FORWARD OPERATING BASE FARAH, Afghanistan (NNS) -- U.S. Navy Cmdr. Louis McCray turned over authority of Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) Farah to U.S. Navy Cmdr. Jeremy Fogt during a transfer of authority ceremony at Forward Operating Base (FOB) Farah, June 22.
The ceremony was presided over by Commander, Regional Command West, Italian Brigadier General Ignazio Gamba and was attended by U.S. Consul General Jillian Burns and local provincial leadership.
McCray and his team have spent the past year training and executing their mission in western Afghanistan to train, advise, and assist Afghan government leaders at the municipal, district, and provincial levels. The team's leadership made a significant impact in the province, working directly with provincial level officials as line liaisons to work through budgetary issues and support capacity building and development within the province.
"The road ahead will be a tough one, but there is reason for hope because Farah remains a resilient and capable community," said McCray. "It is with deep gratitude and humility that we leave Farah. I could not be more proud of the hard work and sacrifice of these men and women. They jumped over every high-bar that we set for them."
During the team's nine months in Farah, team members worked closely with local Afghan leaders in order to help build local capacity, facilitate the development of local relationships with enduring regional and national level partners, and closed out legacy development projects. Despite an increase of insurgent attacks in Farah during the 2013 fighting season, McCray is confident that the team's efforts helped to form a solid foundation for future local development and security in the province.
"Our team worked shoulder-to-shoulder with local leaders to help build their capacity so that they are able to provide relevant and tangible resources to the people of Farah. It's up to the provincial and local leaders of Farah now to take the new skills and relationships they've developed with our assistance and to turn them into resources for their people."
Gamba was impressed with the work of the outgoing PRT.
"PRT Farah has worked tirelessly with coalition and security forces and has been a pillar in helping to neutralize Taliban and helping the growth of the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan," said Gamba. "Be proud of all you have accomplished; you have set a great example of teamwork for all of us."
Fogt, a surface warfare officer, looks forward to the opportunity to facilitating local leadership's connectivity to enduring resources in Afghanistan, and the challenging job of closing out the PRT's nearly decade-long mission in Farah.
"This is a monumental time for both our PRT and the governance in Farah," said Fogt. "We are excited to finish the PRT nine-year mission in Farah by facilitating the process from transition into the transformation decade, as well as turning over the base to our Afghan partners."
Gamba also looks forward to working with the incoming PRT.
"I wish you all the best in your mission and I look forward to the same close working relationship we had with your predecessors," said Gamba.
PRT Farah's mission is to train, advise, and assist Afghan government leaders at the municipal, district, and provincial levels in Farah Province, Afghanistan. Their team is comprised of members of the U.S. Navy and U.S. Army. For more information about the PRT follow their page on Facebook at www.facebook.com/PRTFRH
For more information, visit www.navy.mil, www.facebook.com/usnavy, or www.twitter.com/usnavy.
For more news from Provincial Reconstruction Team-Farah, visit www.navy.mil/local/prtf/.