News: All-hands meeting held at FOB Union III
Story by Spc. Karen Sampson
BAGHDAD – An all-hands meeting was held in the late afternoon at Forward Operating Base Union III here Aug. 4.
The topics discussed were the transitioning of authority to Iraqi trainers and how the transition will affect jobs of U.S. service members and civilian contractors with the chance of the Dec. 31 deadline being extended.
Lt. Gen. Michael Ferriter, deputy commanding general of advise and train command group, opened the meeting to service members and civilians for their opinions and queries on where they might stand in the transition process.
Many of the meetings attendees expressed concern that Dec. 31 would be too early to withdraw the U.S.’ involvement in preparing Iraq for independence. With the deadline looming near some efforts to advise will be hasty, leaving Iraqis not properly trained or prepared to take care of the nation in the future, they said.
“The government of Iraq will decide and ask for what they want from the U.S.,” said Ferriter. “That being said, the U.S. president has to decide what we are to do.”
Another concern expressed was for the future of service members and contractors whose orders extended past the deadline.
“With no other plan in place, or no other request, our numbers [in Iraq] are going to zero,” said Ferriter.
Ferriter assured the all-hands attendees that the leadership will try to remain balanced for the duration and the challenges of the coming months will be taken into consideration.
“According to me, and all of the leaders, everybody counts,” said Ferriter. “We are holding this meeting each month to assure everyone that they know where they stand and know where they are going.”