MANILA TRAINING CENTER, Iraq, Aug. 10, 2011 -- Soldiers from the 1st Advise and Assist Task Force, 1st Infantry Division, transferred base operations and training responsibilities at the Manila Training Center near Chamchamal, Iraq, to the Kurdish Regional Guard, Aug. 4.
Lt. Col. Tom McCardell and Lt. Col. Phil Royce of the Stability Transition Team, 1st AATF, met with Brig. Gen. Sardar Rasol Qader Baban, MTC commander, to facilitate the transition of what Sardar called one of the Kurdish Regional Guard’s, or KRG's, best training locations.
“The training base has been important to us,” said Sardar. “We are thankful and appreciative for all the U.S. forces have done. Much has gone into this training base since February.”
The “Golden Dragons” of 1st Battalion, 14th Infantry Regiment, from Schofield Barracks, Hawaii, established the training center in February 2011. Soldiers of “Hamilton’s Own,” 1st Battalion, 5th Field Artillery Regiment, assumed the training mission at MTC following the redeployment of the “Golden Dragons.”
Hamilton’s Own Soldiers concentrated their efforts on building a cadre of KRG soldiers who could train future KRG units on their own.
To this end, the 1st AATF conducted several iterations of basic soldier skills courses and staff officer classes for the KRG brigades, explained Royce, senior advisor to the MTC.
“(KRG) will be in charge completely by this fall,” said Royce. “Their cadre is fully capable of giving the same training to future classes and I’m comfortable knowing we gave them the best training we could offer.”
The MTC is an example of a Task Force at work, explained Royce, with several units assigned different tasks for the accomplishment of a single purpose.
Hamilton’s Own Soldiers provided a company to conduct the training. The Stability Transition Team created the classroom syllabus and taught officer courses, while the 101st Brigade Support Battalion supplied food, fuel and equipment for the duration of the training. The KRG headquarters evaluated student progress.
With their mission complete at MTC, U.S. forces withdrew personnel and equipment to focus on future missions.
“You can only imagine the coordination and effort that was put into the setup of this operation,” said McCardell, MTC command operations officer. “Leaving is going to require just as much time and cooperation.”
The MTC transfer is the fourth base transfer to take place in the 1st AATF’s area of responsibility.