By Pfc. Bailey Jester, 1st BCT PAO, 1st Cav. Div., MND-BSeptember 22, 2009
BAGHDAD - The role of U.S. combat troops in Iraq has evolved from the frontlines to the classroom, with efforts focused on training Iraqi Security Forces.
Soldiers from Company C, 2nd Battalion, 5th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division took that evolution one step further by providing a noncommissioned officer leadership course designed to teach Iraqi NCOs to confidently train their own troops.
"It isn't always about what you are teaching that is important," said St. Louis, Miss., native Staff Sgt. Joseph Willet, an instructor for the 10-day NCO leadership course. "This course is designed to increase the confidence in these NCO's to teach their own Soldiers."
"I believe this course is really important to me and the other NCO's that are involved," said Sgt. Hussein, a student in the leadership course assigned to the 43rd Iraqi Army Brigade in Baghdad. "Being in charge of the checkpoints makes me responsible for Soldiers, and it is my job to know how to properly teach them to do their job."
"The students respond very well during the lessons," said Willet. "They are answering questions when they are asked and volunteer to participate in front of the class to help the instructors demonstrate."
"I see this course being very successful," said Atlanta, Texas, native, Staff Sgt. Avery Washington, the primary instructor for the NCO leadership course. "When the class first started it was difficult to get them up there to participate, but once they got started, they really got into it and loved it."
The course includes topics such as basic rifle marksmanship, weapon safety and tactical movements. It is important to know the basics, but the main focus is to increase the confidence of the NCOs to teach their students.
"If they don't have confidence in themselves how can they have confidence in their Soldiers'" asked Willet.
To help boost their confidence, instructors formulated a curriculum to get the students to participate.
"I do. We do. They do," Willet explained. "First the instructor goes through the lesson to show them and give them a little more confidence. After finishing the lesson we go through the lecture with a volunteer by our side and we do it together. Finally, we hand it over to our volunteer and they provide the class to their peers on their own. It's a 'teaching the trainer' curriculum."
The course has not officially been named, but the intent is for the class to mold into a class similar to the Warriors Leaders Course used for American Soldiers, stated Willet.
"This course helps me practice my leadership and teaching skills," said Hussein. "The instructors are great and it helps not only me, but the other NCO's that are here."
NCO's that are self-confident in their abilities easily rub off onto their Soldiers providing a better chance of a successful outcome, said Willet.