FORT HOOD, Texas — After a yearlong deployment was in support of Combined Joint Task Force – Operation Inherent Resolve, the Commanding General at Fort Hood is back on post.
The return was celebrated with a ceremonial uncasing of the colors, which signifies that the Three Corps headquarters is officially home. Nearly 400 Soldiers participated in the headquarters deployment.
III Corps led the Coalition to defeat ISIS in Iraq and Syria from September 2019 through September 2020. Soldiers from the III Corps headquarters served at a split-based headquarters in Baghdad, Iraq, and Camp Arifjan, Kuwait. The headquarters was comprised of service members and civilian personnel from about 30 nations led by the III Corps commanding general and command sergeant major.
"Pushing this thing forward and enabling the Iraqis and the Syrian democratic forces to take this on themselves and be the lead for it was a tremendous accomplishment," said Lieutenant General Pat White, Commanding General at Fort Hood.
At an uncasing ceremony Thursday, White addressed the death of Vanessa Guillen. He said there's a new push to get leadership focused on soldiers and the people in their organizations.
"We're putting our unit leaders through certification programs so I know they are doing what they are supposed to be doing. They also know the resources to help their soldiers,” White said. “As a part of the program, I’m going to reach out and get to know the extended families of these soldiers."
During the year, Combined Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve partnered with Iraqi Security Forces and Syrian Democratic Forces to eliminate ISIS remnants. Highlights include the raid that killed ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, repositioning of troops in Northeastern Syria, the attack on the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, escalating tensions with Iran and Rogue militia groups.
White said that tragically, soldiers were lost during their mission but reducing U.S. military personnel in Iraq was able to be done.
"Basically, we redeployed about two-thirds of what we started with to get them back home. They weren’t needed anymore. I’m proud of everyone and their accomplishments. It was significant even with Covid put on top of it," White said.
White hopes to meet with the family of Vanessa Guillen soon. He said investigation reports into her death should come out at the end of October. This is the seventh III Corps deployment to the region since 2003.
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