers on completing a successful mission of enabling their Afghan counterparts to take the lead of government and security forces in their region. "Great work by our brigade in supporting our (ANSF) partners as they continue and are ready to take over security in Afghanistan," Wawro said.
For Wawro, the most notable piece of the brigade's Soldiers returning to Fort Riley, he said, was seeing the emotions on the faces at the redeployment ceremonies of all the supporters the Soldiers had back at home during their deployment.
"The Families have been great. Their unwavering support and devotion to Task Force Dragon has been incredible, and I thank them for all they have done to support our Soldiers. Without them, we wouldn't have been able to do what we had to do," he said.
Wawro completed the ceremony by thanking Fort Riley's neighbors in the Central Flint Hills Region for their support, to not only the Soldiers while they were deployed, but also for the aid provided to the unit's Family members.
"I appreciate and thank all of our friends who have supported the Families and Soldiers," Wawro said. "The (Central) Flint Hills Region is great; a great group of folks, who come out and help us, support us, and