By Cpl. Jordan Johnson, 13th Public Affairs DetachmentAugust 16, 2011
CAMP ARIFJAN, Kuwait, Aug. 16, 2011 -- Time is of the essence. Only five more months until the Dec. 31 drawdown of Iraq, which will see thousands of servicemembers leave the country and begin the process of redeploying to the U.S.
As part of the drawdown, U.S. Forces-Iraq will be moving its headquarters from Iraq to Kuwait.
"This is a very exciting time for us," said Lt. Col. Martin Snider, commander, Base Support Battalion - North. "One of the big events going on right now is the BSB-N rear command post moving to Camp Buehring."
In anticipation of thousands of more troops coming through Camp Buehring, Snider and his crew are adding new features to the base.
"We are doing a number of extra things for USF-I of late," Snider said. "We're building 36 new tactical operations centers, reconfiguring what were contingency tents, and put in new prime and alternate power sources."
A lot of work is being done in a small amount of time, but the hard labor will help a critical mission be successful.
"We're trying to meet a very aggressive deadline," the BSB-N commander said. "Those units that come down here have operational requirements. We're making sure the facilities here are operational to ensure a smooth transference."
The USF-I move to Kuwait could be classified as many things, but a one-man show it is not. Without collaborative efforts from all parties involved, the mission would be nearly impossible.
"Several of the in-theater units have pushed forward into Camps Buehring and Virginia to facilitate the construction and lay down of the new yards, new buildings and new communication packages," Snider said.
Though the organization is moving south, USF-I's role in the War on Terrorism won't go away. Third Army is helping sustain the fight by giving USF-I a place to call home.
"We are expanding the responsibility of Area Support Group - Kuwait in supporting the war in Iraq," said Capt. Craig Morehead, ASG-K operations officer. "We're working on finding ways to offer the same support with fewer people."
Despite all the movement, the mission will continue. USF-I will need a home base, and efforts are being made to guarantee an easy transition.
"What we're trying to do here is provide a place for units to command and control, live and perform those much-needed support operations, while the main bodies come down." Snider said. "The units will have somewhere to go as they clear and push out farther south and go home."
A smooth transition for USF-I is essential, and part of the process is ensuring the safety of the troops.
"We have to make sure the Soldiers are well protected," Snider said. "There's a security system in place, and it meets the needs of the extra traffic, both vehicular and foot, across the camps."
The movement of USF-I to Kuwait has taken some extra effort, but the chance to participate in such a monumental event has been worth all the road bumps.
"The movement has been an aggressive mission, one with very tight time lines and challenges across the board," Snider said. "This has been a very exciting, very challenging and very rewarding time so far."