By Capt. Murray Shugars, 2nd Battalion, 198th Combined ArmsMarch 23, 2010
CONTINGENCY OPERATING BASE Q-WEST, Iraq - Mississippi Guardsmen handed off base defense and convoy security operations to Tennessee Guardsmen during a transfer of authority ceremony at the Morale, Welfare and Recreation complex here, March 10.
Soldiers of 2nd Battalion, 198th Combined Arms, 155th Brigade Combat Team, out of Senatobia, Miss., cased their unit flag and passed their duties, responsibilities, and legacies to the newly-arrived 1st Squadron, 278th Armored Cavalry Regiment, headquartered in Henderson, Tenn.
The Mississippians arrived in July and assumed numerous major operations - the Q-West mayor cell, which oversaw basic life support on base, the base defense operations center and force protection mission, as well as fielding four convoy security companies. The Troopers from Tennessee have shouldered the BDOC, force protection and convoy security troops.
Lt. Col. Kerry W. Goodman, 2/198th CAB commander and resident of Meridian, Miss., praised his battalion's accomplishments.
"We made COB Q-West a better place and accomplished all our assigned missions," said Goodman. "I am proud of this unit; they have done an outstanding job and deserve recognition."
Goodman said the mayor cell, responsible for over 8000 tenants, made a definite difference on the post.
"The Department of Public Works completed over 300 projects to improve the quality of life for the residents," said Goodman. "The mayor cell help desk processed over 3,500 requests for assistance from Soldiers. The mayor cell worked the COB through a major water shortage and cut the daily use of water per Soldier from 33 U.S. gallons a day down to 12 a day. We held over 150 different Morale, Welfare and Recreation events supporting Soldiers and civilians from all walks of life. The water team worked around the clock with contractors and the force protection company to keep the pump at the Tigris River pushing water to our holding lake for our consumption."
Goodman said the base defense operations center, base force protection section and the force protection company significantly improved security at Q-West
"These Soldiers ensured no attacks against this base from inside or outside, which allowed all the tenants to accomplish their missions under safe conditions," said Goodman. "The force protection company executed over 230 perimeter patrols, logging 16,000 miles around and through Q-West. The Aerostat section logged over 3,500 flying hours, monitoring camera surveillance systems 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Entry control point Soldiers cleared every Local National who worked on or visited the base, confiscating over 80 gallons of alcohol and thousands of contraband items. The force protection section also managed the 250 security contractors. Along with the provost marshal, they executed inspections of living areas of the local and third country national workers."
The convoy security companies completed scores of missions throughout northern Iraq with no loss of life or major accidents, said Goodman.
"The CS companies escorted the sustainment and special logistical missions throughout U.S. Forces - Iraq north, running missions from Kuwait to Harbor Gate on the Turkish border," said Goodman. "They executed over 600 combat logistic patrols, logging more than 95,000 miles and escorting more than 40,000 line haul assets. The battalion also turned in over 42 million dollars worth of non-mission essential equipment, 79 pieces of rolling stock and 600 pieces of non-rolling stock to be used by other units in need."
Goodman also praised his battalion staff for doing an outstanding job, in spite of being undermanned and over worked.
Lt. Col. Jimmie L. Cole, Jr., commander of 1/278th ACR and a native of Mount Juliet, Tenn., praised the Mississippians and challenged his Troopers to surpass the accomplishments of the Mississippians.
"I'd like to commend the 2/198th Combined Arms Battalion on their excellent performance and for setting the conditions for a seamless transition and transfer of authority," said Cole. "It's time now for Cobra Squadron, 1/278th Armored Cavalry Regiment, to take charge and improve the well established battle position left to us by our brothers from Mississippi. First Squadron Troopers have been well trained and are prepared to continue the high quality of convoy security and force protection established by the 2/198th CAB in support of the 15th Sustainment Brigade and its subordinate units across northern Iraq and here at COL Q-West."