By Staff Sgt. Jason Douglas
1st Cavalry Division public affairs
FORWARD OPERATING BASE WARRIOR, KIRKUK, Iraq - Units in the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, are preparing to turn over responsibility to replacement units, as the "Black Jack" Brigade is set to redeploy to Fort Hood near the end of December.
Soldiers from Echo Company, 1st Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment and soldiers from their replacement unit, the 1st Battalion, 30th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, conducted "left seat/right seat" operations so the incoming unit can gain situational awareness of their area of responsibility.
Capt. Michael Goddard, commander of Echo Company, said while the 1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division, is replacing the "Black Jack" Brigade in Kirkuk province during the winter, 1st Battalion, 30th Infantry Regiment will assume responsibility of several battle spaces belonging to 1st Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment.
Replacing Echo Company, Goddard said, is no small feat. During the past year, his unit has accomplished many tasks. It has supported Iraqi security forces and matters of rule of law in the Iraqi sub-district of Altun Kapri, located in northwest Kirkuk province.
Also, Echo Company soldiers have distributed thousands of dollars in micro-grants to stimulate the local economy, built a school in Kalour village, outfitted the Iraqi police with river patrol boats and carried out numerous humanitarian aid deliveries to help their communities.
During the "left seat/right seat" missions, Goddard said the goal was to work with the new unit to build new relationships with the Iraqi police and Altun Kapri sub-district council members.
"We also introduced them to village representatives throughout the area of responsibility and conducted inspections of ongoing projects," Goddard said. "The goal of this is to ensure there's a seamless transition which not only benefits the incoming unit, but ensures the progress and relationships we've worked so hard to build with our Iraqi partners will flourish.
Goddard said the incoming unit has a full understanding of how to conduct their own project nominations and have been provided a list of which projects have priority. The projects that are not yet complete will be transferred to the new unit to complete.
"All project nomination packets will be given to the new unit as well as site visits and projects that have already been contracted," Goddard said. "During the transition we will nominate a road project with the incoming unit and ensure that it is properly submitted with all the right paperwork."
Capt. Nick Loudon, from Fort Stewart, Ga., and a company commander with 1st Battalion, 30th Infantry Regiment, said going out with the unit he is replacing will help give him an idea of what to expect since the mission is so different from the previous deployment he was on.
"The entire mission is 180 degrees different than the last deployment, which is great," Loudon said. "We will have to posture differently; I have never worked with Kurds, Arabs, and Turkmen before, and it makes this mission unique."