Army leaders meet to discuss drawdown plans
February 3, 2010
JOINT BASE BALAD, Iraq - The 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) command staff hosted a conference to discuss training and logistic operations in the next six months Jan. 26 at the Oasis dining facility in the Sgt. Audie Murphy room at Joint Base Balad, Iraq.
The meeting, called the security forces rehearsal of concept drill, featured 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) subordinate leaders from contingency operating locations throughout Iraq.
Col. Fredrick Brown, the operations officer in charge with the 13th ESC, said the purpose of the ROC drill was to synchronize the relief in place and transfer of authority for the 155th Heavy Brigade Combat Team, which will be replaced by the 278th Armored Cavalry Regiment out of Knoxville, Tenn., and the 41st Infantry Brigade Combat Team, which will be replaced by the 256th Brigade Combat Team out of Lafayette, La.
"This is to make sure that we cover all processes so we can have a seamless transition," said Brown.
He said all incoming units must be properly trained and outgoing units should understand all processes of turning in theater-provided equipment in a timely manner. This drill was designed to accomplish that, he said.
"We have to ensure all security forces understand the timeline and sequence," said Brown.
Lt. Col Edwin N. Gomez, the counter-improvised explosive device training officer in charge with the 13th ESC and a Ceiba, Puerto Rico, native, said part of the process is getting all incoming personnel trained on C-IED level two training within the first 60 days of getting in country.
"This is a United States Forces - Iraq requirement for this training to occur, but we want to get as many people as we can trained up in Kuwait before they get here," said Gomez.
Gomez said the big training pushes are scheduled to cover three-week periods in February and March to coincide with the arrival of the incoming personnel.
"We have approximately 5,000 Soldiers that need to receive the C-IED Level II training by the end of March and our goal is to be at 100 percent by the end of the RIP TOA," said Gomez.
He said the intent is to train them and give them the skills they need to operate safely before getting to Iraq, so they will already know the threat indicators, instead of waiting the 60 days to finish the training.
"We have had great support from everybody," said Gomez. "Task Force Troy in Kuwait is sending two additional trainers to assist us."
Lt. Col. Sidney J. Loyd, the Kuwait 13th ESC liaison officer in charge, discussed the training plan for the BCT's as they go through Camp Buerhing, Kuwait, between February and March.
Loyd said he plans for the reception staging, onward movement and integration of roughly 7,000 Soldiers who will conduct security escort missions for the 13th ESC in Iraq.
Brown said he enjoys being involved at the most critical time in the responsible drawdown of equipment and personnel in Iraq.
"There are a lot of moving parts," said Brown. "We are moving non-essential and essential assets out of theater and it takes a lot of planning."
Brig. Gen. Paul L. Wentz, commanding general of the 13th ESC, said now is the time to start working with the contingency operating locations to get everyone on the same page in preparation for the drawdown.
"We had a great session today," said Wentz. "Clearly, everybody is moving down the right path and we just have to work on some details now and iron things out."