U.S., Iraqi Marines conduct logistical operations
Lance Cpl. Louis Soldner (center) helps a member of the Iraqi Marines move a protective fencing barrier onto a pallet while Cpl. Justin Stubblefield (left) supervises during a combined logistics convoy mission in mid-November at Camp Bucca. Both Soldner and Stubblefield are U.S. Marine advisors with the Iraqi Marine Training Team at Umm Qasr.

A contingent of U.S. Marine Corps trainers and advisors recently assisted their Iraqi counterparts with the completion of a fundamental sustainment mission near Umm Qasr.
The Iraqi Marine Training Team, part of the Coalition Naval Advisory Training Team, used a combined logistics convoy in mid-November to help Iraqi Marines bolster the physical security of their new base camp.
Thirteen U.S. Marines escorted five members of the 1st Iraqi Marine Brigade from Umm Qasr to Camp Bucca. The mission lasted approximately four hours, and included a mission to procure necessary security materials and supplies from a Camp Bucca scrap yard.
The mission was conducted in three phases.
"The first phase was getting the materials for them from the U.S. Army located here in the United States Division-South," said Lt. Aaron Hood, a logistics advisor with the Iraqi Marine Training Team.
"The second phase was coordinating with them to make sure they had the right transportation assets, to integrate with them on the movements, and to ensure the Iraqi Marines were ready to receive these materials," said Hood, who is a native of Kansas City, Kan. "The third phase was the actual execution, and this meant going out there with them to get the materials."
"The mission helped to build better security for the Iraqi Marines and build their relationship with the U.S. Marines," said U.S. Marine Master Sgt. Roger Dill, senior enlisted advisor with the Iraqi Marine Training Team, and a native of Okinawa, Japan.
The 1st Iraqi Marine Brigade is training and living in a newly-assigned camp near the Iraqi Navy Base at Umm Qasr.
"When they moved out there they had no force protection whatsoever. The purpose of this particular mission was to improve their force protection," Hood said. "This is why they needed these materials."
The Iraqi Marines needed basic things such as barriers for their entrances and gates and security barrier fencing for their entire compound.
The U.S. Marines at Umm Qasr contribute to the overall mission of CNATT by training, advising and equipping the Marine component of Iraq's maritime self-defense forces.
"Our whole mission is to advise, train and assist," Hood said. "Because Camp Bucca is closing we had the opportunity to procure some items for them."
The U.S. and Iraqi Marines share a common bond because they often experience the same dangers, even during relatively routine training missions. Furthermore, conducting missions such as this provide an opportunity for increased visibility among the local population.
"The locals see a mission like this and know we are supporting someone from this country," Hood said. "People here are more likely to have a favorable impression of Marines when they see us doing this."
This particular mission is another sign of Iraq's maritime self-defense forces growing self-sufficiency.
"Building up a new Iraqi Marine organization requires us to advise, train and assist the new organization," Dill said. "It is very important for us to do missions like this because we have to establish relationships with the Iraqi Marines, who are our maritime security counterparts here in Iraq."

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