BAGHDAD - After a ten-day re-familiarization academy, 16 Iraqi Army Soldiers assigned to 43rd IA Brigade, 11th IA Division, graduated at Joint Security Station Shield, Oct. 20, here.

The third iteration of the academy focused on skills that the IA Soldiers had, but sought to perfect, said Staff Sgt. Kirk High, one of the course instructors assigned to Company C, 2nd Battalion, 5th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division.

"This course was familiarization for most of them to be able to keep the IA's skills sharper," said High, a native of Fort Worth, Texas.

The course covered a wide-array of topics - vehicle maintenance and recovery; tactical medical care; weapons tactics; traffic control points; reacting to enemy contact and to improvised explosive devices; a shoot house where Soldiers practiced room-clearing procedures; with all training culminating in a combined exercise before graduation.

"This training was good for our experience," said Spc. Rida Kireem Abdul-Ameer, assigned to 2nd Bn., 43rd Bde., 11th IA Div. "For example, when we go to detain someone, we know the appropriate steps. So now, we're able to detain anyone we need to."

Sgt. Christopher Bane, a tanker squad leader from Shreveport, La., agreed that these classes are valuable and have real-world applications, especially since the students and instructors work hand-in-hand for combat operations.

"With us training them, then we feel comfortable giving them the lead out in sector," explained Bane. "During a raid once, they kicked down the door and we followed them in."

Giving the Iraqis the lead for security in Iraq means that they are going to find their own way of doing things. There isn't one right or one wrong way to accomplish the mission, said Staff Sgt. Dustin Rice, a tanker platoon sergeant from St. Paul, Neb.

"They know what to do for the most part, but everybody's not going to do it like us. They have their own way that works for them and we respect that," added Rice. "For the most part, these guys are pretty good at [doing their jobs]. This is supposed to be a train-the-trainer type academy."

The experience and the knowledge learned at the academy will be passed from these Soldiers to other IA Soldiers back at their bases, continued Rice.

"When I go back to my unit, my friends will ask what I learned," said Rida. "I will share my experiences with them."

The knowledge and skills taught won't just help these 16 IA Soldiers become better Soldiers, but will hopefully, teach innumerable others on how to take the lead in securing a safer Iraq.

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