CAMP VICTORY, Iraq (Sept. 1, 2010) - Gen. Raymond Odierno relinquished command of United States Forces - Iraq to Gen. Lloyd J. Austin III as Operation New Dawn began on Wednesday. Al Faw Palace overflowed with military leaders and dignitaries from the U.S., Iraq, and other nations to witness the change of command ceremony.
Odierno, after dedicating 56 months to Operation Iraqi Freedom, with the last 24 as commanding general of USF-I and Multi-National Forces-Iraq, watched the Iraqi Security Forces come of age under his command, setting the stage for the transition to stability operations and the responsible drawdown of forces.
Vice President Joseph R. Biden attended the ceremony on behalf of the White House.
“This change of mission, to state the obvious, would never have been possible without the resolve and tremendous sacrifice and competence of our military, the finest fighting force in the world,” Biden said.
Now on his third tour in Iraq, Austin assumes his role as the USF-I commander, in charge of the U.S. military’s effort advising, training, and assisting the ISF and setting the conditions necessary for an enduring partnership between the U.S. and Iraq.
“Although challenges remain, we will face these challenges together . and we will demonstrate our commitment through a continued partnership with the Iraqis,” Austin said.