Trailblazers: Iraqi police pioneers visit installation
March 10, 2011
FORT JACKSON, S.C. -- On the day Fort Jackson celebrated women's history, a group of history-making female police officers from Iraq visited the post. The officers came to the installation as part of a two-week trip to the United States to learn about the country and police work here.
The four women, who graduated from the High Institute for Security Development in 2009, are members of the first female graduating class of Iraq's police academy.
"This visit is very important in promoting the role of women in Iraq," said Col. Craig Currey, deputy commanding officer of Fort Jackson. "They are the first (female) police graduates and are learning what women can do to help Iraqi police forces better protect their people. (Their) coming to Fort Jackson is an honor for us all, as we were chosen to help them understand training in the Army and developing women as leaders in our military."
In addition to meeting with post leaders, the women visited the Engagement Skills Trainer 2000 marksmanship facility, observed training at the Medical Simulation Training Facility, attended the Women's History Month luncheon, watched a K-9 unit demonstration and toured the Family Life and Resiliency Center.
"I am so impressed with everything (here)," said Media Jassim, who is a lieutenant with the Iraqi police, through an interpreter.
Jassim said visiting Fort Jackson was especially interesting because part of her job is training police officers.
"My hope is to observe all the kinds of training here and the training process, and try to capture what we don't have and compare it with our system," she said.
The visit was facilitated by Col. Lillian Dixon, former Fort Jackson garrison commander, who is now deployed to Iraq as the chief of staff for U.S. Forces-Iraq, Iraqi Training and Advisory Mission, Ministry of Defense.
Dixon said that even though she has no direct job-related ties to the women, she feels connected to them.
"My connection is that I'm a woman. And I'm a woman who's struggled, just like they've struggled to get to where they are today," she said.
The visit came about as part of an effort to work with Iraqi women, Dixon explained.
"When I first arrived in Iraq, Lt. Gen. (Michael) Barbero said, 'I want you to think outside of the box,'" Dixon said in reference to the former deputy commander for advising and training for U.S. Forces-Iraq. "So I thought of a way that I could help Iraqi women better themselves and, hopefully, help them address some of the human-rights issues and some of the other issues (they encounter) and let them have a chance and come see what America is like, what a democracy is like and how women fit into that democracy."
Currey said the visit was a success for both Fort Jackson and its visitors.
"(The Iraqi police officers) were motivated to learn and absorb as much as they could about what we do here at Fort Jackson and in our Army," Currey said. "Our leaders on post were (eager) to share with them, and (our visitors) were impressed by the significant role that women play in our Army."