By Cpl. Daniel Eddy, 196th MPADJanuary 10, 2011
BAGHDAD (Jan. 10, 2011) -- Iraqi Army soldiers completed training in combat life-saving techniques during a two-day course taught by Soldiers from the 2nd Advise and Assist Brigade, 1st Infantry Division.
The Iraqi Soldiers had recently graduated from basic training and attended the Jan. 5-6 CLS class with the "Dragon Battalion," before heading off to take additional advanced individual training.
By training the Iraqis, U.S. Soldiers hope the Iraqis will start teaching each other the tasks they learn.
"A lot of these soldiers are picking it up extremely quickly," said Sgt. Ian Faling, a senior line medic with the 2nd AAB. "So we can already see in these classes that the ones who are picking it up a lot quicker are already training other soldiers."
"We hope that this class will give them the starting point they need to continue training other soldiers after the course," he added.
The U.S. forces teaching medical tasks to the Iraqis demonstrated one of the paramount goals behind Operation New Dawn: partnership.
"It's a great opportunity for both our Soldiers and their soldiers in this partnership," Faling said. "It gives Iraqi soldiers a chance to get up close and personal with American Soldiers. It shows that we care and shows us that they care. It's great training for both of us."
Faling believes the Iraqis understood the CLS training extremely well. They enjoyed the training, were eager to learn, and put 100 percent effort into the training days, he said.
Faling said there were no complications in training the Iraqi soldiers, and the language barrier was not nearly as great a challenge as he thought it would be. The use of hand motions and hands-on training helped Iraqis to understand the CLS training to the point where they understood what needed to be done before the interpreter could translate for the U.S. Soldiers explaining the technique.
Faling said most U.S. medics involved with the course are on their first deployment and have never had the chance to work with Iraqis before, but enjoyed the opportunity.
"It's like seeing ourselves in basic training and AIT all over again," Spc. Brian Cross, one of the five medics from 2nd AAB who are training the Iraqis. "They are really interested in the material. They ask a lot of questions that frankly, are a lot more in depth than I thought people at a basic level would ask."
Cross said that, thus far, training the Iraqis was his favorite part of the deployment. He said he had been looking forward to it all week and it is even better than what he originally thought.
The CLS training also demonstrates that the Iraqis are learning to stabilize themselves as they carry on the missions and the U.S. continues to draw down its forces.
Sgt. Amzi, with the 6th Division, Iraqi Army, said he liked taking CLS training, which can save a friend's life or possibly his own life in the future.
Amzi said it was an honor for him to be able to serve his country and that he wants to protect his fellow Iraqis.
"Some people work in a hospital. Some go to school. Somebody has to save the people," he said. "So I volunteered to save these people. My purpose is to save the people."
Amzi said he, along with all Iraqis, want Iraq to develop and become stronger and safer as time continues.
Faling said on his last deployment he was frequently out on combat patrols and was focused on countering roadside bombs. He said this deployment is about building up the Iraqi Army so they can handle situations themselves.
"I am extremely excited for this deployment," Faling said. "The difference between this deployment and last deployment is so great. The Iraqi Army seems like they have come so far in just two years and it shows that they are going to be able to take care of their own country."