News: Oregon quick reaction force team provides perimeter security for Victory Base Complex
VICTORY BASE COMPLEX, Iraq — The Soldiers of B Troop, 1st Squadron, 82nd Cavalry Regiment, 41st Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) quick reaction force team provide security for entry-control points at Victory Base Complex, Iraq, and support base defense operations center events on a daily basis.
Their tasks include conducting both interior and exterior perimeter checks, area reconnaissance and foot patrols.
Spc. Brandon B. Delfino, a dismount member of the QRF and a Bend, Ore., native, said his platoon is on standby status every other day, prepared for anything that might occur on VBC.
"We have to be ready to get anywhere in no more than 15 minutes," said Delfino. "We do foot patrols and we mainly check the walls for breaks or tunnels, the visibility of the towers and we get to mingle with the population around VBC."
Spc. Peter S. Powers, a driver with the 1-82nd Cav. and a Hillsboro, Ore., native, said the team does interior perimeter patrols several times between the day and night shift.
"We look for ... anything that force protection would need to address," he said.
Army 1st Lt. Justin G. Howland, a platoon leader for B Troop and a La Grande, Ore., native, said he is responsible for the overall planning, execution and after-action reviews of all operations involving the QRF.
As the patrol leader for dismounted and mounted missions, Howland said he ensures the commander’s intent is met in monitoring for breaches and avenues of approach at VBC.
"We do occasionally meet with the locals," he said. "We are the face of VBC for the community surrounding its walls. I think they support what we’re here for and most are receptive to our generosity."
Howland said during election week they were at a heightened state of alert, but not actively doing anything out of the ordinary.
"The QRF mission will be a vital mission until we pull out," he said. "Whether it’s by contract or support, as long as there is force protection there will be a QRF element."
Staff Sgt. Bejan P. Rejaian, the non-commissioned officer in charge of B Troop’s QRF team and a Salem, Ore., native, said he disseminates any information to the other section sergeants and ensures that the readiness level and accountability are always maintained.
"I maintain contact with all QRF personnel, make sure they are properly equipped, and their vehicles and weapons are completely up to standard," he said.
Rejaian said they taught a 40-hour class to the Save Our Country corporation’s tower guards. These contractors assist with force protection at VBC, and will take over security after the upcoming drawdown of U.S. forces.
"It was a chance for us to get them up to U.S. forces’ standards on battle drills, individual weapons systems and proper reporting," he said.
This is Rejaian’s second deployment to Iraq, and he said he was surprised the country arrived at this phase so early.
"I was here for the last election," he said. "The infrastructure of Baghdad was bad and the security forces were tremendously different. Now the basic security and infrastructure has improved beyond what I thought [it could] in this short of time."
Howland said he has enjoyed the deployment and the Soldiers he works with care about the mission.
"They always have a sense of purpose and a sense of mission," he said. "I am proud to work with them."