By Sgt. Coltin Heller, 109th MPAD, USD-N PAOMay 19, 2011
CONTINGENCY OPERATING BASE SPEICHER, Iraq - Many U.S. Soldiers draw from experiences from outside their military lives to add to their ever-expanding wealth of knowledge, becoming effective assets to their unit and one day effective leaders of Soldiers.
Pfc. Shawn Phillips, an infantryman assigned to 2nd Battalion, 12th Cavalry Regiment, attached to 1st Advise and Assist Task Force, 1st Infantry Division, earned the title of "Ironhorse Strong" Soldier of the Week for using his training in martial arts and Modern Army Combatives to advance Iraqi Emergency Service Unit soldiers' skills at multiple combined check points near Kirkuk.
"He taught (Iraqi Security Forces) self defense skills," said Sgt. 1st Class Carl Barton, a platoon leader with 2nd Bn., 12th Cav. Regt. "He taught them how to disarm hostiles as well as how to defend against being disarmed."
Phillips, a native of Cheyenne, Wyo., took the lead during close quarters combat training, teaching Iraqi soldiers how to defend themselves, conduct personnel and vehicle searches, and how to use minimum force necessary to control the situation.
"He's a sponge, soaking up anything he learns and readily gives it to others," said Barton, who hails from Rock Springs, Wyo. "He's motivated to train and assist in any way he can, and is the first to volunteer to train the ISF at combined checkpoints."
Phillips also used his experience to teach ESU how to use various weapon systems, demonstrating how to break down the weapons as well proper fire techniques.
"As my gunner, (Phillips) went over all the weapons systems and other infantry battle drills that we use ourselves," said Staff Sgt. Rahamane Cisse, squad leader, 2nd Bn., 12th Cav. Regt., and a native of the Ivory Coast, West Africa.
In addition to performing his duties in an outstanding manner, Phillips also stands above his peers as the only junior enlisted Soldier to achieve a perfect score of 300 on the Army Physical Fitness Test, Cisse said.
"He's one of the younger guys in the platoon, but right away when he got here he set himself above his peers and has been a role model," said Cisse. "Having a high (Physical Training) score is just another way he does that."