Helmick updates Fort Bragg on operations
April 9, 2011
- Lt. Gen. Frank G. Helmick held a video teleconference with Fort Bragg media
- As deputy commanding general for operations, he spoke of day-to-day operations in Iraq
- re-posturing plan and partnership training
From his United States Forces - Iraq headquarters in Baghdad, Lt. Gen. Frank G. Helmick, deputy commanding general for operations, USF-I, held a video teleconference with media at Fort Bragg, N.C., about current operations in Iraq. Helmick, who spoke with the reporters on April 1, is commanding general of XVIII Airborne Corps and Fort Bragg.
In his position as DCG-O, Helmick is responsible for the day-to-day operations of service members throughout Iraq under USF-I command and control.
USF-I's mission changed when Operation Iraqi Freedom became Operation New Dawn in 2010. What
started out as a combat mission became a mission to establish an enduring strategic partnership. "On that date everybody in country became an advisor and trainer," said Helmick.
These changes appeared to guide the topics of the VTC which included USF-I's day-to-day operations, advise and assist brigades, the security situation, and the re-posturing plan.
Advise and assist brigades have replaced combat brigades in Iraq. There are currently six throughout the country with a mission to help the Iraqi security forces and military be mission ready through partnership training.
The purpose of partnership training is to increase Iraq's capabilities, said Helmick. Training topics address a variety of concerns from casualty evacuation and logistics to route clearance, and the use of large generators for power.
Iraq has established a capable internal defense and as the country acquires more combat equipment, their external defense capability will increase, Helmick told the media.
Coordinated exercises are the first step towards mission readiness and the first joint exercise coordinated by the Iraqis has been scheduled. The event will include Iraqi helicopters and elements of the army, special operations forces, and navy, said Helmick. "It's a small step for them, but a huge step in the right direction."
Helmick also commended the Iraqi security forces on the professionalism, confidence and patience
they demonstrated while dealing with the recent demonstrations.
Partnership training is just one aspect of Helmick's operational responsibilities. The reporters were also interested in the re-posturing of troops and equipment currently in Iraq.
The logisticians have a difficult mission ahead of them, Helmick acknowledged. Equipment and troops will be moved strategically, he said. Equipment, whether required in Afghanistan or by the state department, will be sent where it is needed.
"There is a tremendous amount of work that is ongoing as we move from a military-led operation to a civilian-led operation at the same time getting ready to depart," he said. As expected, there will be bumps in the road while planning and executing the move of more than 40,000 troops.
"Our focus is that everybody understands the plan, and that everybody understands their part of the plan," said Helmick. This could not be done without great people.
What people think is going on in Iraq, and what is actually going on in Iraq, seem to be different things in some shape, said Helmick, who plans on doing VTCs routinely. "I think it's very important that we stay linked with the local community back there at Fort Bragg."
"The effort here is incredibly complex, and the effort here is not over," said Helmick. "It's a transition point, as we seamlessly continue to build a reliable partner that is the country of Iraq."
"No one has done anything like this in the history of our military," said Helmick. "The Soldiers who are here are doing tremendous work; America can be proud of them. Fort Bragg can be proud of the XVIII Abn. Corps and the Soldiers who are here."