Iraqi police officers from the Babil Province recently had the opportunity to learn important life-saving skills from U.S. military police at Contingency Operating Site Kalsu.

The four-day course, which began July 18, was presented by the 253rd MP Company, an Army National Guard unit out of Lenoir City, Tenn., attached to the 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division.

The course, which is conducted regularly by the 253rd MP Co., adapts life-saving techniques that are taught to U.S. Soldiers to suit the needs and equipment of Iraqi forces.

Staff Sgt. Rick Mackneer, the course instructor and medical noncommissioned officer in charge for the 253rd MP Co., is an experienced trainer in the Army's Combat Life-Saver course.

"Back in the states, before I volunteered to come with these guys, I was on long-term ADSW [active duty for special work], teaching CLS to deploying Soldiers," the Newburgh, N.C., native said.

Though the objectives of the courses are the same, Mackneer had to make some adjustments when teaching the IPs tasks such as how to apply a tourniquet or clear an airway.

"Some things are the same, but it is a little different because of the supplies that the Iraqis have versus the supplies that we have," he said. "The class was built based on the supplies that they should have."

The course is broken up into periods of learning and practice, Mackneer said, with the last day consisting of an exercise that simulates real-world situations, requiring the IPs to use their skills "under fire."

"Usually we have three days worth of PowerPoint (slides) they have to go through," he said. "During that, they'll do some hands-on and I'll teach them several things. Then, on the fourth day, we have a cumulative lanes training, and that way they can put everything that they've learned into actual, practical use."

The IPs have done well in the hands-on exercises and are constantly asking questions, Mackneer said, demonstrating a genuine interest in the material.

"It's great; it's wonderful," he said. "They're tracking on everything I say. I go back and ask them questions, and I can tell they're retaining it."

Sgt. Mohammed Adnan Azeaz, a police officer from the city of Babil, said some of the material was completely new to him and felt even those outside the police could benefit from this kind of training.

"This class is not only useful to us, but to everybody, even regular citizens," he said. "You can see that it's useful, even generally, such as with civilians if there is an accident."

Azeaz said he intends to share what he has learned with other officers.

"Anything that I learn, I teach it to my friends, to those under me," he said.

Sgt. Aqael Hadi Kianbr, a police officer from Babil Province, agreed that the things taught in the class, such as clearing an obstructed airway and controlling bleeding with pressure or tourniquets, are things he will want to teach others.

Kianbr said he feels confident that he has learned the techniques well enough to be capable of passing on the knowledge.

Even the most basic life-saving techniques can make a tremendous difference in the first few minutes after an injury. Preventing someone from bleeding out or going into shock from loss of blood can be accomplished with materials on-hand, meaning the difference between life and death.

"We are, as policemen, exposed to dangers such as vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices," Kianbr said through a translator. "The most important thing in that situation is stopping bleeding."

Kianbr said some of the information in regard to tourniquets covered in the class was completely new to him, and that he had never received instruction on how to open the airway of a person who might have a neck injury without making the injury worse.

Overall, Kianbr said he was grateful for the opportunities the training offered, not only for his own education, but also for the possibility of passing the information on to others.

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