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82nd Airborne takes over mission of training Iraqi soldiers

Command Sgt. Maj. Michael Grinston, right, passes the Combined Joint Forces Land Component Command-Iraq colors to Maj. Gen. Paul E. Funk II during a transfer of authority ceremony Sunday, June 28, 2015, in Baghdad.

WILLIAM REINIER/U.S. ARMY

By STARS AND STRIPES Published: June 30, 2015

The first Army unit tasked with helping rebuild the beleaguered Iraqi army after the Islamic State’s advance across northern Iraq has transferred authority to its successor after completing a nine-month deployment.

The 82nd Airborne Division took command Sunday of the Combined Joint Forces Land Component Command-Iraq from the 1st Infantry Division, which helped to establish several training facilities that officials say have turned out more than 10,000 Iraqi soldiers.

“We are re-establishing their honor. The whole reason you train is to build confidence in yourself, your equipment, your leaders and your doctrine,” said Maj. Gen. Paul E. Funk II, outgoing commander of Combined Joint Land Command, in a Defense Department statement.

The 82nd’s 300 paratroops are now part of an approximately 3,500-strong American force deployed to Iraq to train, advise and equip local forces in the fight against the Islamic State.

“We are firm in our resolve to defeat Daesh and remain committed to training and advising and assisting our Iraqi partners,” said incoming commander Gen. Richard Clarke, using an Arabic abbreviation for the militant group.

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