KANDAHAR AIRFIELD, Afghanistan — After completing a 12-month tour in Southern Afghanistan, Maj. Gen. Robert “Abe” Abrams, 3rd Infantry Division commanding general, handed over command of Regional Command (South) to Maj. Gen. Paul J. LaCamera, the 4th ID commanding general, during a transition of authority ceremony Monday at Kandahar Airfield.
Several of Afghanistan’s top U.S. military and Afghan officials attended, including Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr., the International Security Assistance Force and United States Forces-Afghanistan commander; Lt. Gen. Mark A. Milley, commander of the International Security Assistance Force Joint Command; and Afghan Army Maj. Gen. Abdul Hamid, the 205th Corps commander.
The ceremony began with the arrival of the official party, followed by the playing of the NATO Hymn and The Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and U.S. national anthems by the 3rd ID band.
Milley praised Abrams, Command Sgt. Maj. Edd Watson and their troops on the job done in one of the most volatile regions of Afghanistan. He said their dedication and determination helped make the future brighter for Afghans.
“Not only have the soldiers of RC(S) defended the Afghan people, they have also enabled the Afghan people to defend themselves through the Afghan National Security Forces,” said Milley. “It is the growing confidence, competence and capabilities of the ANSF that will allow the people of Afghanistan to live their lives without fear. And all of you here today have helped to make that dream a reality.”
Abrams applauded ISAF and ANSF forces for their work, especially those who gave their lives.
“It brings me great pride and honor to stand among this amassed group of incredibly brave leaders, who are fully invested in the security and governance of Afghanistan,” said Abrams. “I am sincerely humbled by the sacrifice extended in both blood and treasure from all those represented here today as members of the coalition and the ANSF.”
“We are wrapping up the 11th round of this 12-round fight and the ANSF of RC(S) have proven their ability to lead and conduct independent operations for this 12th and final round,” said Abrams.”
Abrams also talked about how bittersweet his departure has become. He said he had confidence that the 4th ID is prepared to take over.
“Paul LaCamera is a warrior, a proven leader and a friend of Afghanistan,” Abrams said. “He and his team prepared well for the mission.”
LaCamera said, “It’s humbling to be in-front of this group of warriors and the proud people of Afghanistan. It is also good to be back in Afghanistan among Afghan and coalition friends…it is a relationship that has help to shape and define me as a military leader and a citizen of my own country.”
LaCamera talked about his outlook on Afghanistan’s future and extended his gratitude to Abrams and his division and the ANSF forces.
“…The terrorist are scrambling and the Afghan National Security Forces are truly an example of our division motto 'Steadfast and Loyal'.”