NCO Academy develops stronger IA leaders
March 28, 2009
BAGHDAD-The mission for Military Transition Teams (MiTT) is a special one. Following in the footsteps of many Soldiers who traveled to distant lands to conduct foreign internal defense missions, they help mold and mentor maturing armed forces to become more self sufficient.
Since the beginning of the war in Iraq, U.S. Army officials saw a need for training the reconstituted Iraqi Security Forces in many military basics. Troop leading procedures, map reading, infantry tactics, and hand to hand combat, are all now standard training initiatives performed by the men and women who now make up the nearly 160 Army MiTT teams currently operating in Iraq.
Aca,!A"The MiTT mission is vital to the stability of Iraq,Aca,!A? said Fayettville, N.C. native, Makhayel Bey, a civilian advisor with the 11th Iraqi Army Division MiTT. Aca,!A?We are not here to be the occupying force, our job is to teach, train, and mentor the Iraqi force so they can train their own [military] to be a better military, protect their people, and be a more self sufficient military force once we pull out of here.Aca,!A?
The 11th MiTT, and their Iraqi counterparts from the 11th IA Div. have worked and trained together over the past few months since the MiTT members arrived here. Utilizing the Iraqi Non-commissioned OfficerAca,!a,,cs Academy set up by the previous MiTT team, the 11th pushes for a higher standard, while continuing to nurture a growing confidence in their partnership force.
Aca,!A"What we are trying to do is change the imagery from an NCO academy to a TRADOC (Training and Doctrine Command), where we can capture all the material from intelligence, signal, and computer operations. Anything we can implement to help the 11th IA become more proficient,Aca,!A? said Capt. Charlie Silva, the 11th MiTT intelligence advisor, from Sabana Grande, Puerto Rico.
The idea, by American military standards, is not a revolutionary one. However for the newly-formed Iraqi Army, learning to conduct business Aca,!A"more constructivelyAca,!A? through collective thought and goal oriented processes, it is a key training point the 11th MiTT is implementing slowly but assertively.
Aca,!A"There is an exchange in culture; a period of earning our counterpartAca,!a,,cs trust,Aca,!A? said Silva. Aca,!A"These are very proud individuals, who have plenty of reasons to feel the way that they do. We have to prove they can trust us, before they will sit down and learn from us.Aca,!A?
Aca,!A"So you have to understand that it took the U.S. Army over 200 years to get where we are at, these guys are about six or seven years into the process. The change is not going to come over night, so we have to be patient, and realize how important this training opportunity is and build that bridge to help get the Iraq Army where we know they can be,Aca,!A? Bey added.
Iraqi troops have taken the first and most important steps successfully, with the establishment of a working relationship within the 11th IA Div. and U.S. MiTT members. Based on this success, the MiTT team has started closer coordination with the main IA school house in Camp Taji, Iraq; organizing what Silva calls a more cooperative and focused approach for military commanders and troop leaders to share knowledge resulting in a more tactically prepared Iraqi Army.
Aca,!A"Right now we are focusing on sorting out hang-ups and snags along the way,Aca,!A? said Silva. Aca,!A"It is the small things that are hindering us now, like getting paper work for the class participants submitted in a timely manner.Aca,!A?
For Silva and team mates, this innocuous problem is compounded by the fact that a number of his students can not read or write. They are slowly moving toward rectifying these things by working closer with IA commanders; offering literacy classes to help speed up the learning process.
Aca,!A"There is definitely no lack of want, or drive to be successful with these guys. We just have to remain humble, put aside that ego and realize we are in their country to help; then you can drive on with the training,Aca,!A? added Bey.
For all the little snags along the way, these two instructors and their team have watched their Iraqi counterparts continue to become more mission focused towards personally overseeing their own training, and having success in this war for themselves and the people of Iraq. This initiative on the part of the IA continues to be a motivating factor in the 11th MiTTAca,!a,,cs continued mentorship of what they consider a Aca,!A"successful transition into a safer, more secure Iraq.Aca,!A?
Aca,!A"The best part of all of this is at the end of the day, when you finish a program of instruction, a young jundi [Iraqi Soldier] or even an Iraqi officer shakes your hand, and tells you just how much they enjoyed learning. Whether it is instruction on dissecting a crime scene or map analysis, thatAca,!a,,cs the motivating factorAca,!"just seeing the whole learning process and receiving that gratitude,Aca,!A? Bey said.
Aca,!A"With everyday that passes and every block of instruction, you see just how much you are affecting the big picture,Aca,!A? said Silva. Aca,!A"They always show us something new everyday that lets us know this program and our partnership is heading in the right direction.Aca,!A?