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Big Red One soldiers to return from Poland

Big Red One soldiers (The U.S. Army/Flickr)

Soldiers of the 1st Infantry Division – Forward passed off the duties of Operation Atlantic Resolve Monday morning in a transfer of authority ceremony which took place in Poznan, Poland.

Authority was passed off to the 1st Cavalry Division, which is based in Fort Hood, Texas, after two years of work with European allies to strengthen bonds overseas.

Maj. Gen. Joe Jarrard, Deputy Commanding General for Army National Guard, spoke during the ceremony.

“I’m honored to be back in Poland to officiate the transfer and the departing ceremony between two outstanding leaders and their headquarters that represent two historic divisions,” he said. “I’d be remiss if I didn’t recognize the commander of the 1st Infantry Division, Maj. Gen. John Kolasheski. He’s been a frequent visitor over the course of his two years as the division commander.”

Jarrard praised the work of Big Red One soldiers over the course of the past two years as part of Operation Atlantic Resolve. He also spoke highly of the incoming 1st Cavalry Division.

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“Both of these divisions have a great deal of history in Europe,” Jarrard said.

He also thanked the Polish military members with whom 1st Infantry Division soldiers have cooperated over the past two years overseas.

“None of this would be possible without the support of our Polish allies,” Jarrard said.

Departing commander Brig. Gen. Thomas W. O’Connor, Jr. spoke about what his soldiers had accomplished over the past two years in Europe.

“It’s been a pleasure to be a guest in your country,” he said.

O’Connor spoke on Kolasheski’s behalf, praising soldiers and their sacrifices during deployment.

“Soldiers who stand ready to defend our way of life, soldiers who are separated from their families, make a personal sacrifice to preserve the peace,” O’Connor said. “We are blessed to have such soldiers.”

Brig. Gen. Brett G. Sylvia of the 1st Cavalry Division was welcomed to his new post.

“We know that our roughly 7,000 soldiers of the United States rotational forces, stand side by side with the warriors and leaders of the most important military alliance in the world,” he said. “We look forward to demonstrating to our NATO allies in the world our commitment to peace, security, and stability in Europe.”

Though the ceremony took place in Poland, it was live streamed on the 1st Infantry Division’s Facebook page.

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