Dear Interested Reader,
Our focus story is about the important, difficult, and dedicated job of the Mitt. Tribal leaders are hosted by the 287th Sust. Bde. for a cultural study at Ziggurat of Ur. Al Anbar police receive 21st Century forensics capability. Iraqi SF and CF leaders conduct election rehearsal at COP Meade. Criminals are detained and munition caches seized. In Afghanistan, CF target Taliban in Zabul, while also targeting an IED cell in Zabol Province.
Jan. 31, 2009
Blackanthem Military News
MiTT team advises, helps 9th IA Div. along road to confidence
By Sgt. Whitney Houston
1st Lt. Edan, cmdr. of the Detainee Holding Area Anex (DHAA), is searched by his colleague, 1st Lt. Hussein, while SSgt. Heather Roark observes the appropriate techniques of searching Iraqi women at the DHAA, which is located at Al Rasheed IA base in Baghdad, Jan. 23. Roark serves with the 9th IA Div. MiTT, attached to 4th ID.
BAGHDAD - Going back to Revolutionary War times, a foreign military influence assisted the US in helping an unpolished military become one of the greatest in world history. Friedrich von Steuben, a Prussian-German officer who served as the first Inspector General of the Continental Army, taught military doctrine and discipline to a young military, providing a proficiency and sense of professionalism, which they needed to eventually gain their independence from Great Britain.
In contemporary times, one can see history mimicking the noble role of von Steuben through the MiTT, a conglomeration of Soldiers with many different specialties with the end goal of advising, instilling professionalism and ensuring continued success of the present-day IA.
"Our main job as a MiTT team is to professionalize the IA. We have officers and NCOs from a wide variety of military occupational specialties. I have a logistics officer, an intel officer, an aviator, EOD, intel analysts ... and the list goes on," said Lt. Col. Thomas Seagrist, who serves as cmdr. of the 9th IA Division MiTT. "These guys are the leaders of their respective elements, and the advisory role is to help their Iraqi counterparts see that there's more than one way to skin a cat and open their eyes to other options."
The word transition speaks volumes to the nature of the MiTT team's broad mission and also denotes an element of time and genuine concern that are essential to build a base of success. "The first thing you have to do as a MiTT team is establish your rapport with the people you work with, which is easier said than done," Seagrist said.
"You have to build a relationship with them by sipping chai tea, and having normal conversations with them - even if the conversations have nothing to do with the job. They have to trust you, and you have to trust them, and that's definitely not an easy thing to do. You are not their friend - although friendships do occur - but there's also a working relationship that has to exist."
With rapport well established and nowhere to move but forward, the 9th IA Div. MiTT team is continually faced with deeply ingrained cultural obstacles, which require patience and perseverance to overcome. "Many officers serving in today's IA also served under Saddam's regime, which is a totally different mindset. They grew up and prospered under a dictator who called all the shots," Seagrist said. "They served with pride for their army and their country, and in an army in a new democratic society, we are trying to help them serve the people and a constitution, rather than serving a man." To overcome this lingering stigma of serving in a dictator's army, Seagrist and his MiTT team have suggested and reiterated the importance of strengthening the IA NCO corps to distribute authority and provide a much-needed "backbone" for the army.
"One of the big things that myself and other members of my team are doing is not only trying to get an NCO academy going but legitimizing the NCO corps. In the IA, a lot of the Soldiers don't wear their rank. They don't feel like it means anything because they're not afforded the authority that an American NCO has," said MSgt. Ian Hutchinson, who serves as the senior enlisted leader of 9th IA Div. MiTT team. "We're trying to show them they can do more than just bring the boss chai - that they can take initiative and make things happen and make NCOs in the IA just as proud as NCOs in the American Army."
Although an arduous and time-consuming task, the 9th IA Div. MiTT team continues to advise and aid Iraqi Soldiers and leaders to better perform their duties with the hope that their mentorship will have as lasting an effect on the IA as von Steuben's efforts had on the U.S. military so many years ago.
1st Lt. Jordan Clark, who serves as an explosive ordnance disposal expert with the 9th IA Div MiTT, attached to 4th ID, removes an explosive substance from the end of an artillery round at Al Rasheed IA base. Capt. Seth Norman, also serves with the 9th IA Div. MiTT team, and an Iraqi Soldier watch as Clark does his job.
Multi-National Corps - Iraq
Public Affairs Office, Camp Victory
APO AE 09342
Tribal leaders hosted by Sustainers at Ziggurat of Ur
Col. Robert Schmitt with his senior staff and local Iraqi Tribal leaders rest in front of Abraham's house.
(Army photos by Maj. Tim Ohlhaver)
COB ADDER - Dhi Qar provincial leaders came to the Ziggurat of Ur to meet with 287th Sust Bde, Cmdr.
Col. Robert Schmitt, and his staff where they hosted a cultural study, Jan. 24.
The opportunity allowed both Iraqi and U.S. Army leaders to extend their relationship with each other, as well as learn about the historical site. The ziggurat provided a fitting backdrop for people of different backgrounds to find common ground, as the Ziggurat of Ur is located within COB Adder, where the 287th Sust. Bde. is based.
Before the cultural briefings, Al Batha City Councilman, Al Tayieh addressed Schmitt, and his dep. cmdr., Col. Barry Taylor and the brigade surgeon Col. Muhammad Khan. He recounted the ancient history of Ur. He described how the ziggurat played an important role in Sumerian civilization, and the significance of Abraham's house in religious history. He closed with comments about cultural advances in Iraq over the last several years.
Al Tayieh explained the need for a continued partnership. "There are 2 hands, one is the hand that helps and the other is the hand of the enemy," he said. "I want to thank you for our friendship with U.S. and CF. It is evidenced by all of our cooperative projects and the establishing of a new Iraq."
Schmitt responded in agreement to the words of Al Tayieh. "We need to continue to build and refine the relationship that has been established," he said. "It is our desire to see Iraq as a totally free and independent democratic state."
The Ur curator led the Al Teyieh, Shaykh Shershab of the Al Badur Tribe, and Shaykh Hachem of the Al Ghizi Tribe, and Schmitt and his staff through the ziggurat, a monumental foundation for the "Temple of the Moon God." He showed the group another temple's foundation upon which still stood the world's oldest existing archway and the palace of King Shulgi during whose reign the ziggurat was built. The group also viewed burial grounds of the ancient Sumerian kings and common people, Abraham's house, the first known museum, and an immense drainage pit with ancient drainage pipes and evidence of two major floods.
For Al Tayieh, the visit to the House of Abraham had significance to the leaders' meeting that day. "We are assembled on what is considered hallowed common ground by at least three major religions," he said.
Al Tayieh (far right) discusses the history of Ziggurat of Ur with Col. Robert Schmitt and his command staff.
The Ur curator describes the sites of the Ziggurat of Ur compound to local Iraqi Tribal leaders and leaders from the 287th Sust Bde.
ISF, MND-B leaders conduct election rehearsal at COP Meade
Lt. Col. Michael Mammay (left), cmdr, TF 4th Bn, along with Iraqi Staff Col. Ramadan, commander; Col. Pat White, cmdr., 2nd BCT, 1st Armored Div; and Command Sgt Maj. Michael Eyer, also from 2nd BCT, observe a rock drill rehearsal security plan.
(U.S. Army photo by Spc. Jamie Vernon)
BAGHDAD - In support of the Security Agreement implementation, Iraqi SF and their MND - Baghdad partners conducted a combined rehearsal of their security plan for the upcoming Provincial Elections at COP Meade in the Mahmudiyah Qada, Jan. 25.
Iraqi leaders and TF 4th Bn, 27th FAR, 2nd BCT, 1st Armored Div, participated in the combined arms
rehearsal. The election is scheduled for Jan. 31, with 14,300 candidates running for 440 seats to fill the various provincial councils. It will mark the first nationwide election held in Iraq since 2005.
"We are asking the CF for air support, especially in medivacs, should we need them; however, the Coalition will have very little involvement in this op," said Staff Col. Atia, cmdr. "We have experience from the 2005 elections. The units are trained and prepared."
"At this point, we're trying to enable, not to direct the Iraqis in how to accomplish their mission. The complexity of the display may seem a little elaborate, but it's all just a tool we're providing to our allies to aid them in securing their own democratic future," said Capt. Nicholas Doerr, TF 4th Bn.
Al Anbar police receive 21st century forensics capability
CAMP RAMADI - For years, the IP had to make do without the scientific tools most police forces around the world rely upon to solve crimes - but no longer. CF recently provided IP with 21st century forensics equipment to furnish the newly-opened Al Anbar Forensics Center in order to support the overall goal of enhancing IP capability in conducting criminal investigations and prosecutions.
Iraqis were using equipment dating back to the 1950s, and many of their investigations failed due to lack of evidence, according to Col. el-Latif, chief of forensics for Al Anbar provincial IP. "We are in 2009. Things have changed, and now thanks to the U.S., our new equipment will help to stop crimes," el-Latif continued. "We are now able to squeeze crime into a corner ... control and defeat it," said el-Latif.
The equipment donated consisted of advanced forensics gear ranging from fuming chambers to a crime scope. "This is a big component for the Iraqis to solve Iraqi crimes," said Lt. Col. Robert T. Stanford, the I Marine Expeditionary Force dir. of the Joint Prosecution and Exploitation Center. "As Maj. Gen. John F. Kelly says, 'close in the last 10 yards,' and this equipment will help them accomplish that goal," he added, using an American football analogy meaning to work hard until the mission is complete.
Major Gen. Kelly, comm. gen. of MNF-West and the I Marine Expeditionary Force, attended the ribbon cutting ceremony and presented Maj. Gen. Muhammed, al Anbar provincial chief of IP, with an early 20th century replica revolver to show his respect for their friendship. "Along with this revolver, I present an Eagle, Globe and Anchor, the symbol of the Marines, which I wouldn't give to anyone I didn't have the deepest respect for."
Muhammed and Kelly have been working together for the past year building a vital relationship between Iraqi Police and CF. "Maj. Gen. Kelly is known by us as the American cmdr. who walked in all the districts of the province," said Muhammed. "With all due respect to other Marine cmdrs., Marines have all the right in the world to be very proud of such a cmdr."
Kelly's involvement with IP has helped CF move to an over watch roll. A forensics lab will give Iraqi SF the upper hand to fighting crime. "A gift like this will remain with us forever," said el-Latif. "Most importantly, this level of friendship between 2 countries will remain forever."
ISF patrols seize weapons, find UXO
BAGHDAD - Iraqi SF partnered with MND - Baghdad Soldiers seized weapons and found a bomb and unexploded ordnance (UXO) in Baghdad's Rashid district, Jan. 28.
At approx. 1 a.m., IA Soldiers partnered with Soldiers from Co B, 1st Bn, 22nd Inf Regt, 1st BCT, 4th ID, confiscated 15 AK-47 assault rifles during a neighborhood clearance op in the Saydiyah community.
At approx. 8 a.m., IP working with Soldiers from Co B, 1st Bn, 505th PIR, attached to 1st BCT, 4th ID, discovered a bomb made of a 2.75 inch rocket and a 60 mm mortar round, while conducting ops in the Masafee community.
Iraqi NP officers conducting a combined patrol with Soldiers from Troop C, 7th Sqdrn, 10th Cav Regt, 1st BCT, 4th ID, discovered a RPG that had been fired, but the round did not explode, in the Abu T'shir community, at approx. 8:45 a.m.
IP officers partnered with HHC, 1st Bn., 505th PIR, attached to 1st BCT, 4th ID, discovered a sticky bomb in the Jazeera community at approx. 10:45 a.m.
At approx. 1 p.m., IA Soldiers partnered with Co D, 1st Bn., 505th PIR, discovered an 81mm white phosphorus mortar round while conducting ops in the Arab Jabour community.
ISF, MND-B Soldiers detain 2 suspects in Baghdad
BAGHDAD - At approx. 11 p.m., Iraqi NP officers conducting a combined op with Soldiers from HHC, 1st Bn, 22nd Inf Regt, 1st BCT, 4th ID, detained a suspected criminal in the Jihad community, wanted for alleged car bomb activity.
Meanwhile, Iraqi NP officers conducting a combined patrol with Soldiers from HHT, 7th Sqdrn, 10th Cav Regt, 1st BCT, 4th ID, captured a wanted criminal in the Zubaida community at approx. 11 p.m, who was wanted for allegedly building bombs.
ISF detain suspected criminals in Ghazaliyah
BAGHDAD - Iraqi SF arrested 2 wanted criminals during ops Jan. 28, in the Ghazaliyah neighborhood of northwest Baghdad, after receiving info from a detained criminal who had knowledge of recent attacks. These criminals are suspected of conducting resettlement attacks in the Ghazaliyah neighborhood, using hand grenades. One of the suspected criminals was in possession of a hand grenade at the time of his arrest.
U.S. Forces - Afghanistan
Coalition Forces target Taliban in Zabul
KABUL, Afghanistan - CF detained a militant during an op to disrupt the Taliban's network in Zabul province, Jan. 27.
In Jaldak District, approx. 65 km northeast of Kandahar City, CF detained a Taliban cmdr. wanted for his ties to the roadside bombing network along Highway one, and the recent bridge attack in Zabul province on Dec. 31.
Two women and 5 children were present and CF ensured their safety during the op.
U.S. Forces - Afghanistan
Coalition Forces target IED cell in Zabol Province
KABUL, Afghanistan - CF killed 4 armed militants during ops to disrupt the Taliban network in Zabol (Zabul) Province, Jan. 28.
In Tarnak Wa Jaldak District, approx. 90 km northeast of Kandahar City, CF targeted a known Taliban leader and explosives expert. Upon receiving small-arms fire, CF returned fire and killed all 4 armed militants.
During the op, 3 women and 8 children were protected. A search of the compound revealed multiple AK-47s and other weapons.