Wallace, V Corps will oversee joint task force of coalition troops in Iraq
BAGHDAD, Iraq — By mid-June, the Heidelberg, Germany-based V Corps will oversee a joint task force composed of all coalition troops in Iraq, reporting directly to the U.S. Central Command, a senior V Corps officer said.
At the helm will be V Corps Commander Lt. Gen. William S. Wallace, who now commands 125,000 V Corps soldiers in Iraq, including nearly 40,000 in Baghdad.
The change is part of the transition to Coalition Joint Task Force-7, which will include U.S. Marines, Navy, Army, and Air Force troops in Iraq, as well as multinational forces.
Coalition Joint Task Force-7 replaces Coalition Forces Land Component Command, led by Lt. Gen. David McKiernan, who also is commander of the U.S. 3rd Army. During the war, McKiernan was in charge of all land forces in Kuwait and Iraq, reporting to CENTCOM Commander Gen. Tommy Franks. Wallace reported to McKiernan.
The transition consolidates the command of all forces in Iraq during the next phase of military operations under Wallace, who will report directly to Franks, V Corps spokesman Maj. Dean Thurmond said.
Coalition Forces Land Component Command will remain at Camp Doha, Kuwait, as a small 3rd Army forward headquarters. Eventually, that headquarters will likely be eliminated as 3rd Army staff members rotate back to their Atlanta base, Thurmond said.
Wallace will lead CJTF-7 until he is replaced as V Corps commander next month by Maj. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, Thurmond said. Sanchez now commands the Wiesbaden, Germany-based 1st Armored Division.
Under the task force headquarters will fall a multinational force composed of soldiers from England, Spain, Australia, and several Eastern Europe countries. Discussions are still under way about the total number of forces to remain in the country, Thurmond said.
Initially, task force leaders will be drawn mainly from V Corps, but eventually it will become a multinational, multiservice headquarters.
“Over time, the Corps’ role will be reduced as an individual component of the command,” Thurmond said.
CJTF-7 will work with the U.S. civilian architects of Iraq’s interim government. L. Paul Bremer, head of the Office of Reconstruction and Humanitarian Assistance, leads that effort.
With CJTF-7 in place, coalition forces from several eastern European countries are expected to join a British division and a Spanish brigade already in Iraq. A Polish army division, along with a Ukranian brigade, is expected in the coming weeks. A Georgian contingent is on the way to bolster 4th Infantry Division forces in northwestern Iraq. In addition, a Baltic contingent composed of Estonians, Latvians and Lithuanians may be located in northeastern Iraq, said the V Corps officer, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
Also this week the 4th Infantry Division, along with the 101st Airborne Division, will take over duties in northern Iraq and the western desert from Special Forces troops that have been there since before the war began, the V Corps officer said.
Leading up to the change is the relief-in-place of three 3rd Infantry Division brigades by three brigades from the 1st Armored Division. The 1st Armored Division’s 3rd Brigade, from Fort Riley, Kan., already is swapping out with the 3rd Infantry Division’s 3rd Brigade, which has been deployed the longest.
In the next two weeks, the 1st Armored Division’s Germany-based 1st and 2nd Brigades will swap with the 1st and 2nd Brigades from the 3rd Infantry Division, based in Fort Stewart, Ga.
In addition, the two divisions’ artillery brigades will swap out and the 1st AD’s 4th Brigade, composed of Black Hawk and Apache helicopters, will settle in at Baghdad International Airport.