CAMP TAJI, Iraq -- No challenges could stop the "Conquerors" of 1st Battalion, 35th Armored Regiment, 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, Task Force Spartan, from accomplishing their mission.
After moving from Camp Buehring, Kuwait, in February for their new home at Camp Taji, Iraq, the Conquerors worked non-stop and accomplished much in a short time.
Task Force Conqueror's current mission is to advise and assist the 9th Iraqi Army Division (9th IA). The task force is responsible for enabling the 9th IA during their division reset period after four years of Counter-ISIS fighting. TF Conqueror will provide training and logistical support throughout this period.
A large portion of this task is for TF Conqueror to actively create and build partnerships through Joint/Coalition Forces and civilian entities to prepare the 9th IA for future combat and stability operations.
"Working with the 9th Iraqi Army has been one of the best experiences of my career," said Lt. Col. Alexis Rivera Espada, the commander of the 1-35 armor. "They exemplify the spirit of Armor and have quickly set the standard as a premier armor division capable of fighting and conducting joint operations."
Over the last three months the task force has aligned its lines of effort into strategic goals to build the 9th IA's capability and capacity. The task force has been successful in assisting with a division medical training plan, reintegration of the 9th IA into Iraqi Ground Forces Command Sustainment synchronization efforts, and accurately providing real time data on the division's current capacity, capabilities and resources.
These efforts have increased the division's ability to better prepare themselves for future operations by building training and equipment readiness.
"The 9th IA has made considerable progress while transitioning from combat operations to resetting the division's equipment, by taking an active approach in repairing their facilities and equipment over time to prepare for future operations," said Capt. Mitchell R. Murray, commander of the Forward Support Company, 1-35th.
The division is focused on repairing its combat platforms by utilizing echeloned maintenance in order to regenerate combat power.
The task force's current priorities are focused on the division level reset for manning, and the rebuilding of long-term infrastructure development for the division through Joint and Coalition partners throughout the Iraq area of operations.
"Task Force Conqueror has effectively opened doors to an expanded coalition partnership with the 9th IA. Conqueror has also effected strategic clear lines of communication and open dialog with senior coalition leaders with the 9th IA," said Capt. James S. Gibbs, the commander of the Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1-35.
Active coordination is already being conducted by the task force for the establishment of a new division headquarters, motor pool, and maintenance training through NATO forces for a myriad of equipment owned by the 9th IA to prepare for future operations.
Additional improvements to facilities and infrastructure are still needed, but the 9th IA now has a strong baseline that will continue to improve over time, said Murray.