By Spc. Christopher M. Gaylord, 13th Public Affairs DetachmentMarch 13, 2009
The Taji National Supply Depot, the central hub through which Iraqi army units receive equipment maintenance and virtually all supplies, has been considered the heart of logistics for the entire Iraqi military.
Consisting of two parts - supply warehouses and maintenance facilities - the depot performs extensive track and wheeled vehicle repairs and distributes supplies, to include medical supplies, repair parts, ammunition and uniforms.
Iraqi army divisions lacking required parts and supplies can request them from the depot at any time.
"Virtually all incoming supplies are routed through the supply depot," said Col. Michael Sage, J4, Multi-National Security Transition Command - Iraq, who manages the depot's vehicle maintenance contracts. "On the maintenance side, Taji is currently the only place where the highest level of [vehicle] maintenance will be performed."
With two separate maintenance sub-depots covering both track and wheeled vehicle repairs, Iraqi local nationals are able to completely overhaul severely damaged tanks and Humvees, provide repair parts divisions cannot, and issue humvees to all Iraqi Security Forces.
Sage said the concept of the maintenance sector was developed in 2005 by the Army Materiel Command. Now, Department of Defense contractors and U.S. and coalition forces merely play an advisory role at the depot.
"We have turned the responsibility of managing the supply depot over to the Iraqis and are only advising on supply and management operations," Sage said.
Since March 2008, approximately 4,300 humvees have been refurbished and redistributed to units throughout the country.
The Taji depot also consists of training facilities that provide the entire spectrum of logistics education to Iraqi soldiers and civilians, called the Iraqi Army Service and Support Institute.
"There, they teach medical, maintenance, food services; your standard repertoire of logistics tasks," said Col. Ed Dorman, C4, Multi-National Corps - Iraq.
Recently, more than 20 warehouses were renovated to keep stored supplies safe from the damaging effects of inclement weather.
Perhaps one of the most significant assets of which the depot consists is the Iraqi army's Ground Transportation Regiment, which successfully executes equipment transport operations for units in the field.
"The unit consists of both tractor-trailer units and heavy equipment transport units, in addition to their own security company," said Col. Daniel Leatherman, senior advisor for Camp Taji, Joint Headquarters Army Advisory Training Team.
With logistics being the foundation for any fighting force, the Taji depot certainly keeps the Iraqi army a well-oiled machine. Like with many other things in Iraq these days, the country's own forces and citizens are gaining more control of the depot with each passing day.
"It's slowly becoming more Iraqi run," Dorman said. "As they've gained experience, they've worked their way up."