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By Randy Martin
Area Support Group - Qatar
Hundreds of the Golden State’s citizen soldiers are headed home after completing their latest mission in the Middle East.
The 578th Brigade Engineer Battalion, a California Army National Guard unit, transferred authority as Area Support Group-Qatar’s security force during a ceremony at Camp As Sayliyah on Mar. 16th, 2019. It was a 9-month rotation.
“The battalion secured key terrain and provided force protection for infrastructure and personnel while conducting security force operations over key and critical installations in Qatar and Bahrain,” said Col. Robert Kuth, the commander of ASG-Q.
Kuth listed numerous accomplishments for an audience of more than 200. “The 578th has done exceptionally well,” said Kuth.
At CAS, located near Doha, Qatar’s capitol city, the ASG supports U.S. Army Central and the U.S. Central Command by protecting the force, fulfilling the Army’s responsibilities to tenant and adjacent units, building partnership capacity, and providing quality of life for the Army’s personnel there and at other sites in Qatar and Bahrain.
The ceremony featured traditional music and honors to express respect and closure.
After furling his unit’s flag on a stage inside one of the CAS’s morale, welfare, and recreation buildings the 578th’s commander reflected on the benefits of being on active duty for his National Guardsmen. He said many are more physically fit and some had attended military skill training while all had learned about other cultures through partnership.
“We’re bringing readiness back to our brigade in California,” said Lt. Col. John Griffis, the 578th BEB’s commander.
For the last two weeks Griffis and his soldiers spent time transitioning with their successors from the “Garden State.”
The 1st Battalion, 114th Infantry Regiment, New Jersey Army National Guard assumed responsibility for the SECFOR mission when its own flag was unfurled during the same ceremony.
In his remarks, the 1-114th’s commander thanked Griffis and the 578th BEB for continuously sharing information during the year leading up to the transfer of authority.
“The California west has met the New Jersey east and though we depart we became friends,” said the 1-114th Battalion commander, Lt. Col. Kevin Welsh. “We are honored and excited to be here.”
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