September 14, 2019
Release # 20190914-01
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
SOUTHWEST ASIA – U.S. Army Lt. Gen. Pat White, III Armored Corps Commanding General, assumed command of the Combined Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve from U.S. Army Lt. Gen. Paul LaCamera, XVIII Airborne Corps Commanding General, during a transfer of authority ceremony in Baghdad on Sept. 14, 2019.
Commanding General for U.S. Central Command, Marine Gen. Kenneth F. McKenzie Jr. presided over the event. He spoke of the progress made by the XVIII Airborne Corps in the fight for the enduring defeat of Daesh following its territorial defeat on March 23, which completed the recovery of 110,000 km2 of territory across Iraq and Syria and liberation of nearly eight million Iraqi and Syrian people from Daesh’s brutal control.
“The ceremony is not so much about change, but about continuity and leadership. Despite the leadership changes, the campaign moves on without pause, and that is by design,” said McKenzie. “Over the years, these two headquarters have established a firm operational foundation, they've seized upon opportunities, and they have expanded on each other's successes, which has created an unstoppable momentum that in turn has allowed the entire coalition to raise its game.”
Mackenzie then focused on LaCamera’s leadership of the largest military coalition in history.
“You and your XVIII Airborne Corps team have made tremendous progress over the past year across every front of the defeat ISIS campaign, in Iraq and as well as in Northeast Syria,” McKenzie said. “The milestone date of 23 March…marked the end of ISIS control of any physical territory, the culmination of a five-year fight, with ISIS reduced to an underground organization, [its] aspirations for a global caliphate laid to rest.”
Out-going Commanding General LaCamera took the opportunity to thank the Soldiers and Coalition members on his time in command of CJTF-OIR.
“I would like to thank your families. I will thank you for answering your nation's call, for answering the calls for humanity. I will thank you for the dedication to mission. It has been my distinct honor to serve with you,” LaCamera said.
During the past year, the Coalition focused on enhancing the capabilities and capacities of the Iraqi Security Forces, training almost 60,000 Iraqi Security Forces and Kurdish Security Forces. Overall, since 2015, the Coalition has trained over 220,000 ISF and KSF personnel, and have trained more than 4,000 ISF instructors.
For the incoming force, III Armored Corps is familiar with the tasks and mission ahead of them, with Lt. Gen. White having previously led the Combined Joint Forces Land Component Command from July 2017 to March 2018.
“It's amazing to come back and see the amount of progress that both the security forces and the country of Iraq and eastern Syria region have gone through,” White said. “So it’s the professionalism of the security forces, it’s the will and it’s the love of a country that [results in] success, and it takes leaders [across the Coalition] to make it happen, but more so, it’s our young men and women that are out on point right now...and so my message today is, just don't forget.”
Since its establishment in 2014, CJTF-OIR has become a global coalition consisting of 76 nations and five international organizations. The Coalition will continue to work by, with, and through partner forces to defeat Daesh in Iraq and Syria and achieve enduring regional stability.