By Staff Sgt. Tanya ThomasSeptember 20, 2010
HABANIYA, Iraq (Army News Service, Sept. 20, 2010) -- Some of those 50,000 Soldiers who've stayed behind in Iraq are busy now helping Iraqis learn valuable skills, such as auto repair.
Mechanics with the 4th Advise and Assist Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division, are helping to improve the readiness of Iraqi Security Forces by instructing vehicle maintenance classes at Iraqi Army Camp Habiniya.
The weekly classes are part of United States Division - Center's effort to help build ISF capabilities as the U.S. continues to move more troops out of Iraq, and the ISF continues to take the lead in securing a stable and sovereign Iraq.
Spc. Henry Moss and Spc. Edwin Perez are both mechanics with the 703rd BSB. The two teach automotive troubleshooting tactics to the Iraqi mechanics who are responsible for maintaining all Iraqi Army vehicles in Anbar Province.
"Every time we come out here, we try to give them the best knowledge we have on the vehicle that they are working on," Moss said. "Normally, we try to teach classes that pertain to current issues they are having."
Moss said he and Perez teach the values of preventive maintenance checks and services to the Iraqi mechanics, and that a lack of proper PMCS is the most common reason for vehicle-breakdowns.
Perez said the vehicles require extra attention here because of the extreme heat in Iraq.
Iraqi Army vehicles differ greatly from U.S. military vehicles, but the differences do not deter the 703rd BSB Soldiers from helping their counterparts, Perez said.
"We educate ourselves so that we can further educate them," he said. "The good thing about mechanics is that it all pretty much works the same."
Moss, who was deployed in 2007 to Camp Ramadi, Iraq, said much has changed over the past three years.
"The (ISF) are progressing very well," he said. "You can tell that this country is improving."
Moss said he has noticed vast improvements among the Iraqi mechanics he has personally trained.
"When we first got here, they would just replace any problematic (vehicle component)," Moss said. "Now, they are actually troubleshooting the equipment instead of spending thousands of dollars on replacing it. Maintaining these skills is very important. If they don't have these skills, then they cannot defend against the people who are trying to attack them."
"We're here making a difference," Perez said. "It makes you feel good to be able to do something for their country."
(Staff Sgt. Tanya Thomas writes for 4th AAB PAO, 3rd ID, USD-C)