By Spc. James Kennedy Benjamin, Task Force Danger Public AffairsOctober 26, 2010
BASRA, Iraq - After several months of planning and coordination between the Department of Border Enforcement, Iraqi Army, U.S. Division-South, and the 3rd Advise and Assist Brigade, 4th Infantry Division, the Iraqi Security Forces accomplished another milestone in their development when 12 DBE personnel began training as medics by Iraqi Army instructors at Shaiba Training Center.
The DBE Soldiers are about three quarters of the way through a 45-day medic course which will also certify them as medical instructors.
"I believe this is the first time the DBE and IA have worked together on medical training," said Maj. Casey Carver, the Medical Evacuation and Plans Officer for the 1st Infantry Division and United States Division-South.
The course, which started shortly after Ramadan, consists of lectures, hands on training, and written examinations at the end of each section. The USD-S Surgeon Section and 3/4 AAB's Security Transition Teams assisted with the coordination and logistics for the course, but the instruction is being conducted solely by Iraqi Army medics.
Medical training is particularly important for the Dept. of Border Enforcement. Unlike the Police, DBE personnel operate along the borders, a significant distance away from medical care facilities, Carver said.
"If something happens to them, they can't get to a hospital or medical facility quickly," Carver said.
Master Sgt. Adel Ghedhaieb, one of the IA trainers, said the class will pay dividends down the road.
"They will learn how to teach the course to other students," Ghedhaieb said. "This way they can teach more people how to save lives."
Hesham Ahmed, a DBE student, agreed.
"The course teaches us skills that will help save lives," he said. "We learn things from giving basic aid for cuts and burns to giving IVs and stitching up victims."
Ahmed said the course also made him and his fellow students look at their health differently by teaching the importance of hygiene and maintaining a clean and sterile working environment.
The joint course at Shaiba is another example of Iraqis taking the lead as U.S. troops have moved into an advise and assist role for Operation New Dawn.
The U.S. will continue to provide recommendations on how the DBE can establish the basic medic course at all three regions in USD-S.
"That would be the ultimate goal," Carver said. "We will leave the DBE with something sustainable that they can continue to build on over the next few years. Getting the basic medic course going in all the regions of Iraq will be one of the lasting impacts that the U.S. will have on the ISF."