ack in the Fight n April, I Corps assumed command of Multi-National Corps-Iraq (MNC-I) from the outgoing XVIII Airborne

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1 B ack in the Fight I Corps As Multi- By BG Peter C. Bayer Jr. n April, I Corps assumed command of I Multi-National Corps-Iraq (MNC-I) from the outgoing XVIII Airborne Corps. After a 38-year hiatus, I Corps, historically known as America s Corps, was back in the fight. Now in the middle of its rotation as Headquarters, MNC-I, it is the last corps to deploy as MNC-I, executing its first deployment as a corps headquarters since the Korean War. Just a few years ago, deploying I Corps into a theater of operations outside the Pacific Rim would have been hard to envision. The 2007 Army global force reposturing plan made I Corps one of three deployable corps headquarters. At that time, the I Corps staff numbered fewer than 400, with its operational focus limited to Pacific contingencies, security cooperation and reserve component training. The journey to transform into an enhanced headquarters commanding Coalition forces, 34 ARMY September 2009

2 National Corps-Iraq I Corps America s Corps CSM Frank Grippe, Multi-National Corps-Iraq (MNC-I) I Corps senior enlisted advisor, addresses soldiers at Al Faw Palace at Camp Victory, Iraq, before the arrival of President Barack Obama in April. I Corps staff in Korea circa America s Corps, now in the middle of its rotation as Headquarters/MultiNational Corps-Iraq, deployed as a corps headquarters this year for the first time since the Korean War. September 2009 ARMY /Lee Craker Organized in January 1918, I Corps was forged in France during World War I, tempered in New Guinea and the Philippines during World War II, and honed to a fine edge during the Korean conflict. Having served in 20 named campaigns over its lifetime, it is the most decorated corps headquarters in the Army. Because of its soldiers heroic efforts, I Corps received the U.S. Presidential Unit Citation (Army) as well as the Philippine and Korean Presidential Unit Citations. During the undeclared Second Korean War ( ), I Corps (Group) commanded two U.S. Infantry Divisions as well as a Korean army corps along the western sector of the demilitarized zone. Although it provided a command element for northern Iraq in 2004, I Corps has not deployed the entire headquarters since the Korean War. Today I Corps carries its proud legacy to the Middle East to command three divisions and a Marine Expeditionary Force while serving as Multi-National Corps-Iraq. 35

3 LTG Charles H. Jacoby Jr. s travels in Iraq gave him insights on the MNC-I operational environment that helped him prepare I Corps for its mission. partnering with Iraqi security forces and assisting in the development of Iraq s democracy was under way. Preparations included increased staffing, fielding new equipment and changing the culture within the Corps. A New Culture I Corps continued to play a large role in Pacific Command s theater engagement strategy during 2007 and conducted four major exercises. During this same period, the Corps leadership completed a gap analysis to establish requirements for full operational capability. The team visited the Pentagon to request assistance from the Army Staff and gained assurances that the Corps would be staffed and equipped to meet its mission. The established individual and organizational training requirements would ensure that the headquarters was physically ready. The challenge for Corps leadership was to prepare the organization intellectually for the mission. I Corps would arrive during unprecedented change to the operational environment, with the new security agreement turning over more and more responsibility to the BG Peter C. Bayer Jr. has served in command and staff positions in the United States, Germany and the Middle East. He served as the operations officer (G-3) of the 3rd Infantry Division (Mechanized) at Fort Stewart, Ga., and in Kuwait and Iraq during Operation Iraqi Freedom I. While deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom III, BG Bayer served simultaneously as commander, 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment, and as the Multinational Force-Northwest chief of staff in Mosul, Iraq. BG Bayer is currently serving as the I Corps chief of staff and has deployed with I Corps to be the MNC-I chief of staff. Iraqi security forces, a growing shift in the mission from counterinsurgency to stability operations and the beginning of the U.S. drawdown of forces. The requirement to increase the professionalization of the Iraqi army and police through aggressive partnering would become essential. The Corps would arrive in Iraq in time to begin the detailed planning that will culminate in a merger of six existing headquarters into a single headquarters U.S. Forces-Iraq. The Corps staff and leadership had to cultivate a mind-set built around the changing mission and operational environment. Training and Preparation Training and mission rehearsal exercises occupied much of the summer and fall of Along the way, I Corps staff established exceptional relationships with their MNC-I counterparts in XVIII Airborne Corps. This included outstanding cooperation at every level, from the two commanding generals to every staff section. In an innovative move, I Corps long-range planners deployed early and integrated into the existing MNC-I staff. This helped the Fort Lewis, Wash., team develop early situational awareness and get a jump on planning before the transfer of authority. I Corps subsequently phased in future plans, then future operations before finally taking over current operations at the transfer of authority. This tack allowed for reduced friction and increased continuity during the pre- and post-transfer of authority periods. During the Corps preparation, personnel and equipment arrived at an increasing pace. The Corps upgraded its automated command-and-control systems and prepared to deploy its analysis control element. By summer 2008, a modified table of equipment and organization raised I Corps personnel billets above the 800 mark, making I Corps the largest corps headquarters in the Army inventory. A senior leaders conference in September 2008 gathered commanders inside and outside the Corps for discussions about the mission. Nearly all future MNC-I subordinate commanders were present. The goal was to build a team and cultivate a vision that would be tested against reality in Iraq by the commanders who would serve together under the MNC-I colors. By October 2008, I Corps completed its transformation, achieving full operational capability and certification as a Joint headquarters. Its agile soldiers were prepared for any contingency in Iraq, small or large. After one last counterinsurgency-focused mission rehearsal exercise, the Corps would move out to Iraq. 36 ARMY September 2009

4 Boots on the Ground and Iraqi Army Partnering One of the first major efforts in assuming command of MNC-I was to increase the scope and intensity of partnership with the Iraqi ground forces command (IGFC). I Corps established a joint presence with the IGFC inside a combined partnership operations center (CPOC) at Camp Victory, Iraq, in May. The CPOC is helping to synchronize efforts, enhance cooperation and create a climate of transparency between Iraqi and U.S. forces. The center represents an important milestone in establishing open lines of communication and coordination between our militaries. It is a positive reflection of our partnership with the Iraqis and the realization of the cultural preparation I Corps undertook before its deployment. I Corps initiative capitalizes on the efforts of the Corps previously serving as MNC-I. One of I Corps hallmarks is its depth of experience working with other nations armed forces, including those of Australia, Canada, France, Great Britain, the Philippines, South Korea and, more recently, nations of the Pacific Rim. The Corps has a history of building interarmy partnership and teamwork. On June 30, Iraq witnessed a significant milestone as MNC-I and its subordinate elements began implementing sections of the security agreement that required U.S. forces to move combat forces out of Iraqi cities. Urban security responsibilities now fall exclusively to the Iraqi security forces, while U.S. forces stand ready to advise, assist and support when requested. Although the change was spelled out in the security agreement, American and Iraqi units conducted detailed coordination to put the terms of the agreement into practice. An example of this cooperation occurred when the commanding generals of MNC-I and the IGFC conducted a joint video-teleconference with 52 subordinate commands to explain implementation of the security agreement and the out of the cities provision. LTG Charles H. Jacoby Jr., the MNC-I commanding general, described the meeting as an example of partnership at the highest level, where American and Iraqi commanders had frank and open discussions regarding practical implementation of the security agreement. The Corps partnership is resonating with commanders at division level and below. This is no more evident than in Iraq s capital, where Multi-National Division-Baghdad (MND-B) works closely with Iraqi Maj. Gen. Abboud Qanbar, the Baghdad operations center commander. During a recent Pentagon press conference, MG Daniel Bolger, the MND-B commander, commented on that relationship. LTG Jacoby (left) tours the recently opened Abu Ghraib Fire Station in May. The I Corps commanding general emphasizes the importance of partnership with the Iraqis. The quality of the U.S.-Iraqi partnership will define the current operational environment as well as lay the foundation for enduring security in coming years. 38 ARMY September 2009

5 Then-COL Heidi Brown (left), deputy commanding general for sustainment, accompanied LTG Jacoby on a November trip to Basra, Iraq. He commands a much larger force [in Baghdad] than I do, MG Bolger said. He has about 150,000 people in all, six complete Iraqi divisions. About a third of [the Iraqis] are in the army and another third in the various kinds of police. The rest are the Sons of Iraq, who are the local version of neighborhood watch, and they re very important in this war. They re the former insurgents who reconciled to our side Gen. Abboud refers to them truly as his sons not just sons of Iraq, but as his sons. He says, I treat them just like my own soldiers and police, and he s been doing that. The I Corps commanding general emphasized that partnership is the name of the game, all the way from general to private, especially in the cities. The quality of our partnership will not only define the current operational environment but also lay the foundation for enduring security in the years to come. Enormous challenges lie ahead in the coming months. Iraq s second national election will take place in January. The election represents a milestone on Iraq s journey toward a stable and secure democracy. Although much rests on the shoulders of the Iraqis, I Corps and Multi-National Force- Iraq will stand by their side to make security gains permanent and to see the mission through to its completion. MNC-I soldiers from Camp Victory work with 1st Cavalry Division troops and Australian Coalition soldiers to transport new furniture to a home for handicapped children in Baghdad. /PFC Karin A. Leach 40 ARMY September 2009

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