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Partnership Between U.S., Iraqi Logistics Forces Yielding Results, Commander Says

By Sgt. Sara Wood, USA
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Aug. 12, 2005 – As a result of a training partnership with U.S. logistics support groups, two Iraqi motorized transportation regiments are ready to operate independently, a U.S. commander said today.

In a press briefing live from Balad, Iraq, Army Brig. Gen. Yves Fontaine, commander, 1st Corps Support Command, Multinational Corps Iraq, said that the two regiments are the beginning of what will eventually be a nine-regiment logistics force for the Iraqi army. These regiments will be important in helping the Iraqi army meet conditions for U.S. and coalition troop withdrawal, as many officials have noted recently.

"One of the keys for a successful logistics operation, for any army, is the ability to get the supplies from where they are stored to where they are needed in an efficient and reliable manner," Fontaine said. "With this in mind, it is a crucial task to ensure that the Iraqi army becomes proficient in warehousing and transportation operations."

U.S. forces have been working to refine the Iraqi logistics operation so they will be capable of sustaining the Iraqi army in independent operations, Fontaine said. Training for each Iraqi transportation regiment takes about six months, he said. A third regiment is currently being trained, a fourth will be added in the next couple of months, and he said he predicts the Iraqis will have a large enough logistics force to sustain themselves within one year.

U.S. logistics forces have been performing well, and despite an increase in improvised explosive device attacks on convoys over the last year, casualties have decreased significantly, Fontaine said. This can be attributed to the armoring of vehicles, which has been a main unit priority, he said.

"Since we arrived, we have not sent an unarmored vehicle outside a secure base," he said. "Now our soldiers are safe in their Humvees and their trucks and they walk out of the incidents."

The effectiveness of IED attacks has also been reduced because military officials review accidents when they occur to determine any new or changing enemy tactics, so they can react accordingly, Fontaine said.

The 1st Corps Support Command is made up of five support teams, one aerial support group, one brigade-sized distribution command and two brigade combat teams. These units conduct sustainment operations to keep Multinational Corps Iraq soldiers fed, equipped, maintained, armed and fueled, Fontaine said. In an average day, his unit receives and issues 1.4 million gallons of fuel, produces 3 million gallons of water and processes 500 requests for repair parts, he said. The command also works with Air Force and Army air assets to move troops and equipment on planes, reducing the need for supply convoys, which are susceptible to IED attacks, he said.

"The quality and quantity of our effort is enormous," he said, "and we succeed because we have dedicated soldiers and civilian contractors who take pride in providing superior support. We'll do whatever it takes to sustain the fight, maintain the Corps' momentum and ensure that the combat forces never go without the necessary supplies and equipment they need to win."

The 1st Corps Support Command is deployed from Fort Bragg, N.C., where it is attached to 18th Airborne Corps.

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