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