By Capt. Kevin Manion, 206th MP Co.February 23, 2010
As the U.S. abides by the security agreement to reduce troop levels to 50,000 by September 2010, leaders prepare to continue their mission with fewer troops.
Smaller numbers of Soldiers depend on one another more to accomplish the daily tasks needed to maintain the security, integrity and safety of the Basrah Operations Center and the city of Basrah, which is home to more than 1.2 million people.
With the drawdown, simultaneous return of U.S. camps to the Iraqi government and the recent personnel movements at the Basrah Operations Center, the need for the remaining squad-sized elements from 2nd and 3rd platoons, 206th Military Police Company, 49th Military Police Battalion, to cross-train Soldiers is evident.
With fewer Soldiers living on the BaOC and the same basic positions still needing to be filled, it has become a combined effort of the two squads from the two platoons to run the show.
In early February, Sgt. James Nessia's, 3rd Squad, 2nd Platoon, met with Staff Sgt. Anthony Boodoo's, 3rd Squad, 3rd Platoon, to learn the ropes of the Quick Reaction Forces' duties.
Taking a day to meet, the two squads went over battle drills and learned how the QRF gun trucks are set up and properly loaded for every possible mission.
Boodoo gave a refresher class on the use and deployment of the Blue Force Tracker system, which allows all U.S. Forces to stay in direct contact with each other by sharing real-time locations, situation reports and any information that may be mission-critical.
Boodoo used 3rd Plt.'s firsthand knowledge of the city and of the possible missions to educate the Soldiers.
Later in the day, a British convoy required a security detail to accompany them to nearby Contingency Operating Base Basra, so the two squads used the opportunity to do real-time mission training.
While escorting the British personnel, Boodoo showed 2nd Plt. Soldiers possible routes through the city, past reference points, possible landing zones, which would be needed for MEDEVAC helicopters, and other points that may be integral to the QRF mission.
The involvement of 2nd Plt. In the QRF mission frees 3rd Plt. Soldiers to work in other areas around the BaOC, a mission which will eventually be handed off, like all other security operations, to Iraqi Security Forces.