By Spc. Shameka Edwards, 4th Inf. Div. Public Affairs OfficeMay 28, 2010
FORT CARSON, Colo. - Six Iraqi officers visited the Mountain Post May 10 to provide continuity and information to the leaders of the 4th Infantry Division headquarters during their trip to the U.S.
Before making a stop at Fort Carson the officers visited the Pentagon, Arlington National Cemetery, the U.S. Army War College in Carlisle, Pa., and Fort Stewart, Ga. to get a firsthand look at training and observe and experience how the Army trains their divisions and general officers.
Of the six visiting officers, four are assigned to the Iraqi Security Forces: staff Lt. Gen. Hasan Kareem Khudhair, commander, Ninewa Operations Center; staff Brig. Gen. Ayad Mohammed Salih Khorsheed, 12th Iraqi army division deputy commander; staff Brig. Gen. Abdulrahman Handhal Mahdi Alburghif, 10th Brigade commander, 3rd IA and staff Col. Fadil Jawad Ali, 3rd Brig. commander, 1st IA.
The remaining two are assigned to the Kurdish Security Forces, Brig. Gen. Jameel Ali Ibrahim, Kurdish Regional Government liaison officer to the Ninewa Operations Center and KSF Aide, Lt. Col. Ahmed Haji Sadeq, Kurdish Regional Government deputy liaison officer to the Ninewa Operations Center, Kurdish and Arabic interpreter.
While at Fort Carson the officers toured the Battle Command Training Branch/Directorate of Plans, Training, Mobilization and Security.
There they were briefed on the capabilities of the center and operated the simulators.
Khudhair, who requested to use the Bradley Fighting Vehicle simulator, said through the United States Division-North deputy commanding general of support Arabic interpreter, Shirif Shadad, "We need to train for the enemy we have. We will have tanks around for a while."
"Tomorrow's fight is the security of my country and I want to be prepared," said Khudhair as he left the vehicle simulators and headed to the medical training center.
After the tour Khudhair briefed key leaders of the 4th Inf. Div. headquarters at the headquarters building.
"With help from U.S. forces, improvised explosive device attacks are down since 2008," he said. "We are getting better at tracking down the enemy and stopping them."
The NOC commander spoke of the relationship he has with the 3rd Infantry Division headquarters staff, which is currently in command of USD-N in Tikrit, Iraq.
"I look forward to working with the 4th Inf. Div., to building a partnership with you," he added.
Later in the day Khudhair and Ali Ibrahim spoke at a press conference along with Brig. Gen. James Pasquarette, DCG-S, 4th Inf. Div. and Brig. Gen. Tom Vandal, DCG-S, 3rd Inf. Div., who led the team that escorted the Iraqi officers to the U.S.
"This is a great initiative, we have had the opportunity to hear from the Iraqi army generals and the one liaison officer from the Peshmerga their perspective of what it is like today in Iraq and the challenges they face," said, Pasquarette.
"This is a unique opportunity", he said. "I have never seen this before, where the actual general officers that we will be working very closely with in a very complex part of the country at a really critical time in Iraq's history, come forward here to our country to help us learn about their challenges firsthand."
"This is an opportunity for us to bring them (the Iraqi officers) over to the U.S. for them (the 4th Inf. Div. headquarters leaders) to work with, as we transition and work with the 4th Inf. Div. so they can establish a strategic relationship, ensure a transition between the U.S. divisions and ensure a continuity of operations," said Vandal.
Also during the press conference, Jameel said through his interpreter "I am glad to be in the U.S., it was a dream to me; I never dreamed I would ever be here in the U.S."
"I will teach all of my soldiers the things I have learned here," he added.
The officers ended the day with a briefing from Maj. Gen. David G. Perkins, commander, 4th Inf. Div. and Fort Carson.
Perkins said to Khudhair since he was the highest ranking officer, he had the choice of a slide show presentation or a wrap-up of the facts.
Khudhair chuckled as he answered, "short wrap-up."
"The 4th Inf. Div.'s mission is to support the ISF and the state department who will stay in Iraq once we leave," Perkins explained during the brief.
Perkins told the NOC commander that he looks forward to working hand-in-hand with the ISF to improve the situation in Iraq and asked Khudhair what was the biggest security he faced right now.
"The border," answered Khudhair. "The border is our greatest concern."
The Iraqi officers ended their tour of the U.S. with a visit to the Garden of the Gods Visitor & Nature Center, in Colorado Springs, Colo., May 11 before heading back to Iraq.