Muhandis builds bridges
September 1, 2009
- Corps assets develop Iraqi engineers through partnership
Team Muhandis was initially developed in late 2005 to assist the Iraqi Army's route clearance team. Over the past few years the program has evolved into a partnership with the Iraqi Ground Force Command Engineer Branch to help monitor the progress of all Iraqi Army engineers.
Team Muhandis is made up of eight Servicemembers, three stationed here on Camp Victory and five stationed in Taji, iraq. The team's main mission is to effectively stand up an engineer branch in the IA through partnership with IGFC.
"Muhandis facilitates a link between tactical and operational units within U.S. Forces and Iraqi Forces," Maj. Bill M. Reding, Elizabeth Town, Ky., and Team Muhandis officer in charge said. "We have frequent engagements with our IGFC counter parts and help with information exchange on all levels."
IGFC and Joint Headquarters is encouraging IA officers to rely more on their noncommissioned officers. In turn this will help increase decision making on a lower level and create a more fluid information flow.
"We are trying to enhance already existing skills, and help teach them how to delegate authority," Reding said.
Team Mahandis's training concept with Iraqi Security Forces encompasses route clearance, construction, maintenance and bridge building through mentoring, training and advising.
Route clearance is the primary focus of training for the team. Muhandis is helping their engineer counterparts develop platoons to conduct independent missions.
"With the Iraqis taking the lead on route clearance it will develop assured mobility for ISF," Reding said.
Construction and equipment maintenance has also been emphasized in the partnership between Team Muhandis and the IA engineers. Muhandis has been teaching the Iraqis basic horizontal and vertical construction, and provided them with the knowledge to maintain heavy equipment to an acceptable level of operation.
"We are trying to help give them the knowledge that puts them in the position to be effective in a way that fits their needs and methods," Cpt. Leslie J Ratcliff,Ft. Lewis, Wash., and member of Team Muhandis said.
Looking to the future Team Muhandis has been very active in helping stand up the first Strategic Bridge Company.
"Two major rivers segment the country, bridges are required in many areas," Reding said. "In the past insurgents have attacked these bridges, so the ability to provide a solution to bridge interdictions or to allow increased loads over existing bridges is critical to ensuring the mobility of the Iraqi Security Forces, civilians and supporting groups and agencies."
Team Muhandis has also developed the train the trainer program, supported the Iraqi Army Engineer school, in Taji, Iraq and acted as mentors to basic, noncommissioned officer and officer courses used to train IA Soldiers.
"Now that the Iraqis have taken the lead in engineering they have been able to support ISF more effectively and have been able to provide for a greater effect," Reding said.