By Staff Sgt. Mark Burrell, MND-B PAOJune 23, 2009
BAGHDAD - Some things are not learned just by reading a book, especially if that book is in another language. The Iraqis of 1st Company, 3rd Battalion, 7th Brigade, 2nd National Police Division know exactly what that's like.
Soldiers from Company A, 252nd Combined Arms Battalion, 30th Heavy Brigade Combat Team taught their Iraqi counterparts how to properly perform a preventive maintenance, checks and services (PMCS) inspection on their humvees June 12 in Doura here.
"Most of the stuff on the humvees is written in English," said Sgt. Adam Mahaffey, the PMCS instructor for the day, assigned to Co. A, 252nd CAB, 30th HBCT. "And they don't have the [training manuals], so they have a lot of questions."
According to Mahaffey, this is the first class they have given their NP partners and the Iraqis were enthusiastic and grateful for the tips from the Americans.
"The tips I got about how to use the cables to start my humvee when the battery goes out were great," added Sgt. Saefe Fadhel Nassir, the commander's driver assigned to 1st Co., 3rd Bn., 7th Bde., 2nd NP Div. "Also, I didn't know it was important to clean the fans out in the back of the humvee, so now I'll do that more often."
Before, whenever a problem arose, the NPs brought their humvees to their higher headquarters, explained Saefe. Now, with the hands-on training that the Americans helped the inquisitive NPs perform, they might be able to prevent vehicle breakdowns, he added.
"Everything I showed them, I wanted them to also do instead of just talking to them about it," said Mahaffey, a broad-shouldered infantryman from North Wilkesboro, N.C. "You can't learn if you've never been in a vehicle. The only way to do that is to get your butt in a seat."
The NPs are using their vehicles on a daily basis and the proactive North Carolina National Guard Soldiers asked them if they had a maintenance schedule. The NPs said they really didn't have one, explained 2nd Lt. Charles Kratochvil, an infantry platoon leader also assigned to Co. A, 252nd CAB, 30th HBCT.
"So this is something we'll do periodically to check and see if they're doing maintenance and make sure their vehicles are serviceable," continued Kratochvil, who is from Paterson, N.J. "It shows that we do care for them and it's one of many different things we do to help them out."
"The more we interact with them and help them out, the more willing they are going to be to help us out," said Mahaffey. "We want to build a relationship with the Iraqis and show them how to maintain their vehicles so they can continue patrolling with us and hopefully take over."
At the end of the class, the NPs and the U.S. Soldiers shook hands and patted each other on the shoulders and communicated things that didn't need to be translated.
"When we do things," said Saefe. "We like to do them with Americans because it shows the community that we are strong together."