Pictured here: Lt. Col. David Chase and Command Sgt. Maj. George Arends unroll the 1-147 Field Artillery Battalion flag during the Relief in Place and Transfer-Of-Authority Ceremony at Camp Patriot, Kuwait.
The following is an edited version of an article submitted by Capt. Martin Yost of the South Dakota 1-147th Field Artillery Battalion:
Hiki No or “Can Do” is the motto of the 1-487th Field Artillery Battalion from Hawaii. That battalion, which has been stationed at Camp Patriot in Kuwait since October of 2008, transferred control of the command to the 1-147th Field Artillery Battalion from South Dakota at a ceremony held July 29th.
The South Dakota 1-147 Field Artillery Battalion, under the command of Lt. Col. David Chase of Wahpeton, N.D., arrived at Camp Patriot in early July 2009. Chase stated “If you think about it, we have spent every day for the last 13 months preparing for this mission and we are ready.” Prior to the arriving in Kuwait, the Battalion spent weeks training at Ft. Hood in Texas, Ft. Chaffee in Arkansas, and at Camp Geurnsey in Wyoming. They also spent every drill weekend for the past 13 months training for the mission.
The Change of Command ceremony took place at the Kuwait Navy Non-Commission Officers School Auditorium and was the first time such an event was allowed by the Kuwait Navy in the facility. It was an amazing gesture of friendship on behalf of the Kuwait Navy.
The ceremony began with the U.S Flag being posted center stage with the Hawaiian 1-487th Battalion Flag posted next, and followed by the South Dakota 1-147 FA Battalion Flag. The Kuwaiti National Anthem and the U.S. National Anthem were then sung by members of the 1-487th FA BN. Then Lt. Col. Lesher and Command Sgt. Maj. Ventura from Hawaii came to the stage, rolled up their flag, and cased the Hawaiian Battalion Flag. Lt. Col. Chase and Command Sgt. Maj. George Arends from South Dakota then uncased and unrolled the South Dakota 1-147 Battalion Flag.
After the flag ceremony was complete, Lt. Col. Lesher spoke about his battalion and their accomplishments at Camp Patriot. Lt. Col. Chase spoke next and stated, “We are ready to take over this mission and our counterparts the 1-487th Hawaii National Guard have done an excellent job working with us the last month to ensure we are fully prepared to carry on this mission.” He went on to say, “This is a very unique and dynamic mission with many moving pieces, we work jointly with the U.S. Navy and Coast Guard on our SECFOR mission at two separate locations. The camp command cell is responsible for the health and welfare and day-to-day Well being of a large tenant and transient population, Army, Navy, Coast Guard, and Marines.” This mission also has a very unique role with the Kuwaitis because Camp Patriot is the only U.S. Military Camp located inside of a Kuwait Military facility, which is Kuwait Naval Base.
On the morning of July 30, the final step was completed to officially show the transfer of command. At 0800 Kuwait time, a flag detail from South Dakota approached the state flag of Hawaii that flew over Camp Patriot. The South Dakota detail lowered the Hawaiian flag to signify the end of their mission. The detail then raised the South Dakota state flag. This process now shows all who live, visit and work at Camp Patriot, the South Dakota 1-147 FA with the motto “Steel Rain” is now in Command of Camp Patriot.