CONTINGENCY OPERATING BASE MAREZ, MOSUL, Iraq - As Iraq's national election draws near, Soldiers with the 733rd Transportation Company work to provide safe travel in northern Iraq.
Thirty-five Soldiers with the 733rd Trans. Company left Contingency Operating Base Q-West, Iraq, to assist with the Disputed Internal Border Sites mission at Contingency Operating Location Sykes, Iraq, and 92 Soldiers came to Contingency Operating Site Marez, Iraq, to build up checkpoints for the DIBS mission around the city of Mosul, said 1st Lt. Brandon Lewis, the officer in charge of the Mosul DIBS mission with the 733rd Trans. Company, 395th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 15th Sustainment Brigade, 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary).
The DIBS mission is headed up by the 26th Brigade Support Battalion, 2nd Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division, and aims to provide extra checkpoint security at locations along what is traditionally the religious and cultural border between Iraq and Kurdistan, said Lewis, an Ocean View, Del., native.
Lewis said the 733rd assists the 26th BSB because it needed a transportation company to deliver concrete barriers to the checkpoints in and around Mosul.
"Our mission is to build up different checkpoints along main arteries in northern Iraq," he said. "The goal is to finish building checkpoints for speed mitigation and for the prevention of hostile acts."
Spc. Jeremiah Hastings, a mechanic with the 733rd Trans. Company and a Milford, Del., native, provides preventive maintenance on the DIBS mission vehicles and provides vehicle recovery support on the nightly barrier delivery missions.
"It's a good mission and it protects Soldiers as well as the Iraqi people," said Hastings.
Lewis said the upgraded checkpoints, which are run by the Iraqi army, Peshmerga — the Kurdish armed forces — and the U.S. Army, will be especially beneficial in the coming weeks as Iraqis travel in and out of Mosul, Iraq, for the elections.
"It's going to increase their level of confidence in voting and traveling," he said.
Since beginning the DIBS mission Jan. 5, 12 checkpoints have been completed. They are scheduled to finish the final three checkpoints before the March 7 elections, said Lewis.
The 733rd Trans. Company, an Army Reserve unit out of Reading, Pa., arrived in country in August and has dealt with an ever-changing mission. Before the DIBS mission, it acted as a vehicle recovery unit, then a personnel security detachment, and finally a line-haul transportation unit, delivering water and other sustainment supplies to bases around COB Q-West, said Lewis.
"I am proud of my Soldiers," he said. "They have demonstrated amazing flexibility."
Hastings said the DIBS mission will soon be complete and his unit will return to COB Q-West to continue sustainment operations, but the Soldiers are proud of the time they spent at COB Marez preparing for a historic election.