The Iraqi Police within Dhi Qar and Muthanna provinces have recently made efforts to maximize security along the Euphrates River through a close partnership with the U.S. Naval Special Warfare's Riverine Troop 4, operating out of Basra, Iraq.

The special operations unit's mission May 10 - 13, 2010, was to assess a group of some 30 Iraqi police officers from both provinces to determine their potential to succeed in a six-week river patrolling course conducted in Basra. The course will include intense training in boat handling, seamanship, patrolling and suspect apprehension.

The four-day assessment course identified 12 police officers with the potential, initiative and proficiency to succeed in the river patrolling course, said the lead chief petty officer for RT 4, who asked not to be identified due to operational security.

Once these 12 police officers complete the river patrolling course, they will be qualified to train other members of their unit in various river patrolling skills, he said.

The first phase of the assessment involved classes on combat lifesaving, weapons safety procedures, swim survival techniques and boat-handling skills. The police officers demonstrated their swimming and boat handling ability on the Euphrates River, with members of RT 4 providing instructional oversight.

The training event, also known as an "operator assessment course," measured each police officer's potential in a variety of areas pertaining to river patrol operations.

During the next phase, the police officers traveled to Camp Morehead, located on Contingency Operating Base Adder, to conduct a field training exercise, which served as the final assessment before the official selections. The exercise was designed to evaluate the group's physical fitness and cumulative knowledge on the three previous days of training.

The officers competed in teams of two, moving successively through different stations. Each station featured an examination pertaining to specific areas of their training. One station required the policemen to answer combat lifesaver questions after disassembling an AK-47 rifle and identifying its various parts.

After the exercise, the detachment announced the 12 selectees who will attend the follow-on training. To recognize their completion of the challenging assessment course, all of the police officers received a certificate.

"The police officers we chose showed a high level of aptitude," the lead chief petty officer said. "Those guys are going to shine and do really well. When they come back to their units, their commanding officers will think a little higher of them."

After the selected officers complete the trainer course, the Iraqi police will have the ability to conduct security and rescue patrols on the waterways that will dwarf past efforts, said the leading chief petty officer.

The police officers clearly recognized the significance of the selection process and what being selected for subsequent training means to their province, said the lead chief petty officer.

When it comes down to it, it was not about them.

"I want to serve my country and my province," said an Iraqi policeman involved in the assessment who asked to not have his name used due to operational security. "My only concern is the future of Iraq."

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