Virginia’s adjutant general visits deployed Troops in Iraq

Photos and story by 1st Lt. Patrick Wilson
256th Infantry Brigade Combat Team public affairs
13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) Public Affairs

CONTINGENCY OPERATING BASE ADDER, Iraq — Although the Virginia adjutant general’s visit to Contingency Operating Base Adder, Iraq, was delayed by 10 hours due to a late spring sandstorm, he arrived April 8 to visit Adder-based Soldiers and discuss their mission.

Maj. Gen. Robert Newman, Jr., the Virginia adjutant general and a Richmond, Va., native, began his visit with a lunch with his Soldiers at the Coalition South dining facility.

“We came all this way to see our Soldiers from Virginia and wish them well as they begin their work here,” Newman said to leaders with 1st Battalion, 116th Infantry Regiment, out of Lynchburg, Va.

The Virginia National Guard commander was joined on his trip by Command Sgt. Maj. Carl Holcomb, state command sergeant major and a Mechanicsville, Va., native.

Roughly 400 Soldiers with 1st Bn., 116th Inf. Regt. are based at COB Adder to conduct convoy escort missions to set the conditions for the responsible drawdown of U.S. troops and equipment from Iraq, while deployed with the Louisiana National Guard’s 256th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary).

“The Soldiers from Virginia and Louisiana are making history,” Newman said. “The type of missions they are conducting will go on for years. As people sit home with their families, watching ‘Dancing with the Stars,’ these boys and girls from Virginia and Louisiana are giving their time, sucking the sand, to get the job done."

In addition to lunch and dinner with Soldiers with the Headquarters and Headquarters Company, A Company and B Company, Newman also visited with Soldiers as they prepared for their early evening convoy from Adder.

The general discussed updates about dangerous routes and where other convoys have been hit with either small-arms fire or roadside bombs.

Although the lowest amount of violence since the war began has been reported by United States Forces-Iraq this quarter, the Soldiers still take every precaution when they head out on the road. Each Soldier wears his improved outer tactical vest and a protective helmet on missions off base.

“The 1st Battalion was called up on very short notice for this mission,” said Holcomb. “These Soldiers have been working hard to learn an entirely new platform … and to repair them as well. This is no easy job for an infantry battalion more accustomed to walking everywhere.”

After Newman and Holcomb visited the convoy escort teams and inspected the mission preparations, they traveled by convoy to the nearby Ziggurat of Ur, which was first built in the 21st Century, B.C. The site is believed to be the birthplace of Old Testament prophet Abraham.

During the visit Lt. Col. E. Scott Smith, commander of 1st Bn., 116th Inf. Regt. and a Lynchburg, Va., native, assumed operational control of the convoy escort mission from the Oregon National Guard’s 1st Battalion, 186th Infantry Regiment.

The new operation, named Task Force Overlord in honor of the battalion’s historic connection to the D-Day landing at Normandy, France, also includes the 1st Battalion, 141st Field Artillery Regiment from New Orleans.

"As I sat and watched the ceremony, I felt pride as I saw the Virginia flag flying in the formation,” said Newman. “The 1st Battalion, 116th Inf. Regt. will forever be linked with the troops from Louisiana, and together you will accomplish great things."

news photo
Virginia National Guard Soldiers with 1st Battalion, 116th Infantry Regiment, out of Lynchburg, Va., gather at a convoy staging lane before an early evening convoy April 8 from Contingency Operating Base Adder, Iraq. The 1st Bn., 116th Inf. Regt. is currently deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom with the Louisiana National Guard’s 256th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary). (U.S. Army photo by 2nd Lt. Angela K. Fry)

news photo
Maj. Gen. Robert Newman, Jr., Virginia National Guard adjutant general and a Richmond, Va., native, and Command Sgt. Maj. Carl Holcomb, state command sergeant major and a Mechanicsville, Va., native, walk with the curator of the Ziggurat of Ur and Soldiers with 1st Battalion, 116th Infantry Regiment April 8 near Contingency Operating Base Adder, Iraq. The state command element flew in to visit with the Soldiers who are deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom with the Louisiana National Guard’s 256th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary). (U.S. Army photo by 2nd Lt. Angela K. Fry)

news photo
Virginia National Guard Soldiers with 1st Battalion, 116th Infantry Regiment, out of Lynchburg, Va., receive their combat patches following a formal transfer of authority ceremony April 9 at Contingency Operating Base Adder, Iraq. The 1st Bn., 116th Inf. Regt. is deployed with the Louisiana National Guard’s 1st Battalion, 141st Field Artillery Regiment, 256th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) to provide convoy escort teams to assist in setting conditions for the drawdown of U.S. troops and equipment from Iraq. (U.S. Army photo by 1st Lt. Patrick Wilson)

news photo
Lt. Col. E. Scott Smith, commander of 1st Battalion, 116th Infantry. Regiment. and a Lynchburg, Va., native, and Command Sgt. Maj. John Braziel, III, senior enlisted adviser with 1st Bn., 166th Inf. Regt. and a Lynchburg, Va., native, uncase the unit’s colors at a formal transfer of authority ceremony at Contingency Operating Base Adder, Iraq, to symbolize the transfer of authority to Task Force Overlord in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. The 1st Bn., 116th Inf. Regt. is deployed with the Louisiana National Guard’s 1st Battalion, 141st Field Artillery Regiment, 256th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) to provide convoy escort teams to assist in setting conditions for the future drawdown of U.S. troops and equipment from Iraq. (U.S. Army photo by 1st Lt. Patrick Wilson)

 

news photo
Maj. Gen. Robert Newman, Jr., Virginia National Guard adjutant general and a Richmond, Va., native, and Command Sgt. Maj. Carl Holcomb, state command sergeant major and a Mechanicsville, Va., native, meet with Soldiers with 1st Battalion, 116th Infantry Regiment, out of Lynchburg, Va., on a convoy staging lane April 8 at Contingency Operating Base Adder, Iraq. The 1st Bn., 116th Inf. Regt. is deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom with the Louisiana National Guard’s 256th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary). (U.S. Army photo by 2nd Lt. Angela K. Fry)

news photo
Maj. Gen. Robert Newman, Jr., Virginia National Guard adjutant general and a Richmond, Va., native, and Command Sgt. Maj. Carl Holcomb, state command sergeant major and a Mechanicsville, Va., native, listen to a convoy briefing for Soldiers with 1st Battalion, 116th Infantry Regiment, out of Lynchburg, Va., April 8 at Contingency Operating Base Adder, Iraq. The state command element flew in to visit with the Soldiers who are deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom with the Louisiana National Guard’s 256th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary). (U.S. Army photo by 2nd Lt. Angela K. Fry)

news photo
Maj. Gen. Robert Newman, Jr., Virginia National Guard adjutant general and a Richmond, Va., native, stands in an arch, believed to be one of the world’s oldest, with the curator of the Ziggurat of Ur April 8 near Contingency Operating Base Adder, Iraq. The adjutant general made a whirlwind trip to Adder to visit Soldiers with 1st Battalion, 116th Infantry Regiment, out of Lynchburg, Va., who are deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom with the Louisiana National Guard’s 256th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary). (U.S. Army photo by 2nd Lt. Angela K. Fry)

news photo
Virginia National Guard Soldiers with 1st Battalion, 116th Infantry Regiment, 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) salute the flag during the playing of the national anthem at a formal transfer of authority ceremony April 9 at Contingency Operating Base Adder, Iraq. The 1st Bn., 116th Inf. Regt. is deployed with the Louisiana National Guard’s 1st Battalion, 141st Field Artillery Regiment, 256th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) to provide convoy escort teams to assist in setting conditions for the drawdown of U.S. troops and equipment from Iraq. (U.S. Army photo by 1st Lt. Patrick Wilson)