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THE Guam Army National Guard’s 1st Battalion of the 294th Infantry Regiment formally took control of a vital security force mission during a ceremony at Camp Eggers, in the Afghanistan capital Wednesday, according to a release from the Guam National Guard.
Known as the “Transfer of Authority,” the battalion will operate as Task Force Guam with its nearly 600 soldiers spread out in units at key locations throughout Afghanistan. It replaces Task Force Centurion Prime, of the Alabama National Guard, which had a similar mission throughout Afghanistan for the past nine months.
Lt. Col. Michael Tougher, battalion commander of Task Force Guam, said soldiers of the Chamorri battalion have been preparing nearly two years for this deployment.
"Task Force Guam is very lucky to have the benefit of relieving such an outstanding and professional organization as the 1st Battalion, 167th Infantry [of the Alabama Guard],” Tougher said. “Lt. Col. (J.R.) Bass, his leaders and soldiers [of the Alabama Guard], have set the conditions to ensure that my battalion is well-positioned to assume responsibility for our mission in support of the NATO Training Mission-Afghanistan. We will not give up any ground already gained by the Fourth Alabama and we will endeavor to ensure the continued progress of this mission. Task Force Guam is prepared, ready and willing to meet any challenges we will face in this regard."
Before the Transfer of Authority, soldiers from Task Force Guam conducted a “right seat ride” for several days with their Task Force Centurion Prime counterparts to learn about the areas they are operating in, and the lessons learned in conducting the missions. Once that was complete, the companies held their own Transfer of Authority ceremonies leading up to the Task Force Transfer of Authority.
With the Transfer of Authority, the mission now belongs completely to Task Force Guam until it is replaced by another unit, sometime in the late winter or early spring 2014. Task Force Guam works directly with NATO Training Mission-Afghanistan as part of the International Security Assistance Force.
The Guam battalion was first constituted on Oct. 1, 1987, in the Guam Army National Guard, as the 294th Infantry under the United States Regimental System. Units from the 1-294th Infantry Regiment have answered the call in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, from 2004 through 2010, deploying to the Horn of Africa, Afghanistan, and the Philippines. This deployment will mark the first time the entire battalion or a Reserve Component unit this large from Guam has deployed in support of the Global War on Terror.