KANDAHAR AIRFIELD, Afghanistan — The leadership of Train, Advise, Assist Command-South — led by the 1st Cavalry Division — passed from Brig. Gen. Douglas Gabram to Brig. Gen. Viet Luong on Jan. 10 at Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan.
Gabram, the outgoing commander and deputy commander of support for the division, handed over leadership to Luong, who recently deployed from Fort Hood where he serves as the division’s deputy commander of maneuver.
“I am extremely proud and honored to be part of the Combined Joint Task Force-1 team,” Gabram said. “There is no doubt that they have made a lasting impact on our partnered forces, both army and police, and on the citizens of Afghanistan. Every day we have to strive to make it matter for the Afghan national security forces.”
The southern command’s primary mission is to advise Afghan forces and to aid in development of the security and governance of Afghanistan. The unit is composed of service members drawn mostly from 1st Cav’s headquarters battalion and 101st Airborne Division of Fort Campbell, Ky.
“It’s very special for me to have the 101st on our team, having served three previous combat tours with this historic division,” Gabram said.
Stationed at Kandahar Airfield near Kandahar City, the command has been deployed since the summer.
“I am proud to take command of this unit,” Luong said. “The successes the service members have accomplished speak for themselves, and the impact is very real.”
The command transitioned last year from Regional Command-South to its current designation, indicative of the adapting role of the unit and its mission.
During Gabram’s tenure, the command maintained close relationships with the Afghan National Police and the Afghan National Army. The closeness of those partnerships helped to significantly improve the security situation in western Kandahar province and posture their forces for this year.
Notably, the Afghan organizations formed a joint quick-response force, coordinating across their respective branches with a successful military objective. Quick-response forces are dedicated military units that respond in cases of emergency during combat.
The command’s partnered efforts also included the Kandahar Provincial Governor Tooryalai Wesa, with whom Gabram and senior members of his command met regularly.
In the sustainment field, the command successfully transitioned hundreds of short tons of equipment and more than half its personnel out of the country, as part of the larger drawdown last year. The drawdown continues during its new mission.
Looking ahead, the unit faces an evolving future.
Luong’s assumption of command comes at a notable transition point in the NATO role in Afghanistan. Recently, the overall mission officially transitioned from the International Security Assistance Force to the Resolute Support Mission.
Under Resolute Support, the focus is on continuing Afghan forces’ development, securing and positioning Resolute Support personnel to complete their mission, and enabling the Afghan national security forces at the ministerial, institutional and operational level.
Under the program, NATO advisers working in specific fields are partnered with Afghan personnel working in related occupations. The two elements keep in contact and share information on their efforts.