News: 1st ACB troopers partner with MiTT, IA missions
Story by Sgt. Alun Thomas
CAMP TAJI, Iraq — Helping assist the Iraqi army achieve independence and the ability to provide an atmosphere of stability is one of the main missions facing the U.S. Army as it gradually draws down its presence in Iraq.
To achieve such results, troopers of Company F, 3rd Battalion, 227th Aviation Regiment, 1st Air Cavalry Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division, Multi-National Division — Baghdad, is working with a U.S. Military Transition Team to ensure the Iraqi's are in a constant state of willingness to take over the missions ahead.
This readiness was tested as both the Co. F "Felons" and the MiTT visited two water treatment facilities assigned to the 34th IA Brigade outside Camp Taji, Sept. 16, to check on security improvements that had been recommended by the MiTT members on an earlier visit.
The last visit was a month and a half ago, said Lt. Col. William Bohman, from Cincinnati, MiTT commander, which gave the Iraqi's time to fix their problems, that included implementing new security measures
"They needed to improve security at their access points," Bohman said. "They didn't have any screening, so someone in the street could look right in and observe what was happening inside the guard points."
There were also no barriers or walls put up to prevent outsiders from getting into areas they are protecting, Bohman said.
"They are securing water access points which are part of the irrigation system," Bohman said. "They are stationed along the pipeline which pumps water out of the Tigris River."
There were improvements to the previous problems, but work is still needed to be done, Bohman said.
"They are on the right azimuth at this point," Bohman said. "They've made the improvements at the entrance way for one access point but not the other access point, so we have to keep working with them."
The relationship with the Iraqi's is good, Bohman said, the MiTT Soldiers attached to the 34th IA Bde. are also helping them increase their proficiency with basic military skills.
"We're working with them now on dismounted patrols outside, using night vision goggles and battery re-supply for that," Bohman said.
The MiTT team is also assigned to the 1st ACB, who kept a close eye on the ground patrol with their aircraft, which pleased Bohman.
"The ACB is partnered with the 34th [IA] Brigade, so I am part of the ACB's partnership efforts, Bohman said. "Today we heard their aerial weapons team on the radios. It's not every MiTT team that has on call [an air weapons team] support like that."
Joining Bohman on the patrol was 1st Sgt. Derrick Allard, from Charleston, S.C., Co. F, 3rd Bn., 1st ACB, who said his company supplies the MiTT members with select personnel for their missions, such as this one.
"This was our company's first mission so I wanted to get a firm grasp on what we were doing and how we were incorporated into the MiTT team," Allard said. "My guys were the drivers and VC's [vehicle commanders] for the MRAP's and that's the role we play."
Allard said he will be rotating Soldiers from Co. F every 30 days to go on missions with the MiTT in order to augment combat strength.
While no patrol is routine due to the dangers outside the wire, Allard said, there was nothing complicated about the task at hand.
"It was a standard mission, checking on the Iraqi's facilities and making sure everything is in operating order," Allard said. "We were also making sure they were doing the right thing."
"Supporting the Iraqi brigade commander is one of the MiTT team's main missions," Allard added. "We're here to support them in that."