'Black Dragon' soldiers mentor Iraqi policemen at Ghuzlani
March 19, 2013
CONTINGENCY OPERATING SITE MAREZ, Iraq - U.S. soldiers assigned to Battery A, 5th Battalion, 82nd Field Artillery Regiment taught Iraqi policemen room-clearing techniques during an urban operations class at Ghuzlani Eagle Training Site, April 27.
The "Black Dragon" soldiers, part of 4th Advise and Assist Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division, are responsible for training the 1st Emergency Response Brigade policemen on checkpoint and urban operations.
"It's great to see our soldiers contribute to the overall growth of the Iraqi military forces," said Command Sgt. Maj. Calvin Coler, senior enlisted advisor of Black Dragon Battalion. "We'll continue to assist the Iraqis in building up the units we are partnered with by teaching them in these exercises."
U.S. soldiers trained their Iraqi partners on the proper techniques to enter and clear rooms, hallways and rooftops during the five-day training course.
After a brief slide presentation explaining how to properly maneuver in teams of four as a stack formation, U.S. soldiers assisted the policemen as the students practiced the close quarters battle tactics.
"My favorite part about this partnership and the training out here is seeing these experienced noncommissioned officers pass on their knowledge and expertise to the Iraqis," said Coler, a native of Louisiana.
Coler watched as his Black Dragon troopers taught the Iraqis how to properly structure stack formations against the outer walls of the room, check for explosives around the door frame and clear the room of enemy threats.
"The Iraqis are motivated and willing to learn, which makes teaching easy and enjoyable," said Sgt. Kamowa Reynolds, a cannon crew member assigned to Battery A.
After the Iraqis navigated the room-clearing course in four man teams, Reynolds switched out the Iraqi squad leaders and observed as the students successfully performed their combat techniques.
"We're not only teaching them how to conduct these techniques, but we're walking them through the step-by-step process so they understand how to teach one another and gain leadership skills," said Reynolds, a native of Allentown, Va., currently on his second deployment to Iraq.
Like Reynolds, the majority of the Black Dragon instructors who taught the course have experience training or fighting alongside Iraqi security forces during previous deployments.
"This is a good mission to have. It's fun and we have a lot of good times out here," said Sgt. Larry Falconer, a cannon crew member assigned to Battery A. "It's a good chance to teach them the drills and techniques I know to help them become better policemen."
Along with the other field artillerymen at the Ghuzlani Eagle Training Site, Falconer, currently on his third deployment to Iraq, works as a trainer-mentor assisting the federal police in becoming proficient in their drills and tactics.
"The federal policemen are always focused and excited to learn," said Falconer, a native of Fordyce, Ark. "Whenever we conduct the exercises at the end of the rotation, they always act like the real thing, which is good because that's what we're preparing them for."