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III Corps Comes Home

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(KCEN) --- For more than nine months in Afghanistan, III Corps transferred authority of ISAF joint command to the 18th Airborne Corps out of Fort Bragg. 

It marks the start of an historic year for people in Afghanistan and all over the world.

Lieutenant General Mark Milley transfers authority of ISAF joint command over to Lieutenant General Joseph Anderson.

"We are here to provide hope for a better life," said General Mark Milley.

Under Milley's command, Afghan forces took the lead in over 95 percent of security operations.

"The fight is theirs, and they've been carrying that fight, they don't want the Taliban back, that message is loud and clear," said Milley.

More than 100 coalition bases have been closed or transferred to the Afghans over III corps' nine month tour, which is a major step towards progression according to the top commander in Afghanistan.

"Today, the Afghan people have what they didn't have in the past, they have hope," said General Joseph Dunford.

More than two thousand U.S. troops have given their lives in this war, including Staff Sergeant Timothy Bowles who was killed by an IED March 15 2009.

His sister, Heather Ketchmark looks to the future of the Afghan people.

"I want to see our men and woman be victorious in what they're doing, and I want to see them honored for what they've done, and the sacrifices that have been made on the soldier and family member," said Ketchmark.

Some troops are left with scars that will never fully heal.

Mike Williams, suffered a traumatic brain injury when an I-E-D struck his vehicle, killing two of his battle buddies, is ready for 12 years of fighting to end.

"After Afghanistan, I had to go to a therapist, because I was having issues with coping," said Williams.

General Milley says he's hopeful the U.S. and Afghanistan will soon agree on a bilateral security agreement to keep American forces in Afghanistan after the 2014 draw-down.

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