From the event

11 Apr. 2008

PR# 2008-136

101st Airborne assumes authority of RC-East from 82nd Airborne

KABUL, Afghanistan – On the 101st day of 2008, the headquarters of the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) officially became Combined Joint Task Force-101 (CJTF-101) and took command of the Regional Command East (RC-East) from the 82nd Airborne Division in a transfer of authority ceremony Thursday.

Major General Jeffrey Schloesser, commander of the 101st Airborne and CJTF-101, praised the 82nd Airborne for their effective service throughout the past 15 months to improve the lives of the Afghan people, and promised to continue in that mission.

“We pledge to work together with our Coalition and Afghan partners in an effort to build a strong Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan… to improve the quality of life for the people of Afghanistan who have seen too much violence and terror over the last 30 years,” said Maj. Gen. Schloesser.

He added that the transition of authority also reflects the total commitment of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization alliance, ISAF and the U.S. government to the security and prosperity of Afghanistan.

“The purpose of the ceremony today is not about words,” said Maj. Gen. David M. Rodriguez, outgoing commander of RC East and commander of the 82nd Airborne Division, Fort Bragg, N.C. “It is about better opportunities for the future of the Afghan people and it is about the Coalition’s enduring commitment to this nation.”

Since the Taliban era, there are 8,000 more schools and 140,000 more teachers, he added.

About 70 percent of the girls and 97 percent of the boys in RC-East now have access to a state-sponsored education, as well as access to basic healthcare that has increased to nearly 80 percent, resulting in a 25 percent reduction in infant mortality, adding up to about 90,000 lives, Maj. Gen. Rodriguez said. “All of that is a large investment in a prosperous future for Afghanistan.”

“We pledge that we will continue to support the Afghan National Security Forces as they provide security for the Afghan people by working together with our coalition and alliance partners and interagency organizations,” said Maj. Gen. Schloesser.

RC-East is comprised of 14 provinces in eastern Afghanistan, bordering Pakistan.

This transfer of authority also marks the first time since World War II that the two well-known Army divisions have replaced each other on the battlefield. The 101st Airborne Division, known as the “Screaming Eagles,” is based out of Fort Campbell, Ky. Approximately 7,200 Soldiers from the division’s headquarters, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 101st Combat Aviation Brigade and 101st Sustainment Brigade are now serving in Afghanistan as part of CJTF-101. The division’s 1st, 2nd and 3rd Brigade Combat Teams are currently deployed to Iraq.

Contact Information ISAF Public Affairs Office
Tel: +93 (0)799 51 1155 - Mobile: 0093 (0) 799 55 8291 pressoffice@hq.isaf.nato.int - www.nato.int/isaf/