By Spc. Angel Washington, 4th AAB PAO, 1st Cav. Div.January 5, 2011
CONTINGENCY OPERATING SITE, Iraq -- Soldiers assigned to 1st Squadron, 9th Cavalry Regiment, 4th Advise and Assist Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division, began training Iraqi soldiers at al-Ghuzlani Warrior Training Center, Iraq, Jan. 3.
Approximately 564 Iraqi Army (IA) soldiers assigned to 1st Battalion, 11th Brigade, 3rd Iraqi Army Division, participated in the training as part of "al-Tadreeb al-Shamil," which is Arabic for all inclusive training. The collective training was conducted at the newly-developed training site to help hone their ability to secure their country.
"We are training the 3rd Iraqi Army Division on basic soldiering skills and individual training to support collective tasks," said Command Sgt. Maj. Duane Detweiler, the senior enlisted member in the unit.
"By the time we are done training, we will have more confident Iraqi soldiers and a more capable Iraqi Army," said Detweiler. "They will have confidence in themselves, their leaders and their country."
The U.S. troops began a four-week training program implementing squad, platoon, company and battalion-level training, with the intent to rotate 3rd IA Div. battalions every 30 days until the IA division is fully trained on conventional offensive and defensive maneuver operations.
The inaugural training cycle will culminate with a battalion-level live-fire exercise conducted by IA soldiers.
Staff Sgt. Clint Jacobs, a cavalry scout squad leader assigned to Troop A, 1st Sqdn., 9th Cav. Regt., worked with Iraqi soldiers refining their basic team and squad-level movement drills.
Once the Iraqi soldiers performed the individual infantry drills effectively, Jacobs allowed Iraqi squad leaders to conduct the movement training.
"We are using the 'crawl, walk, run' method, and we are starting at the beginning," said Jacobs.
Jacobs said his Soldiers are responsible for building the IA soldiers' capabilities, training IA leaders to build upon individual and collective core competencies at squad, platoon and company levels.
U.S. forces are working with leaders of 3rd IA Div. to build a lasting foundation for new Iraqi soldiers as they arrive to their units, explained Jacobs.
In the days before the first training cycle began at the new training site, troopers of 1st Sqdn., 9th Cav. Regt. set up the training lanes, running through rehearsals and making adjustments to ensure the training will be a success for the first Iraqi battalion to participate in the inaugural training program.
Long Knife troopers of 4th Advise and Assist Brigade, 1st Cav. Div. are assisting the IA forces in leading classroom and hands-on training applications during the month-long training cycle, said 1st Lt. Sean Mitcham, a platoon leader with Troop C, 1st Sqdn., 9th Cav. Regt.
"We're teaching them techniques used by American fighters. Once the training is complete, they'll be able to mold it into their own system to make it work for them," said Mitcham.