Casing of the colors

By Capt. Andi Hahn, 149th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade Public Affairs Officer

Col Scott Campbell, 149th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade Commander and Command Sgt. Maj. Thomas Johnson, case the brigade colors representing the end of mission for the unit in support of Operation New Dawn at Victory Base Complex, Iraq, Nov. 28. (photo by Capt. Andi Hahn, 149th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade Public Affairs Officer)

VICTORY BASE COMPLEX, Iraq—The 149th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade cased the brigade colors which represented the unit’s end of mission in support of Operation New Dawn Nov. 28 at Camp Liberty near Baghdad, Iraq.

The 149th MEB served as the last garrison command of the largest and most intricate U.S. base in all of Iraq, Victory Base Complex.  Their mission was to provide base defense operations and force protection for all of VBC as well as life support operations to sustain all tenants on the camp during the withdrawal of troops.

“We asked the 149th MEB to do the impossible,” said Brig. Gen. Paul J. LaCamera, Deputy Commanding General of the 25th Infantry Division.  “We asked them to close the biggest base in Iraq while still providing life support and force protection to the significant population of service members and civilians that still remained.  And they did it with overwhelming success.”

Victory Base Complex as become synonymous with the heartbeat and the center of gravity for U.S. operations during the Iraq campaigns.  VBC alone consists of more than 60 miles of perimeter, 20,000 acres, 19 separate camps, and housed 24,000 service members and civilians at the height of this year.

Brig. Gen. Paul LaCamera, Deputy Commanding General for 25th Infantry Division and Command Sgt. Maj. Ray Devens present Col. Scott Campbell and Command Sgt. Maj. Thomas Johnson, 149th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade, with a Tropic Lightning plaque as a token of their appreciation for the job well done by Task Force Legion during the Brigade's casing ceremony at Victory Base Complex, Iraq Nov. 28. (photo by Capt. Andi Hahn, 149th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade Public Affairs Officer)

The most challenging mission for the brigade was to working to transfer authority of all VBC to Iraq.  This included transitioning several of the camps inside VBC to the Government of Iraq, Iraqi Ground Forces Command, Iraqi Special Operations Forces and the 6th Iraqi Army for force protection upon withdrawal from the base.

Col. Scott Campbell, 149th MEB Commander, said it’s a momentous accomplishment for Task Force Legion and a significant contribution to the overall effort.

“We are on the verge of giving back the base better than we found it; peacefully transitioning the terrain we once fought for back to the sovereign nation of Iraq,” Campbell said.  “This is a huge milestone but the mission in Iraq is not complete with the transfer of VBC.”

In the four months the 149th MEB was in command of garrison operations, they managed the prime power contract that provided power to over 6,000 personnel on VBC during the drawdown. They provided contracting officer representative support to 23 contracts valued at $470 million dollars and processed more than 600 work orders for tenants on the base.

“The 149th MEB accomplished a lot during their short, but critical time in Iraq,” LaCamera said.  “I am humbled and honored to have worked alongside the leaders and Soldiers of Task Force Legion.”

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