By 1st Lt. Jerry Roberts, 2nd Bn., 7th Cav. Regt., 4th BCT, 1st Cav. Div.February 6, 2009
FORWARD OPERATING BASE GARRY OWEN, Iraq - Thirteen of the Iraqi Army's newest combat medics graduated Combat Life Saver's course here Feb. 4.
The 38th Brigade, 10th Iraqi Army Division, with assistance from the 4th Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Div. Soldiers, taught the Iraqi troops the same skills most American Soldiers learn while preparing for deployments.
"Thank you, my friends," said Chief Sgt. Maj. Haider to the U.S. Soldiers. "I'm ready to work with you any time any place."
Haider, an Iraqi CLS instructor, was thankful because the course marked the first time the class was taught by Iraqis.
Sgt. Wa'il Zahir Naji, a combat medic from the 38th IA Bde., showed their Iraqi students basic combat care techniques such as: medical care-under fire, casualty evacuation, clearing airways and controlling bleeding.
The graduates learned how to respond to many of the injuries they could encounter in combat, while their American counterparts stood by to field questions.
The 2-7 Cav. Regt. Soldiers provided the stretchers and gauze, but Haider and Wa'il, who had been standout students in a previous CLS course, brought their own expertise to share with their fellow countrymen.
The 2nd Battalion, 7th Cavalry Regiment Soldiers have trained more than 75 of the Iraqis in combat life-saver procedures since the brigade deployed to southern Iraq in June 2008.
However, the latest course was significant because this time there were Iraqi instructors, and the students didn't have to rely on an interpreter to translate from English to Arabic.
"The new roles were a sign of progress," said Sgt. 1st Class Jamie Farmer, a native of Eden, N.C., assigned to the 2-7th Cav. Regt. "The goal is to leave this country with a unit capable of sustaining their own medical training."