FORT HOOD, Texas – Signifying the completion of another successful deployment, III Corps uncased its colors here in front of III Corps Headquarters Oct. 23.
“Our mission was to ensure the enduring defeat of ISIS and give Iraq and the region a chance, some hope – hope that the stability and a little bit of a secure future,” Lt. Gen. Pat White, III Corps and Fort Hood commanding general, said during the uncasing ceremony. “I can tell you that when we got on the plane and flew back here, that mission was accomplished.”
III Corps Headquarters deployed to the Middle East in September 2019 to lead Combined Joint Task Force – Operation Inherent Resolve, a coalition of forces commanded by White to defeat the terrorist organizations known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.
During the over year-long deployment, White said they had service members spread out in Iraq, Syria, Kuwait, Jordan and Turkey. Liberating people from the tyranny of ISIS was of utmost importance. In the end, he said, the coalition completed the liberation of eight million people.
In ceremonial fashion, Command Sgt. Maj. Cliff Burgoyne Jr., command sergeant major of III Corps and Fort Hood, pulled the camouflaged casing off the Phantom Corps’ colors, and then carefully assisted White in unfurling them.
“Over the last five years, the III Corps headquarters has supported three deployments of those five years, totaling almost 40 months of those five years (in the Middle East),” White said.
The commanding general said that during that time, III Corps has been on a treadmill, running from deployment to deployment, so now is the time to rest and focus on what is important – rebuilding trust among the ranks.
“After being separated for over a year, what I can tell this crowd right now is, it doesn’t look like this headquarters is going to split again and go somewhere next year,” White announced. “So, there is good news on the horizon.”
White said he has officially resumed duties and will be leading Operation Phantom Action, Fort Hood’s initiative to restore trust between Soldiers and their leaders. He admitted this is not something they can do by themselves. They need the support of the families and civilians in and around Fort Hood to make this initiative a success, so they will again be ready when the nation calls.
“In the future, our nation is going to call on us again,” White said. “It’s going to call on us to go defend our freedoms and when that happens, we’ve got to have a cohesive team that supports and trusts each other and it does all the right things to make sure we remain focused on what’s important and that’s our people.”
Nearly 400 Soldiers participated in the headquarters deployment.
Between September 14, 2019 and September 9, 2020, Combined Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve partnered with Iraqi Security Forces and Syrian Democratic Forces to eliminate ISIS remnants. Highlights include the raid that led to ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi’s death, repositioning of troops in Northeastern Syria, the Iranian-backed militia attack on the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, escalating tensions with Iran and Rogue militia groups, reducing U.S. military personnel in Iraq, and establishing the Enhanced Joint Operations Center-Iraq for anti-ISIS missions. III Corps Soldiers advised regional security forces, flew aviation missions, patrolled contested roads in Syria, provided logistics, intelligence, and communication support for the multinational Coalition.