Leaders of 1st Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division (LI) cased the unit colors Sept. 3 at Fort Drum ahead of the deployment of approximately 1,300 Soldiers to Iraq in support of Operation Inherent Resolve.
The scheduled nine-month deployment is an advise and assist mission that intends to offer the Iraqis guidance so they can fully support themselves until they are able to successfully conduct operations without the assistance of coalition forces.
"It's a slow campaign, but it's a deliberate one," said Col. Scott M. Naumann, 1st BCT commander. "I think that's the most important point that I've stressed to our Soldiers -- that momentum is more important than speed here, because this has to be a deliberate process and, frankly, it has to be an Iraqi process."
The BCT is no stranger to deployments, and this will mark the brigade's second deployment to Iraq since the 9/11 attacks.
"We want to train the Iraqis to help them with their plan," Naumann said. "We're there to provide our kind of niche capabilities and training to their staffs and to some specific operations on the ground, like small-unit infantry tactics, how to use fires, artillery and close-air support."
Naumann said that partnership development is the key factor that will lead to 1st BCT having a successful mission.
"The partnership is what this is about, so, really, the rapport we establish in our advise and assist teams with their headquarters elements is going to be key to the success of our mission," Naumann said. "We are going to partner with their leaders, with their operational command post, and we're going to help them with strategies and tactics on the ground, small-unit maneuvering, fires, reconnaissance and logistics."
Naumann said the Soldiers of Warrior Brigade have been training these past three months specifically for the deployment. Additionally, personnel participated in the Security Force Assistance Team advisory academy at Fort Polk, La. On top of the brigade's mission in Iraq, there are many other challenges Soldiers must overcome while deployed.
"The biggest challenge is getting into a routine, getting into the daily battle rhythm of activities, or lack of activities sometimes, so sometimes it's going through the mundane process of just being there," said Chaplain (Maj.) Stan Smith, 1st BCT chaplain. "It's also being prepared for the unexpected, too, and what might happen."
Smith said it is important for Families to stay connected, and that support groups are available for deployed Soldiers and their Family Members.
"Fort Drum has a great network of support through our family readiness groups and through military and family life counselors," he said.