FORT RILEY, Kan. (Army News Service, Nov. 3, 2006) - Secretary of the Army Francis Harvey met with 1st Infantry Division Military Transition Team members at Fort Riley yesterday.
"This is a very important mission; perhaps at this time nothing going on in the Army is more important than training the members of these transition teams," said Harvey. "Ultimately, these (Iraqi and Afghan) security forces, rather than the United States military, will have to provide basic security for their country."
Members of the 1st Infantry Division's 1st and 3rd Brigade Combat Teams support the MiTT mission by training Army, Air Force and Navy NCOs and officers to teach, coach and advise Iraqi and Afghan security forces. After completing the 60-day training cycle, transition team members are embedded with security forces in Iraq or Afghanistan.
"This training is comprehensive and in-depth. I was very impressed with the whole scope of training," Harvey said.
Soldiers in MiTT training are assigned to 10- to 15-man teams, and train on survival skills and tactics, individual- and crew-served weapons and equipment, communications, combat lifesaver skills and cultural awareness, said Col. Jeffrey Ingram, 1st Bde., 1st Inf. Div., commander.
MiTT members training at Fort Riley receive high-quality training, Ingram said, and benefit from lessons learned on the battlefield.
Harvey called Fort Riley "the centerpiece of establishing a free and democratic" Iraq and Afghanistan. He also acknowledged some of the challenges in training a foreign Army.
"This Army is an Army of leaders and an Army of action, and now we are asking some of our senior noncommissioned officers and (commissioned) officers to advise (security forces) and lead from behind rather than from the front," said Harvey.
Accompanied by Maj. Gen. Carter Ham, commanding general of 1st Inf. Div. and Fort Riley, Harvey also met with senior command representatives to discuss ongoing changes here.
"(Secretary Harvey) had the opportunity to see some of the training that's on going here and talk about some of the things that are underway at Fort Riley. It has been a very good day, and it's an honor to have the Secretary here with us," said Ham.