TACTICAL ASSEMBLY AREA AL AWJAH, IRAQ –
Task Force Fury, 2nd Battalion, 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division task organized their two companies of brigade advise and assist teams into patrol elements for a site reconnaissance of their next tactical assembly area on Feb. 16, 2017.
The task force launched the reconnaissance from a forward staging base, Qayyarah West Airfield, after departing their previous TAA.
These two movements were accomplished in less than 48 hours.
This Coalition ground unit planned to provide seamless support to Iraqi units after several planning conferences with Iraqi security forces leadership were conducted in Baghdad to discuss the battle for West Mosul.
Task Force Fury, like its sister maneuver battalions, maintains a tactical operations center and coordinates requests from partnered Iraqi units with fire support and intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance platforms in the area. Maintaining the TOC’s support to the Iraqis by minimizing the time it was in transit was important to both the Iraqis and Americans.
The 2nd BCT battalions are partnered with the Iraqi army and federal police divisions. Task Force Fury is partnered with 9th Iraqi Army Division to perform advise and assist functions that assist Iraqi security forces with conducting and planning their operations, coordinating with adjacent units for synchronized attacks, and supporting Iraqi ground troops with precision strikes on ISIS positions.
The morning after the reconnaissance patrol, Task Force Fury finished moving its entire unit to a new location and began setting up its operations center and fortifying positions with sandbags. This movement was the fourth for the task force in four days.
“We can feed ourselves, sustain ourselves and secure ourselves in an expeditious manner and chop five guys into an advisory team,” said U.S. Army Sgt. Maj. Curt Donaldson, the TF Fury command sergeant major. “We are capable of operating in an austere environment while projecting advise and assist teams.”
Hours later the battalion commander, sergeant major and operations officer joined the 9th IAD’s commanding general, deputy commander, intelligence officer, staff, and brigade commanders to participate in the 9th IAD’s concept of operations review for the upcoming battle to liberate the western half of Mosul.
“Gaining a common operating picture across Iraqi dispositions provided Coalition advisers an ability to see the battlefield and to accurately deliver Coalition fires without concerns of those fires being too close to friendly units,” said U.S. Army Lt. Col. Jim Browning, the commanding officer of 2nd Bn., 508th P.I.R. and TF Fury.
The Coalition advise and assist teams partnered at the tactical level require transportation, security, and command and control to operate. 2nd BCT battalions that perform advise and assist functions not only have to react to the enemy on the battlefield, they also have to ensure they are ready to move. The movements enable them to maintain a face-to-face relationship with their partnered unit while maintaining protection of their own force.
“Knowing that we were there and that we support their plan makes them more confident in all aspects,” said Browning.