Col. Marc Ferraro (right), commander of the 56th Stryker Brigade Combat Team of the Pennsylvania Army National Guard, and Command Sgt. Maj. John Jones (left) observe the lowering of the "Independence Brigade" colors during a transfer of authority ceremony, Aug. 31, 2009. The brigade arrived in Iraq in late January 2009 following mobilization in September 2008. Soldiers of the 1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division will assume operations in what was the 56th SBCT's area, north of Baghdad. (Photo by Sgt. Doug Roles, Pennsylvania National Guard)
Stryker brigade ends mission in IraqBy Sgt. Doug Roles
CAMP TAJI, Iraq (8/31/09) -- Soldiers of the 56th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, Pennsylvania Army National Guard, marked the official end of their mission in Iraq today with a transfer of authority ceremony.
Commander Col. Marc Ferraro and Brigade Command Sgt. Maj. John Jones lowered the colors of the "Independence Brigade" in front of a crowd of Soldiers and Iraqi government and military officials.
"At the start of our mission I said, 'The citizen Soldiers of Pennsylvania have always answered the call to duty," Ferraro said. "They did just that.
"During the deployment, we remained focused on the mission. The Soldiers of the Independence Brigade served side by side with Iraqi soldiers to ensure security."
Brigade Soldiers performed over 800 combined operations with Iraqi security forces, capturing seven brigade level high value targets and 80 additional targets; capturing more than 80 enemy weapon caches.
Ferraro told Iraqi officials present that the past eight months have demonstrated that Iraqi security forces in the Taji area will be successful in the future.
The brigade worked with an embedded U.S. provincial reconstruction team and local sheiks to complete civil capacity projects in excess of $22 million, Ferraro said....
Job well done! Read the rest here.