The Iraqi Corrections Officer Training Academy Basic Medic Course graduated 12 new medics Thursday in a ceremony at the training facility on Camp Cropper.

The goal of the class is to train current corrections officers to handle the basic medical needs of the detainees at the Cropper facility, said Staff Sgt. John Bole, ICOTA BMC instructor. Bole, along with Spc. Dennis Rish and Dr.'s Edward and Sam, instruct the corrections officers on skills similar to the Army's combat lifesaver tasks over the course of seven weeks. The training concludes with a mass casualty exercise that tests the officers full range of medical skills, Bole said.

This course is a key part of transitioning the detainee operations mission at Camp Cropper over to the government of Iraq, said Lt. Col. Doug Stall, commander, 1st Battalion, 279th Infantry Regiment, which oversees ICOTA. "It's of increasing importance to train Iraqi men to become detention officers," Stall said. "We are training the best and the brightest ICOs to be first responders in medical emergencies."

"We're giving them a skill set they can use long after we're gone," Bole said.

Bole hopes the program will continue to grow and progress as more corrections officers pass through. "This is an evolving program," he said. "We're adding more documentation and wound care to prepare them to work in a clinic versus a field setting. We need to move away from the military aspect and get in to a clinical aspect."

After graduation, the medics will be attached to a company and begin working to provide medical care to detainees, Bole said. Medical care needed varies from treatment of injuries to routine diabetes care. This, Bole said, is the reason the medics need to be well versed in clinical medicine in the future. "The population in a secure facility, overtime, will become sick, get the flu, develop diabetes, and they need to know how to care for it." The eventual goal is to have 100 percent of corrections officers become Basic Medic Course graduates, Bole said.

"This whole program is to provide these Iraqi men a fantastic opportunity to be a part of rebuilding their government and to help them maintain the highest levels of custody and care that we have established in these facilities," Stall said.

"They're very enthusiastic about this training and about the rebuilding of their government."