FORT POLK, La. - Soldiers assigned to A Battery, 5th Battalion, 82nd Field Artillery Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, provided fire support and assisted role playing Iraqi Army (IA) Soldiers during their combat outpost defense training at the Joint Readiness Training Center, here, June 12.

"We're here to get some good training out of this event to get us ready and make us better at teaching," said 1st Sgt. Raymond Bailey, from Pittsburg, Texas. "We want to be able to help the Iraqis become a better army."

During the command post exercise, the Fort Hood troops worked side by side with their role playing IA counterparts controlling the guard towers, operating the entry control point and securing the outpost's outer perimeter.

"We prepared for this in our (brigade's) field training exercise, and during the (weekly) sergeant's time training," said Staff Sgt. Jacques Edmond, a platoon sergeant from Long Island, N.Y.

Along with some of his senior troops who have previously deployed to Iraq, Edmond received new Soldiers that are getting ready to embark on their first overseas tour.

"The pairing-up we do with the Iraqis here is the closest the new Soldiers can get to prepare them for the mission we do in that country," said Edmond. "From what I experienced, change is going on and everything is always changing. This is a different type of mission from my last deployment and we're assisting them to take the lead."

Pvt. Jonathan Prock, an artilleryman from Fresno, Calif., is one of the newest additions to the battalion. Prock believes he's ready to use all the skills that he acquired training with the brigade the last couple of months.

"I'm excited to get ready to deploy and demonstrate what I've learned in the field exercises," said Prock. "This is what I joined the Army for, and hopefully we can let the (Iraqi Security Forces) take control and return home safely too."

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