NUMANIYAH, Iraq - A team of Soldiers from 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division met with the 32nd Company, 8th Iraqi Army Division Transportation Directorate in Numaniyah July 14 to conduct a capstone situational training exercise(STX).

The STX focused on convoy operations and was the culmination of more than nine months of training between the U.S. and Iraqi Security Forces that began with basic vehicle maintenance, first aid, and more advanced lessons in reacting to small arms fire and improvised explosive devices.

The 32nd Co. convoy rolled through expansive urban training grounds on the Numaniyah training base in northwestern Wasit Province and passed through five scenarios.

"We try to make it as realistic as possible," said Capt. Matthew Parker, executive officer for Company G, 203rd Brigade Support Battalion, 3rd HBCT, 3rd Inf. Div.

"The most likely events that they will see out on real-world missions is IEDs, small arms fire, and possibly a broken down vehicle that they have to recover," the Concord, N.C., native said.
In the first scenario, the convoy approached a 155 millimeter artillery shell with wires running far off the road. The convoy called it up to the fictional explosive ordinance disposal team.

Next, the Iraqi soldiers were halted by a roadblock; as they turned around, soldiers acting as hostile forces fired down from the encompassing three story buildings of the training site.

After reacting to small arms fire, the convoy moved on to the third and fourth lanes, which exposed the convoy to another form of IED known as an explosively formed projectile as well as a vehicle-borne IED scenario.

In the latter, the convoy halted for the vehicle that was driving erratically, but the real lesson was in the secondary explosive planted where the convoy was expected to halt.

Finally, 32nd Co. rolled through a rubble-filled lane where Sgt. Joshua Atkins, a medic with 1st Battalion, 10th Field Artillery Regiment, threw two flash bang grenades at the second vehicle, simulating an exploding IED and marked the truck as a disabled vehicle with colored smoke grenades.

From here, Atkins, a native of Tacoma, Wash., assessed the medical proficiency of the Iraqi soldiers as they rendered aid to those he designated as injured. The wounded were loaded on to an ambulance, and the convoy was split in two as half accompanied the ambulance to the clinic on post.

After each scenario, the Soldiers and Iraqis would discuss the performance of the 32nd Co. soldiers.

"Convoy commander [Capt. Nakeeb Allah, 32nd Co. executive officer] performed great," said Lt. Col. Greg McAfee, team chief with Stabilization Transition Team 13, 3rd HBCT, 3rd Inf. Div.

The Soldiers have been working with four companies of the 8th IA Div. Transportation Directorate, a logistical unit with approximately 200 soldiers per company and over 150 trucks.

The unit transports everything from troops to parts to pilgrims during the larger religious holidays, said McAfee, a Marietta, Ga., native.

"They're a very large unit that has a very big mission for the 8th Iraqi Army Division," McAfee said. "We've been behind the scenes helping advise and assist these professionals as we approach the final withdrawal."

In some instances, the lessons were refreshers for 32nd Co., which currently operates in an area south of Baghdad and includes the holy shrines in Najaf and Karbala.

"They already perform missions and are completely independent of US forces," Parker said.
Soldiers from both sides said the exercise was beneficial.

"It was good training. We got a lot of information from this exercise, and we are going to use this information when we go outside on the real mission. This was good to refresh the mind of military skills," said Pvt. Ali Adnon Anu, a vehicle driver with 32nd Co, 8th IA Div. Transportation Directorate.

Anu was recognized as the "Hero of the Battle" after the exercise for his part in identifying the secondary IED on the fourth lane.

Atkins agreed there was much gained by both sides during the training.

"I've really, really enjoyed my time out here," Atkins said. "It's been a real eye-opener as far as level of cooperation. I've really enjoyed seeing these guys develop more of their skills."

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