News: Responsible drawdown; speaking logistically
Story by Spc. Maurice Galloway
CONTINGENCY OPERATING BASE BASRA, Iraq — U.S. forces have already begun redeploying to their home bases in accordance with the Security Agreement, which states that by Sept. 1 U.S. forces will drawdown to 50,000 troops in Iraq.
"Units are going to have to conduct operations differently and with less as U.S. forces drawdown," said Maj. Kevin Jackson, Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 17th Fires Brigade, operations officer.
This drawdown will ultimately require equipment to be turned in for maintenance and reallocation, as the Advise and Assist Brigades will have significantly less personnel than the previous units.
One of these units, the 17th Fires Brigade, based out of Fort Lewis, Wash., deployed to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom in July and has maintained a large footprint in Basrah province with the help of Military Transition Teams and other smaller units attached to the brigade.
These smaller units rely on the larger brigade to support them logistically as they conduct their operations within the 17th FiB operational environment. The brigade also has a responsibility to track all of the excess equipment that these units have as they draw closer to the September deadline.
"Included in the Responsible Drawdown of Forces is the accelerated drawdown of equipment which requires all units to turn in their excess equipment such as computers, radios and vehicles," said Chief Warrant Officer Dylan Caiga, HHB, 17th FiB property book officer.
Over the past 7 years, U.S. forces have established bases across the country in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. These bases are home to billions of dollars of equipment, which now need to be returned to the United States, or reallocated elsewhere.
"General equipment is pulled out of these bases that are being returned to the Iraqi army, but basic life support equipment such as showers, tents, and furniture will remain for the Iraqi counterpart that fills the vacancy," said Capt. Jason Supnet, Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 17th Fires Brigade, brigade resource manager.
"We have to set these gaining units up for success by properly restructuring everything to fit a smaller scale," Jackson said.