When General Petraeus took command of MNF-I on 10FEB07 part of his new strategy involved the widespread use of Joint Security Combat Outposts (JCOPs). Starting November 2006 1-12 CAV was already securing or supporting numerous JCOPs and other fixed-sites. The difference in strategy was one of both quantity and substance. In terms of quantity the new strategy mandated an increased number of JCOPs. In terms of substance the intent was for units to patrol out of JCOPs in order to secure the local population. By comparison, B/1-12 CAV would often secure the BIPS outpost with a platoon (-) and conduct in-sector patrols with its other platoons out of FOB WARHORSE. The new strategy called for maneuver units to return to the FOB only for refit, thereby maximizing time in-sector. Two of the reasons given by General Petraeus for the increased use of JCOPs: to be closer to the fight and to our ISF partners; and because we cannot commute to work over long distances between CF and ISF.
In November of 2006, 1-12 CAV maintained a mortar section in Udaim, soldiers at the ERF station, a JCOP in Khan Bani Sa’ad, and security for the GC, BIPS, and DMC. This was a total of six sites manned by 1-12 CAV soldiers, and another two sites (Khalis and FOB GABE) supported by E FSC (1-12 CAV’s support company).
Currently the battalion maintains soldiers at 7 sites. The White Castle (A/1-12 CAV is currently OPCON to 1-38 IN), Chaos X-Ray (with C/1-38 IN from 1-38 IN), the GC (C/1-12 CAV), Bone X-Ray (B/1-12 CAV), Dealer X-Ray (D/1-12 CAV, the DMC (battalion scout platoon), and CP 472 strongpoint (D/1-12 CAV). During the month of September 1-12 CAV maintained all of the current set, plus security of the Blue Babe Bridge, and a scout section at the 5-73 RSTA JCOP in Zaganiyah. Security for the Georgian Bridge was fully transferred to the IA and the Zaganiyah JCOP was transferred to a company from 2-23 IN. Additionally, support operations are still maintained for FOB GABE and the MiTT compound in Khalis.
From the beginning finding sufficient numbers of soldiers to adequately man all JCOPs and fixed-sites was a large problem for the battalion. Given the large size of the battalion’s AO and the battalion’s low number of BOGs, the requirement to guard/maintain these sites heavily affected the number of soldiers available for combat operations.
At all levels of command analyses were conducted on how best to adjust troop strength at fixed locations in order to provide increased maneuver units available for operations. The main course of action (COA) put forth to combat this issue was to turn security of certain fixed-sites over the ISF. In the case of the GC and the DMC this issue was never fully resolved, with 1-12 CAV maintaining security for these two sites for the entire deployment. In the case of the GC security is joint, in the case of the DMC security was until recently entirely U.S., with a Ugandan contracted security force becoming available only in late October of 2007.
Initial construction at all outposts was devoted to increased force protection measures. Preliminary work at most outposts focused on fighting position construction, outer-wall construction, and use of c-wire/barriers to inhibit vehicular and pedestrian approach. Following a large catastrophic dump-truck VBIED attack on the a-Sadah JCOP, a large emphasis was later placed upon counter VBIED measures. This led to the emplacement, at many locations, of secondary outer-walls, and enhancement of existing serpentine barriers.
Logistics and Supply
Logistics issues initially centered around basic sustainment (i.e., water and food) as well as on security. In 2006 and in early 2007 1-12 CAV was able to supply the outposts with MREs and water only. As supply issues were resolved and it became clear that forces would be maintained in fixed-sites for the duration of the deployment, additional support measures such as refrigeration, air conditioners, and containerized kitchen units (CKUs), and burn-barrel latrines were provided to the outposts. Small improvements such as these were vital to soldier morale.
Additionally, lumber supplies (for construction of fighting positions) and power generators were initially limited in supply. Power generators were a particular concern as they were continually utilized for powering of TOC radios at a minimum. Given hot and dusty conditions it was also not uncommon for generators to malfunction. It became necessary to train line-soldiers on the basics of maintaining and operating the power generators in use at their location.
See below for brief descriptions of the various JCOPS, strongpoints, and fixed-sites built and supported by 1-12 CAV throughout the deployment. The last section highlights three sites supported but not occupied (except for a mortar section in Udaim) by 1-12 CAV.
Bone Zulu Zaganiyah
Other Names: Bone Schliterbahn
This outpost was established around mid-March and was a jointly manned by soldiers from B/1-12 CAV, 1-12 CAV’s scout platoon, 5-73 RSTA, and various IA companies.
Other Names: Bone Disney, Disneyland, COP Adam, Bone Adam, Patrol Base (PB) Adam
This outpost was established around the end of February. The outpost was originally manned solely by B/1-12 CAV with move-in by IA at a later date.
Location: New Baqubah
Other Names: The Shack
Jointly established by IA, MiTT, and 1-12 CAV on 22JAN07.
Khan Bani Sa’ad (KBS)
Location: Khan Bani Sa’ad
Other Names: Crazy X-Ray
One of the first true outposts (with combat patrols as opposed to fixed-site security only), this outpost was first occupied by C/1-12 CAV in November 2006 and later transferred to 2-1 CAV, 4-2 SBCT.
Location: Old Baqubah
Established and built-up by the 5-20 IN battalion after OPERATION ISOLATE OLD BAQUBAH but before 5-20 IN’s redeployment in mid-August. The outpost was transferred from 5-20 IN to C/1-38 IN (Chaos), OPCON to 1-12 CAV.
Buhriz IP Station
Other Names: BIPS, Bone X-Ray, Dealer X-Ray, Wardog X-Ray
First occupied by Echo company in mid-November after the IP in charge of the station fled following a brief attack. Bone company occupied the outpost at the end of November and conducted major construction operations and later occupied by B/1-14 RSTA and D/1-12 CAV. Initially this JCOP was considered a fixed-site security type operation, later, following the transfer of two buildings to the IA, two companies of IA began operations out of the BIPS and the compound became what is now considered a true JCOP.
Diyala Media Center (DMC) (Kanaan)
Location: Southeast Baqubah
This location is the site of the GoI (Diyala) public radio station. For the entire deployment 1-12 CAV has kept a SCT/1-12 CAV unit at this site. 1-12 CAV also maintains an artillery section at the DMC, this artillery section was attached to 1-12 CAV from A/2-82 FA for the entire deployment. Currently the DMC is secured by a Ugandan contract security force, with SCT/1-12 CAV and an artillery section continuing to conduct operations. With the arrival of the Ugandan contract security force, 1-12 CAV’s scout platoon has recently begun to conduct operations out of the DMC into Ka’nan. Prior to this time the DMC would more appropriately have been classified as a fixed-site security operation.
Location: New Baqubah
Other Names: Apache X-Ray
A police headquarters in New Baqubah, this location was immediately reinforced by A/1-12 CAV. A/1-12 CAV later moved to and built the nearby White Castle JCOP.
Location: South Buhriz
Near the site of an IA company Headquarters over-run in late December, this strongpoint was established in order to disrupt south of Buhriz and in order to prevent AQIZ from supporting their operations into Buhriz from Al Abarra and Imam Ways. From the outset the intent for this compound was for it to be transferred to the IA. As such and in contrast to other locations, IA engineers took a large role in constructing and developing the force protection measures for this location.
Location: South Tahrir
Other Names: Bone Zulu
Established by 5-20 IN during the month of August, this outpost was later occupied by Bravo company, and subsequently turned over to full IA/IP control.
Location: Old Baqubah
Established during OPERATION REGULAR JUSTICE by 5-20 IN, this strongpoint was turned over to full ISF control (and later abandoned) in favor of the current Chaos X-Ray location for a JCOP in Old Baqubah.
Government Center (GC)
Location: Old Baqubah
Seat of the Diyala provincial government and the ministries offices. 1-12 CAV has maintained a minimum of one platoon at the GC for security of the brigade provincial reconstruction team (PRT), TF Blue, for the entire deployment. B/1-12 CAV, C/1-12 CAV, and E/1-12 CAV companies have all executed this tasking.
Blue Babe Bridge
Location: RTE BLUE BABE spanning across the Diyala River
Other Names: Georgian Bridge
After a VBIED detonation partially collapsed the Blue Babe Bridge spanning the Diyala river on 11JUN07, CF engineers immediately began work on a temporary pontoon bridge in order to keep this MSR open. Upon completion on 14JUN07, C/1-12 CAV (Crazy) was tasked to guard the new temporary bridge due to Georgian security forces no longer willing to guard this fixed-site. Crazy company guarded the bridge until the beginning of October, when a work on a new more permanent structure was completed and security was turned over to the Iraqi Army.
Location: Udaim (Ashraf)
Other Names: Charger Base
1-12 CAV maintained a mortar section at this location from November 2006 until the beginning of OPERATION ARROWHEAD RIPPER o/a 20JUN07.
This JCOP has, from the beginning, been solely a MiTT/IA compound. 1-12 CAV provided engineer support for initial force protection improvements and later has continued to provide both logistics and supply support.
Location: As Sadah
This JCOP was established by 5-73 RSTA sometime during the month of March. 1-12 CAV has not maintained soldiers at this location, but has provided logistics, supply, and recovery support to the 5-73 RSTA soldiers at this location.