BAGHDAD - Iraqi Security Forces are being taught more than just fighting skills by their Coalition force partners. 1st Calvary Division Soldiers of Company C, Division Special Troops Battalion, are passing on their technical expertise of fiber optics cable technology to Iraqi Army leaders.

An Iraqi Army officer and a senior non-commissioned officer spent three days learning to install, service and maintain fiber optic cables for use in military communications systems. The hands-on training will, in turn, allow IA Soldiers to pass on knowledge of fiber optics technology to their Soldiers.

At the communications infrastructure building on Camp Liberty, the Iraqi Soldiers were in their second day of instruction May 13. Soldiers gathered around a small table with pliers, wire strippers and thin, hair-like strands of multi-colored wires. The wires were not wires at all, but tiny, glass fiber optic cables designed to carry data with light signals.

Spc. Jorge Lugo, assigned to C Co., DSTB, 1st Cav. Div., grabbed a thick black cable and used a pair of pliers to hack away the outer covering and tether, which protects the delicate fiber optic cables bundled inside. Lugo, of San Juan, Puerto Rico, handed one end of the half-cut cable to Iraqi Sgt. 1st Class Saad Jafar Kareem and asked him to pull in the opposite direction. In what looked like the Thanksgiving tradition of yanking apart a turkey wishbone, Lugo and Kareem pulled the cable in opposite directions until the fiber optic cables snapped in half. The break was deliberate; intended to simulate what often happens when cables are damaged during installation, repair or during construction.

"We are basically cross-training pretty much our expertise, everything we know about fiber optic cables and making splices." said Spc. Eugene Collado, assigned to C Co., DSTB, 1st Cav. Div.

Lugo used a fusion splicer to repair a broken fiber optic cable. The device uses heat to melt the glass cable, fusing the two pieces together seamlessly.

"The splicer takes both ends of cable and melts the inside of the cable, like replacing a joint," Lugo said. "It makes it like a perfect joint, with no loss of glass."

Kareem carefully inserted the two ends of a broken cable into the splicer and mended them back together. A display screen on the splicer allowed Kareem to see if the mend was successful. The screen showed that the mend was perfect, and the cable was restored as if it had never been broken.

"It is a scenario of, if a fiber optic cable was cut, instead of running a new cable, you can splice them," Collado said.

A real repair job was also part of the training. Collado said Kareem and Iraqi 2nd Lt. Jassim Mohammed Walid, helped install a fiber optic line to the 1st Cavalry Division's band hall on Camp Liberty.

"We are trying to cover every aspect of fiber optics," Collado said.

Kareem said his training was thorough and was explained to him in simple terms by his American partners.

"We learn, so we can do the same," Kareem said. "Watching was an easy process."

Sgt. Nekito Turner, cable section squad leader, assigned to C Co., DSTB, 1st Cav. Div., who oversaw the training of the IA Soldiers, said he was pleased with the classes.

"From what I've seen, they did a good job teaching and the IA did a good job learning," said Turner, a Miami native. "Hopefully, he can go and teach his counterparts the same thing he is learning here."

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