COB ADDER, Iraq - A team of 4th Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division driving instructors demonstrated how Coalition forces in Iraq are focused on partnership.

Soldiers assigned to Company A, 27th Brigade Support Battalion, 4th BCT, 1st Cav. Div. taught five Romanian soldiers assigned to Romania's 341st Infantry Bn. how to operate a five-ton M923-series cargo truck in a week-long class.

"The Romanian Army was preparing to use a certain vehicle for a certain mission that they were not properly trained on, and so they asked us to train them on how to operate the cargo truck," said Staff Sgt. Ariel Ruiz, a native of Colon, Panama, and one of the instructor's for the company's Driver's Training Academy.

The 27th BSB initially provided the course to thoroughly familiarize the Romanians with driving techniques and procedures, so the 341st soldiers could go back to their unit and train other Romanians how to operate a M923 cargo truck.

In early September, after the first five Romanian soldiers were trained, they taught the vehicle-operator class to their own 341st personnel. Then, the White Shark Battalion asked the Long Knife Brigade crew to certify the new drivers during a two-day certification procedure for the 14 Romanian soldiers.

Ruiz explained that the two-day test was designed to review the driving fundamentals and vehicle capabilities of the Romanian soldiers. The 14 new drivers had to conduct correct preventive maintenance inspections on the first day of the test.

But the real challenge was on the second day, when the Romanians drove the vehicles on a highway. They were tested on their driving skills and the use of proper turn signals, along with maintaining proper distance during actual missions.

"They were surprised when they actually got in the vehicle because the steering wheel turned so easily," Ruiz added. "Most of the vehicles that they drive don't have power steering. The other thing they liked about the truck was that it had a lot of power."

The 14 Romanian soldiers passed their tests with ease, and were presented certificates of completion.

"This training event was a learning experience for both armies," said Sgt. 1st Class Willie Graham, the company's truck master and the driving course supervisor and coordinator from Chicago. "It helped to build good relations between our company and their unit."

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16