By Pfc. Justin Naylor, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division Public AffairsNovember 4, 2009
FORWARD OPERATING BASE WARRIOR, KIRKUK, Iraq- As the U.S. Army continues to build its partnership with the Iraqi Army, the two militaries share more than just training and knowledge, they also share tradition.
The 15th Brigade Support Battalion, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, with Soldiers from the 12th Military Transportation Regiment, 12th Iraqi Army Division at K-1 Military Base in Kirkuk, conducted a truck rodeo, Nov. 1.
"The rodeo is really a competition that truckers use in the [U.S.] Army to compete and show their skills," said Lt. Col. Chris Whittaker, the commander of 15th BSB.
The rodeo consisted of competitions in four different events: preventative maintenance checks and services, driving skills, vehicle recovery and evacuating a casualty.
"It is such a great training and competition, because it contains everything," said Maj. Saad, the commander of the 12th MTR.
During the event, four teams of IA Soldiers and their U.S. Army partners rotated between the four different events.
According to Saad, the various teams were graded on their performance in each event, with four graders from the 12thIA and four graders from the 15th BSB.
At each station, teams were expected to know how to perform all tasks on the checklists designed by the 12th IA for each different event.
"What it does is highlights the essential skill sets truckers and logisticians have when moving cargo, equipment and personnel around the battlefield," explained Whittaker.
This event was a culmination of countless hours of hard work and training that both the 15th BSB and 12th MTR have put together.
"We did daily rehearsals and daily training," said Saad. "It was continuous training from morning until afternoon. It was the best, most successful training we've ever had."
For one of the IA Soldiers involved, this training paid off in a big way: with his team taking first place in the competition.
"I trained a lot," said Sgt. Musaheem Abraheem Hussein, a Soldier with the 12th MTR. "As soon as I got in this competition, my goal was to win. I am very happy and very proud."
Musaheem explained that prior to this competition his team had trained on every single event that would comprise it.
This training has also helped the 12th MTR to accomplish its mission in the IA.
This unit was established in February this, explained Saad. Since then, it has grown with the support of the U.S., and it continues to get better. Last month alone, the 12th MTR completed 24 missions. "That's a really big accomplishment for us."
"We are now ready to do any mission that is given to us," said Saad.
"We've been working pretty hard for the last eight months establishing logistics for our partnership with the 12th MTR," said Whittaker. "They've gone from nothing to, basically, a fully functional unit."
This event allowed both sides a chance to build camaraderie, highlight skills and pass on traditions, according to Whittaker.
"It was an outstanding event," he said. "It was a lot of fun. The Iraqi Soldiers really got into it. They trained up hard."
"I hope this is something we continue doing even after the U.S. leaves," said Musaheem. "I want it to continue and keep repeating until we get it right."
With the completion of the event, the U.S. could see just how far the 12th MTR has come thanks to their partnership.
"They're out there on their own now doing missions, and we're happy to be supporting that."