SOLLIMS Sampler Volume 10, Issue 1 - Page 29

 everything “together” with trainers making it clear that a force would face danger and death “together” as one unit; and the cadre tried to build trust across the three parties during physical training and individual MEDEVAC drills (e.g., American and Kurd pulling an Iraqi on a litter). Graduation was showcased as a significant event/accomplishment – including unit demonstrations of drilled capabilities [e.g., dismounted movement and react to contact, clear a room in a mixed stack, call for and adjust fire/Close Air Support (CAS), apply buddy aid, etc.]. Graduation was attended by significant personali- ties. Distinctive unit insignia was awarded to graduates. Deployment:    After graduation, the combined units were posted to their checkpoints. Each checkpoint was manned by a combined company consisting of one platoon of U.S. Soldiers, one platoon of Iraqi Army, and one platoon of Kurdish Peshmerga (or in the case of inner city Kirkuk, a platoon of Kirkuk Police Force – Kurdish). Operations at checkpoints were U.S.-led, but included consensus and peers/ partner lieutenants involved in executing operations. U.S. MRAPs (Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles) were allocated to the checkpoints. Initially, the checkpoints had a mix (U.S. MRAPS, Iraqi HMMWVs, and no vehicles with the Kurds), but then U.S. leaders decided that it was inappropriate for only the U.S. personnel to be traveling in the safest vehicle. Additional MRAPS were allocated to the checkpoints, and all personnel then travelled in the safest vehicle. U.S. Soldiers drove, manned crew served weapons, and TC’d (track commanded, i.e., were in charge of) the vehicles. Key Issues (potential pitfalls, if not properly addressed):      The Combined Security Mechanism only worked with U.S. force presence. For example, during the drawdown, U.S. platoons were removed from certain check- points and “area coverage” was provided by frequent patrols of U.S. forces from other checkpoints nearby; however, the performance by the remaining force of just Iraqi Army and Kurdish Peshmerga severely deteriorated. The CSM must be manned by combined forces who pass through a crucible of training together; they must know each other and trust each other. MEDEVAC and fire support response time. All checkpoints were within a 30-40 minute ring for MEDEVAC, but this was not the case for fire support. Fire support was a cause for concern for U.S. leadership. Most checkpoints could be covered by Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System (GMLRS), but response time varied. At some of the more distant rural checkpoints, mortar tubes were then allocated. Equipping status of partner forces. Kurdish Peshmerga troops were poorly equipped (uniforms, cold weather and rain gear, weapons, individual protective equipment, etc.), while most Iraqi personnel were well equipped in American gear. This problem should be addressed/fixed at the outset, during combined training. Personnel issues – pay and leaves. This is huge. It was important for Iraqi and Kurdish Peshmerga personnel to receive pay that was consistent, carefully Table of Contents | Quick Look | Contact PKSOI Page 28 of 36