Army Reserve Speeds Iraqi Army Training
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Oct. 8, 2004 The U. S. Army Reserve's 98th Division (Institutional Training) is heading to Iraq to take the lead in a historic training venture. The reserve division will speed the training of the new Iraqi army and provide command and control as part of the U.S. Army's new Foreign Army Training Assistance Command, or FA-TRAC.
The FA-TRAC concept began as an Army Reserve initiative to fill a U.S. Army need for creating a trained and ready deployable organization for missions such as this, officials said. Commanded by Maj. Gen. Bruce Robinson, the division will greatly expand and expedite the training of Iraqi soldiers and security forces that will more quickly lead to a stable and sovereign nation.
"This is what these types of units do best," Robinson said. The Army Reserve's institutional training divisions have historically trained and prepared American soldiers in warfighting skills and battlefield specialties.
"Now the 98th will use our expertise to train Iraqi soldiers," the general added. "This is a significant step in helping the Iraqis become self-sufficient in their own defense and security operations."
Once in Iraq, the deployed soldiers will be headed by the 98th's Assistant Division Commander for Operations, Brig. Gen. Richard Sherlock, who will also serve as the deputy commanding general of the Coalition Military Assistance Training Team.
"The unit will help speed the nation-building process," Sherlock said. "Our soldiers are looking forward to this opportunity in assisting the Multinational Security Transition Command Iraq and in helping build an Iraqi army capable of supporting a stable, sovereign Iraqi nation."
Instead of performing their normal mission of expanding the Army training base at Fort Leonard Wood, Mo., and other sites in the United States, the division will deploy over 700 of the 98th Division's soldiers to Baghdad and other locations throughout Iraq.
During the next two months, the 98th's "Iroquois Warriors," as they are known, will start augmenting the current forces in Iraq and begin training the Iraqi army and other Iraqi security forces.
The Army Reserve soldiers will man most of the 39 Advisory Support Teams that mentor, coach and advise units of the Iraqi regular army and the Iraqi Intervention Force. The U.S. Marine Corps and the Australian army will continue to provide some AST teams, but these will transition to 98th Division soldiers in the future.
The division will also provide command and control for the ASTs, which will be stationed throughout Iraq. They will conduct "train-the-trainer" noncommissioned officer and officer education courses in conjunction with NATO's training efforts. They will also conduct military-skills courses and provide basic training support for the Iraqi National Guard.
"This approach differs from how support was provided in the past, because the 98th will provide a unit-based solution," according to Col. Bill Clegg, assistant division commander for support.
Over the past year, soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines have been doing this training on a limited basis, for different length tours of duty. The 98th's unit-based support to the mission will help reduce the turbulence caused by the constant rotation of troops. The division will provide soldiers for one year and then, if necessary, turn the mission over to another institutional training division in 2005.
(From an Army Reserve news release.)