U.S., Iraqi Sustainment Warrant Officers break bread, build bonds
United States and Iraqi warrant officers gather in the Green Room at the Coalition Café on COB Adder, Tallil, Iraq, Oct. 23. The group came together to share their experiences as the technical experts in their field. (Photo by Sgt. 1st. Class Kelly Jo Bridgwater)

A group of U.S. and Iraqi Army warrant officers gathered in the spirit of partnership at the Coalition Café on Contingency Operating Base Adder Oct. 23. The group of approximately 35 technical experts took time out of their schedules to share lunch and their military experience as the subject matter experts in their respective fields.

The informal gathering was spearheaded by Chief Warrant Officer Gary Smith, Logistics and Training and Assistance Team officer in charge, from the Fort Eustis-based 7th Sustainment Brigade. This was the first time U.S. and Iraqi warrant officers have engaged in a social event here.

“The purpose of this meeting was for Iraqi and U.S. Army warrant officers to connect in a relaxed atmosphere to discuss common career tasks,” said Smith who has been stationed in Iraq for the last year.

“We made an initial assessment of their maintenance posture,” said Smith. “As a result we found out that they needed publications and provided them the much needed Arabic translated tech manuals and some sorely needed diagnostic test codes for Ford vehicles.”

While Iraqi Army logistics partnerships are growing across Iraq, U.S. and Iraqi warrants have combined training and instructors at COB Adder - working side-by-side.

“We have also been involved in tracking errant parts flow,” explained Smith. “Another project we have in place is a four-phase hummvee maintenance training program. This training program is unique in that we will include U.S. and Iraqi Army instructors in the same program.”

After they gathered inside the dining room, each officer stood and introduced themselves providing a brief background describing their time in service and what their jobs entailed.

For Warrant Officer Alexander L. Reynolds of the Willow Grove, Pa., based 157th Combat Support Sustainment Battalion, the chance to sit and dine with fellow technicians from the Iraqi Army was a benefit to ongoing logistics training initiatives. “This is a good experience,” said Reynolds. “It gives us an opportunity to see how they do things versus how we do it.”

Iraqi warrants found the meeting only strengthened existing bonds. “Before coming here we had a good relationship with the U.S. warrant officers on our camp,” said Awied, member of the Repair and Maintenance Company for the Ur Location Command. “We have benefitted from their training and hope to learn more about their operating system, which will help us with our mission in the future. It will help us to obtain much needed parts in a faster way.”

Smith found the event a success as U.S. and Iraqi warrant officers took time out from their busy schedules to share their technical expertise in a relaxing social environment.

“What I have found working with the Iraqi army is that their warrant officers provide a positive impact on their maintenance posture,” said Smith. “The result of today’s engagement should foster a better recognition amongst warrant officers in both armies.”