June 30, 2009

Virginia logisticians advise, mentor and coach Iraqi Army

From staff reports

Virginia National Guard Soldiers from the Virginia Beach-based 329th Regional Support Group completed a Relief in Place and Transfer of Authority June 25, 2009 for the military advisory mission at the Iraqi Logistical and Administrative Training Institute in Taji, Iraq. 


The U.S. Advisory Team posed for a photo with some of their Iraqi counterparts.  Front row kneeling (left to right) – Staff Sgt. Phillip Wall, Staff Sgt. Stephen Coley, Staff Sgt. Matthew Walberg, Master Sgt. Gerald Mastrovito, Master Sgt. Karl West and Sgt. 1st Class Callixta Serieux.  Standing (left to right) – Master Sgt. Thomas Alderson, Iraqi Maj. Saad, Maj. Kent Doane, Iraqi Maj. Mahmood,, Iraqi Maj. Mohammed,  Iraqi Brig. Gen. Wared, the Commander, Logistical and Administrative Training Institute, Lt. Col. Doyle Gillis, Lt. Col. John Costanzo, Iraqi Sgt. Ali, Iraqi Cpl. Ahmed, Iraqi Col. Kareem, Commander, Admin Affairs School, Lt. Col. Allysa Kropp, Iraqi Lt. Col. Yahya, Iraqi Maj. Hussain.Click HERE to download a higer resolution version.

“The mission of these Soldiers is to assist the Iraqis in developing a professional and self-sustaining Army by advising, coaching, and mentoring their Iraqi counterparts daily,” said Lt. Col. John Costanzo of Virginia Beach.  “Each team works with the Iraqi officers and NCOs in developing the various courses taught by the Iraqis in each of the three schools.  They assist in refining the course lesson plans, gathering training resources, developing instructors, and numerous other jobs.”

In May 2009 the Iraqi Logistical and Administrative Training Institute was broken down into separate schools, each reporting to their appropriate directorates in the Iraqi Ministry of Defense.  The Administrative Affairs School teaches supply management courses, food service courses, ammunition management courses, pay and personnel courses and the Basic and Advance Officer Courses in logistics.  The Electrical, Maintenance, and Engineering School teaches maintenance courses for various vehicles, generators, and small arms, welding courses, EME inspectors course and Basic EME Officer Course.  The Transportation School teaches a Humvee driving course, motorcycle course, fuel handlers course and the Basic and Advanced Transportation Officer courses.  

The 10 officers and NCOs from the 329th are assigned as advisors to three Iraqi military schools located in Taji, Iraq.  Costanzo, Maj. Kent Doane of Richmond, Master Sgt. Gerald Mastrovito of Richmond, and Staff Sgt. Stephen Coley of Norfolk are the advisory team for the Iraqi Administrative Affairs School.  Lt. Col. Doyle Gillis of Suffolk, Master Sgt. Thomas Alderson of Martinsville, and Staff Sgt. Phillip Wall of Richmond are the advisory team for the Electrical, Maintenance, and Engineering School. Lt. Col. Allysa Kropp of Alexandria, Master Sgt. Karl West of Norfolk, and Staff Sgt. Matthew Walberg of Roanoke are the advisory team for the Transportation School. Maj. Alicia Dotson, Sgt. 1st Class Callixta Serieux and Sgt. Ananda Trulley of the Army Reserve and nine Iraqi Linguists augment these teams.

Approximately 40 Virginia Guard Soldiers assigned to the 329th mobilized for federal active duty March 15 with the mission to mentor, coach and advise the Iraqi Army with professional advice on various issues relating to logistics with the goal of helping the Iraqi forces improve their ability to function independently. Originally organized into four 10-Soldier Logistics Military Advisory Teams, the Soldiers have been reassigned to about 12 different locations in Iraq, but still have the advisory mission.

Background Information:

Virginia Guard logistics advisory teams begin mobilization training for duty in Iraq - March 26, 2009


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