posted by 147 FA on Aug 9

Relief in Place and Transfer-Of-Authority (RIPTOA) Ceremony-Camp Patriot, Kuwait

Raising the South Dakota Flag

Hiki No or “Can Do” is the motto of the 1-487th Field Artillery Battalion from Hawaii. The 1-487th FA BN transferred control of the Command of Camp Patriot in Kuwait to the 1-147th Field Artillery Battalion from South Dakota.

The 1-487th FA BN, commanded by LTC Robert Lesher, arrived at Camp Patriot in October of 2008. The South Dakota 1-147 Field Artillery Battalion arrived on Camp Patriot in early July 2009 commanded by LTC David Chase. LTC Chase stated “If you think about it we have spent every day for the last 13 months preparing for this mission and we are ready.” Prior to the 1-147th Field Artillery landing in Kuwait the Battalion had trained at Ft. Hood, Texas for two months, Ft. Chaffee, Arkansas for three weeks, part of their two weeks at Camp Geurnsey, Wyoming and every drill weekend for the last 13 months training for this mission. Our Soldiers have spent a huge amount of time away from friends, family and their civilian jobs to prepare for the mission to support Operation Iraqi Freedom.

The official ceremony for the Change of Command of Camp Patriot took place on July 29, 2009. The ceremony took place inside the Kuwait Navy Non-Commission Officers School Auditorium. This ceremony was the first time an event was allowed by the Kuwait Navy in the facility by US forces. This was an amazing gesture of friendship on behalf of the Kuwait Navy.

The Ceremony started with the U.S Flag being posted center stage with the Hawaiian 1-487th Battalion Flag posted next and then followed by the South Dakota 1-147 FA Battalion Flag. The South Dakota Battalion flag was still cased or covered indicating the 147th FA BN was not in command of the operations at Camp Patriot. The Kuwaiti National Anthem was played and followed by the U.S. National Anthem being sung by three members of the 1-487th FA BN. Then LTC Lesher and Command Sergeant Major Ventura from Hawaii came on stage, rolled up their flag and cased the Hawaiian Battalion Flag. LTC David Chase and Command Sergeant Major George Arends from South Dakota came up on stage and uncased and unrolled the South Dakota 1-147 Battalion Flag.

After the flag ceremony was completed LTC Lesher spoke about his Battalion and their accomplishments at Camp Patriot. LTC Chase spoke next and stated, “We are ready to take over this mission and our counterparts the 1-487th Hawaii National Guard have done an excellent job working with us the last month to ensure we are fully prepared to carry on this mission.”

LTC Chase went on to say, “This is a very unique and dynamic mission with many moving pieces, we work jointly with the US Navy and Coast Guard on our SECFOR mission at two separate locations. The camp command cell is responsible for the health and welfare and day to day well being of a large tenant and transient population, Army, Navy, Coast Guard, and Marines.”

This mission also has a very unique role with the Kuwaitis because Camp Patriot is the only U.S. Military Camp located inside of a Kuwait Military facility, which is Kuwait Naval Base. Two of the distinguished guests in the audience for the change of Command Ceremony were Colonel Waleed and Major Tareq from the Kuwait Navy. LTC Chase talked about this relationship with the Kuwaiti’s saying “One of the most important missions is the building of host nation relations as we work jointly every day with our Kuwait Allies.”

Following the Change of Command Ceremony, the transfer of authority documents were signed by LTC Lesher, LTC Chase and COL Hoffman, Commander Army Support Group (ASG) Kuwait. A reception was held after the ceremony for all those in attendance. The cake at the reception was cut by the outgoing and incoming Camp Patriot Commanders using bayonets. At the reception, all the different branches that are stationed at Camp Patriot including the Army, Navy, Coast Guard, Marines, and Kuwait Navy were represented.

On the morning of July 30, 2009, one final step had to be completed to officially show that the South Dakota 1-147th Field Artillery took over operations of Camp Patriot. At 0800 Kuwait time, a flag detail from South Dakota approached the State Flag of Hawaii that flew over Camp Patriot. The South Dakota detail lowered the Hawaiian flag to signify the end of their mission. The detail then raised for the first time the State Flag of South Dakota. The Hawaiian Flag was folded and presented to Command Sergeant Major Ventura by Command Sergeant Major Arends. This process now shows all who live, visit and work at Camp Patriot, the South Dakota 1-147 FA with the motto “Steel Rain” is now in Command of Camp Patriot.

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