Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Bill Roggio: Embedded with Marines and Iraqi Army in Fallujah

Bil Roggio, who blogs on The Fourth Rail, embedded with the Marines in Fallujah. The plan was to start in Fallujah and then move on to Ramadi, currently the most dangerous place in Iraq. Due to transportaion logistics which would have required two wasted days of downtime, Bill has decided to stay on in Fallujah. If James Baker of the illfated ISG and their 79 useless recommendations for succes in Iraq had bothered to come to Fallujah, perhaps they might have come up with some realistic recommendations. Bill has some.

The Military Transition Teams and the Development Iraqi Army
The MTT Mission; Successes and setbacks with the Iraqi Army

While critics of the Iraq Army continue to question the capabilities of the units and soldiers, a real move towards operational independence is occurring within the Iraqi Army. Last year, I embedded with the 3rd Battalion, 6th Marines (the Teufelhunden) in Husaybah, as well as the 3rd Battalion, 1st Marines (The Raiders) in the Haditha Triad. The 3/6 was working with the 1st Battalion, 1st Brigade, 1st Division of the Iraqi Army, the most seasoned unit in the Army, while the 3/1 worked with the 7th Division, the greenest unit in the Iraqi Army. In western Anbar, a platoon of Marines paired up with a platoon of Iraqi Army soldiers in small outposts called Battle Positions. The Iraqi Army patrolled jointly with the Marines, and were directly dependent on the Marines for food, supplies, ammunition and transport.

The relationship between the Marines and the Iraqi Army has changed over the past year. The 1st Iraqi Army Division is now in the Fallujah region, and the 1st Brigade's sister unit, the 2nd Brigade, is now operating independently, with embedded Marine Military Transition Teams. Major David McCombs, the executive officer of the 3-2-1 MTT, said their mission is to “advise, assist and mentor the Iraqi Army, and what they do with this is up to them.” There is 1 MTT at the brigade level, and 1 MTT for each of the 3 light infantry battalions in the brigade.
The Marines of the 3rd Recon Military Transition Team (or MTT), advises the 3rd Battalion, 2nd Brigade of the 1st Division (3-2-1). The 3-2-1 MTT is made up of 15 personnel (11 trained MTTs with 4 augment Marines), who are embedded withing an Iraqi battalion (about 500 troops).

The MTT team is modeled after Special Forces teams, as training a foreign military force is a classic Special Forces mission. The team is top heavy with officers and senior non-commissioned officers. The 3-2-1 MTT is made up of 2 majors, 1 captain, 3 1st lieutenants, 2 gunnery sergeants, 1 staff sergeant and 2 sergeants. They live and work side by side with the Iraqi Army. The size of the unit and the unique, specialized mission causes the officers and senior enlisted to take on non-traditional roles such as drivers and gunners for convoys through the city on a daily basis.

Read the rest: http://billroggio.com/archives/2006/12/the_military_transit.php#more

No comments: