Cavalry troopers and IA Commandos conduct joint training exercise
June 25, 2011
CONTINGENCY OPERATING STATION GARRY OWEN, Iraq -- Soldiers from Chaos Company, 3rd Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment, 3rd AAB, 1st Cav. Division, have been busy training and working with a special group of Iraqi Security Forces: the Commando Battalion, which consists of a select group of Iraqi Soldiers spread throughout the 10th Iraqi Army Division.
The Soldiers recently trained for urban operations and helicopter insertions. Training that is nothing new to the elite IA soldiers, but gave ISF commanders flexibility to carry out a larger mission set, validate capabilities, and give the ISF and United States Forces-Iraq an opportunity to train and work more efficiently together.
"One (objective) is to confirm to me and my guys that they know what they're doing," said 1st Lt. Sean Jopling, a platoon leader from 3rd Platoon, Chaos Company. "And everybody needs refreshers."
Every unit has its own unique way of doing even routine tasks. Rehearsals allow leaders to understand each unit's tactics, techniques and procedures.
"It gives them an idea of how we do it, compared to other units they used to work with," Jopling said. "It's kind of a fun thing for the guys, and then when we're out on a mission, they know how to communicate with the Iraqis."
The rehearsals also let leaders see how U.S. and Iraqi Soldiers react to enemy contact. Jopling said that any unit can improve by practicing their basic battle drills.
Training kicked off at Camp Sparrowhawk, near the city of Amarah. U.S. Soldiers briefed the IA on cordon-and-search operations and how to enter and clear a room. Both exercises are essential to effective urban operations. After the briefing, leaders moved to a sand-table exercise. ISF squad leaders led the final phase of the training, demonstrating that the unit was fully prepared.
Days later, the U.S. and IA Soldiers moved to the helicopter pad late at night when the summer heat was less intense. Crew chiefs instructed the Soldiers on how to approach the aircraft and board safely, as well as the proper procedures for exiting the aircraft.
"This is the best way (to travel)," said 1st Lt. Rahman Taweh, "Because it's very fast, and that allows you to control the enemy." Taweh is a platoon leader with the 10th IA Commandos.
Jopling was impressed with his IA counterpart.
"He's really good. He's really hard on his guys and keeps them in line."
Jopling remarked that he was pleased with the quality and motivation of the Commandos. "They have better gear, better training... more motivation." Jopling said that his unit has a great working relationship with the Commandos and regularly asks them to accompany his unit during patrols.
Taweh said he likes working with U.S. Forces, and maintains relationships with units he's worked with in the past. "We still do missions together in Amarah and Nasiriyah," he said. When asked what he's learned from U.S. Forces, Taweh replied that he's learned much more than he could have imagined prior to the training.