By Pfc. Evan Loyd, 2nd BCT PAO, 1st Armd. Div., MND-BApril 2, 2009
BAGHDAD - A meeting between the professional Army staffs of the 47th Forward Support Battalion, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division, Multi-National Division-Baghdad, and the 17th Iraqi Army Division Military Transport Regiment was held at Camp Striker March 27.
The 47th FSB 'Modern Pioneers' met with their Iraqi staff counterparts for the first time at the Pioneers' headquarters to assist the professional growth of the Iraqi Soldiers and achieve awareness and coordination between the Iron Brigade and the 17th IA Div. One of the goals of the staff-to-staff visit was to illustrate to the Iraqi staff officers the importance of proper logistics planning in supply, maintenance, transportation and services for the unit.
Logistics planning is one of the challenges facing the Iraqi Army, but the Modern Pioneers have an existing program in which subject matter experts teach and train the IA Soldiers at their bases on maintenance, supply ordering and coordinating all classes of supply.
The Iraqi Army Officers received an Operations and Intelligence briefing to give an overview of the rest of the day's activities. The briefing also serves as a training tool for the Iraqi soldiers to take back with them to their units. The brief illustrated to the Iraqi soldiers a part of the U.S. Army military decision-making process which is a proven analytical process in developing estimates and a plan.
Maj. Duhmad, commander, 17th IA Div., MTR stressed to his staff members the importance of the meeting. Duhmad reminded them to apply the knowledge gained from the visit to help shape the MTR into a more organized and efficient logistics battalion.
The combined staff meeting had breakout sessions for staff counterparts to discuss their particular staff specialty. The Pioneer staff explained to the Iraqis their sections' different perspectives of how their section fits into the battalion's operations.
"Working with the Iraqi Army has been a great experience," said 1st Lt. Krystle Penaherrera, of Jackson Heights, N.Y., the intelligence officer of the 47th FSB. "I have enjoyed every moment working with them and this partnership will bring us one-step closer to going home."
After the staff counterpart break out meetings, Lt. Col. Michel Russell, of Brooklyn, N.Y., commander, 47th FSB, took Duhmad on a tour of his battalion's areas, including the M4 rifle qualification range, the Camp Striker aid station and the maintenance bays.
"When I was here at Camp Striker in April 2003 as the 47th FSB Support Operations Officer, the new Iraqi Army was not created yet. I wouldn't have believed it if someone had told me that, in six years, I would be the 47th FSB battalion commander, back on Camp Striker, participating in a professional exchange with my Iraqi Army counterpart," said Russell.