By By Spc. Sharla Lewis, 3rd AAB PAO, 1st Cav. Div. August 5, 2011
CONTINGENCY OPERATING BASE ADDER, Iraq -- Evidenced by the shift in operations throughout Iraq, U.S. Forces are preparing to transition out of the country.
Stability Transition Team "Eagle," Task Force 2nd Battalion, 82nd Field Artillery Regiment, 3rd Advise and Assist Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division saw the conclusion of their participation in Tadreeb al Shamil, a training center similar to Fort Irwin's National Training Center in California.
The program began in January with 3rd Advise and Assist Brigade, 4th Infantry Division. The Iron Brigade worked hand in hand with the Iraqi Security Forces in building the training site, developing the curriculum and facilitating the training.
When the GREYWOLF Brigade arrived in February, halfway through the site's second iteration, they simply picked up where 4th Inf. Div. left off.
They worked next to their Iraqi counterparts, advising and assisting wherever necessary, providing expertise and supervision to the various training scenarios.
Translated from Arabic, Tadreeb al Shamil, means "training that includes everything," and is based on the concept of teaching Iraq's security forces the basics of national defense, an art not often practiced in Iraq because of the internal conflict.
"The training provides the battalions with skills in national defense and not just policing," said Maj. William McGlothlin, a deputy team chief of the transition team. "This is the first time some units have been able to zero and qualify with an M16."
When the training center was established in January, the 25-day rotations introduced traditional military maneuver training.
The Iraqi battalions participated in combined weapons ranges, land navigation courses, mortar team training and squad, company and battalion level maneuver training.
The training, which included sleeping in tents and daily fitness workouts, was difficult for the battalions. The Soldiers weren't used to such hard work and being away from home but appreciated their accomplishments once their iteration was complete.
"TaS is a chance for us to organize ourselves," said Col. Muhsen Abdullah, the commander of 2nd Battalion, 40th Brigade, 10th Iraqi Army Division, just one of the battalions that rotated through the center. "Some of us have the knowledge and experience, but we have never had the opportunity to put it all together and share with the entire battalion."
Now on their seventh iteration, each has required less and less involvement by U.S. Forces.
Until recently, U.S. Forces worked in the shadows of the trainers at TaS, providing assistance where needed and offering advice if necessary.
Several visiting dignitaries to the site, both U.S. and Iraqi, commented on the amount of Iraqi versus U.S. involvement in the training. McGlothlin said one visitor mentioned that TaS here was the first training site that didn't have American instructors.
"TaS went from 100 percent U.S. resourced, planned and taught to 100 percent Iraqi resourced, planned and taught," McGlothlin said.
Just as planned, "Eagle" has cut the ties with the training site, leaving them to facilitate, operate and maintain Tadreeb al Shamil without any U.S. involvement.
In the final months of U.S. presence in Iraq, Tadreeb al Shamil and the Iraqi independence there is just more proof of one all important fact: U.S. Forces are finally coming home.
The Iraqi Army helped developed the site from a conceptual program to a full-fledged training center that serves an entire division and have worked hard to make it their own.
"They feel that they've been properly prepared and advised," he said.