Großbritannien / Irak

With­draw­al of Equip­ment from Iraq Com­plete

The Joint Force Logis­tic Com­po­nent (JFLogC) has com­plet­ed Oper­a­tion BROCKDALE; the final with­draw­al of all non-train­ing and assis­tance employed UK per­son­nel and their equip­ment from Iraq.

The enor­mi­ty of the task faced by JFLogC when they arrived in Iraq in March was immense, with 4,200 troops, more than 5,000 con­tain­ers of equip­ment and over 1,400 assort­ed com­bat vehi­cles to deal with. These have now been shipped, sold or dis­posed of.

Brigadier Paul Stearns Roy­al Marines, Com­man­der of the Kuwait-based JFLogC, said:

We have com­plet­ed the with­draw­al of per­son­nel, equip­ment and materiel in good order. This was achieved with the sup­port of our Iraqi, US and Kuwaiti part­ners for which I am per­son­al­ly grate­ful. It has been at times a chal­leng­ing task con­duct­ed in dif­fi­cult con­di­tions due to the heat and odd sand­storm.

We man­aged to achieve the with­draw­al in such good order main­ly due to the col­lec­tive efforts of a num­ber of key units; notably 4 Logis­tic Sup­port Reg­i­ment, 23 Pio­neer Reg­i­ment Roy­al Logis­tic Corps, the Joint Heli­copter Force — Iraq, 250 Gurkha Sig­nal Squadron, a troop of Roy­al Marines from 42 Com­man­do, also sup­port from Defence Stor­age and Dis­tri­b­u­tion, and numer­ous civ­il ser­vants, con­trac­tors and indi­vid­ual rein­force­ments drawn from across the Armed Forces.

The pro­fes­sion­al­ism of all those involved has been impres­sive. And their achieve­ment should not be pure­ly mea­sured in the quan­ti­ty of equip­ment and materiel that has been returned but also in the man­ner and speed in which the major­i­ty of equip­ment has been returned to a ser­vice­able and usable state ready for fur­ther use and deploy­ment by the Armed Forces.”

Amongst the logis­tic inno­va­tions pio­neered dur­ing this oper­a­tion were:

  • A com­mis­sioned com­pendi­um of equip­ment designed to iden­ti­fy and assign a final loca­tion for every item of equip­ment.
  • A mobilised team of nine reserve quar­ter­mas­ters with 225 years of col­lec­tive expe­ri­ence to rec­on­cile six years of accounts hand­ed down from unit to unit.
  • A The­atre Equip­ment Returns Sec­tion devel­oped to strip vehi­cles of elec­tron­ic coun­ter­mea­sures, spe­cial com­mu­ni­ca­tions equip­ment and pro­tec­tive armour, in order that they can be both shipped safe­ly and the removed equip­ment re-assigned.
  • Liai­son with the Forestry Com­mis­sion to allow Defence Stor­age and Dis­tri­b­u­tion Agency (DSDA) teams to process and cer­ti­fy wood­en pack­ing mate­r­i­al in Iraq to inter­na­tion­al reg­u­la­to­ry stan­dards.
  • Spe­cial­ist DSDA civil­ian pack­ing teams, for­ward-deployed to ensure cost-effec­tive pack­ing to a stan­dard that it would be expect­ed to be received by UK depots.

The last two civ­il ser­vants to have been sup­port­ing the JFLogC were Miles Tooke deployed from Per­ma­nent Joint Head­quar­ters North­wood, and Craig Hen­der­son from Defence Estates North.

Miles reflect­ed on his tour as a dust storm swirled around in the bak­ing 48-degree heat out­side the HQ tent in Camp Buehring, Kuwait:

It has been a unique and priv­i­leged expe­ri­ence to be part of JFLogC in ensur­ing an order­ly with­draw­al. The chal­lenge seemed insur­mount­able but work­ing as ‘one’ with all four Ser­vices we have achieved some­thing quite remark­able draw­ing British Armed Forces per­son­nel from across Iraq to one cen­tral hub in Kuwait.” He added:

The polit­i­cal side has been fas­ci­nat­ing as I watched Iraq firm­ly take the reins of pow­er after the US with­draw­al from the cities on 30 June. Iraq still faces con­sid­er­able chal­lenges but the future looks more promis­ing.”

Craig, whose role was to ensure gov­er­nance and finan­cial scruti­ny of expen­di­ture in the­atre, mak­ing sure the best val­ue for mon­ey was achieved for the tax­pay­er, said:

It has been fas­ci­nat­ing to be part of his­to­ry. You get a real sense of it.

This is my sec­ond tour. Dur­ing the first I was set­ting up things in Bas­ra, this time clos­ing them down in good order.

You know it has been a some­times very hard and dan­ger­ous six years with some pay­ing the ulti­mate sac­ri­fice. It makes you stop and think when you con­sid­er that over 120,000 UK Armed Forces, includ­ing civ­il ser­vants and con­trac­tors, have put them­selves in harm’s way.

The loss of 179 UK Armed Forces per­son­nel makes you reflect, com­bined with the oth­er 4,464 coali­tion deaths is sober­ing and pricks at you. But you realise when you see Iraq rid of a bru­tal dic­ta­tor and now their future is in their own hands, you realise that it was worth the sac­ri­fice.” With­draw­al of Equip­ment from Iraq Com­plete

Source: UK MoD