In August 2007, I deployed to Iraq as part of logistics transition team (LTT) 24–12, whose mission was to train and mentor the 2d Division, Iraqi Army (IA), in all areas of logistics until the division could sustain itself. The LTT was made up of Soldiers from the 17th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion (CSSB) in Alaska and the 87th CSSB at Fort Stewart, Georgia.
When the LTT arrived in theater, we learned that the Iraqi division that we would be working with had little or no logistics training. Being an internal team under the administrative control of the 87th CSSB and under the operational control of the 2d Division IA military transition team (MiTT) and attached to the 4th Battalion, 1st Cavalry Regiment, it was difficult to find our place and mission. Once we had ascertained the mission, we immediately started to work with the IA G–7.
For the first 2 months, the team learned IA logistics policies, forms, and procedures. Following that, we began working alongside IA soldiers from Headquarters Service Company, 2d Division, to gain firsthand knowledge of the daily problems faced by the IA. After finding IA solutions to their logistics problems, our noncommissioned officers developed classes based on their own experiences, Ministry of Defense and 2d Division policies and procedures, and regulations. The first class covered maintenance and supply. These subjects were chosen because of the difficulty the IA had in these areas, making them major concerns of the IA 2d Division commanding general.
The LTT offered important training support to the IA 2d Division. We provided expert instruction in many critical areas, including maintenance operations, munitions management, warehouse operations, property accountability, medical treatment, human resources management, and driver’s training. We conducted more than 35 classes and trained more than 421 Iraqi soldiers.
Training Iraqi Instructors
Initially, the LTT conducted training at the 2d Division motor transportation regiment. As the demand for classes increased, space became limited, compelling the team to conduct classes at Contingency Operating Base India and, later, in its own building at Al Kindi.
Iraqi instructors were the key to mission success. We began identifying honor graduates from previous classes to start training as instructors. With support from the IA G–7, qualified instructors were trained, and by spring, Iraqi instructors were teaching five out of six classes. Each class was assigned an IA officer to hold formations, discipline soldiers, and resource classes. By May, Iraqis were teaching all of the classes.
Making the Training Work
The LTT’s success is credited to the IA G–7 and his assistant, who applied LTT advice to make training work. His assistant is a disciplined officer with high organizational and interpersonal skills. The G–7 and his staff believed in this training system. They shared the LTT’s goal of having the 2d Division’s training completely operational without U.S. support. The G–7 understood the importance of training. He saw first hand how U.S. Army training operates when he attended training at the Joint Readiness Training Center at Fort Polk, Louisiana, in 2007.
LTT 24–12 completed its mission in June 2008. With a new training center established and IA instructors trained, the IA started its first lesson in June. The Army is now turning LTTs into logistics training advisory teams to support the IA base support unit, which is similar to the Army supply support activity, by instructing warehouse operations management and level-3 maintenance.
The 2d Division commander explained his vision for the school to be a detachment unit to the division, with a staff and instructors similar to those at U.S. military schools. LTT 24–12 provided invaluable insight and training support that permitted the IA 2d Division to become more self-sufficient and assume greater responsibility for all support requirements.
Captain David A. Betancourt is attending the Combined Logistics Captains Career Course. He was the team chief for 2d Division Iraqi Army Logistics Transition Team 24–12, which was deployed to Mosul, Iraq, when he wrote this article. He was a prior service quartermaster noncommissioned officer. He holds a bachelor’s degree in business management with a concentration in information systems from Hampton University and is a graduate of the Quartermaster Officer Basic Course.