By Spc. Terence Ewings, 4th AAB PAO, 1st Cav. Div., USD-NMarch 23, 2011
CONTINGENCY OPERATING SITE MAREZ, Iraq - At Ghuzlani Warrior Training Center located on Contingency Operating Site Marez, U.S. troopers work to enhance Iraqi Security Forces' ability to perform maintenance checks and repair tactical vehicles.
Supporting Tadreeb al Shamil, Arabic for All Inclusive Training, U.S. Army mechanics of 1st Squadron, 9th Cavalry Regiment, 4th Advise and Assist Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division, conducted vehicle maintenance training with 3rd Battalion, 11th Brigade, 3rd Iraqi Army Division, March 14.
Soldiers of 1st Sqdn., 9th Cav. Regt., "Head Hunters," taught IA mechanics how to perform preventive maintenance checks and services, order replacement parts and fix deficiencies on Iraqi tactical vehicles.
"It's very important that they learn the correct way to PMCS vehicles and use the training manuals," said Sgt. Roberto Gonzalez, an instructor from Troop A, 1st Sqdn., 9th Cav. Regt.
The Iraqi mechanics, who train with the Head Hunters, are responsible for maintaining the IA's tactical vehicles at Ghuzlani Warrior Training Center.
During the month-long, battalion-level training exercise at GWTC, known as Tadreeb al Shamil, Iraqi soldiers conduct collective unit-level training with 4th AAB troopers as part of an Iraqi military initiative to modernize IA unit tactics and capabilities.
While Iraq's warfighters are learning how to react to enemy contact, enter and clear rooms and provide indirect fire support, IA mechanics are under the hoods of humvees and mine resistant ambush protected vehicles ensuring their fellow soldiers have mission-ready vehicles.
"We are teaching the Iraqis how important it is for them to conduct maintenance training," said Gonzalez. "Just like we tell our Soldiers, you might not be the movie star of the cavalry division, but without the mechanics nobody's rolling anywhere."
While vehicle maintenance is not a combat-oriented mission, the U.S. Soldiers are confident in the IA's ability to maintain their transportation assets, sustaining and supporting Iraq's warriors during battlefield operations.
"The Iraqi Army soldiers already know how to fix their own vehicles; they're very good mechanics," said 2nd Lt. Christopher Hull, maintenance platoon leader assigned to Troop D, 1st Sqdn., 9th Cav. Regt. "But after this training they're going to have the knowledge and ability to use the training manuals, PMCS their vehicles, annotate any problems and order the parts so the vehicles can be fixed correctly."
The U.S. Soldiers service the vehicles first, teaching the Iraqis the correct way to perform each step of the PMCS before, during and after vehicle use.
After observing their U.S. counterparts, the IA soldiers use the step-by-step instructions from the training manual to discover and repair any vehicle deficiencies.
"Early in the training, we work right beside them assisting them as they service the vehicle," said Hull. "After a couple of days, we let them take the lead and we assist them only if they really need it."
After the Iraqis complete the 10-day training exercise, they will continue to work at GWTC using their enhanced technical skills to sustain their unit's tactical vehicles during the battalion's training cycle.
The Head Hunter Soldiers continue to conduct the all inclusive training for the IA units in Ninewa province, for the remainder of their deployment in support of Operation New Dawn.