As the U.S. Army assumes a larger advise-and-assist role in Iraq, Iraqi and American commanders meet frequently to coordinate operations and cultivate relationships.

In the southern provinces of Dhi Qar, Muthanna, and Basra, a group of specially trained Soldiers known as the Personal Security Detachment, part of 1st Battalion, 77th Armor Regiment "Steel Tigers," enables their battalion leadership to move freely on the Iraqi roads.

The detachment's main mission in Iraq is to transport the regiment's command group around its area of operations safely and efficiently.

"The mission is simple - move to the vehicles at a predetermined time, start our preparations, and go where we are told," said Staff Sgt. William Scavuzzo, a Newfield, N.J., native and personal security officer for the battalion commander.

Each vehicle crew has its own set of responsibilities, and whether preparing the truck or the weapon station, each Soldier's job is just as important as the rest.

Being proficient at these tasks is vital to a successful mission.

Because most of the detachment troops have been doing this job for their entire deployment, preparation goes quickly and smoothly with very few problems.

While Soldiers prepare, noncommissioned officers focus on mission planning and inspections. This helps to ensure a safer, more secure mission.

"During the pre-mission checks and inspections, the NCO's looks to ensure load plans are straight, weapon systems are clean, gear is squared away, communications are up and all sensitive items are accounted for and properly secured," said Sgt. Landon Ames, non-commissioned officer-in-charge of the Steel Tigers' PSD, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Bn., 77th AR, from Wickenburg, Ariz.

"Once these checks are complete, the crews move to position and the mission is ready to get underway," he said.

The PSD transports and protects the Steel Tigers' command group while traveling to a destination in order to conduct key leader engagements with local Iraqi Security Forces leaders and provincial government officials.

They travel open highways, city streets, and desert trails to reach their destinations. After several months working with the same Iraqi Army and Iraqi Police units, the PSD has formed relationships with their Iraqi peers.

With the responsibility of moving key personnel at any given time, the PSD must always be ready to roll-out at a moment's notice. Staying flexible and alert is essential for any Soldier, but they are required traits of an effective PSD Team.

The PSD Platoon has completed over 600 tactical movements and will continue working throughout the operational environment until the battalion's mission is complete.

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16