Convoy South To Kuwait

U.S. Soldiers from the 1404th Transportation Company, 180th Transportation Battalion, 52nd Sustainment Brigade, begin to convoy south to Kuwait, at Camp Taji, in central Iraq, Aug. 22, 2009. The convoy is part of the beginning of the 56th Stryker Brigade Combat Team's re-deployment , as well as the U.S. Military's drawdown of forces in Iraq. (U.S. Army photo by Specialist David M. Sharp/Released)

U.S. Soldiers from the 1404th Transportation Company, 180th Transportation Battalion, 52nd Sustainment Brigade, begin to convoy south to Kuwait, at Camp Taji, in central Iraq, Aug. 22, 2009. The convoy is part of the beginning of the 56th Stryker Brigade Combat Team's re-deployment , as well as the U.S. Military's drawdown of forces in Iraq. (U.S. Army photo by Specialist David M. Sharp/Released)

U.S. Troops Visit Afghan Project Sites

U.S. Air Force 1st Lt. Graham Auten and Army Brig. Gen. Guy L. Sands-Pingot, left, assistant inspector general for the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, visited the construction site of a damaged road in Mahmood Raqi, Afghanistan, Aug. 12, 2009. Auten is a civil engineer assigned to the Kapisa-Parwan Provincial Reconstruction Team, which is evaluating the progress of construction sites across Kapisa province. U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Teddy Wade

U.S. Air Force 1st Lt. Graham Auten and Army Brig. Gen. Guy L. Sands-Pingot, left, assistant inspector general for the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, visited the construction site of a damaged road in Mahmood Raqi, Afghanistan, Aug. 12, 2009. Auten is a civil engineer assigned to the Kapisa-Parwan Provincial Reconstruction Team, which is evaluating the progress of construction sites across Kapisa province. U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Teddy Wade

More photos here.

Iraqi Air Assault Training

Giving a brief to Iraqi Soldiers, Maj. Jim Tenpenny (center and pointing), the operations officer in charge for 3rd Battalion, 227th Aviation Regiment, 1st Air Cavalry Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division, Multi-National Division-Baghdad, points out which direction the weapons should be facing while on the aircraft, Aug. 18, Baghdad, Iraq. The training was an effort to get the IA Soldiers familiar with aircraft so they can conduct air assault missions. Photo by Sgt. Travis Zielinski.

Giving a brief to Iraqi Soldiers, Maj. Jim Tenpenny (center and pointing), the operations officer in charge for 3rd Battalion, 227th Aviation Regiment, 1st Air Cavalry Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division, Multi-National Division-Baghdad, points out which direction the weapons should be facing while on the aircraft, Aug. 18, Baghdad, Iraq. The training was an effort to get the IA Soldiers familiar with aircraft so they can conduct air assault missions. Photo by Sgt. Travis Zielinski.

MNC-I Details Latest Drawdown Plans

Brig. Gen. Heidi Brown, the commander of the responsible drawdown of forces in Iraq, discusses Multi-National Corps - Iraq's drawdown plans at an MNC-I sustainment conference in Camp Victory’s Al Faw Palace, Aug. 15. Photo by Spc. Brandy Oxford, 139th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment.

Brig. Gen. Heidi Brown, the commander of the responsible drawdown of forces in Iraq, discusses Multi-National Corps - Iraq's drawdown plans at an MNC-I sustainment conference in Camp Victory’s Al Faw Palace, Aug. 15. Photo by Spc. Brandy Oxford, 139th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment.

BAGHDAD — Multi-National Corps – Iraq recently began phase two of its safe and responsible withdrawal, and now looks to the challenge of shipping 80,000 troops and their equipment out of country.

Although MNC-I just finished phase one – setting the conditions – it moved into phase two without pause, said Lt. Col. Tammie Pettit, MNC-I logistics plans chief, at an MNC-I conference in Camp Victory’s Al Faw Palace, Aug. 15.

“It’s been a lot of hard work for a lot of people,” Pettit said. “We’ve done pretty well.”

Brig. Gen. Heidi Brown is commanding the responsible drawdown of troops in Iraq from roughly 130,000 today to 50,000 by August 2010. Additionally, the number of civilian contractors in country is slated to be reduced to roughly 75,000, Brown said.

Based on Brown’s directives, Pettit said MNC-I plans to reduce the number of bases from nearly 200 to six Multi-Class Supply Support Activity Hubs—with roughly 20 smaller bases, called spokes—by September 2010, with complete withdrawal by December 2011.

“None of this is negotiable,” said Pettit. “This is a mission we cannot fail.”

MNC-I teams inventory, repair and update items the U.S. military will transport to other overseas Areas of Operation or back to the United States.  The teams also arrange for items to be transferred to Iraqi control to boost the Iraqi Security Forces as the U.S. withdraws, Pettit said.

“We’re really starting to prime the pump to get stuff moving out of here,” she said. “We’ll continue to support [Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan] where we can.”

She said phase two of the drawdown will build on the steps taken during phase one, when non-essential equipment was identified, and in phase two, it will be retrograded, transferred or redirected to support other U.S. military priorities.

Phase three will focus on safety operations, Pettit said. The retrograde of equipment not required to support the upcoming elections in Iraq will allow units to focus on enhancing route security, moving forward with the drawdown and supporting redeploying units, she said.

“Protection of the force will still be paramount during this drawdown,” Pettit said.

Throughout Iraq, the many shipping containers filled with equipment and parts present a particularly large challenge in the drawdown, said Pettit. Units should look within themselves for the personnel necessary to expedite this process safely, she said.

“It’s going to take everybody,” she said. “There is a lot of work to do. The folks following all of us are going to have a really difficult job.”

(By Spc. Brandy Oxford, 139th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment)

Norfolk Greeting

Norfolk Greeting

NORFOLK (Aug. 28, 2009)

Fire Controlman 1st Class Scott Roane, assigned to the guided-missile destroyer USS Laboon (DDG 58), greets his girlfriend at Naval Station Norfolk, Va.

Laboon is returning from a seven-month deployment to the U.S. 6th and 5th Fleet areas of responsibility supporting Standing NATO Maritime Group 2 (SNMG 2).

(U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Julie R. Matyascik/Released)

Jungle Juice

U.S. Marine Corps 2nd Lt. Daniel Mora advances through an obstacle course at the Jungle Warfare Training Center on Camp Gonsalves, Okinawa, Japan, Aug. 21, 2009. Mora is assigned to the Provost Marshal's Office. Jungle training shows troops how to become effective war fighters in a jungle environment by teaching them land navigation, small unit leadership, patrolling and obstacle maneuvering. U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Leon M. Branchaud

U.S. Marine Corps 2nd Lt. Daniel Mora advances through an obstacle course at the Jungle Warfare Training Center on Camp Gonsalves, Okinawa, Japan, Aug. 21, 2009. Mora is assigned to the Provost Marshal's Office. Jungle training shows troops how to become effective war fighters in a jungle environment by teaching them land navigation, small unit leadership, patrolling and obstacle maneuvering. U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Leon M. Branchaud

Last Chance Photos

PACIFIC OCEAN (Aug. 28, 2009) Sailors take a few last chance photos of Japan from the hangar bay of the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (CVN 68) as it departs from Yokosuka, Japan. Nimitz and embarked Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 11 are on a deployment to the western Pacific Ocean. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Apprentice Robert Winn/Released)

PACIFIC OCEAN (Aug. 28, 2009) Sailors take a few last chance photos of Japan from the hangar bay of the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (CVN 68) as it departs from Yokosuka, Japan. Nimitz and embarked Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 11 are on a deployment to the western Pacific Ocean. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Apprentice Robert Winn/Released)

Locating Insurgents

KAPISA PROVINCE, Afghanistan – A French marine with Task Force Korrigan points out the location of insurgents after taking small arms and rocket propelled grenade fire at Combat Outpost Belda in the Shpee valley of Kapisa province, Afghanistan, Aug. 7. Three Afghan National Army companies, supported by 500 French marines serving with International Security Assistance Forces, and Coalition force elements, conducted a large operation intended to deny the enemy safe haven and contribute to election security in Shpee, Aug. 6-8. (Photo by U.S. Army 1st Lt. Lory Stevens, Task Force Warrior Public Affairs)

KAPISA PROVINCE, Afghanistan – A French marine with Task Force Korrigan points out the location of insurgents after taking small arms and rocket propelled grenade fire at Combat Outpost Belda in the Shpee valley of Kapisa province, Afghanistan, Aug. 7. Three Afghan National Army companies, supported by 500 French marines serving with International Security Assistance Forces, and Coalition force elements, conducted a large operation intended to deny the enemy safe haven and contribute to election security in Shpee, Aug. 6-8. (Photo by U.S. Army 1st Lt. Lory Stevens, Task Force Warrior Public Affairs)

Farragut Executes Second Fleet Initiative to Enhance Readiness

ATLANTIC OCEAN (Aug. 25, 2009) A Tactical Tomahawk Cruise Missile launches from the forward missile deck aboard the guided-missile destroyer USS Farragut (DDG 99) during a training exercise. This training exercise is part of a U.S. 2nd Fleet initiative to prepare ships to operate independently for non-traditional warfare missions such as counter-piracy and visit, board, search, and seizure. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Leah Stiles/Released)

ATLANTIC OCEAN (Aug. 25, 2009) A Tactical Tomahawk Cruise Missile launches from the forward missile deck aboard the guided-missile destroyer USS Farragut (DDG 99) during a training exercise. This training exercise is part of a U.S. 2nd Fleet initiative to prepare ships to operate independently for non-traditional warfare missions such as counter-piracy and visit, board, search, and seizure. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Leah Stiles/Released)

Read the story here.

Khost City Patrols

Coalition forces patrol the streets of Khost city in Khost province, Afghanistan, Aug. 19, 2009. The patrols were intended to promote security and began before the recent national elections. U.S. Army photo by Spc. Matthew Freire

Coalition forces patrol the streets of Khost city in Khost province, Afghanistan, Aug. 19, 2009. The patrols were intended to promote security and began before the recent national elections. U.S. Army photo by Spc. Matthew Freire

Table Talk

U.S. Marines prepare dinner on Patrol Base Jaker in Helmand province's Nawa district, Afghanistan, Aug 25, 2009. The Marines, assigned to the 1st Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, Regimental Combat Team 3, are conducting counterinsurgency operations with Afghan forces in southern Afghanistan. U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. James Purschwitz

U.S. Marines prepare dinner on Patrol Base Jaker in Helmand province's Nawa district, Afghanistan, Aug 25, 2009. The Marines, assigned to the 1st Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, Regimental Combat Team 3, are conducting counterinsurgency operations with Afghan forces in southern Afghanistan. U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. James Purschwitz

Georgia Begins To Submerge

NAPLES, Italy (Aug. 22, 2009) The Ohio-class guided-missile submarine USS Georgia (SSGN 729) begins to submerge after a port visit to Naples, Italy. Georgia, home ported at Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay, Ga., is on her maiden operational SSGN deployment since converting from a ballistic missile submarine to a guided-missile submarine. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class John Parker/Released)

NAPLES, Italy (Aug. 22, 2009) The Ohio-class guided-missile submarine USS Georgia (SSGN 729) begins to submerge after a port visit to Naples, Italy. Georgia, home ported at Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay, Ga., is on her maiden operational SSGN deployment since converting from a ballistic missile submarine to a guided-missile submarine. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class John Parker/Released)

Crescent Moon In An Afghanistan Sky

BAGRAM AIRFIELD, Afghanistan -- Airmen from the 455th Air Expeditionary Wing viewed a crescent moon which illuminated the Bagram sky. The moon peeked above the old Russian Control Tower here, Aug. 24. The Russian Control Tower, called "The Crow's Nest," was built in 1976 during the Soviet Union's occupation of the region. Currently more than 5,000 Airmen are deployed to Bagram supporting Operation Enduring Freedom and NATO International Security Assistance Forces. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Felicia Juenke)

BAGRAM AIRFIELD, Afghanistan -- Airmen from the 455th Air Expeditionary Wing viewed a crescent moon which illuminated the Bagram sky. The moon peeked above the old Russian Control Tower here, Aug. 24. The Russian Control Tower, called "The Crow's Nest," was built in 1976 during the Soviet Union's occupation of the region. Currently more than 5,000 Airmen are deployed to Bagram supporting Operation Enduring Freedom and NATO International Security Assistance Forces. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Felicia Juenke)

Ready For Takeoff

Senior Airman Douglas Anthony stands prepared to marshal a B-2 Spirit out of a hanger for takeoff Aug. 22 at Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo. Twenty B-2s are assigned to the 509th Bomb Wing. Airman Anthony is a crew chief with the 509th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Kenny Holston)

Senior Airman Douglas Anthony stands prepared to marshal a B-2 Spirit out of a hanger for takeoff Aug. 22 at Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo. Twenty B-2s are assigned to the 509th Bomb Wing. Airman Anthony is a crew chief with the 509th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Kenny Holston)

Photo slide show here.

Berthing Shift

SANTA MARTA, Colombia (Aug. 24, 2009) Cryptological Technician (Technical) Seaman Apprentice Michael Catoe, left, Electronics Technician Seaman Jason Delaney and Electronics Technician 2nd Class Edwin Beaufond pull in the aft mooring line during a berthing shift aboard the guided-missile frigate USS Doyle (FFG 39). Doyle is on a six-month deployment to Latin America and the Caribbean as part of Southern Seas 2009 supporting the U.S. Southern Command Partnership of the Americas strategy. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Patrick Grieco/Released)

SANTA MARTA, Colombia (Aug. 24, 2009) Cryptological Technician (Technical) Seaman Apprentice Michael Catoe, left, Electronics Technician Seaman Jason Delaney and Electronics Technician 2nd Class Edwin Beaufond pull in the aft mooring line during a berthing shift aboard the guided-missile frigate USS Doyle (FFG 39). Doyle is on a six-month deployment to Latin America and the Caribbean as part of Southern Seas 2009 supporting the U.S. Southern Command Partnership of the Americas strategy. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Patrick Grieco/Released)

Mooring Up!

SEATTLE – Seaman Joshua Valentine, stationed on the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Midget, throws a heaving line to the line handlers at the Coast Guard’s Pier 36 Aug. 27, 2009. The Midget sailed into Seattle after participating in Pacific Unity 2009 over the past couple of days in Port Angeles, Wash. The exercises commenced Aug. 23, and are scheduled to wrap up with closing ceremonies in Seattle Aug. 28. (Coast Guard photo/Petty Officer 1st Class Allyson E.T. Conroy)

SEATTLE – Seaman Joshua Valentine, stationed on the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Midget, throws a heaving line to the line handlers at the Coast Guard’s Pier 36 Aug. 27, 2009. The Midget sailed into Seattle after participating in Pacific Unity 2009 over the past couple of days in Port Angeles, Wash. The exercises commenced Aug. 23, and are scheduled to wrap up with closing ceremonies in Seattle Aug. 28. (Coast Guard photo/Petty Officer 1st Class Allyson E.T. Conroy)

Elmendorf C-17s Assist Army During Exercise

8/26/2009 - Army Soldiers from the 17th Combat Service Support Battalion on Fort Richardson, Alaska, step off the ramp of a C-17 Globemaster III from the 517th Airlift Squadron at the Donnelly dirt air strip Aug. 24. The aircraft assisted in deploying 120 Soldiers from Fort Richardson to Donnelly during Arctic Response, an Army Emergency Deployment Readiness Exercise. Two C-17s flew to Donnelly and delivered five pallets, two Humvees, a trailer, and a passenger carrier. The 517th AS is from Elmendorf Air Force Base, Alaska. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Laura Turner)

8/26/2009 - Army Soldiers from the 17th Combat Service Support Battalion on Fort Richardson, Alaska, step off the ramp of a C-17 Globemaster III from the 517th Airlift Squadron at the Donnelly dirt air strip Aug. 24. The aircraft assisted in deploying 120 Soldiers from Fort Richardson to Donnelly during Arctic Response, an Army Emergency Deployment Readiness Exercise. Two C-17s flew to Donnelly and delivered five pallets, two Humvees, a trailer, and a passenger carrier. The 517th AS is from Elmendorf Air Force Base, Alaska. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Laura Turner)

Air ground operations school helps NATO train Estonian, Swedish troops for deployment

Swedish army ranger Capt. Timothy Walsh, a forward air controller, practices using the joystick for the computer simulator used for practicing air strikes during close air support operations at the U.S. Air Forces in Europe Air Ground Operations School. Captain Walsh and two Estonian air force members spent a week in pre-deployment briefings, computer simulation, and field training prior to deployment thanks to the joint efforts of the staff at the USAFE AGOS and the International Security Assistance Force Cell at NATO Allied Air Component Command Headquarters Ramstein Aug. 17- 21. (U.S. Air Force photo/Master Sgt. Corey Clements)

Swedish army ranger Capt. Timothy Walsh, a forward air controller, practices using the joystick for the computer simulator used for practicing air strikes during close air support operations at the U.S. Air Forces in Europe Air Ground Operations School. Captain Walsh and two Estonian air force members spent a week in pre-deployment briefings, computer simulation, and field training prior to deployment thanks to the joint efforts of the staff at the USAFE AGOS and the International Security Assistance Force Cell at NATO Allied Air Component Command Headquarters Ramstein Aug. 17- 21. (U.S. Air Force photo/Master Sgt. Corey Clements)

Osan AB’s Airfield Damage Repair Team Train With South Korean Air Force

Airmen from the 51st Civil Engineer Squadron stand on a folded fiberglass mat as it is moved into place by a 10,000-pound forklift on a simulated runway at Jungwon Air Base, Republic of Korea, Aug. 19. The 30-foot long, 54-foot wide mats are used to quickly repair runway damage, and can be connected to cover a large area. The mats are being moved as part of a joint combined rapid runway repair training exercise with Airmen from the South Korean air force's 19th Tactical Fighter Wing and 91st Air Civil Engineer Group. The 51st CES is assigned to Osan Air Base, South Korea. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Stephenie Wade)

Airmen from the 51st Civil Engineer Squadron stand on a folded fiberglass mat as it is moved into place by a 10,000-pound forklift on a simulated runway at Jungwon Air Base, Republic of Korea, Aug. 19. The 30-foot long, 54-foot wide mats are used to quickly repair runway damage, and can be connected to cover a large area. The mats are being moved as part of a joint combined rapid runway repair training exercise with Airmen from the South Korean air force's 19th Tactical Fighter Wing and 91st Air Civil Engineer Group. The 51st CES is assigned to Osan Air Base, South Korea. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Stephenie Wade)

Read the story here.

Rotor Head Hands

U.S. Marines work to remove a rotor head from an MV-22B Osprey on Udairi Army Airfield, Kuwait, Aug. 21, 2009. The Marines are assigned to Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 263, 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit. The unit is ashore to conduct sustainment training while serving as the theater reserve force for U.S. Central Command. U.S. Marine Corps photo by Staff Sgt. Matt Epright

U.S. Marines work to remove a rotor head from an MV-22B Osprey on Udairi Army Airfield, Kuwait, Aug. 21, 2009. The Marines are assigned to Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 263, 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit. The unit is ashore to conduct sustainment training while serving as the theater reserve force for U.S. Central Command. U.S. Marine Corps photo by Staff Sgt. Matt Epright

Army Medic

U.S. Army Spc. Beth Bradford gives aid to an Afghan national policeman during a firefight with the Taliban in Logar province, Afghanistan, Aug. 20, 2009. Bradford is a combat medic assigned to the 10th Mountain Division's 118th Military Police Company, 3rd Brigade Special Troops Battalion. U.S. Army photo by Spc. Richard Jones

U.S. Army Spc. Beth Bradford gives aid to an Afghan national policeman during a firefight with the Taliban in Logar province, Afghanistan, Aug. 20, 2009. Bradford is a combat medic assigned to the 10th Mountain Division's 118th Military Police Company, 3rd Brigade Special Troops Battalion. U.S. Army photo by Spc. Richard Jones