By Spc. Charlene Apatang MendiolaMarch 20, 2011
Working towards a common goal, the combined efforts of two international military organizations are achieving positive results.
For over eight years, U.S. forces and Iraqi security forces have functioned in a joint operating environment. The U.S. mission of advising, training and assisting will allow Iraqi service members to gain the skills to sustain their military force.
Although the results are progressing, the initiative to receive additional training and assistance is by far gratifying, said Command Sgt. Maj. Earl L. Rice, command sergeant major for the deputy commanding general for operations, United States Forces - Iraq, during a conference hosted by the Iraqi Ground Forces commanding general at the Iraqi Ground Forces Command, March 15.
Stemming from an invitation by staff Gen Ali Ghiedan, commanding general of the IGFC, both U.S. and Iraqi command sergeants major gathered together to share the roles and responsibilities of
their positions in the military.
The gathering of senior enlisted leaders of both forces began at a training site in Besmaya where they observed Iraqi soldiers performing a training exercise. The briefings were later conducted by U.S sergeants major on their duties and responsibilities within their divisions.
"In order to prepare them for internal and external defense, we must assist them with improving their NCO corps." Rice said. "It is a powerful message to have the commander of the Iraqi forces
make this request."
As the Iraqi and the U.S. sergeants major come together to discuss their duties and responsibilities, this will hopefully be the basis of a foundation for building a strong and stable force.
"We have put a lot more focus on the train-the-trainer mode," said Command Sgt. Maj. Daniel Dailey, command sergeant major of United States Division - North. "One of our primary focuses is
to not only provide the Iraqi army with a professional training setting, but also the capability to do that beyond our tenure here."
"When we leave here, we don't want it to end there," he said. To accomplish that, the plan is to preserve our military traditions by training Iraqi NCOs as we do our own.
"We are here to give them the skills and abilities to conduct the training for follow-on battalions and brigades so that the Iraqi army will be able to sustain their proficiency," he said.
Operation New Dawn holds a new focus and meaning to the collaborative efforts of the joint forces, said Command Sgt. Maj. Jonathan Hunt, command sergeant major of the 18th Regiment,
3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment, USD-South.
"We had gone from conducting unilateral operations - the U.S. was fighting counterinsurgency without the Iraqi assistance - to conducting bilateral operations - the U.S. and Iraqi partnering to fight counterinsurgency," Hunt said. "The Iraqi army is now fighting counterinsurgency alone. "We
are now at the support role of advising, training and assisting."
As U.S forces prepare to relinquish all responsibilities to the Iraqi forces, this conference could become one of many that will leave behind a legacy and empower Soldiers to look back at their
contributions to this mission.
"Our Soldiers take pride in what they do," Dailey said. "They feel rewarded for training the Iraqi soldiers and watching them advance."
"The Iraqi army has developed tremendously over the years," Hunt said. "This means that we are doing exactly what we were sent out here to do."