68th Trans. Co. returns to the road

by Maj. Donna Johnson 3d Sustainment Command
(Expeditionary) Public Affairs

CAMP TAJI, Iraq – The 68th Transportation Company served as a logistics training and advisory team with the mission to train, advise and mentor the Iraqi Army’s General Transport Regiment from September 2008 to February 2009, but in March the transporters returned to doing what they do best – driving trucks.

While in Iraq, the 68th Trans. Co. is under the operational control of the 419th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 10th Sustainment Brigade, but still assigned to the 28th Transportation Battalion, 18th Military Police Brigade, 21st Theater Sustainment Command.

“I liked partnering with the GTR. It was a good experience,” said Pfc. Brandy Kallio, a Fayetteville, N.C., native. “I enjoyed learning about a different culture, but I am excited about returning to the road.”

While their mission training the GTR has ended, they positioned the GTR for success in continuing to self sustain their logistics and transportation operations.

The GTR, the only theater-level transportation unit in the Iraqi Army, has a tremendous task of transporting critical supplies and equipment to and from various depots, multiple ports of embarkation and 12 location commands around Iraq.
The Soldiers of the 68th Trans. Co. planned and executed a month-long exercise for the GTR to become trained and certified to conduct convoys.

The unit also taught an extensive maintenance training program, enabling the GTR to keep its fleet of more than 350 vehicles on the road.

Establishing a driver’s training academy, the 68th Trans. Co. Soldiers trained and licensed the GTR vehicle operators. As a result, the GTR now operates a DTA with no coalition forces’ assistance.

To date, the GTR DTA cadre have trained and licensed more than 100 Iraqi soldiers on the regiment’s fleet of vehicles.

This is a significant accomplishment for any unit – let alone one manned entirely by Iraqi Army non-commissioned officers.

While mentoring the GTR through 50 real-world missions, the 68th Trans. Co. has shared essential technical and tactical knowledge with the Iraqi soldiers and leaders. The GTR successfully transported more than 1,500 pieces of equipment across 12,000 miles throughout Iraq.

As the GTR’s need for transporters has increased, they continue to display outstanding performance as they support coalition forces throughout Multi-National Division – Baghdad.

Since returning to truck missions, the 68th Trans. Co. executed numerous missions supporting the 1st Squadron, 1st Cavalry Regiment and other customers within Multi-National Division – Baghdad.

The 68th Trans. Co. is scheduled to re-deploy to Germany next month.