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Friday, May 18, 2007

You Call…We Haul

17 May 2007
By Sgt. Chris Keller
U.S. Central Command Public Affairs
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CAMP VICTORY, Iraq – Instant mobility gives commanders what they need to be successful in the fast-paced Global War on Terrorism. And that’s exactly what the Iraq Assistance Group’s Personal Security Platoon provides.

When the IAG demands mobility, the PSP makes it happen. The PSP takes IAG personnel threw some of the most dangerous roads in Iraq to make sure transition teams and Iraqi forces get the support they need daily.

Brig. Gen Dana J. H. Pittard, IAG commander, knows the importance of the PSP and the role it plays in making the IAG successful. He relies on its support several times a week when leaving the “wire” to visit Iraqi forces and transition teams.

“The PSP has allowed mobility for both myself and Command Sgt. Maj. (Robert) Moore and staff elements of the IAG to be able to move around and support transition teams,” Pittard said. “They have been such a key enabler for the IAG.”

The PSP is ready at all times to support the mission of the IAG by offering secure transportation to any location in Iraq. The platoon has been running missions for the IAG since late August of 2006.

“Without the PSP we could not be out on the battle space like we are, point blank,” Moore said. “The PSP is as much a critical piece of the success of the IAG as any other part.”

All of the PSP Soldiers were hand picked from a list of more than 80 applicants, according [to] platoon leader 1st Lt. Kevin Hughey. The top 28 were chosen based on their noncommissioned officer reports, physical fitness and weapons qualification scores and a recommendation letter from each Soldiers’ commander.

Hughey and his platoon sergeant, Sgt. 1st Class Scott Gibson, were chosen to run the PSP. Next, both of them selected the Soldiers who would make up the platoon’s Alpha and Bravo sections.

Alpha Company travels with Pittard, while Bravo escorts Moore. Sometimes the stars align and both convoy together.

The core of the crew is trained as infantrymen and armorers, while others are trained in communications, combat medicine and mechanics.

“This allowed us to be as self-sufficient as possible,” Hughey said.

“We are always ready to support the IAG and its mission. That is our mission,” he said. “Our job is to provide security and safety at all times for those traveling with us.”

Staff. Sgt. Travis Ott is one of two Soldiers assigned as personal security officers for Pittard and Moore. They never leave the side of their leaders while out on mission.

The platoon will finish their yearlong tour in July, at which time, they will return to Fort Riley, Kan.

All agree that they will do what it takes to make the mission a success -- no matter how long that takes.

“Our PSP has bridged the gap between the IAG and our transition teams,” Pittard said, “They’re phenomenal.”

Photo: Iraq Assistance Group Personal Security Platoon Officer, Staff Sgt. Travis Ott, guards Command Sgt. Maj. Robert Moore, IAG command sergeant major, during a cordon and search in West Rashid during a visit to a checkpoint. The checkpoint is operated by Iraqi National Police.

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