BAGHDAD - Multi-National Division-Baghdad Soldiers from the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division continued their mission of training the Soldiers of the Iraqi Army. In support of the Security Agreement implementation, 'Iron Brigade' Soldiers have shifted their focus from combat operations to advising, training and mentoring the IA.

Iraqi Army 2nd Lt. Ghazwan Wafeaq Majed, a member of the 2nd Battalion, 25th Brigade, 17th Iraqi Army Division became the first Iraqi Army officer to graduate from Task Force 4th Battalion, 27th Field Artillery Regiment's Iraqi Junior Leader Development Course at Forward Operating Base Dolby March 16.

The goal of the training is to continue the improvement of the IA and prepare them to assume an ever increasing role in providing for the defense of Iraq. The security situation in Iraq has dramatically improved and now the mission is to sustain the improved security environment when Coalition Forces are required to redeploy from Iraq in 2011.

Majed embedded with the MND-B unit for the 14- day course and received training in counseling soldiers, property accountability, patrolling, maintenance checks, mission planning, patrol briefs, rehearsals, pre- combat checks, and pre- combat inspections. These are responsibilities MND-B Soldiers take for granted, but are not part of the culture of the Iraqi Army.

"In the beginning of the course I observed American officers, learned the non- commissioned officers and Soldiers role, and the responsibility of a second lieutenant in an operational unit," said Majed.

There are similar programs being used by other units in the MND-B operating area to train the IA officers, NCO's, and soldiers. The IA and MND-B commanders work together to provide training, interaction, and experience to junior leaders in the IA.

"The junior leader course is the most important operation we do, and working with junior officers before accruing time service with the IA is the ultimate goal. Providing training for young officers who will be high ranking leaders in the IA is the Coalition Forces priority", said Lt. Col. Michael Mammay, of Merrimack NH, commander, TF 4-27 FA.

The graduation is another step toward the future for the Iraqi Army and Iraq. Since January 1, 2009 the IA and MND-B have officially partnered in planning, preparing and executing missions. As more and more of the IA soldiers graduate from leadership courses and operate independently, it communicates to Iraqi citizens and the world Iraq is a sovereign country.