Logistics element in Basra supporting transition teams

22 May 2008 | Lance Cpl. Robert C. Medina

A detachment of Marines from al-Anbar province moved their operations south to Iraq’s third largest city.

A Forward Logistics Element from 1st Marine Logistics Group was sent to support eight military transition teams with 1st and 7th Iraqi Army Divisions as well as elements of Air Naval Gunfire Liaison Company and British forces.

"As far as (MLG’s) concerned, this detachment is the only one that has ventured outside al-Anbar province in support of the MiTTs," said 1st Lt. Brandon W. Koble, executive officer, Military Police Company, 1st Supply Battalion (-) (Reinforced), 1st MLG. "The Marines out here are great; I take it as an honor to lead this team."

The small detachment has provided logistical support to the MiTTs in Basra for the past three weeks. Products provided are water and food supplies, force protection materials and automotive parts, which are vital to the MiTTs they support in Basra.

Normally, the regimental combat teams would support the MiTTs, but since the RCTs are in the Anbar province, there was a need for a forward logistics element in Basra’s province for support, said Koble.

"We are a small detachment of Marines from Camp Taqaddum brought to Shaiba Air Base to support the MiTTs on the logistical side," said Gunnery Sgt. Mark L. Clark, staff noncommissioned officer in charge for the FLE. "We provide a maintenance program and a logistics program so we can push supplies to the forward MiTTs in Basra."

Koble said as the MiTTs start breaking into smaller units and become more mobile, logistic elements have to do the same.

Clark, from Newberry, Fla., said this provides the transition teams the time to advise the IA without worrying about their vehicles and supplies.

"The MiTTs love us being here with them," said Clark. "They love the capabilities and assets that we brought."

Cpl. Brittney N. Thomas, gunner, MP Co., is part of the security element that ensures these much needed supplies reach the MiTTs.

"I think we are doing a substantial job out here," said Thomas, 21, from Houston. "There is nobody else out here to ensure the MiTTs get what they need."

Thomas said each service member has a vital role in the operations.

Col. Robert F. Castellvi, MiTT senior advisor, 1st Quick Reaction Force, 1st IA Division, spoke to these Marines in a group meeting updating them on their mission status.

"You should all be proud of yourselves," said Castellvi. "We only had a couple days notice to come here. We wouldn’t be where we are right now without the (FLE)."

Castellvi said it didn’t matter what job a Marine had at Shaiba, they were all making a difference that can be seen everyday.