BAGHDAD, Iraq- With the I Corps patch prominently displayed on his right arm and the Multi-National Corps-Iraq patch on his left, Lt. Gen. Charles H. Jacoby Jr. officially took the reins from Lt. Gen. Lloyd J. Austin III as the MNC-I commanding general in a transfer-of-authority ceremony at Camp Victory’s Al Faw Palace April 4.
The day not only marked a new command at the palace, it also etched a new chapter in I Corps’ lineage; I Corps headquarters has not deployed to an active combat zone in more than 50 years, since serving in the Korean War in 1953. Gen. Ray Odierno, current Multi-National Force-Iraq commanding general and former MNC-I commanding general from 2007-2008, spoke highly of the progress Austin has made in the past 14 months, during which he commanded approximately 169,000 Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines at the Corps’ peak strength.
“I handed to colors to Austin (in 2008), and there was no one better suited to lead the Corps,” Odierno said. “They proved that every
Odierno said Austin and Task Force Dragon tackled great responsibilities upon arriving in Iraq. Combat brigades involved in the “surge” strategy were beginning to redeploy, and Austin had to review current operations and adapt quickly to changes on the ground. Austin knew the challenges that were ahead of him, and he met them head on, Odierno said.
Before discussing accomplishments and the successes of XVIII Airborne Corps in Iraq, Austin asked all in attendance to take a moment
to remember Sgt. 1st Class Paul R. Smith, the first Medal of Honor recipient in Operation Iraqi Freedom, who was killed in action six years ago to the day.
Austin continued, noting that XVIII Airborne Corps was able to seize opportunities to better the country for the people of Iraq, as well as the Government of Iraq and Iraqi Security Forces. Austin said the Coalition’s close working relationship with the Iraq Security Forces would continue to flourish under Jacoby’s command. After thanking all who served during his command, Austin said the Coalition’s close working relationship with the Iraq Security Forces would continue to flourish under Jacoby’s command. “There’s still much more left to do… I am confident that (Iraq) will continue to see progress,” Austin said. After thanking his team for their service and service members’ families for their sacrifices, Austin motioned for Jacoby to take his place at the stand as the new commander of MNC-I.
“It’s a great day for I Corps,” Jacoby said. “We are here to honor the extraordinary accomplishments of the XVIII Airborne Corps and mark the start of the relationship between I Corps and the people of Iraq.”
Jacoby proudly accepted command of MNC-I and promised his predecessor that no other corps is more suitable for the job. He said I
Corps Soldiers, now a part of Task Force Courage, trained for months a year before getting their boots on ground ensuring they are able to provide top-notch support to Coalition forces and Iraqi Security Forces.
The future looks bright and promising, and I Corps is ready to take on the tasks that lie ahead of them, he said. “Our time is now,” he emphasized. “to deliver with success and honor.”
I Corps has participated in more campaigns than any other corps and is the only corps ever to receive the U.S. Presidential Unit Citation. Since 1918, the Soldiers of I Corps have made I Corps America’s most decorated corps in the active Army. Honors include the Presidential Unit Citation (Army), Streamer embroidered PAPUA – 23 July 1942 to 23 January 1943; Philippine Presidential Unit Citation, Streamer embroidered – 17 October 1944 to 4 July 1945; Republic of Korea Presidential Unit Citation, Streamer embroidered KOREA – 12 September 1950 – 14 July 1953; and the Army Superior Unit Award for 1999-2000.