Kentucky Guardsmen take charge in Horn of Africa

Story submitted by 2/138th Task Force Longrifles Public Affairs Office

Task Force Longrifle TOA

Soldiers from the 2nd Battalion, 138th Field Artillery Regiment
salute the flag during the Transfer of Authority ceremony at Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti, on Oct. 18, 2012. The 2/138th is tasked with providing regional security and stability while strengthening local and national relationships, as well as to protect U.S. and Coalition interests in the Horn of Africa. (photo submitted)

CAMP LEMONNIER, Djibouti – The hardest part of any deployment is the last month, according to Texas Army National Guard Soldiers from 3rd Squadron, 124th Cavalry (3-124 CAV). The Soldiers spent the last few weeks packing, checking gear, and completing the Relief In Place (RIP) with their replacements, 2nd Battalion, 138th Field Artillery Regiment (2-138th FAR) out of Kentucky.

The last item for the RIP to be complete was a Transfer of Authority (TOA) ceremony making Task Force Longrifles officially responsible for all force protection at Combined Joint Task Force – Horn of Africa (CJTF-HOA).

The ceremony, completed at Camp Lemonnier’s Eleven Degrees North on Oct. 18, 2012 involved the casing of 3-124 CAV colors, signifying the completion of the unit’s deployment.  Squadron Commander Lt. Col. Tommy Hooker spoke during the ceremony about the success of their mission.

Task Force Longrifle TOA

Lt. Col. Rob Larkin and Command Sgt. Maj. Timothy Gividen uncase the 2nd Battalion, 138th colors, representing the assumption of authority at Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti, on Oct. 18, 2012.

“In the past nine months Task Force Raptor has successfully accomplished all directed force protection measures within the CJTF-HOA area of operations and a multitude of contingency operations and missions throughout the deployment.”

Hooker was confident that Task Force Longrifles would maintain the high standards set by the Texans and be just as successful in their deployment.  The Soldiers from Task Force Longrifles then uncased their own colors and officially assumed all duties and responsibilities from Task Force Raptor.

The incoming commander, Lt. Col. Robert Larkin commented about the successful RIP and TOA with 3-124th CAV after the ceremony.

“The CAV unit did an excellent job and provided numerous lessons they had learned to help us be setup for nothing but success.”

Task Force Longrifle TOA

Chaplain Mark Slaughter says a prayer at the Transfer of Authority ceremony at Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti, on Oct. 18, 2012. This ceremony signifies the transfer of authority from the 3rd Squadron, 124th Cavalry to the 2nd Battalion, 138th Field Artillery Regiment.

The ceremony ended with Chaplain (Capt.) Mark Slaughter saying a prayer for the Soldiers heading home to have a happy reunion with their loved ones and for the men and women of Task Force Longrifles to have a great deployment.

The Kentucky flag now flies over every force protection building in the CJTF-HOA area of operations, showing all who see it that the Longrifles are finally here.

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