FORT MCPHERSON, Ga. --- 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 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.
The division, commanded by Maj. Gen. Bruce Robinson, will greatly expand and expedite the training of Iraqi soldiers and security forces that will more quickly lead to a stable and sovereign nation.
According to Robinson, “This is what these types of units do best.” The Army Reserve’s Institutional Training Divisions have historically trained and prepared American Soldiers in warfighting skills and battlefield specialties.
Robinson added, “Now the 98th will use our expertise to train Iraqi soldiers. This is a significant step in helping the Iraqi’s 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.
According to Sherlock, “The unit will help speed the nation-building process. Our soldiers are looking forward to this opportunity in assisting the Multi-National 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 U.S., 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 “Iroquois Warriors” of the 98th Division, 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 (ASTs) that mentor, coach, and advise units of the Iraqi Regular Army and the Iraqi Intervention Force. Some of the AST teams will continue to be provided by the U.S. Marine Corps and the Australian Army but 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” non- commissioned 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, 98th Division. 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.
Fast Tracking... Army Reserve Speeds Iraqi Army Training