Around 6 p.m., teams from Task Force Iron Valor arrived at the Udairi Range Complex in Kuwait. The Soldiers, originating from 1-181st Field Artillery Regiment’s Bravo Battery and Delta Company, 3-172nd Infantry (Mountain) respectively, spent several hours traveling through the heat to conduct dry fire exercises throughout the night and into the morning. As I stood watching these two units working together, my mind went back three months ago to Camp McGregor, TX, where the 1-181st FAR and 3-172nd Infantry (Mnt) first crossed paths.
When they first saw each other, the Soldiers of the 1-181st FAR, based out of Tennessee, and the 3-172nd Infantry (Mnt), of Vermont, exchanged inquisitive glances, wondering about the other. During pre-mobilization at McGregor, several Soldiers in both units thought they weren’t going to see the other again once leaving to their respective areas of operation. Little did they realize the level of involvement our seemingly different units would have with one another.
Upon arriving in-country, Soldiers of the 1-181st FAR and D Co 3-172nd Infantry (Mnt) found out they would make up Task Force Iron Valor. Since then, both units have worked hard to become one team, partners in this deployment. Their partnership on a company and battery level mirror the teamwork at the strategic and international level. When our partners watch us, they want to see a cohesive team, utilizing our differences to accomplish the mission. It is not a stretch to reason that the success or failure here can indicate the same on a larger scale and send a message to our allies worldwide. If we are unable to place the mission before our differences, partnerships we and others have built can suffer.
That is the reason partnerships on a small scale, like the Soldiers that comprise Task Force Iron Valor, are so essential. The concept of partnering with others is a simple idea; but can be challenging. Recently from the highest levels, the Army has placed special emphasis on the importance of partnership and interoperability. It’s an investment in the future, echoed down the chain of command. Leaders at every level should follow suit, networking to build foundational partnerships right where they are. The U.S. Army’s ability to do that will launch us ahead as the premier fighting force.
As the Army enters its 246th year in service, the Soldiers that make up this organization need to network and grow professional relationships for the sake of the mission and to strengthen our allies resolve as they partner with us. Task Force Iron Valor is a success story, thankfully it’s not the only one. There is a great deal at stake.
A thought that a seminary professor once told my dad,” If you can’t do ministry in the states, what makes you think you can do it here?” The Ministry thrives off of partnerships, and it starts internally at the lowest level and works its way up; likewise, the Army has to work the same way. Make partnerships at the lowest level, and we can be an example for the globe.