CONTINGENCY OPERATING SITE WARRIOR, Iraq - Iraqi Army soldiers, Iraqi Police officers and Kurdish Regional Guard Brigade members commenced joint training at Kirkuk Training Center to become candidates for the Combined Security Forces, known as the "Golden Lions," May 17-18.
Iraqi instructors selected applicants from each of the Iraqi Security Forces agencies, integrating soldiers and policemen into platoons as U.S. Soldiers of Company A, 2nd Battalion, 12th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Advise and Assist Task Force, 1st Infantry Division provided guidance and oversight.
As the Golden Lions increase proficiency during the next few months, it is important for Iraqi CSF veterans to take the lead in the training of its newest members to provide security for citizens throughout Kirkuk province, said 1st Lt. Daniel Campbell, platoon leader, Company A, 2nd Bn., 12th Cav. Regt.
The CSF started in 2010 and provides an important role in the security of Kirkuk, said Campbell.
One of the great things about the CSF is that recruits are mentored by U.S. forces and actually trained by Iraqi leaders, said Campbell, a native of Houston.
During their first official day of training, the Iraqi forces broke into their new platoons, each selecting recruits from the three different ISF elements.
By integrating the IA, IP and Regional Guard soldiers at the platoon level early in the training, instructors can begin teaching trainees how to work together as a team, explained 2nd Lt. Omar, a platoon leader and chief CSF trainer at KTC.
Omar said veteran Golden Lion noncommissioned officers and officers will take the primary role during the instruction of the new troops, only requesting U.S. Soldiers to help with practical exercises and provide additional assistance as needed.
"I am really excited about the training and the CSF expanding," said Omar. "I'm sure this will be a big step for the CSF and for all of Iraq's forces."
Omar said the new CSF company personnel are scheduled to study combat drills and military tactics throughout the month-long training cycle.
After recruits spent the first day familiarizing themselves with new trainees, the newly integrated Golden Lions gathered in the KTC conference room under the guidance of Capt. Fasil Gaze Mohmod, legal officer and law instructor at KTC.
Focusing on the Rule of Law first reminds Golden Lions members exactly what they swore to protect and taught soldiers and police officers the proper manner in which to execute duties, said Fasil.
"It is important for these men to know how to take proper actions," said Fasil. "They are in charge of the security in Kirkuk, and they must be above suspicion for the people to trust them."
Having worked with the CSF for 11 months, Campbell said he believes the Golden Lions stand united for a promising future in Iraq.
"The CSF can and will do any mission or task that is entrusted to them," said Campbell. "They have conducted humanitarian aid drops, but they have also conducted cordon and searches. They are a 'jack-of-all-trades' unit and they get the job done."