Blacksmith battalion creates drivers training academy closer to home for local Iraqi police
July 27, 2009
MOSUL, Iraq - Soldiers from the 215th Brigade Support Battalion "Blacksmiths", 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division recently opened a High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle Driver's Training Academy for Iraqi police on Forward Operating Base Diamondback when the battalion discovered the nearest academy was in Taji, approximately 200 miles from Mosul.
The training academy's intent is to provide confident and competent drivers in preparation for future fielding of the Humvees for the Ninewah Province IP.
"This is a very successful way for us to take this course," said Iraqi Staff Sgt. Ummar Khalid Taha, Ninewah Police Director of Training. "It saves us travel expenses and keeps us close to our families."
The Humvees will give the Iraqi police better response time and more visible credibility within the province.
"With Humvees it's going to be more of a deterrent," said Capt. Brant Leyden, a native of Springfield, Va. and logistics advisor for the Ninewah Provincial Police Transition Team. "When you see the IP roll-up in a Humvee it's a more substantial law enforcement tool that they can have."
Each four-day course teaches approximately 20 IP from several different Emergency Response Brigades in Ninewah Province.
The first class began on July 20 with formal classroom instruction provided by Master Drivers of Alpha Distribution Company, 215th Brigade Support Battalion.
The second day of training taught preventive maintenance checks and services of the vehicle. Days three and four consist of hands-on training and driving of the Humvee.
"Today we went over ground guide procedures and driving the Humvee, braking characteristics and handling characteristics," said Sgt. James Ryan, a Batson, Texas native and driver instructor with Alpha Distribution Company, 215th Brigade Support Battalion. "Tomorrow we're finishing up and giving them more driving time. That way they're a little more prepared for the roads outside of the FOB."
Over the past several months the Blacksmith Battalion's Iraqi Security Forces Logistics cell has partnered with local IP logistics officers to improve the current IP logistical systems involving fleet maintenance, retail fuel and general supply support for police district headquarters and Iraq police stations in the city of Mosul.
Some of the Iraqi police are also learning how to teach the course themselves so that the Iraqis can continue training their own forces in the future.