By 2nd Lt. Stuart White
1st Cavalry Division public affairs
CAMP VIRGINIA, Kuwait - Late last month, 6th "Saber" Squadron, 9th Cavalry Regiment, 3rd Advise and Assist Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division drove its final vehicles out of the Contingency Operating Base Delta gate en route to Camp Virginia, Kuwait, where they turned in their equipment and prepared to return to Fort Hood.
Prior to 2003, Delta was an Iraqi air force base with the third-longest active runway in Iraq, but the base was not used by U.S. Forces-Iraq until early 2008 as part of the troop surge. By mid-2009, it had grown to about 1,200 soldiers.
Saber assumed authority of the base, with a population of 750 soldiers and approximately 1,400 civilians providing various services in support of the soldiers there earlier this year,
Saber departed Delta in multiple air and ground movements to Camp Virginia, leaving their Iraq base and the Wasit province with no remaining U.S. forces.
"Every unit that came before us transferred authority of their area of operation to another United States Forces unit, but we completely transitioned the base to the capable hands of the Iraqi security forces," said Lt. Col. Cameron Cantlon, squadron commander.
While conducting operations in Wasit province, Saber soldiers worked to quell insurgents, re-established partnerships with Iraqi leaders, conducted security force assistance throughout the province and conducted multiple humanitarian aid missions and reconstruction projects. They built lasting relationships and vital partnerships with key Iraqi security leaders creating a more stable environment throughout the province.
But Maj. Dexter Holley, the battalion's operations officer, said, "The deployment is not over yet. We have to remain focused on finishing the logistical portion of redeployment as well as taking care of our soldiers through reintegration."
The last Saber soldiers arrived in Kuwait in the early hours of Oct. 27, and began the process of turning in their ammunition and weapons, and will eventually turn in all of their equipment so it can be returned to Fort Hood or transferred to units in Afghanistan.
Once the logistical operations are finished in Kuwait, the squadron will return to Texas to begin reintegration training and take some leave over the holidays.