The XVIII Airborne Corps headquarters led the Operation Inherent Resolve mission for 12 months, overseeing ISIS’ defeat at the minor Syrian border town of Baghouz in March, which marked the end of ISIS’ territorial caliphate.
Lt. Gen. Paul LaCamera, commander of XVIII Airborne Corps, served as the commanding general of the Inherent Resolve coalition during that time. LaCamera was also nominated for his fourth star and confirmed by the Senate this summer.
“I would like to thank your families," LaCamera told his troops during the ceremony, according to a press release. “I will thank you for answering your nation’s call, for answering the calls for humanity. I will thank you for the dedication to mission. It has been my distinct honor to serve with you.”
Marine Gen. Kenneth F. McKenzie Jr., U.S. Central Command commander, presided over the the change of leadership ceremony.
“You and your XVIII Airborne Corps team have made tremendous progress over the past year across every front of the defeat ISIS campaign, in Iraq and as well as in Northeast Syria,” McKenzie said in an Inherent Resolve press release.
The fall of Baghouz brought an end to the nearly 5-year-long campaign against ISIS’ physical holdings across two countries and reduced ISIS to an "underground organization,” McKenzie added.
Inherent Resolve ultimately recovered more than 100,000 square kilometers of territory across Iraq and Syria and liberated nearly eight million Iraqi and Syrian people from ISIS control.
Since ISIS’ territorial defeat, the Inherent Resolve coalition has increasingly focused on training Iraqi and Kurdish security forces in Iraq.
That mission is familiar to III Armored Corps. The XVIII Airborne Corps assumed headquarters responsibilities from III Armored Corps troops last September.
And Lt. Gen. Pat White, who is now the III Armored Corps commander, previously led the Combined Joint Forces Land Component Command for Inherent Resolve between July 2017 and March 2018.
“It’s amazing to come back and see the amount of progress that both the security forces and the country of Iraq and eastern Syria region have gone through,” White said in the release.
“So it’s the professionalism of the security forces, it’s the will and it’s the love of a country that [results in] success, and it takes leaders [across the Coalition] to make it happen, but more so, it’s our young men and women that are out on point right now...and so my message today is, just don’t forget," White added.
Kyle Rempfer is an editor and reporter who has covered combat operations, criminal cases, foreign military assistance and training accidents. Before entering journalism, Kyle served in U.S. Air Force Special Tactics and deployed in 2014 to Paktika Province, Afghanistan, and Baghdad, Iraq. Follow on Twitter @Kyle_Rempfer