Stryker Brigade takes over base support and force protection ops in Iraq, sans Strykers

Forward Area Refueling Point specialists align fuel hosing between a U.S. MC-130J Air Commando II and an Australian C-130J Hercules during Talisman Sabre 21 at Royal Australian Air Force Base Tindal in Australia's Northern Territory on July 22, 2021. This was the first time an Australian aircraft was refueled by a U.S. aircraft via a FARP. Australian and U.S. Forces combine biennially for Talisman Sabre; a month-long multi-domain exercise that strengthens allied and partner capabilities to respond to the full range of Indo-Pacific security concerns. (1st Lt. Joshua Thompson/Air Force)

There’s a new U.S. Army team conducting base support and force protection operations at Iraqi bases, but the Stryker Brigade Combat Team is leaving its Strykers behind.

Task Force Raider “will conduct base operating support and force protection operations at ISF bases where the Coalition is co-located, and assist in the defeat Daesh mission,” Army Col. Wayne Marotto, spokesman for Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve, told Military Times. Those bases include Erbil Air Base, Al-Asad Air Base and the JOC-I (Union III), Marotto said.

The 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division out of Colorado took over on Sept. 21, following a transfer of authority ceremony during which the Louisiana Army National Guard’s 256th Infantry Brigade Combat Team handed over the reins, according to a statement from the outgoing brigade.

The 1st Brigade trained with the 256th Brigade for several weeks before assuming operational responsibility for the area in support of CJTF-OIR. Though the 1st Brigade is a combat team, it is continuing the previous brigade’s non-combat mission, an ongoing support operation at the invitation of the Iraqi government, the statement reads. U.S. military presence in Iraq continues under a non-combat directive following President Joe Biden and Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi’s July announcement aiming to move American involvement in Iraq to a strictly advisory and training role by the end of this year. With that largely symbolic shift in mind, the brigade deployed to Iraq without their Stryker Infantry Carrier Vehicles.

In addition to base-operating support and protection operations, the brigage will provide continued assistance in the mission to eliminate Islamic State forces in the area. They’ll also continue support to Peshmerga and Syrian Democratic Forces, as their predecessors did.

During Tuesday’s ceremony, CJTF-OIR’s commanding general, Maj. Gen. John Brennan spoke highly of the 256th Brigade, nicknamed Tiger Brigade. The brigade worked with the Russian military on air and ground de-confliction, and supported the operation’s Counter-ISIS Train and Equip Fund (CTEF), moving thousands of tons of equipment to partner forces.

“You can’t go anywhere to any out station without seeing a Task Force Tiger Soldier, and that speaks volumes to the effect they have against Daesh,” said Brennan. Limited personnel attended the ceremony in order to conform to COVID-19 guidelines.

The new unit’s colors were uncased by Col. Andrew Steadman, commander, 1st SBCT, 4th ID, and Command Sgt. Maj. Hau Sun, 1st SBCT, 4th ID senior enlisted advisor.

“Task Force Tiger, we feel ready because of how you’ve invested in us so we truly appreciate that,” said Steadman.

Leila has covered global military and security operations from across the U.S., the Middle East, and Latin America.

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About the Author

Tony Beasley
Tony Beasley writes for the Local News, US and the World Section of ANH.