By 1st Lt. Donald Frisco, 5-82 Field Artillery Regt., 4th BCT, 1st Cav. Div.November 18, 2008
JOINT SECURITY STATION KUMAYT, Iraq - The 5th Battalion, 82nd Field Artillery Battalion, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, returned to the First Team's fold here after spending the first few months in Balad Nov. 10.
The battalion's mission changed from securing a key airport north of Baghdad to partnering with the 41st Iraqi Army Bde. in the historic tri-province area of southern Iraq.
"The partnership with the 41st Iraqi Army Brigade strengthens the bonds between our Army and their Army," said Maj. David McCulley, from Springdale, Ariz. He serves the Black Dragons as their executive officer. "The 41st Brigade will be an integral part of Iraq's security
The Black Dragons helped establish the Iraqi Army's 41st Bde., at Joint Security Station Kumayt from scratch. The key issues identified by leaders from the American and Iraqi units include: medical training, new troops' training, supply logistics and equipment maintenance.
The Black Dragon artillery team established a medical training program, a master fitness program and a maintenance program to help address these concerns and to facilitate the new unit's transformation.
The battalion's lead physician, 1st Lt. James Jackson, a native of Moberly, Miss., and Sgt. 1st Class Angel Rosado, platoon sergeant and a native of Puerto Rico, lead the medical program in JSS Kumayt.
"I'm impressed with the 41st IA BDE medical team's desire to learn," Jackson said about the medical training. "They are becoming more proficient as an army and are improving how they care for patients."
The medical team has trained four combat medics and 24 combat lifesavers in the new unit. They are training more combat lifesavers to increase the Iraqi brigade's combat effectiveness.
The mechanics, assigned to the Black Dragons' Company G, taught hands-on classes to the Iraqi troops. The new troops are building their capabilities to maintain equipment they are scheduled to receive in early December.
According to McCulley, the training and bonds built in Kumayt will ensure a committed partnership between the IA's 41st Bde. and the Black Dragon Battalion during upcoming operations. The shared knowledge will serve as an asset for successful operations as the new Iraqi unit makes the transition to independent operations.