XVIII Abn. Corps prepares for deployment to Iraq with pre-deployment site survey
July 16, 2010
FORT BRAGG, N.C. - The new XVIII Airborne Corps Chief of Staff, Brig. Gen. Michael X. Garrett, led a 24-Soldier contingent that left Fort Bragg Monday for a commander's pre-deployment site survey to Victory Base Complex, Iraq.
"Conducting this site survey will allow us to better understand and plan for our role with U.S. Forces Iraq," said Garrett. The corps' command group deploys for Iraq in 2011.
"This visit will help us refine our plans in a more concrete way," he said.
The chock mustered in the parking lot of the corps' Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion building shortly before 9 a.m. Most of the Soldiers drove themselves, but a few arrived with Family members.
After the bags were lined up and weapons inventoried, Maj. Bruce Griffin, corps G3, called off the names for the Soldiers to come forward with their gear and board the bus.
Master Sgt. Anthony B. Smith, who worked on planning the PDSS in the HHB operations staff said, members of the contingent, which includes primary staff officers, senior enlisted leaders and the HHB commander, will meet with their counterparts from the Fort Hood, Texas-based III Armored Corps, whose command group is currently in place.
"This is a chance for our team to meet the parties they are replacing," he said.
Smith, a native of Pittsburgh, said although many of Soldiers with the command group deployed to Camp Victory in the 2008 to 2009 rotation, there have been many changes to operations there.
Those changes include new rules of engagement, escalation of force and how the Army operates inside the framework of the new security agreement between the Iraq and the United States, Smith said.
Another change is the actual force structure, said Lt. Col. Theodore O. White, who is the acting HHB commander in the place of Lt. Col. Peter S. Im.
In the previous deployment, the corps functioned as an Iraq-wide corps echelon name Multi-National Corps-Iraq with Multi-National Force-Iraq as the higher echelon and various multi-national divisions operating in specific battlespaces.
In the new organization and naming conventions, the senior echelon is called U.S. Forces Iraq, and rather than lead a separate corps-level command, Lt. Gen. Frank G. Helmick, the corps commanding general will serve as the U.S. Forces-Iraq deputy commanding general for operations, White said.
While there are changes, there will be at least one significant constant because Lt. Gen. Lloyd J. Austin III, who commanded the Sky Dragons during its last deployment, will soon replace Gen. Raymond T. Odierno, as the overall theater commander, Smith said.
"General Austin will be there waiting for us," said White, a the Shaker Heights, Ohio native. "Some people will be familiar with his rhythms, but for some it will be completely new experience."