Combined Team Uruzgan
Story by OR-6 Mark Doran
At sunset on Sept. 29, the flags of the original Camp Holland memorial at Multi National Base – Tarin Kot (MNB-TK) were lowered for the last time.
Australian and United States personnel from Combined Team Uruzgan (CTU) and Multi National Base Command (MNBC-TK) conducted the ceremony as the base is shrinking and the memorial is now situated outside Camp Holland’s secure perimeter.
The base in Tarin Kot has been inhabited by coalition forces as part of NATO’s International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) mission in Afghanistan continuously since 2004.
It was first known as US Forward Operating Base Ripley and was renamed Camp Holland by the Dutch in 2006.
Royal Australian Air Force Warrant Officer Disciplinary Jennine Riches from MNBC-TK said the flag-station at the entrance to Camp Holland was where the Dutch first held their ceremonial events before the new memorial was erected near the dining facility.
“I attended a remembrance day ceremony here in 2010 so it was important for us to lower the flags for the last time in a dignified manner,” she said.
“There is a feeling of pride to be a part of this ceremony and to be here for the final stages of our mission in Uruzgan.”
United States Army Sgt. Maj. Payam E. Shannon from CTU said the flag lowering ceremony was a sign of the upcoming change of authority for MNB-TK and meant the end of the mission was closer.
“We are preparing to hand the base over to the Afghan National Security Forces as they have shown they are more than capable of sustaining themselves and the security of this region,” he said.
“It was an honor to be involved in the ceremony with our coalition partners, although it was bittersweet because as Americans we love to see our flag flying high, but we know that by lowering it, it allows the Afghans to raise theirs.”
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