By Sgt. Connie JonesApril 19, 2019
CAMP TAJI, Iraq - Army sustainment is made up of a lot of moving pieces, literally. Vehicles, personnel, and equipment all moving to keep the mission going. A big part of the sustainment mission in Iraq is provided by 529th Support Battalion, currently serving as Task Force Cavalier at Camp Taji.
"529th Support Battalion is an Army National Guard battalion headquartered in Virginia Beach, Virginia and we provide general sustainment support in Iraq, Jordan, Syria, and Kuwait," said Lt. Col. Dennis Rohler, the battalion commander.
The battalion aids these installations in several ways, said Capt. Patrick Cooper, the officer in charge of the Counter-ISIS Train and Equip Fund (CTEF) for the 529th.
"Our unit provides a variety of different sustainment functions. Some of the key functions that we provide here in here in Taji, specifically, we are the DEERS and RAPIDS station for the installation. For the S6, they have a unique challenge in trying to get several different locations to be able to communicate with each other more effectively."
Perhaps the most important mission the unit has is the one Cooper is in charge of.
"CTEF is the shipping, receiving, storing, and ultimately issuing, or divesting U.S. Government-bought property to the government of Iraq units for them to perform their mission to combat ISIS. The equipment is also used to facilitate the training of various numbers of Iraqi units," he said.
The divestment of these government materials assist the country and arms them with the means to protect themselves, said Sgt. 1st Class James Taylor, who is the noncommissioned officer in charge of CTEF.
"With this program, the United States government is proving equipment to Iraqi security forces to combat ISIS, make sure that their borders are secure, and maintain their independence."
While this is a sustainment battalion, there are specific obstacles to be faced with this sort of mission, said Cooper.
"Considering that there is no doctrine behind fielding a foreign military with the U.S. bought equipment, the challenges are unique with regards to sustainment and overall logistics fundamentals; however, we're overcoming those challenges by building relationships with every partner who has a stake in this mission. We're taking a big step forward."
The team will continue to make strides throughout their rotation, but they already have much to be proud of, says Rohler.
"I have a remarkable team that's come together. Our team is made up of Guard, Reserve, and the active component. The fact that we can take all three components, put them together and operate at the level that we're executing is phenomenal to me. I'm proud of the organization that we have."