As you all may know E Btry 151st FA Mission requires our unit to split up and augment other units. Some of you may have many questions due to this and I will try answering most of these questions. On the 14th of May, E Btry received a message that our mission in Iraq had some changes to it, which required us to create 3 Target Processing Sections (TPS) out of the 1 Section that we had at that time. These three TPS Sections would augment all three Division that are in Iraq. One of these Section is stationed at Speicher, another in Baghdad, and the last in Basrah. Speicher is located toward norhern Iraq, Baghdad in Center/East , and Basrah South/East in Iraq. Each of these sites you can google to get exact locations. This mission change also changed the location of the Btry Headquarters to Joint Base Balad (JBB) which is located between Speicher and Baghdad. Some of you may want to know why our mission changed. There are many factors that contributed to this but the main reason was the draw down of troops. Iraq used to have 2 Target Acquisition Battery (TAB) HQ's within Iraq but with this draw down it will only leave 1 TAB in Iraq and that is us; this is a big mission for our Battery to control 16 radar Section throughout Iraq.
The Radars Section still have the same mission that they have always had and that is to provide Force Protection to the Bases within Iraq. It is a big mission but our Radar Section are more then capable of completing this mission and in fact normally exceed all other Radar Section within the Army. Yeah, I may be saying we are the best but the fact is that our Radar Sections and Personnel are the best.
Moving out of Fort Sill our unit spent 14 days in Kuwait were we conducted mandatory training. This training only lasted a couple days but the rest of the time we were allowed to get acclimated to the horrendous heat that lied ahead in Iraq. While we were in Camp Buerhing, Kuwait we saw a few days that reached 140 degrees. I am not kidding about the temp, as some of you may already know it gets hot over here. You will need to remember that it gets hotter in Kuwait then it does in Iraq and we all for the most part have a place to go to get out of the heat.
After our 14 day stay in Kuwait all of us took of a couple day adventure to get to our final location. For some of us, it only took a day and for others it took many days to get to their final destination. Some areas where our radars and TPS Section are station are remote and take time to get to. Also, sand storms create just another obstacle for flying into each of these bases. All of us are at our final location now and should have contacted there loved ones that they have made it. We are all going through what is called a RIP (Relief In Place). This is where we take over the for the unit that is going home. This normally takes any were from 4 to 12 days for each section to learn the jobs they are taking over. Also, during this time the unit is also conducting inventories of equipment and signing for equipment that the other unit is leaving behind for us. Most of the Radar Section have completed their RIP and are conducting business like they normally would.
Now, some of our Radar Section are in remote location like FOB Gary Owens and FOB Delta. This doesn't mean that they have no way to communicate to the outside world it just means that they don't have all the opportunities the other Section do to communicate via internet. I hear from our sections daily and we are doing everything we can to support them even though we are apart. Please be patient with them to communicate with you but if you haven't heard from them and are worried please let me know. I will do whatever it takes to help you all out.
Our men are doing great things and are showing the Army once again that E Btry 151st FA is the best TAB in the Army.
I apologize for not getting this out to you all earlier as there is no excuse on my part. As the Commander it is my job to ensure that you all get updated on our unit activities. If any of you still have question regarding our units mission or any other general question please let me know. I would ask you to use the FRG so that I can reply to all of you at once.
Signed CPT Mark Gile.
CPT Mark D Gile
E Btry 151st FA (TA)
Joint Base Balad, Iraq
APO AE 09391